chapter  9
20 Pages

“One should never underestimate the power of books”: Writing and Reading as Therapy in Paul Auster’s Novels: Beatrix Busse


This chapter takes a cognitive stylistic approach (Stockwell 2002; Semino & Culpeper 2002; Gavins & Steen 2003; Burke 2005),1 and applies Fauconnier and Turner’s (2002) theory of blending to Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies (2006) and The Book of Illusions (2002). To explore a central aspect of the two novels and the main characters’ mental lives as well as of the readers’ inference processes, I will show how the blend writing is medicine is foregrounded (Douthwaite 2000; Leech 2008) in the novel, how it structures The Brooklyn Follies (Auster 2006) and The Book of Illusions (Auster 2002) and how it addresses the reader’s cognitive processing. I will examine how the narrators of the novels not only play with the more conventional associations and ideas of writing and medicine, but also allude to metaphorical meanings, among which are the ideas that writing is a disease (writing is illness) and that imagining may function as medicine (imagination is medicine).