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Reconstituted pathos: time and loss in the dramatic works of Samuel Beckett

Chiang, Hui Ling Michelle (2014) Reconstituted pathos: time and loss in the dramatic works of Samuel Beckett. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis looks at Samuel Beckett’s film and selections of his dramatic works for radio, theatre and television to demonstrate the processes in which an intuition of loss may be invoked in the audience. More specifically, interrogating the dominant attitude in Beckett studies that Beckett's works are intellectually demanding of the audience, I maintain in the dissertation that his drama may appeal more to the audience members' intuition than their intellect. Following this trajectory, I posit that the frustration experienced by an audience member could be caused by an intuition of loss that is triggered by the plays’ reconstitution of her habitual framework of understanding. Key texts that influenced the definitions of ‘habit’, ‘intuition’, and ‘time’ in this research are Henri Bergson’s Time and Freewill and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In this dissertation, I illustrate that the radio plays thematically appropriate the regard for radio as a ‘blind’ medium to highlight the audience’s entrapment in their habitual way of knowing. Further, Film is analysed as reconstituting the audience member’s habit body to an ecstatic being that is temporarily freed from stratified limits. Whereas Beckett scholars tend to attribute static interminability to Beckettian time because of the pervasiveness of ineffectual repetition depicted in his stage plays, I argue that Beckett’s conception of time may be dual: an incarcerating habitual continuum and a potentially liberating durée. Following that, I analyse how the television plays establish the intuition of loss as seemingly subject-less because the characters and the audience’s reliance on the habitual way of knowing has rendered them amnesiacs who cannot remember what they have lost, except that they have lost. In considering the intersection of Beckett’s dramatic works with the concept of habit, this thesis maps out the process in which each medium could have been exploited by Beckett to reconstitute the audience’s habitual framework of understanding to an intuitive experience of his works.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Samuel Beckett; Time; Loss; intuition; habit; Bergson; Kant; Deleuze; Philosophy of Time; Psychology; drama; theatre; film
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Depositing User: Hui Ling Michelle Chiang
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2015 10:02
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015 13:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7576

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