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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4 Love Introduction I liked Heaven and Earth and Alexander for their tenderness. I dedicated both to my mother for that reason.1 With the exception of U Turn, all of my films have an aura of optimism about them. In World Trade Center it is feelings of family that help pull the people out of the hole. In W. Laura Bush is a binding force. In Wall Street love is also important. U Turn demonstrates the problem of isolation.2 In the opening scenes of Salvador (1986), Richard Boyle (James Woods) is arrested for multiple traffic offences and then bailed by his friend

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Epilogue Like Beckett, psychoanalysts tend to be better with beginnings than with endings. That said, I still believe this study is primarily about love. But how to finish? Perhaps a dream would be best, a dream that came to me after I completed the first draft of this book. I was walking in a city that I immediately knew to be Paris, along a narrow avenue lined with small trees. At an intersection, waiting to cross, was Beckett, and I approached him, inviting him to a small café for a pint of beer. He agreed, was very gracious, very quiet. We sat in a small

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Self-entrapment in Waiting for Godot

something absolutely required by the self (of which Vladimir and Estragon are manifestations). This is not any sort of legitimacy, which would imply a false-self compliance, but a secure internal sense of love and recognition. The characters cannot be literally nostalgic, since this primary connection is something they have not had. The ‘infinite, postmodern world’ is understandable only as a part of the totality of the human mental universe. It is the province of those Keller_05_ch4 133 23/9/02, 11:00 am 134 Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love positions of the

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

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
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. Certainly, there are many ways of viewing this aspect of Beckett’s work theoretically: a fundamental source of controversy among competing psychoanalytical theories is the weight to be placed on endowment versus nurturing. I suggest the broad emotional appeal of his work is due to its elaboration of an early experience that is part of all internal development: the sense of disconnection from an early source of external love and nurturing. A fundamental background concept of this study is introjection, which I use to mean the process through which external experience

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
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The hidden self in Beckett’s short fiction

version of Guntrip’s regressed ego, a self that is not entirely free or viable, residing in a place where it struggles to live, love and create. It relates to Winnicott’s ‘true self’, the authentic core of being that requires the mother to mirror in such a manner that the infant’s primary omnipotence is not prematurely ruptured (see Phillips, 1988: 127–37). The primary intention of this chapter is to elucidate the hidden, unfulfilled sense of the narrative-self, in relation to an absent other Keller_06_ch5+Epil 172 23/9/02, 11:03 am 173 The dispeopled kingdom

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
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Voyages in Search of Love

From the time of his early adolescence until his death, traveling was one of, if not the, driving force of James Baldwin’s life. He traveled to escape, he travelled to discover, and he traveled because traveling was a way of knowing himself, of realizing his vocation.

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