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

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 272 pages
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Body of Fatherhood
The Deified Father and the Sacrificial Son
The History of a Wound
Witnessing as Theater in Shakespeare
A Dead Hand at a Baby
This Moving Dream
A Return to the Crossroads

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information