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Beckett, Barthes and Breath

Beckett, Barthes and Breath This essay develops a tense relation between Samuel Beckett and Roland Barthes over their treatment of breath. If Barthes’s lovers come together through a shared breath, breaths pull Beckett’s couples apart. How then might breath bring Beckett and Barthes together, so they might be close but not too close? The essay first discards the idea of using a single understanding of breath by showing how the localized instances of breath in Beckett and Barthes do not scale up to a coherent, synthetic concept. Then, by turning to works that play with the problems of metanarrative, Beckett’s How It Is (1961–4) and Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse (1977–8), it shows how breath becomes a possible means of reading these two texts together. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Paragraph Edinburgh University Press

Beckett, Barthes and Breath

Paragraph , Volume 45 (2): 15 – Jul 1, 2022

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
0264-8334
eISSN
1750-0176
DOI
10.3366/para.2022.0398
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay develops a tense relation between Samuel Beckett and Roland Barthes over their treatment of breath. If Barthes’s lovers come together through a shared breath, breaths pull Beckett’s couples apart. How then might breath bring Beckett and Barthes together, so they might be close but not too close? The essay first discards the idea of using a single understanding of breath by showing how the localized instances of breath in Beckett and Barthes do not scale up to a coherent, synthetic concept. Then, by turning to works that play with the problems of metanarrative, Beckett’s How It Is (1961–4) and Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse (1977–8), it shows how breath becomes a possible means of reading these two texts together.

Journal

ParagraphEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2022

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