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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. 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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Self-entrapment in Waiting for Godot

sphere with violence, shattering any ‘intermittent calm’, deflating any sense of esteem with neglect and abuse. He continually refers to Lucky in the third person, addressing him directly only to command or degrade him, calling him ‘pig’, ‘hog’, and ‘scum’, and with one word orders, ‘coat’, ‘stool’, and ‘up’. The development of a sense of internal goodness is destroyed in such relationships, a consequence reflected in the following vignette: From as early as he could remember, Mr C.’s father treated him with utter disgust, referring to him as a ‘pig’ in the company of

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

)other’s inner world. He is ‘reminded’ that houses are for people, and so they become, as they fail to become for Murphy, full of hope and the possibility of engagement. There is another thought – the house/person is ‘besieged’ (a reflection of the narrator’s own internal state of alienation from a loving internal presence), and there may be alarm within the house, a result, perhaps, of his own presence at the door. This scene demonstrates the dynamics within the narrative-self: depletion due to a lack of internal goodness, feelings of longing for others, and a sense that

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love