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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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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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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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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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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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

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
The plays of Ed Thomas and the cultural politics of South Wales

audience that in turn recognizes itself on stage’ (1987: 35). The vibrant contribution of theatre to establishing a rejuvenated sense of nation in countries and moments as diverse as nineteenth-century Norway and twentieth-century Ireland suggests the possibility of a Welsh equivalent. The reality, however, is captured in Carl Tighe’s 1986 observation that despite the ‘enormous social and political and industrial changes that have swept over Wales in the last ten or fifteen years’ (251), its stages have seen merely ‘a parade of West End copies, examination texts and

in Across the margins
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Self-entrapment in Waiting for Godot

is then denied, and in order to maintain a good relationship the child must disavow aspects of its internal reality. The Beckettian fascination with the dictum, allegedly from Augustine (Hobson, 1956), ‘Do not despair, one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume, one of the thieves was damned’, elucidates these experiences. Lucky should not despair, for Pozzo/mother has forgotten his ‘badness’, and will love him, need him again, and so he (and she) will not die. However, as the despair lifts, the other side of this constellation comes to the fore. Lucky should not

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love