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Title: Samuel Beckett's 'Texts for Nothing'
Author: Smith, Barry Charles
ISNI:       0000 0001 3422 3956
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1978
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Samuel Beckett's statements on the inadequacy of criticism, the necessity of art, and the obligation of the artist, stem from a tradition that was current in the first decades of this century, particularly in Paris among visual artists; studied against this background they form a coherent 'aesthetic of nothing'. One of Beckett's most pertinent works written in relation to this aesthetic is the little-studied 'Texts for Nothing'. The main section of the thesis studies this abstruse work, particularly its chronology within the so-called impasse, initial and subsequent critical responses, and various critical approaches. It is found that narrative and thematic aspects (such as action, location, time, and identity) become progressively confused and reduced until such time that the reader is faced with a choice: either to remain within the 'perpetual flux' of the Texts, or to witness them as an objectification of a 'state of nothingness'. Structural investigations of the work - particularly rhythmical and 'musical' aspects - provide alternative metaphors to aid its appreciation. Related to other works by Beckett, 'Texts tor Nothing' is found to be quite distinct from 'The Unnamable' and indicative of developments in 'How It Is' and subsequent fiction. Particularly in the most recent shorter pieces the device of fiction becoming a state objectifying nothingness is perfected. Given these developments it is necessary to re-value 'Texts for Nothing' as a unique and significant part of the Beckett oeuvre. Appendices include a Questionnaire answered by Samuel Beckett, a discussion on variations and the translation of 'Texts for Nothing' from the original French, and an outline of theories of prose rhythm of relevance to the study; reference section and supporting tables and graphs. Selected bibliography.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available