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Title: The discourse of madness in James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake' and Samuel Beckett's early English prose
Author: Vincenti, Giovanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 5786
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2019
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My research investigates James Joyce's and Samuel Beckett's personal knowledge of “madness”: in particular, I will look at how these experiences of madness (either one’s own, or of another) are turned into literature, how they are represented in an aesthetic form in Finnegans Wake and in Beckett’s early English prose. My choice of the generic term a “madness” reflects the necessity of considering mental illness as a multilayered and even uncanny set of different physical and mental conditions, and the discourses about them, which were at the centre of scientific and artistic debates during the early decades of the 20th century. As we will see, the textual representations of madness in both Joyce and (early) Beckett, are the result of the assimilation of various scientific theories and practices and reflect the cultural atmosphere of their times as well as literary traditions, both European and Irish. Moreover, all these elements were also combined with more personal, autobiographical ones. I will thus compare and contrast Joyce’s and Beckett’s texts providing a broader discursive context but also stressing those elements of originality that stem from biographical experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral