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Title: Investigations into game and play in the work of Samuel Beckett : language-games, grafting of genres and the spectre of literature
Author: Kiuchi, Kumiko
ISNI:       0000 0001 3600 6541
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2008
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Gaming and Playing have been preoccupations of Beckett Studies from the 1960s onwards. However, the majority of criticism on this subject has been limited to studying Beckett's early novels and dramatic works, exploiting play and game as a model to draw out the structure inherent in Beckett's work. The contention of my study is that game and play illuminate Beckett's investigatio,ns into languages in his entire works' across different genres. In order to draw out the development of Beckett's language investigations, this thesis closely examines Beckett's works from the 1930s to the 1980s paying careful attention to the difference in and grafting of genres i.e. the grafting of text (novel, prose) onto performance (theatre), and onto image and sound (radio, television). This research delineates a delicate norm-forming and self-questioning play and also reveals 'oblivion' in the game/play structure as the most fundamental premise of Beckett's play and language. This thesis consists of four chapters. Chapter one studies Beckett's novels from Murphy to The Unnamable and charts the limit of the meta-narrative/self-explanatory language in his novels in relation to the occurrences of 'game' and 'play' in autobiographical writing. The oblivion of 'play' Malone Dies marks a transition from the nominative 'play' to the performative 'play' in the theatre. Chapter two analyses Beckett's dramatic works from Waiting for Godot to Play including his radio plays. By studying the grafting of text (novel) onto performance (theatre) and sound (radio), the chapter elucidates the process by which Beckett's theatre comes to question its own preconditions (physicality and action) by adopting self-referential novelistic and radiophonic languages. This conflict culminates in Play where the theatrical device itself is questioned through a personification of Light. Chapter three further explores the grafting of text, image and sound by examining the use of linguistic and audiovisual oxymorons in Beckett's television and late dramatic works demonstrating how 'play' enters the spectral and imperceptible arena. Chapter four speculates on the possibility of translation offin this spectral site through a study of Beckett's late trilogy. It analyses Beckett's prose work of the 1980s and concludes that 'play' is the driving force behind Beckett's literature. The thesis ends with a reconsideration of the status of language in Beckett's work and, more broadly, literature itself.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available