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HAL: hprints-00492832, version 1

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Anglo Files 95 (1996) 62-69
PauI Auster's Private 'I's
Inge Birgitte Siegumfeldt ( ) 1
For the TRAMS collaboration(s)

Over the past century, we have witnessed a decisive shift in our perceptions of reality and literature as tradition and knowledge have become questioned in new and increasingly complex ways. In Die Fr 'liche Wissenschaft, 1882,') Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God. God is dead, he said, and we have killed him with our persistent questioning of his existence and the meaning of ours. But, says Nietzsche, the death of God has liberated philosophy. We are no longer restrained by the confinements of theology. Roughly at the same time, or a little later, Freud was discovering the subconscious and presented theories of the psyche which were to have an immense impact upon our perception of human life. Natural science, too, leapt forward with enormous strides. The emergence of new theories and ideas multiplied our perceptions of the world and complicated reality in the extreme. Where, formerly, human existence was closely connected to religion, to rules and dogma, to fairly simple perceptions of the human condition, now, at the turn of the century, the Creator of the universe was presumed dead, the centre, the anchor of our world, guaranteing truth and meaning and fair judgement in human life, irrevocably lost. Moreover, men and women alike were supposed to have subconscious layers unknown to them, governed largely by instincts, indeed, by sexuality, and the pursuit of natural laws revealed unexplored areas of enormous dimension.
1:  Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies (ENGEROM)
University of Copenhagen
Humanities and Social Sciences/Literature
Paul Auster – literary theory – English literature
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