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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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. Certainly, there are many ways of viewing this aspect of Beckett’s work theoretically: a fundamental source of controversy among competing psychoanalytical theories is the weight to be placed on endowment versus nurturing. I suggest the broad emotional appeal of his work is due to its elaboration of an early experience that is part of all internal development: the sense of disconnection from an early source of external love and nurturing. A fundamental background concept of this study is introjection, which I use to mean the process through which external experience

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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. The central argument of this study suggests that a fundamental contribution of Beckett’s work is its presentation of very early experiences in the formation of the human mind and, in particular, the struggles of an emerging-self to maintain contact with a primary sense of internal goodness. This struggle is highly complex, manifesting throughout his oeuvre in variable, sophisticated ways, appearing in character relations, imagery and the associative flow of the plot, and as internal struggles within the narratives and monologues of various firstperson pieces, both

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

’s emotional force is, as Levy points out, abandonment and absence, but in a highly specific sense. At its heart, Murphy suggests an early experience of disconnection from the good mother, her containing love and her joy with her infant. Speaking of Waiting for Godot, Beckett said ‘If you want to find the origins of En attendant Godot, look at Murphy’ (Duckworth, 1966: xiv). An aspect of this is the sense of completion Murphy seeks within the gaze of a maternal, containing object (though he mistakes his motive in this). Robinson (1969: 86) points out that the other major

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

(of Watt’s telling). Central to the book is the ‘unknowability’ of Knott, and ‘unknowability’ permeates the work itself, creating confusion within the reader that reflects the emotional and cognitive state of the main character. Watt can be read as an attempted repair of an infantile-self hovering near psychic disintegration (represented by Watt) through reconnection to maternal aspects of Mr Knott, a powerful, early imago variously experienced as withholding, uninterested and sadistic.1 The novel explores early experience within the Autistic Contiguous and Paranoid

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

depression. The cloud came to be understood as containing fragments of memory and fantasy particles, of which the predominant themes were humiliation and rage centred on his early experience. During periods of calm, when joy emerged within him, the ‘cloud’ began to re-enter his awareness to dampen the development of his new way of experiencing life. This sense of darkness, coming so suddenly and with such lifedestroying force, seems connected to the darkness so eloquently described by Pozzo, which reflects both his own, and Lucky’s, internal experience. The abrupt

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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The hidden self in Beckett’s short fiction

arguments of this study: the struggle for cohesion within the Beckettian self, its fragmentation as a consequence of disruption in primary infant-self–mother connection, the reflection of the rupture in the imagery, associations and use of the text, the use of various defensive strategies, the blurring of self and other that is the hallmark of very early experience and, finally, the coalescence of psychological birth and the origins of fiction-making within the primal relationship. Time for Yum-Yum Aspects of early nurturing experience pervade the Nouvelles, often

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Introduction ‘Ap Huw’s Testament’, ‘Welsh’, ‘The Boy’s Tale’, ‘In Memory’, ‘Album’, ‘Salt’, ‘Roles’, and even certain prose remarks, indicate, in a much more specific, though still at times veiled way, the sources of such pain to be rooted equally in the young Thomas’s early experiences of family relationship. There are suggestions by the poet of a needy and oppressive mother, of an absent and later distant father, of the sense of that father’s independent masculinity being brought ultimately to bay by a dominant matriarchy, and, as a part and direct consequence of all this

in R. S. Thomas
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White male vulnerability as heterosexual fantasy

and uproot early experiences of hunger, violence, hurt, death, abandonment and neglect in ways enabling therapeutic healing. This chapter asks what makes the traumatised and vulnerable super-​rich white man appealing as a heterosexual fantasy figure. In order to unravel vulnerability as both a fantasy that lends the series much of its commercial power and a narrative instrument deployed in character building, I first examine the use of generic romance and erotica conventions (e.g. Radway, 1984; Snitow, 1983) as well as the gendered forms of affective labour that the

in The power of vulnerability

fascinated by Russia’s bells: ‘It was said in those days that there were 40 times 40 churches and holy shrines in Moscow, and so you can imagine [on holy days] 40 times 40 bells rang out from all these great and small beautiful architectural edifices. And the whole city was resounding with the music of bells.’23 Hearing Farmborough’s voice, as she recounts her early experiences of Kiev and Moscow, a listener cannot help but be struck by her deep sense of nostalgia. With the hindsight of sixty years, and speaking in a world still fractured by the cold war, in which Eastern

in Nurse Writers of the Great War