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