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"Something or nothing": Beckett and the matter of language

Salisbury, Laura (2010) "Something or nothing": Beckett and the matter of language. In: Caselli, D. (ed.) Beckett and Nothing. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719080197.

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Abstract

Book synopsis: Beckett’s reception was characterised in its early stages by a sustained attention to nothing as a philosophical concept. Theodor Adorno, however, was quick to argue that Beckett’s plays resisted – unlike Sartre’s – having their nothing transformed into something. Nothing remains both a central preoccupation in the criticism and a pedagogical problem in the classroom. This Beckettian nothing, moreover, is often invested with the aura of the genius, either for eulogical or dismissive purposes. This volume invites its readership to understand the complex ways in which the Beckett canon both suggests and resists turning nothing into something by looking at specific, sometimes almost invisible ways in which ‘little nothings’ pervade the Beckett canon. The volume has two main functions: on the one hand it looks at ‘nothing’ not only as a content but also a set of rhetorical strategies, to reconsider afresh classic Beckett problems, such as Irishness, silence, value, marginality, politics, and the relationships between modernism and postmodernism and absence and presence; on the other, it focuses on ‘nothing’ in order to assess how the Beckett oeuvre can help us rethink contemporary preoccupations with materialism, neurology, sculpture, music, and television. The volume is a scholarly intervention in the fields of Beckett studies which offers its chapters as case studies to use in the classroom. Both advanced students and scholars of Beckett will find the volume of interest. It comprises jargon-free chapters that analyse Beckett’s prose, drama, film, television, manuscripts, and marginalia. It will prove of interests to advanced students and scholars in English, French, and Comparative Literature, Drama, Visual Studies, Philosophy, Music, Cinema and TV studies.

Item Type: Book Section
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > English and Humanities
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2011 15:11
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:17
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/1622

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