‘Murphy’ and Peace

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Wallace, Jeff. 2015. Twentieth Century Literature 61, no. 3: 352–72.

This text investigates Samuel Beckett’s novel Murphy as a potentially pacifist text. Published in 1938, Murphy is an avant-garde novel whose eponymous protagonist, an unemployed Irishman in London, finds pleasure only in tying himself naked on a rocking chair in a process he compares to meditation. Murphy actively avoids all responsibilities such as employment, marriage in an unconventional attempt to find inner peace, drawing parallels to the oftentimes-weak efforts by European states to address the rise of Fascism on the continent. The article scrutinizes Murphy for signs of pacifism, while recognising the semantic ‘slipperiness’ avant-garde texts tend to possess and their potential to be misread or misinterpreted, especially in the context of posthumanism.  

site: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24851972

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