Skip to main content

Negative Anthropology: Beckett and Humanism

Weller, Shane (2020) Negative Anthropology: Beckett and Humanism. Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui, 32 (2). pp. 161-175. ISSN 0927-3131. E-ISSN 1875-7405. (doi:10.1163/18757405-03202002) (KAR id:82491)

Microsoft Word Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download (136kB)
Official URL


This essay charts Beckett’s engagement with the concept of the human from the 1930s to the 1980s. Considering in particular his rethinking of what he terms “true humanity” (vraie humanité) in his 1945 essay on the work of the Van Velde brothers, his remarks on “humanity in ruins” in “The Capital of the Ruins” (1946), and his response in early 1949 to Francis Ponge’s claims regarding a humanity to come in an essay on the painter Georges Braque, the essay argues that Beckett not only challenges various forms of anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism, but undertakes a ‘negative anthropology’ that weakens the distinctions between the human and other animate and inanimate forms of being.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1163/18757405-03202002
Uncontrolled keywords: anthropocentrism; anthropomorphism; existentialism; Holocaust; humanism
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern Languages
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Comparative Literature
Depositing User: Shane Weller
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2020 11:36 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2020 15:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Weller, Shane:
  • Depositors only (login required):