Abstract

Abstract:

Beckett's "musicalization" of language should be considered an aesthetic program in its own right. By exploring the playwright's vision of music as an ideal "other" in relation to which new literary and theatrical criteria may be invented, I propose that Endgame (1957) and Krapp's Last Tape (1958) constitute a turning point in Beckett's lifelong quest for a literature of the "unword." Drawing from musical modalities of expression, both plays carry the project of destruction of language and extinction of narrative apparatus to a new level. Music is essentially brought about by the paring down of words, the precise timing of pauses or silences, and the shaping of sounds into an elaborate musical patterning of themes and variations. Throughout the essay I show how this process of musicalization stems from a methodic destruction of the Aristotelian definition of tragic drama in The Poetics.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 20-37
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-03
Open Access
No
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