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Shuffling in the Mortal Coil

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Anxieties of Incarnation in Beckett’s Voice Plays

image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

For all his readiness to allow ghosts into his narratives, Beckett was no super-naturalist. Yet in his later plays, the voice of consciousness ranges across the human life span, from pre-natal to post-mortem states. This latitude in the way he dramatizes anxieties of incarnation harks back to his analysis with Wilfred Bion, with whom Beckett explored his own intrauterine memories. Bion’s view of ‘birth’ and ‘death’ as indeterminate boundaries may have enduring resonances in Beckett’s work.

Affiliations: 1: Adjunct Professor, Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University, Australia


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