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Trying to understand Beckett
Editor:

Nothing' has been at the centre of Samuel Beckett's reception and scholarship from its inception. This book explains how the Beckett oeuvre, through its paradoxical fidelity to nothing, produces critical approaches which aspire to putting an end to interpretation: in this instance, the issues of authority, intertextuality and context, which this book tackles via 'nothing'. By retracing the history of Beckett studies through 'nothing', it theorises a future for the study of Beckett's legacies and is interested in the constant problem of value in the oeuvre. Through the relation between Beckett and nothing, the relation between voice and stone in Jean-Paul Sartre and Beckett, we are reminded precisely of the importance of the history of an idea, even the ideas of context, influence, and history. The book looks at something that has remained a 'nothing' within the Beckett canon so far: his doodles as they appear in the Human Wishes manuscript. It also looks at the material history of televisual production and places the aesthetic concerns of Beckett's television plays. The book then discusses the nexus between nothing and silence in order to analyse the specific relations between music, sound, and hearing. It talks about the history of materiality through that of neurology and brings the two into a dialogue sustained by Beckett texts, letters and notebooks. The book investigates the role of nothing through three works called neither and Neither: Beckett's short text, Morton Feldman's opera, and Doris Salcedo's sculptural installation.

Open Access (free)
Bill Prosser

engagement. Beckett’s most heavily decorated work is the six notebooks that comprise ‘Watt’.33 However, the manuscript of his play that came to nothing, Human Wishes, contains his highest concentration of doodled faces and figures, some seventy-seven of them across two consecutive versa pages.34 All have nothing to do with the drama’s narrative, and their relative compactness provides an intriguing opportunity to explore the particulars that result, one hazards, when nothing is on offer – in this case from his ready-at-hand, ready-and-waiting written drama. The holograph

in Beckett and nothing
Martin Yuille
and
Bill Ollier

problem goes beyond mere over-simplification. It is mere assertion – plus scientific fraud. 3 Genetic determinism is wrong because it over-simplifies biological systems: it promotes just one kind of molecule – DNA – into the privileged position of specifying the properties of the biological system. Determinism itself has deep roots in the human wish to simplify problems – consider the supernatural determinism that inspires the Book of Genesis in the Abrahamic religions. The roots of genetic determinism are more recent. The French Enlightenment philosopher René

in Saving sick Britain
Afterlife vision and redemption in the work of John McGahern
Catriona Clutterbuck

selected by McGahern in Creatures of the Earth offer a high-resolution outline of this trajectory. In the earlier stories, the value of afterlife vision is suggested by its blatant absence. The non-conceivability of the ideal, or what the fixedly disenchanted young narrator of ‘Christmas’ calls ‘the stupidity of human wishes’ (CE 25), is symbolised in the figure of Eden unpicked or unappreciated: apples which are unusable or rotting on the ground is a notable motif in stories of characters’ ignorant or disenchanted refusal to move outside their present, delimited domains

in John McGahern
Ethics and aesthetics in Deirdre Madden’s Hidden Symptoms, One by One in the Darkness, and Molly Fox’s Birthday
Teresa Casal

to ‘enter[ing] into another person’s mind’, that quintessential human wish to transcend subjectivity voiced by the protagonist of Nothing is Black (Madden, 1994 : 141). In careful readings of Hidden Symptoms and One by One , Geraldine Higgins shows how they provide ‘narrative structures in which to contain and interpret traumatic

in Deirdre Madden
Marisol Morales-Ladrón

, and I should also mention at this point T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets , which is an essential work for me. It’s one of the most fundamental human wishes, the desire to be remembered, and with that there’s the wish to somehow overcome the transience of life. We all know that we must die, but we’re all trying constantly to take evading action. Your perspective on time changes as

in Deirdre Madden
Mary Ann Lund

. 275). 4 Alongside this imperfect, unstable, flawed happiness, the Anatomy also provides an alternative vision of happiness, the opposite of troubled earthly contentment since it is unmoderated, complete, perfect: the summum bonum of human wishes. It is this happiness which forms the subject of this chapter. 5 In a brief and dazzling

in The Renaissance of emotion
Abstract only
Notes on Ackroyd & Harvey ecocriticism and praxis
Eve Ropek

bone was sent to the UK, there was no killing or conquering of another creature. The art work does not reflect on the natural bone itself but uses it and alters it to make something different. This isn’t a gentle intervention in the natural world but technological knowhow shaping a piece from another species to reflect human wishes. The polar bear is attractive (in the abstract – not many would want to meet one on a dark night), as is the diamond attractive; each prized by humans for sensual visual appeal and for rarity. The bears have become poster creatures for the

in Extending ecocriticism
Tristram Shandy and the quest for identity
Gioiella Bruni Roccia

which his heart never intended any man, —Sir, it confounded him—and thereby putting his ideas first into confusion, and then to flight, he could not rally them again for the soul of him.39 The insistent iteration of ‘I wish’, declined in all possible forms and put in Toby’s mouth at the very moment of Tristram’s birth, is intended to cast ridicule on the absurdity of human wishes. But the expression of this unseasonable desire is not merely aimed at parodying uncle Toby’s passionate interest in military matters.40 The meaningful repetition of the optative ‘I wish

in Writing and constructing the self in Great Britain in the long eighteenth century
Marilynne Robinson and Stanley Cavell
Paul Jenner

intellectual history, reflecting an understandable wish to ‘disburden ourselves of ourselves’ (“The Sacred” 67; “Humanism” 15). This way of characterising reductionism aligns it with Cavell's notion, involving a human wish to overcome or deny the human, of an ‘impulse’ to scepticism. In both cases, the origin of the clash between reductionism and the givenness of things is understood as having more to do with human restlessness than with pressure put on our folkways by scientific knowledge. A tendency to (conceptual, experiential, ethical) self-annulment as manifest in

in Marilynne Robinson