Samuel Beckett and trauma is a collection of essays that opens new approaches to Beckett’s literary and theoretical work through the lens of trauma studies. Beginning with biographical and intertextual readings of instances of trauma in Beckett’s works, the essays take up performance studies, philosophical and cultural understanding of post-traumatic subjectivity, and provide new perspectives that will expand and alter current trauma studies.

Chapter 1 deals with a whole range of traumatic symptoms in Beckett’s personal experiences which find their ways into a number of his works. Chapter 2 investigates traumatic symptoms experienced by actors on stage. Chapter 3 examines the problem of unspeakability by focusing on the face which illuminates the interface between Beckett’s work and trauma theory. Chapter 4 explores the relationship between trauma and skin – a psychic skin that reveals the ‘force and truth’ of trauma, a force that disrupts the apparatus of representation. Chapter 5 considers trauma caused by a bodily defect such as tinnitus. Chapter 6 focuses on the historically specific psychological structure in which a wounded subject is compelled to stick to ordinary life in the aftermath of some traumatic calamity. Chapter 7 provides a new way of looking at birth trauma by using the term as ‘creaturely life’ that is seen in the recent biopolitical discourses. Chapter 8 speculates on how Beckett’s post-war plays, responding to the nuclear age’s global trauma, resonate with ethical and philosophical thoughts of today’s post-Cold War era.

This study is about the central place of the emotional world in Beckett's writing. Stating that Beckett is ‘primarily about love’, it makes a re-assessment of his influence and immense popularity. The book examines numerous Beckettian texts, arguing that they embody a struggle to remain in contact with a primal sense of internal goodness, one founded on early experience with the mother. Writing itself becomes an internal dialogue, in which the reader is engaged, between a ‘narrative-self’ and a mother.

Yoshiki Tajiri

Ordinary objects in Woolf and Beckett 135 6 Trauma and ordinary objects in Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett Yoshiki Tajiri Introduction: trauma and everyday life While trauma studies and everyday life studies may be deemed two of the most salient trends in literary studies since the 2000s, they do not often seem to intersect with each other.1 Current trauma studies began to flourish in the mid-1990s mainly through deconstructionists’ attempts to re-engage with history, though the notion of trauma itself was elaborated in psychiatry and psychoanalysis from

in Samuel Beckett and trauma
Trauma, face and figure in Samuel Beckett
David Houston Jones

‘Void cannot go’Insignificant residues 71 3 Insignificant residues: trauma, face and figure in Samuel Beckett David Houston Jones But the faces of the living, all grimace and flush, can they be described as objects? Samuel Beckett, First Love A number of important contributions to trauma theory position Samuel Beckett’s work as a privileged point of reference. For Robert Eaglestone, the ethical necessity of ‘an ongoing conversation about the Holocaust’ results in ‘a conversation which, Beckett-like, can’t go on, but must go on’ (2000: 105). Jonathan Boulter

in Samuel Beckett and trauma
Open Access (free)
John Robert Keller

Introduction For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds, Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. Wallace Stevens Till feeling the need for company again he tells himself to call the hearer M at least. (Samuel Beckett) It is often said that the opening words of the psychoanalytical session contain the totality of what is to come. Thinking this true of the scholarly text, I find myself writing that this study is primarily about love. This might seem somewhat odd for a reading of Beckett, but I hope that in what follows the

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
Neil Cornwell

8 Samuel Beckett’s vessels, voices and shades of the absurd Yes, no more denials, all is false, there is no one, it’s understood, there is nothing, no more phrases, let us be dupes, dupes of every time and tense, until it’s done, all past and done, and the voices cease, it’s only voices, only lies. (Samuel Beckett, Texts for Nothing, 3, 1945–50) To move wild laughter in the throat of death?’ [Love’s Labour’s Lost, V, 2, 841] precisely sums up the humor of Beckett’s plays. (Hersh Zeifman, 1990) In the wake of Kafka? W.G. Sebald (in literary critical mode

in The absurd in literature
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Mariko Hori Tanaka, Yoshiki Tajiri and Michiko Tshushima

to ‘memory’ in the 1980s, in part stimulated by the work of Pierre Nora and David P. Jordan (2009) and Yosef Yerushalmi’s influential book Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (1982). Michel Foucault, too, invoked a politics of memory and, tracing this out, Ian Hacking explored what he named ‘memoro-politics’. This turn to memory involved a rediscovery and translation of Maurice Halbwachs’s work from the 1920s on collective memory (Halbwachs was murdered at Buchenwald in 1945). This shift in 2 ­ Samuel Beckett and trauma historical discourse seems not only

in Samuel Beckett and trauma
Anna Sigg

’ (200) – the sound of embers. References Alpaugh, David J. (1973). ‘Embers and the Sea: Beckettian Intimations of Mortality’, Modern Drama 16.3–4, 317–28. Beckett, Samuel (2006a). Samuel Beckett, Volume 3: Dramatic Works. New York: Grove Press. Beckett, Samuel (2006b). Samuel Beckett: Works for Radio — The Original Broadcasts. British Library Publishing Division, BBC [Audio CD]. Boulter, Jonathan (2004). ‘Does Mourning Require a Subject? Samuel Beckett’s Texts for Nothing’, Modern Fiction Studies 50.2, 332–50. Branigan, Kevin (2008). Radio Beckett: Musicality in the

in Samuel Beckett and trauma
Mariko Hori Tanaka

). Beckett Writing Beckett: The Author in the Autograph. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Adorno, Theodor W. (2001). Metaphysics: Concept and Problems. Ed. Rolf Tiedemann. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Barry, Elizabeth (2006). Beckett and Authority: The Uses of Cliché. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Beckett, Samuel (1990). The Complete Dramatic Works. London: Faber and Faber. Beckett, Samuel (2011). The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1941–1956. Ed. George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck. Cambridge

in Samuel Beckett and trauma
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The father’s death and the sea
Julie Campbell

Mourning Require a Subject? Samuel Beckett’s Texts for Nothing’, Boulter suggests that trauma ‘in relation to Beckett, manages to avoid [the] ghostly metaphysical haunting, [the] nostalgia for an originary subject and scene of loss’ (2004: 333) which are a central focus of discussions of trauma. He considers that Beckett’s work ‘avoids this haunting precisely because the Beckettian narrator is unable to present itself as a stable, unified (or potentially unified) subject. My interest here is to explore how trauma and mourning play out in relation to a subject without

in Samuel Beckett and trauma