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Beckett and Philosophy, 1928-1938

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image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

This article argues that the direct relationship between 'Beckett and philosophy' – meaning Samuel Beckett's struggle with Western philosophy as it influenced his poetics and outlook – lasted only a decade, from 1928 to 1938. The methodology deployed in support of this account is established at the outset: falsifiability. Such a 'modified essentialism' allows for an empirically-grounded theorising that is of substantial assistance in tracing Beckett's intellectual 'debts.' The falsifiable position taken here, then, contends that Beckett's self-education in the European philosophical tradition can be divided into three stages which, in turn, closely correspond to Beckett's artistic and intellectual development in the later 1920s and 1930s.


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