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Mis-Movements: The Aesthetics of Gesture in Samuel Beckett's Drama
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study explores Beckett’s use of physical movements in his plays as part of a strategy to escape the limits of semantic meaning and as an instrument of artistic expression. In a sense, the use of physical movements constitutes a phenomenological, heuristic ‘solution’ to the problem of presentation and representation that Beckett explicitly addresses already in the early 1930s. Drawing out the parallels between Beckett’s dramatic writing and phenomenology, this study seeks to establish the role perception plays in the creative task Beckett set out for himself—namely the realisation of a new means of expression. While Beckett’s careful structuring and de-structuring of movement patterns have not gone unnoticed, the philosophical consequences of Beckett’s ‘assault against words’, has not been fully appreciated. Beckett uses mis-movements not only to ‘desophisticate’ words, but also to expose the means by which the effect of aesthetic perception is produced. This is not to say that mis-movements can be reduced to a set of clear significations—according to Kant “there is no formula that can produce the beautiful”—but to suggest that Beckett uses mis-movements to refocus the audience’s attention on the realm of sensuous perception.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of English, Stockholm University , 2012. , 184 p.
Keyword [en]
Beckett, phenomenology, aesthetics, movements, perception
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75662ISBN: 978-91-7447-528-9OAI: diva2:517669
Public defence
2012-06-09, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-05-11 Created: 2012-04-24 Last updated: 2013-05-16Bibliographically approved

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Palmstierna Einarsson, Charlotta
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