Samuel Beckett's Misopedia

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Abstract

Hatred of the child is a persistent theme across Beckett's works, most famously attested to by Dan Rooney's wish to 'nip some young doom in the bud' in All That Fall, but is a motif which has received little critical attention. This article brings Beckett's misopedia into focus by placing it within a tradition beginning with St. Augustine and the concept of original sin, through to Schopenhauer's virulent attacks on the will-to-live, and on to Lee Edelman's recent polemic against the child, to suggest that, for Beckett, the child as harbinger of futurity is hated because it is a guarantor of the perpetuation of suffering and death. By focusing on All That Fall, Eleutheria, 'The Expelled', Watt, Molloy, and Mahne Dies, the article demonstrates that the hatred of the child within the works forms an integral part of Beckett's ethical and aesthetic thinking.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish University Review
Volume41
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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