Two-Part Invention: Voices from Augustine's The Teacher and Samuel Beckett's Endgame

Philosophy and Literature 40 (2):480-494 (2016)
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We see our fathers naked, we men.Among the more poignant moments of Stanley Cavell’s 2010 autobiography Little Did I Know are those in which young Cavell works to find words to break the silence that hung between himself and his father. In one exchange, seven-year-old Cavell’s aimless remark about speckled chocolate wafers was met with a savage retort and marked the moment when Cavell became certain his father wanted him dead—or rather, not to exist at all. Cavell was tormented both by his father’s utterances and punishing silences, and it is little wonder Cavell developed a lifelong preoccupation with responsiveness and failures of responsiveness. Here, too, we see the roots of Cavell’s...



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