Samuel Beckett, the Visual Arts, and the Development of Abstract Space
This thesis explores the construction of space and its relationship to visual art in Samuel Beckett's short prose. Beginning with the early collection More Pricks than Kicks, Beckett parodies Romantic conventions for portraying landscape and the trope of the wanderer in the stories "Ding-Dong" and "Walking Out." After WWII, Beckett's portrayal of space became increasingly, though never entirely, aligned with the work of abstract painters Bram and Geer van Velde who provide a path beyond traditional modes of representation, as Beckett argues in his essay "The New Object." Additionally, Beckett's portrayal of hesitant movement through a shadowy land in Texts for Nothing intervenes in the aesthetic and political debates that emerged in post-Vichy France. Finally, two of Beckett's later prose works, Imagination Dead Imagine and Lessness, are examined through their relationship to experimental art like conceptualism and chance composition. In these late pieces, the culmination of Beckett's project of creating abstract space is realized in both content and form.
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