Beckett's Late Stage

Trauma, Language, and Subjectivity

Rhys Tranter

ibidem Press

Beckett's Late Stage

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Pub Date: February 2018

ISBN: 9783838211350

280 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $45.00

Pub Date: February 2018

ISBN: 9783838270357

280 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $30.99

Beckett's Late Stage

Trauma, Language, and Subjectivity

Rhys Tranter

ibidem Press

Beckett's Late Stage reexamines the Nobel laureate's postwar prose and drama in the light of contemporary trauma theory. Through a series of sustained close readings, the study demonstrates how the comings and goings of Beckett's prose unsettles the Western philosophical tradition; it reveals how Beckett's live theatrical productions are haunted by the rehearsal of traumatic repetition, and asks what his ghostly radio recordings might signal for twentieth-century modernity. Drawing from psychoanalytic and poststructuralist traditions, Beckett's Late Stage explores how the traumatic symptom allows us to rethink the relationship between language, meaning, and identity after 1945.
We had always suspected that Beckett's destitute characters, his black humor, his bleak one-liners, his cynical minimalism had to do with some form of trauma linked with wartime experiences, but no one had attempted to read the whole postwar production as a deployment of a phenomenology of trauma. Rhys Tranter is the first to use the whole gamut of protocols developed by trauma studies and bring them to bear on Beckett's canon from the forties to the eighties. The result is a highly rewarding book full of new insights, superb close readings, and poignant meditations on a time of wounds, yet open to a different future. Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

Rhys Tranter teaches modern and contemporary literature at Cardiff University. His work engages in many areas: continental philosophy, philosophy and literature, trauma, and ethics, among others. His writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, and he is coeditor of The Beckett Circle, the official newsletter of the Samuel Beckett Society. At RhysTranter.com, he asks writers and academics questions about contemporary issues in art, literature, philosophy, and popular culture.