Beckett’s “no-man’s-land” : the influence of paintings on Beckett’s 1930s practice

Alshalan, A 2019, Beckett’s “no-man’s-land” : the influence of paintings on Beckett’s 1930s practice , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis investigates the development of Beckett’s early writing process through the impact of paintings and the techniques of painters on his practice during the 1930s. The chief contributions offered by my thesis are not only to be found in the topic and methodology themselves, but also in the argument for the centrality of the doodles in Beckett’s Murphy Notebooks (UoR MS5517). The thesis explores the relationship between Beckett and paintings during the 1930s, using a triangular analysis to deepen the understanding of his Murphy Notebooks, the only surviving handwritten draft of work published in this period. This method allows the analysis to focus on a 10-year timeframe in the life of a writer by considering the development of Beckett’s narrative and writing process during this early period. My analysis of the visual aspects of the manuscript enhances the critical landscape around Beckett’s 1930s practice. It showcases how Beckett’s imagery developed in three phases, influenced by painterly elements such as background and foreground. It also argues that the dark-light dichotomy of chiaroscuro allowed for the dual characterisation of Beckett’s pairs to develop. In discussing Beckett’s integration of elements found in paintings in his practice, this thesis also explores his personal interactions with painters, such as Jack B. Yeats, Bram van Velde and Karl Ballmer. It also explores the impact of the trip he undertook to Germany (1936-7) in relation to the the Murphy Notebooks and “Human Wishes” manuscript doodles by highlighting the impact of his exposure to Expressionist paintings, in particular Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s and Emil Nolde’s paintings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Funders: King Saud University
Depositing User: Amjad Alshalan
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 09:18
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2021 02:30

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