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Samuel Beckett's Radio Geographies

Samuel Beckett's Radio Geographies Throughout his work, Samuel Beckett interrogates the idea that voice is an authentic conduit for identity. Radio distorts, edits, and projects speech, and so broadcasting was a natural choice for his lifelong experiment. Both objects – radio and voice – are also fundamentally spatial. They distribute waves of sound across a given terrain. Beckett's interest in radio is abstract, in that the medium allows him to investigate general concerns about the construction of subjectivity – the ways in which we are all subject to disparate voices. But the writer's engagement with radio also arises against the backdrop of specific material conditions in post-War France and Europe. These were the years that French spatial theory took up the problem of urban modernisation. Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space was published in 1957, the same year that Beckett wrote his first radio play, and also the same year that work began on Le Périphérique, Europe's first ring road. This paper investigates Beckett's radio plays against the backdrop of urban theory (urbanisme), arguing that Beckett's work can reveal light on theories of space, even urban geography. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Samuel Beckett's Radio Geographies

Modernist Cultures , Volume 17 (1): 20 – Feb 1, 2022

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2022.0359
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Throughout his work, Samuel Beckett interrogates the idea that voice is an authentic conduit for identity. Radio distorts, edits, and projects speech, and so broadcasting was a natural choice for his lifelong experiment. Both objects – radio and voice – are also fundamentally spatial. They distribute waves of sound across a given terrain. Beckett's interest in radio is abstract, in that the medium allows him to investigate general concerns about the construction of subjectivity – the ways in which we are all subject to disparate voices. But the writer's engagement with radio also arises against the backdrop of specific material conditions in post-War France and Europe. These were the years that French spatial theory took up the problem of urban modernisation. Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space was published in 1957, the same year that Beckett wrote his first radio play, and also the same year that work began on Le Périphérique, Europe's first ring road. This paper investigates Beckett's radio plays against the backdrop of urban theory (urbanisme), arguing that Beckett's work can reveal light on theories of space, even urban geography.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Feb 1, 2022

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