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.
SamuelBeckett’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. (SamuelBeckett, 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
Ordinary objects in Woolf and Beckett
Trauma and ordinary objects in Virginia
Woolf and SamuelBeckett
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
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.
This study analyses Samuel Beckett's television plays in relation to the history and theory of television, arguing that they are in dialogue with innovative television traditions connected to Modernism in television, film, radio, theatre, literature and the visual arts. Using original research from BBC archives and manuscript sources, it provides new perspectives on the relationships between Beckett's television dramas and the wider television culture of Britain and Europe. The book also compares and contrasts the plays for television with Beckett's Film and broadcasts of his theatre work including the Beckett on Film season. Chapters deal with the production process of the plays, the broadcasting contexts in which they were screened, institutions and authorship, the plays' relationships with comparable programmes and films, and reaction to Beckett's screen work by audiences and critics.
Beckett’s Afterlives is the first book-length study dedicated to posthumous reworkings of Samuel Beckett’s oeuvre. Contextualised against the backdrop of his own developing views on adaptation and media specificity, it nuances the long-held view that he opposed any form of genre crossing. Featuring contemporary engagements with Beckett’s work from the UK, Europe, the USA and Latin America, the volume does not approach adaptation as a form of (in)fidelity or (ir)reverence. Instead, it argues that exposing the ‘Beckett canon’ to new environments and artistic practices enables fresh perspectives on the texts and enhances their significance for contemporary artists and audiences alike. The featured essays explore a wide variety of forms (prose, theatre, performance, dance, ballet, radio, music, television, film, visual art, installation, new/digital media, webseries, etc.), in different cultural contexts, mainly from the early 1990s until the late 2010s. The concept of adaptation is broadly interpreted, including changes within the same performative context, to spatial relocations or transpositions across genres and media, even creative rewritings of Beckett’s biography. The collection offers a range of innovative ways to approach the author’s work in a constantly changing world and analyses its remarkable susceptibility to creative responses. Viewed from this perspective, Beckett’s Afterlives suggests that adaptation, remediation and appropriation constitute forms of cultural negotiation that are essential for the survival as well as the continuing urgency and vibrancy of Beckett’s work in the twenty-first century.
This is a study on the literary relation between Beckett and Dante. It is a reading of Samuel Beckett and Dante's works and a critical engagement with contemporary theories of intertextuality. The book gives a reading of Beckett's work, detecting previously unknown quotations, allusions to, and parodies of Dante in Beckett's fiction and criticism. It is aimed at the scholarly communities interested in literatures in English, literary and critical theory, comparative literature and theory, French literature and theory and Italian studies.
This book offers a comprehensive account of the absurd in prose fiction. As well as providing a basis for courses on absurdist literature (whether in fiction or in drama), it offers a broadly based philosophical background. Sections covering theoretical approaches and an overview of the historical literary antecedents to the ‘modern’ absurd introduce the largely twentieth-century core chapters. In addition to discussing a variety of literary movements (from Surrealism to the Russian OBERIU), the book offers detailed case studies of four prominent exponents of the absurd: Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Daniil Kharms and Flann O'Brien. There is also wide discussion of other English-language and European contributors to the phenomenon of the absurd.
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.
Featuring twelve original essays by leading Beckett scholars and media theorists, this book provides the first sustained examination of the relationship between Beckett and media technologies. The chapters analyse the rich variety of technical objects, semiotic arrangements, communication processes and forms of data processing that Beckett’s work so uniquely engages with, as well as those that – in historically changing configurations – determine the continuing performance, the audience reception, and the scholarly study of this work. Greatly enlarging the scope of earlier discussions, the book draws on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, such as media archaeology, in order to discuss Beckett’s intermedial oeuvre. As such it engages with Beckett as a media artist and examine the way his engagement with media technologies continues to speak to our cultural situation.