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
The (un)predictability of modern consumption

lead to increasing heterogeneity but to increasing homogeneity of consumption, and, more concretely in the case analysed by Schulze, to the formation of a few massive and internally relatively homogenous schemes and milieux of consumption. Novely and change are welcomed, but only in small, well-proportioned doses. Such variation is not allowed to break with the more general principles of connectedness and uniformity.4 The varieties of goodness The main problem affecting Schulze’s position – and in this respect it shares the destiny of many other diagnoses of the

in Qualities of food
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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
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Self-entrapment in Waiting for Godot

– on this ‘abode of stones’ there can be no enduring meaning or value. Pozzo’s speech presents his own internal world, one devoid of enduring goodness, predicated on his own disconnection from a good internal mother. This is implied by his constant need for encouragement, his avoidance of genuine contact with the tramps, and his greedy, envious devouring of Lucky. This inner experience becomes transmitted intergenerationally between Pozzo/mother to Lucky/child: it is Pozzo who is the dark night that comes suddenly upon a tranquil day, invading Lucky’s emotional

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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appears more interesting or exciting, though there is doubt about a theoretical notion I may have used to achieve this effect, I will have accomplished what I am setting out to do. One of the core arguments of this study is that Beckett’s oeuvre is a manifestation of a narrative-self whose universe is organized by a dominant feeling of precarious connection to a primary, good internal presence. I read the work as a record of purely internal experience, and do not wish to make claims about the actuality of early deprivation or hostility on the part of external objects

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

primary scene of engulfment; accepting any goodness from the world, particularly the love of an interested woman, reactivated his core fear Keller_06_ch5+Epil 178 23/9/02, 11:03 am 179 The dispeopled kingdom she was feeding him poison, and wanted to ensnare him into controlled dependency. A ‘reversed metamorphosis’ would occur, the woman became what she ‘really was’, a devouring mother unconcerned with his internal needs. Taking anything into his inner world was dangerous, since it meant dependence on the other’s goodness; he would have to trust the other to

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love

’s concerns in telling this story is to establish the veracity of miracles. The Bensalemites, although they approach the pillar as a heavenly sign, must have been sensitive to a significant problem for believers, which is the sceptics’ claim that miracles can be faked or explained away as misunderstood natural phenomena. The Bensalemites’ answer is to rely not just on the internal evidence of the experience of faith, but also on the power of science to determine that an apparent miracle is not a natural, artificial, or illusory or deceitful event. This reliance Price_06_Ch

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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Watt’s unwelcome home

Schizoid Positions, and there is a fluidity of imagos. At times, Watt appears predominantly in the maternal role, depleted through endless, unconditional loving of his master, while Knott acts as a devouring, insatiable infant, reflecting the condensed, confused experience of the narrative-self in its relation to an internal mother felt to be unreachable. Hoefer views Watt’s journey to Knott as an epistemological adventure doomed to failure because ‘there is no logical formulation to explain Mr Knott’ (Hoefer, 1965: 73). She believes Watt’s inability to access a reality

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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nightmare. They felt themselves held up from constructive tasks; and, at the same time, falling apart from civilised standards, divided, estranged from their own ideals. The goodness they might have pursued evaded them, whilst regard for beauty vanished, as it seemed for ever. The faith that might have upheld them, being constantly trampled in the mud, ceased to function. Instead of help when they cried aloud, they must endure the perpetual trumpeting of falsities – the war for freedom and justice, the war to end war. Playne concluded – and we have observed – that the

in A war of individuals