German reception of French subsidies in the Thirty Years’ War
This chapter focus on the German understanding of French moneys and what this
can teach us about the Thirty Years’ War. Subsidies were primarily seen and
described as functional, as a means by which the German princes could levy
troops, manage their supply and maintenance, and employ them in the fight to
preserve princely liberties from what they saw as Habsburg tyranny. French
subsidies were also freighted with additional, and often contradictory,
meanings. On the one hand the German subsidy-recipients described French
moneys as beneficial, functional, and indeed necessary tools for the pursuit
of their political and religious goals. On the other hand, those opposed to
French involvement in the war complained that such subsidy agreements were
not helpful but foolish, and damaging to the German liberties, in that they
not only allowed a hostile foreign crown to meddle in imperial affairs but
probably concealed sinister efforts by the French to weaken, conquer, or
even dismember the empire.
This chapter discusses, through a detailed study of three periods – 1632,
1675–1677, and 1727–1729 – the wider effects of French subsidies on Swedish
society as well as the nature of dependency between Sweden and France. For
long periods during both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Sweden
was dependent on foreign subsidies: in 1631–1680, it needed financial
support to uphold its armies in occupied territories in northern Europe; and
from the 1720s onwards, it needed subsidies to secure its own territory as
well. With subsidies periodically amounting to from 5 to over 20 per cent of
state revenue, in a country with very limited resources otherwise, they
offered opportunities for careers and social climbing, as well as financial
Therapeutic relaxation techniques proliferated in the twentieth century,
designed to counteract the myriad maladies popularly associated with the
pace and pressures of modern Western living. Practitioners advocated forms
of neuromuscular relaxation as safe, effective, drug-free therapies for
conditions ranging from high blood pressure to migraine, labour pain and
anxiety. However, the therapeutic efficacy of relaxation techniques relied
on them being expertly taught, conscientiously learned and persistently
practised. This chapter focuses on the pedagogy of twentieth-century
therapeutic relaxation methods in Britain, paying particular attention to
their material and audio-visual culture. Relaxation instruction and ideology
were communicated through numerous channels including self-help books, group
classes, correspondence courses, the mass media, teacher training forums,
cassettes and biofeedback equipment. As the chapter makes clear, efforts to
construct the self-balancing individual were deeply enmeshed with specific
modes, processes and networks of communication. By considering the
localised, socio-cultural specificities of relaxation therapies, it is
possible to move beyond governmentality frameworks and develop more nuanced
and culturally informed considerations of health education, health
management and expertise of balance in the post-war period.
The approach to nothing that is to be produced in performance operates not by the simple removal of things but by their interaction, their 'busy life', even by their addition. This chapter explores these twin headings, of schematic purity that may seem to point towards philosophy, and the clutter of incident and speech that is conventionally the province of literature, and ultimately explains how the two are related in Samuel Beckett's Footfalls. Ruby Cohn refers to the plays of the 1970s as the 'post-death plays'. The text of Footfalls seems to authorise this identification by introducing a thoroughly anecdotal ghost in May's little tale of her 'semblance' Amy. For, as in the example of 'lacrosse', a poise between the glamour of the transcendental, and the derisory materiality of rags and wicker rackets, is what Footfalls cultivates.
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.
As Carla Locatelli perceives, silence becomes integral to Samuel Beckett's radical interrogation of language. His voices move beyond the Western cultural and philosophical positing of silence only as a lack, breaking through 'this farrago of silence and words of silence that is not silence'. In Beckett's early positing of Beethoven's ruptured music as a possible model for his own work, silence is composed in, defined still in terms of the cessation of sound, objectified for cognition, and evoked only by the act of listening for it. In some of Beckett's later texts, the picking away at the relationship between sound and silence leads to an alternative proposition: unheard sound. In late Beckett texts, silence is neither produced or banished intentionally; 'no sound' is not necessarily indicative of silence and meaninglessness, and the relationship between the presence of sound and its perception is uncertain.
This chapter situates its enquiry between the poles of negation, exploring the interstices between both by way of neither. Drawing together prose, music and sculpture, it investigates the role of nothing through three works called neither and Neither: Samuel Beckett's short text, Morton Feldman's opera, and Doris Salcedo's sculptural installation. Beckett, Feldman, Salcedo are each concerned with our response to silence, and the ways in which we can make audible, or visible that which cannot be expressed. Feldman's and Salcedo's formal responses to Beckett's text, each work echoing and reiterating the gridlike structure of his prose, provide a way to think about the negation inherent in these works. Through two works called Neither, each of them poised between alternatives about which a negative statement is made, Feldman and Salcedo respond to the challenge of a Beckettian aesthetic that situates itself between Malrauxian estrangement and Geulincxian negation.
The no-thing that knows no name and the Beckett envelope, blissfully reconsidered
With so many parallels to Dada composition, echoes of James Joyce, and resonances to the 'midget grammar' of Gertrude Stein, it has always been difficult to know where to place Samuel Beckett on the great modernist/postmodernist divide. Somewhere beyond minimalism, his work explores the vast terrain that separates nothing from nothingness, and both from the far more intriguing nothing in particular. Richard Begam describes how Beckett's fiction anticipates many of the defining themes and ideas of Barthes, Foucault and Derrida in moving us toward 'the end of modernity'. In the early 1970s 'The empty can' proposed looking elsewhere, outside of literature perhaps, for the appropriate artistic climate of spontaneity that seemed so central to Beckett's relentless 'work-inregress'. The void never looked quite so promising before, especially so for a young scholar who was beginning to find his way through so much 'mental thuggee'.
Theoretical debates and the critical erasure of Beckett’s cinema
Samuel Beckett's Film was written and filmed at what is often considered to be the tail end of the modernist period, yet it draws on the idea of cinema as an art that is not verbal. This chapter shows that its fate has been largely determined by the strained relations between film and literature. It examines the way in which cinema critics approached Film in newspapers and magazines, particularly by Cahiers du Cinéma during the 1965 Venice film festival. In the world of cinema, Film is referred to primarily as the work of its scriptwriter: the man with a pen. As of the end of 2008, a search of the most widely used bibliographic databases yielded a total of around fifty articles dealing specifically with the script of Film or on the film itself in at least one of its two versions.
Beckett’s television plays and the idea of broadcasting
In the context of a tradition of critical discussion that characterises Samuel Beckett's plays for television as attempts to engage with nothingness, absence and death, this chapter argues that the television plays are critical explorations of the problematics of presence and absence inherent in the conceptions and histories of broadcasting. Television as a medium and a physical apparatus sets up spatial and temporal relationships between programmes and their viewers, relationships with which Beckett's television plays are in dialogue. The conceptions of medium and audience that Beckett's television plays suggest can be understood in terms of the contrasting implications of broadcasting as dissemination. Broadcasting is dissemination in good faith, despite its haunting by the prospect that some of what is broadcast will turn out to be a dead letter sent into the void.