Dreams of the Burning Child: Sacrificial Sons and the Father's Witness

Dreams of the Burning Child: Sacrificial Sons and the Father's Witness

by David Lee Miller

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In Dreams of the Burning Child, David Lee Miller explores the uncanny persistence of filial sacrifice as a motif in English literature and its classical and biblical antecedents. He combines strikingly original reinterpretations of the Aeneid, Hamlet, The Winter's Tale, and Dombey and Son with perceptive accounts of dreams found in memoirs, poems, and psychoanalytic texts.

Miller looks closely at the grisly fantasy of the sacrifice of sons as it is depicted in classical epic, early modern drama, the nineteenth-century novel, the postcolonial novel, the lyric, the funeral elegy, sacred scriptures, and psychoanalytic theory. He also draws examples from painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture into a witty and engaging discussion that ranges from the binding of Isaac to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, and from questions of literary history to the dilemmas of patriarchal masculinity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501728846
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 07/05/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 28 MB
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Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Lee Miller is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of The Poem's Two Bodies: The Poetics of the 1590 'Faerie Queene' as well as coeditor of several books, including The Production of English Renaissance Culture, also from Cornell.

What People are Saying About This

Richard Helgerson

"In Dreams of the Burning Child, David Lee Miller brilliantly illuminates a large number of crucial texts from Western literature, including most prominently The Aeneid, Hamlet, The Winter's Tale, and Dickens's Dombey and Son. He also sheds light on one of the sustaining narrative patterns of Western patriarchy, the sacrifice of sons by their fathers. The sweep of Miller's argument, the cultural centrality of his concerns, and the methodological sophistication of his approach make this an exhilarating and deeply informative book."

Theresa M. Krier

"David Lee Miller has written a rich, generous book of easy power, one that transforms a good deal of important work in cultural studies of religion and theory of the subject into a thesis of brilliance, clarity, and elegant simplicity. His prose is witty, lyrical, assured, and structurally tight, with certain topoi and lines of thought running through the whole in persuasive and surprising ways."

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