Money Talks: Language, Work and Authorship from The Music of Chance to Sunset Park

Aliki Varvogli (Lead / Corresponding author)

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This essay explores the various ways in which Paul Auster has written about money in his novels throughout his career, and argues that there are continuities as well as differences which reflect the author’s increased concern for the lived world and the socio-economic forces that shape it. The argument focuses on Auster’s treatment of the subject of money and its relationship to matters of authorship, language and work. Much of Auster’s writing since his early days of monetary struggle has returned to the problems of poverty and precarity that artists and authors often face. In earlier works, the material aspect was often de-emphasised in favour of the symbolic or metaphorical, but more recent work has sought to bring the two plains of representation into closer alignment. The preoccupation with the language of money allows Auster’s fiction to be both about representation and about the things it seeks to represent, to be realist and metafictional, and to explore material and immaterial questions at the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number50
Early online date2 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • authhorship
  • money
  • language
  • economy
  • metaphor

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