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.

Derval Tubridy

interstices between both by way of neither. Drawing together prose, music and sculpture, I investigate the role of nothing through three works called neither and Neither: Beckett’s short text (1976), Morton Feldman’s opera (1977), and Doris Salcedo’s sculptural installation (2004).5 The Columbian artist Doris Salcedo’s work explores the politics of absence, particularly in works such as Unland: Irreversible Witness (1995–98), which acts as a sculptural witness to the disappeared victims of war. Her installation Neither draws on both Feldman’s music and Beckett’s text

in Beckett and nothing
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John Robert Keller

loved one, by touching words in their story books. Letters/texts are the primal Beckettian shape that holds the world, and the self, together, as a sort of protomother, and ruptures in this first contact are evident throughout the oeuvre. Mitriani discusses a young female patient, for whom early maternal presence was fleeting, fading; she experienced her patient as trying to make meaning out of her mother’s absence: [She was an infant] who must have been continually obsessing about whether or not she had cried too loud or perhaps not loud enough. Keller_02_ch1pm 29

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Beckett and nothing: trying to understand Beckett
Daniela Caselli

entitled Last Soliloquy, has been identified as being the play in question.3 However, John Pilling, in more recent research on the chronology, is inclined to date Last Soliloquy as post-Worstward Ho and pre-What Is the Word, on the basis of a letter sent by Phyllis Carey to Beckett on 3 February 1986, on the reverse of which we find jottings referring to the title First Last Words with material towards Last Soliloquy.4 If we accept this new dating hypothesis, the manuscripts of this text (UoR MS 2937/1–3) – placed between two late works often associated with nothing

in Beckett and nothing
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Theoretical debates and the critical erasure of Beckett’s cinema
Matthijs Engelberts

here, as being in any way particularly Beckettian, and they are equally unlikely to be identified as especially literary. They obviously constitute ‘stage’ directions, but it should be noted that these often possess their own linguistic aesthetic in Beckett’s work. In comparable texts, such as the stage directions in Beckett’s television plays, the repetitive and drily technical character of these indications is often quite striking as a linguistic phenomenon in its own right such as, for example, in Nacht und Träume. In the script of Film, however, the words

in Beckett and nothing
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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
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John Robert Keller

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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Mladen Dolar

3 Nothing has changed Mladen Dolar In Whoroscope, one of his first published texts, the poem which won a poetry competition in 1930, Beckett aims an elaborate blow at Descartes. There is the philosopher of the methodical reduction, the reduction of all supports in the outside world, in perception, in the body, reduction of all supports in questionable inner certainties, safe traditions and evident truths, reduction of both contingency and necessity, external and internal, in order to arrive to the minimal point of certainty, the firm rock of cogito, the prop of

in Beckett and nothing
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Shane Weller

: The Life of Samuel Beckett (London: Bloomsbury, 1996), p. 219. 44 Beckett, Worstward Ho, p. 32. For an analysis of the Beckettian handin-hand, see my ‘The politics of body language: the Beckett embrace’, in Thomas Baldwin, James Fowler and Shane Weller (eds), The Flesh in the Text (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 141–59. 45 Samuel Beckett, German Diaries 4, entry of 18 January 1937. 46 ‘Samuel Beckett’s notes to his reading of the Ethics by Arnold Geulincx’, in Arnold Geulincx, Ethics, trans. Martin Wilson, eds Han Van Ruler, Anthony Uhlmann and Martin Wilson (Leiden

in Beckett and nothing
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The hidden self in Beckett’s short fiction
John Robert Keller

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