Open Access (free)
Trying to understand Beckett
Editor: Daniela Caselli

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.

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Beckett and anxiety
Russell Smith

Beckett’s work, using as my primary example a passage from the opening of Molloy, in particular in so far as it sheds light on two broader questions: the role of ‘feeling’ in Beckett’s writing, particularly in the postwar period, and Beckett’s aesthetic preoccupation with the evocation of an unfathomable ‘nothingness’.6 A significant debate in modern clinical psychology concerns the degree to which anxiety is treatable, curable. According to Stanley Rachman, ‘anxiety’ and ‘fear’ are usually distinguished on the basis that, whereas fear is brief and intense, ‘an

in Beckett and nothing
Open Access (free)
Reading Beckett’s negativity
Peter Boxall

period.4 Such an encounter with a nothingness which has significance and value, however, both stages a certain Beckettian becoming – as if here in contemplation of the ‘being of nothing’ both Beckett and Watt find themselves in their ‘midst at last, after so many tedious years spent clinging to the perimeter’5 – and poses a difficulty that Beckett’s writing in a sense never overcomes. For if the relentless effort to give expression to nothingness and meaninglessness might be thought of as the central task of Beckett’s writing, it is also the case that this is a task in

in Beckett and nothing
Open Access (free)
The no-thing that knows no name and the Beckett envelope, blissfully reconsidered
Enoch Brater

structure, the whole arranged in ‘2 × 12 = 24 paragraphs’. Make sense who may. Beckett said he handwrote each of the 60 sentences on a separate piece of paper, mixed them all in a container, then drew them out in random order twice.10 With so many parallels to Dada composition, echoes of James Joyce, and resonances to the ‘midget grammar’ of Gertrude Stein,11 it has always been difficult to know where to place Beckett on the great modernist/postmodernist divide. Somewhere beyond minimalism, his work explores the vast terrain that separates nothing from nothingness, and

in Beckett and nothing
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Beckett’s television plays and the idea of broadcasting
Jonathan Bignell

7 Into the void: Beckett’s television plays and the idea of broadcasting Jonathan Bignell In the context of a tradition of critical discussion that characterises Beckett’s plays for television (and his other work) 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.1 Television as a medium and a physical apparatus sets up spatial and temporal relationships between programmes and their

in Beckett and nothing

Given the significant similarities and differences between the welfare states of Northern Europe and their reactions to the perceived 'refugee crisis' of 2015, the book focuses primarily on the three main cases of Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Placed in a wider Northern European context – and illustrated by those chapters that also discuss refugee experiences in Norway and the UK – the Danish, Swedish and German cases are the largest case studies of this edited volume. Thus, the book contributes to debates on the governance of non-citizens and the meaning of displacement, mobility and seeking asylum by providing interdisciplinary analyses of a largely overlooked region of the world, with two specific aims. First, we scrutinize the construction of the 2015 crisis as a response to the large influx of refugees, paying particular attention to the disciplinary discourses and bureaucratic structures that are associated with it. Second, we investigate refugees’ encounters with these bureaucratic structures and consider how these encounters shape hopes for building a new life after displacement. This allows us to show that the mobility of specific segments of the world’s population continues to be seen as a threat and a risk that has to be governed and controlled. Focusing on the Northern European context, our volume interrogates emerging policies and discourses as well as the lived experiences of bureaucratization from the perspective of individuals who find themselves the very objects of bureaucracies.

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Stirner, anarchy, subjectivity and the art of living
John Moore

basis upon which anarchist subjectivity or activity can be grounded – no foundation, that is, except nothingness itself. Developing his perspective from this epistemological premise, Bey identifies a distinctively anarchist mode of being: ontological anarchy. The anarchist hangs suspended in space 56 Part I Thinking above the abyss, certain of nothing except the nothing over which s/he hovers and from which s/he springs. But this existential condition, rather than a cause for despair, remains the source of limitless freedom. For, as Bey indicates, ‘Out of nothing

in Changing anarchism
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Murphy’s misrecognition of love
John Robert Keller

2 No Endon sight: Murphy’s misrecognition of love Murphy, Beckett’s first novel, centres on the title character’s search for a tranquillity born of nothingness. A deeply schizoid, middle-aged man, Murphy lives in dire poverty and, when first encountered, has recently begun a relationship with Celia, a prostitute who wants them to begin a life together. He feels the world is hostile, offering him nothing but, at Celia’s coaxing, he finds a job in a mental institution. Attracted to the erasure of reality he believes to exist within the schizophrenic mind, he is

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
Open Access (free)
Beckett and nothing: trying to understand Beckett
Daniela Caselli

of what can only be described as “nothingness”’.15 The spoof article identifies and mocks what is by now often taken to be the defining, almost clichéd characteristic of Beckett’s work: its engagement with ‘nothing’, or, as the Onion’s Sartrean inflection has it, Nothingness.16 Ironising on the industry spinning around this Beckettian ‘very little, almost nothing’, The Onion also attacks the way in which ‘crrrritics!’ (a classic Beckettian insult in Waiting for Godot, matched only by ‘architect’ in the French version) project their fantasies of an all

in Beckett and nothing
Open Access (free)
Shane Weller

supposed, though he did not know exactly what that meant.31 In his fine commentary on the novel and its genesis, Ackerley observes that Notebook 1 of the manuscript contains a chapter entitled ‘The Nothingness’, and he connects this with the ‘soullandscape’ included in the Addenda of the published text, which he identifies as the novel’s ‘primal scene’.32 The nothing in Watt, especially if one takes it (as so many commentators have done) as being figured in Mr Knott, may be related back not only to pre-Socratic thought on the ‘void’ but also to Kant’s conception of the

in Beckett and nothing