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Murphy and Peace-Wallace J.pdf (309.24 kB)

Murphy and Peace

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-28, 15:06 authored by Jeff Wallace
This article stages a process of self-conscious critical assessment and reassessment around the proposition that Samuel Beckett’s 1938 Murphy is a novel intimately concerned with peace. Building on the pacifistic orientation of the posthumanist intellectual projects of Michel Serres and Bruno Latour, it uses Murphy as a means of inquiring into what a literary textual practice founded on a posthumanistic ethics of peace might look like. It locates in Murphy forms of agency and animism that dismantle the human-nonhuman divide and suggest affinities between modernist experimentalism and lines of thought in Latour’s work that lead to “compositionism.” It also finds in posthumanism a general apologetics around the dismantling of “critique” and anthropocentrism, opening up textual practice to the admission of vulnerability, naïveté, error, and playfulness, which allows various readings of Murphy’s peaceability to be assembled and assimilated together beyond a hermeneutic of suspicion


Published in

Twentieth-Century Literature


Duke University Press


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Wallace, J. (2015) 'Murphy and peace', Twentieth-Century Literature, 61(3), pp.352-372

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

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  • © The Publisher


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