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Oxford English Monographs

Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness

Pain in Post-War Francophone Drama

Hannah Simpson

Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness

Oxford English Monographs

Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness

Pain in Post-War Francophone Drama

Oxford English Monographs: Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness

 

This study explores Beckett's representation of physical pain in his theatre plays in the long aftermath of World War II, emphasising how the issues raised by this staging of pain speak directly to matters lying at the heart of his work.


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Beschrijving Oxford English Monographs: Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness

Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness explores Beckett's representation of physical pain in his theatre plays in the long aftermath of World War II, emphasising how the issues raised by this staging of pain speak directly to matters lying at the heart of his work: the affective power of the human body; the doubtful capacity of language as a means of communication; the aesthetic and ethical functioning of the theatre medium; and the vexed question of
intersubjective empathy. Alongside the wartime and post-war plays of fellow Francophone writers Albert Camus, Eugène Ionesco, Pablo Picasso, and Marguerite Duras, this study resituates Beckett's early plays in a new conceptualising of le théâtre du témoin or a 'theatre of the witness'. These are plays
concerned with the epistemological and ethical uncertainties of witnessing another's pain, rather than with the sufferer's own direct experience. They raise troubling questions about our capacity to comprehend and respond to another being's pain. Drawing on an interdisciplinary framework of extant criticism, recorded historical audience response, theatre and affect theory, and medical understandings of bodily pain, Hannah Simpson argues that these plays do not offer any easily negotiable
encounter with physical suffering, pushing us to recognise the very 'otherness' of another being's pain, even as it invades our own affective sphere. In place of any comforting transcendence or redemption of endured pain, they offer a starkly sceptical, even pessimistic probing of what it is to witness
another's suffering.


ISBN
9780192863263
Pagina's
208
Verschenen
Serie
Oxford English Monographs
NUR
320
Druk
1
Uitvoering
Hardback
Taal
Engels
Uitgever
OUP Oxford

Literaire non-fictie