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Beckett's Molloy, the Promise of Youth, and the Postwar

Beckett's Molloy, the Promise of Youth, and the Postwar This paper argues that Samuel Beckett's Molloy charts the historical transition of the postwar moment in generational terms – terms that themselves had real historical significance in the years immediately following the Allied victory in World War II – ultimately, and uncharacteristically, advancing a youthful figure of promise in young Jacques Moran, Jr. Though Beckett is much more commonly read as an allegorist of existential ambivalence – if not despair – I contend that his first postwar novel must properly be understood as staging history in its confused, agonistic, and frustrating family dynamics. Beckett's rendering of authority, history, and hierarchy in terms of perversion, queerness, and sterility ultimately preserves a futurity centred not precisely on the child per se, but on the emergent figure of the adolescent – the teenager, even, I will venture to claim – avant la lettre: Jacques Moran, Jr. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Beckett's Molloy, the Promise of Youth, and the Postwar

Modernist Cultures , Volume 16 (3): 23 – Aug 1, 2021

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2021.0340
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper argues that Samuel Beckett's Molloy charts the historical transition of the postwar moment in generational terms – terms that themselves had real historical significance in the years immediately following the Allied victory in World War II – ultimately, and uncharacteristically, advancing a youthful figure of promise in young Jacques Moran, Jr. Though Beckett is much more commonly read as an allegorist of existential ambivalence – if not despair – I contend that his first postwar novel must properly be understood as staging history in its confused, agonistic, and frustrating family dynamics. Beckett's rendering of authority, history, and hierarchy in terms of perversion, queerness, and sterility ultimately preserves a futurity centred not precisely on the child per se, but on the emergent figure of the adolescent – the teenager, even, I will venture to claim – avant la lettre: Jacques Moran, Jr.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2021

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