“The Impulse Towards Silence”: Creaturely Expressivity in Beckett and Coetzee

Anderton, Joseph (2017) “The Impulse Towards Silence”: Creaturely Expressivity in Beckett and Coetzee. In: Beyond the Human-Animal Divide. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 265-282. ISBN 9781137603098

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Forms of silence can serve as a signature of ‘creaturely life’: the suspended state of being in uncanny proximity with the nonhuman animal to which a subject is exposed when detached from the constitutive values and normative meanings that structure human life. The claim in this chapter is that Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho and J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K are both attentive to the estranged, elusive, ahistorical dimensions of creaturely life through the pursuit of a non-discursive state coinciding with the compulsion or solicitation to speak. In their varying ways of voicing silence, Beckett and Coetzee generate a fraternity with animals in exposing the human’s own potential intimacy with the embodied life beyond the symbolic order of language and narrative.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: A whole world, that of nature and that of animals, is filled with silence. Nature and animals seem like protuberances of silence. —Max Picard, The World of Silence (1948, 110)
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-93437-9_13
22 November 2017Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Literary Studies Literature English Impulse Silence Creature Expressivity Beckett Coetzee
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Selina Schmidt
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2020 15:14
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9970

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