The cruel poetics of Morrissey: fragment for a phenomenology of the ages of life

Jean Philippe Deranty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on existential phenomenology, particularly Heidegger's analytic of Dasein, and combining it with a developmental perspective, the paper focuses on those moments of crisis, in which a self faces the question of its own truth, and in the process posits the conditions for disclosing key aspects about the world and society. Late adolescence and early adulthood are the ‘ages of life’ in which such possibility of disclosure occurs most eminently, and this is relayed expressively and reflectively, the paper further argues, in the few examples of popular music that act as genuine outlets for young people's desires and anxieties. The poetic work of Morrissey is a particularly eloquent case in point. However, a succinct analysis of Morrissey's poetics reveals that underneath the explicit thread of sexuality, it is violence and cruelty that shape the young soul into becoming a channel for world and social disclosure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalThesis Eleven
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Heidegger
  • Morrissey
  • popular music
  • sexuality
  • violence


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