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Beckett's Thing: Bram Van Velde and the Gaze

Beckett's Thing: Bram Van Velde and the Gaze David Lloyd It is well known that Samuel Beckett was a remarkable connoisseur of art, of painting in particular, and that his visual memory was, throughout his life, outstanding. Critics have made many connections between the visual dimensions of his plays and paintings that he had seen perhaps once decades earlier; very precise details of specific paintings appear in his novels and stories with remarkable accuracy of recall.1 It is perhaps less well known among readers who are not Beckett specialists that he produced a substantial body of writing on art, especially up till about 1950, and that it was in this medium that he tended to explore aesthetic correlatives for the impasse into which his writing seemed at times to lead him. Indeed, his first published prose works in French were essays on painting, and they appeared in some of the most important Parisian art journals of the post-war period. Despite these facts, what is least often addressed, however, is the actual work to which Beckett devoted sustained attention and therefore to the question as to the visual imagination of the writer. While critics have frequently enough identified specific visual materials that Beckett cites in one form http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Beckett's Thing: Bram Van Velde and the Gaze

Modernist Cultures , Volume 6 (2): 269 – Oct 1, 2011

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2011
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2011.0016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

David Lloyd It is well known that Samuel Beckett was a remarkable connoisseur of art, of painting in particular, and that his visual memory was, throughout his life, outstanding. Critics have made many connections between the visual dimensions of his plays and paintings that he had seen perhaps once decades earlier; very precise details of specific paintings appear in his novels and stories with remarkable accuracy of recall.1 It is perhaps less well known among readers who are not Beckett specialists that he produced a substantial body of writing on art, especially up till about 1950, and that it was in this medium that he tended to explore aesthetic correlatives for the impasse into which his writing seemed at times to lead him. Indeed, his first published prose works in French were essays on painting, and they appeared in some of the most important Parisian art journals of the post-war period. Despite these facts, what is least often addressed, however, is the actual work to which Beckett devoted sustained attention and therefore to the question as to the visual imagination of the writer. While critics have frequently enough identified specific visual materials that Beckett cites in one form

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2011

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