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Culik, H. (1982). Samuel Beckett's Molloy: Transformation and Loss. Am. Imago, 39(1):21-29.

(1982). American Imago, 39(1):21-29

Samuel Beckett's Molloy: Transformation and Loss

Hugh Culik

Beckett's Molloy and Moran are not characters in a usual sense. They are not the kind of characters who seem to live real lives; rather they serve to manifest the author's creative processes through a special type of language. This language embodies the processes of creativity “poemagogically” just as, for example, hypnagogic imagery embodies the act of falling asleep. Anton Ehrenzweig, who proposes the term, notes that such imagery is often that of the primitive hermaphroditic mother, oral devouring, and anal scattering—imagery through which the child incorporates the generative power of the parents. Ehrenzweig describes mature creativity as a three stage process that often calls upon poemagogic imagery. Ehrenzweig's work can help to clarify the relationship between the imagery of Molloy and the novel's three quests: Molloy for his mother, Moran for Molloy, and the novel itself for a language that minimizes the losses of transforming the primary process vision into creative art. The self-reflexive nature of Beckett's fiction is based on his adaptation of poemagogic imagery to novels about characters/voices in the act of writing. Without poemagogic imagery the novels would lack the synthesis of form and subject that makes them so powerful. Beckett must contaminate the creative vision with language so that it can be shared, but he must still allow us a sense of that world prior to its deformation in the crucible of language. Birth, copulatory, and excretory imagery are central to the novel's interest in the losses that attend such transformations.

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