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.

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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
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suitability of foods. These associations touch upon the heart of this study, and it is in the final sequence of the dream, the presentation of the note, that I feel the most confidence. The note was highly condensed, the cross-hatching of its surface lines made it almost impenetrable to the eye. These lines, these primal shapes that are the basis of the written text, resembled the intricate branching of a nest, as well as the collagen patterns of the skin. I feel it Keller_06_ch5+Epil 217 23/9/02, 11:03 am 218 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love was indeed an

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Watt’s unwelcome home

90 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love 3 This emptied heart: Watt’s unwelcome home Beckett’s second published novel, Watt, tells the story of the title character’s journey to, stay in, and expulsion from the house of a Mr Knott, to which he has been drawn, or summoned, to act as a servant. After his stay in the house, Watt becomes psychotic, ending up in a sort of asylum. Sam, the narrator, befriends him there, but admits the text may not approximate reality, since he can trust neither Watt’s recollection (of his stay with Knott) nor his own recollection

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becomes part of the self. This is a fluid, ongoing process, but in its most basic form during early life, it involves the manner in which the emerging, nascent self begins to take into itself experiences of others, of the world, and of external relationships. In the earliest states of mind, there is a blurring between self and other, and boundaries shift and Keller_02_ch1pm 9 23/9/02, 10:48 am 10 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love dissolve. A major focus of this study is the earliest, most fundamental sense of contact with a good mother, which I tend to view

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Murphy’s misrecognition of love

built this narrative system in order to reflect his own strange experience in it and thereby gain some expression of his identity. (Levy, 1980: 25) This reading suggests the narrative-self is reflected everywhere, as in a dream or psychoanalytical session, and the ‘text’ is a manifestation of the self and its owned, and disowned, parts. In this sense, then, the narrative-self is always stepping forward. The fundamental experience Keller_03_ch2pm 49 23/9/02, 10:56 am 50 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love that dominates the narrative-self, supplying the work

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Self-entrapment in Waiting for Godot

something absolutely required by the self (of which Vladimir and Estragon are manifestations). This is not any sort of legitimacy, which would imply a false-self compliance, but a secure internal sense of love and recognition. The characters cannot be literally nostalgic, since this primary connection is something they have not had. The ‘infinite, postmodern world’ is understandable only as a part of the totality of the human mental universe. It is the province of those Keller_05_ch4 133 23/9/02, 11:00 am 134 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love positions of the

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The hidden self in Beckett’s short fiction

internal ‘den’ of schizoid anxiety, with ‘assassins […] in this bed of terror’, but in ‘his distant refuge [i.e. an imagined past or a psychic retreat within the self, he is …] weak, breathless, calm, free’ (62). Walking through the world as an invisible, despised alien, he meets a small boy, ‘holding a Keller_06_ch5+Epil 173 23/9/02, 11:03 am 174 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love goat by a horn’, who looks at him ‘without visible fear or revulsion’. The boy, he believes, has come to see him out of curiosity: this Wattlike ‘dark hulk […] abandoned on the

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Ethics in uncomfortable research situations

individuals; but it does this while also keeping in mind the larger structural forces that shape those everyday struggles and give them meaning. Social life is nuanced and complicated, and capturing and representing this complexity in research is difficult. When producing our analysis we at least have time and space for reflection, for multiple attempts to get it right (or to fail again, but fail better – following Samuel Beckett

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Between Adorno and Heidegger

prefaces Jargon of Authenticity with the following epigraph from Samuel Beckett: ‘It is easier to raise a temple than to compel the object of the cult to descend into it.’ This, with its resonance of Voltaire, and its obvious edge against exactly Heidegger’s invocation of the temple in the artwork essay, has the effect diagnosed by Benjamin: ‘Quotations are the muggers of literary work, leaping out armed to relieve the unwary of their convictions.’31 For Adorno the exemplary artworks are Berg’s Wozzeck; the writings of Samuel Beckett, abstract minimalism, and he has no

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