Who hobbles after the subject: Parables of writing in The Third Policeman and Molloy

Yael Levin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Negotiations of the modern subject by poststructuralist and disability studies call attention to a complementary shift that has not yet received due critical attention. The forfeiting of the conceit of agency and autonomy that define the Cartesian cogito results in the radical reconfiguration of the creative act. The disabled protagonists of Samuel Beckett's Molloy and Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman dramatize a writing that is not the product of creative agency but is contingent, dependent, and in flux. The subject's relation to the act of writing is one of participation rather than control. Lennard J. Davis's concept of the "dismodernist subject" viewed alongside a discourse of supplementarity and exhaustion sheds light on the two authors' disparate treatments of disability and its relation to writing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)105-121
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Modern Literature
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Trustees of Indiana University.


  • Disability
  • Flann O'Brien
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Subjectivity
  • Writing


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