Insignificant residues
Trauma, face and figure in Samuel Beckett
in Samuel Beckett and trauma
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Building on his detailed discussion of the impossibility of speech in Beckett’s work in relation to Agamben’s account of testimony in his book Samuel Beckett and Testimony, David Houston Jones turns in this chapter to the question of the face, which Agamben himself left undeveloped after his article ‘The Face’. Jones considers the face as a vector of the expressive capabilities of testimony. He discusses a range of dramatic and narrative situations in which the expressive capabilities of the face are pitted against the epistemological problem of testimony, from the deterritorialised face of Not I to the inexpressive face in Wattand the later prose. This analysis of the face in Beckett constitutes a unique critique of Agamben’s idea of testimony and contributes to a rethinking of trauma theory with reference to the realm of the visual.

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