Annie Dillard’s ‘Death of a Moth’ as world literature | Intellect Skip to content
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Short Fiction as World Literature
  • ISSN: 2043-0701
  • E-ISSN: 2043-071X

Abstract

This article reads Annie Dillard’s short text ‘Death of a Moth’ (1976) in a comparative context, focusing mostly on the description of the scene of the moth’s self-immolation in a candle flame. After considering the challenges that the text poses to the category ‘short fiction’, the article discusses the different uses of the image of ‘the moth and the flame’ in different cultures. Focusing especially on the Persian literary tradition, the historical variability of interpretations of the image is outlined, and closer parallels are drawn between Dillard’s text and Aḥmad Ghazzālī’s interpretation of ‘love’ through their respective narrations of the moth’s death in the candle flame. In a closer reading of Dillard’s text, an uneasy coexistence is revealed between a mystical inclination and an ironic, self-consciously literary use of imagery and figurative language.

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2024-02-14
2024-04-21
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