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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow Gatekeepers : the emergence of world literature and the 1960s
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Paul Auster bootstrapping” and foreign “exile'

The second half of this study examines two younger writers—Paul Auster and Haruki Murakami—who were students during the political upheavals of the 1960s. Unlike Garcia Marquez and Bukowski, they naturalized the decade’s conflicts in their fiction, projecting a “world elsewhere.” We will see how Auster did this in a series of three narratives, beginning with his student writing and culminating in In the Country of Last Things. Murakami’s transformation of the era into World Literature also had three steps, pivoting on Norwegian Wood. They were helped by the gatekeeping functions already examined, plus several new ones, such as the first reader who is a partner, and the roles of refracted reputation, bootstrapping, and academic validation.

Most importantly, unlike the preceding writers, Auster and Murakami acquired expertise in a foreign culture, its language, and in translation. They became gatekeepers of that culture’s literature in their home countries, with Murakami taking up a post-modern version of translatio studii. Gatekeeping and the adjustments it suggested to their aesthetics became part of the field for them. College educated, they could see the value in being bilingual and that certain professors, patrons, and small presses conferred symbolic or cultural capital. Although their themes often stress the role of chance in life, they themselves were ambitious and hardworking. They strove to meet writers, to get grants, and to network widely.

 
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