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Samuel Beckett

Laughing Matters, Comic Timing

Laura Salisbury

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Reads Beckett's comic timing as part of a post-war ethics of representation

Samuel Beckett is a funny writer. He is also an author whose work is taken to respond ethically to the unspeakable seriousness of the post-Holocaust situation. How can these two statements sit together?

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Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction
Human Humour
Fun and Trembling
'That's not moving. That's moving'
Laughing Matters
Chapter One. Critical Joking: The Early Prose
Superiority, Sarcasm, Scholarship
The Loutishness of Learning
Diminishing Laughing Returns
Art vs. Book-Keeping
S/M: Scholarship and Mimicry
Critical Timing
Chapter Two. Gagging in the Trilogy
Gagging for It
Partial Incorporation
An Obligation to Express
Tiring Desire
Toilet Training, Resistant Material
Nihil in Intellectu
Chapter Three. Power Playing in Endgame
Perhaps
Unhappiness: Nothing Funnier
Playing for Time
The Play of the Audience
Just Play
Dialectics at a Standstill
Chapter Four. Comic Tremors: The Late Prose
Embers and Ashes
Imagination at Wit's End
Ill Saying, Ill Said
Ill Seeing
Chapter Five. Slapstick Echoes: The Late Plays
Limping Gags
Deadpan Demands
'Kindly Tune Accordingly'
'Like Something out of Beckett'
Conclusion
Works Cited.

About the Author

Dr Laura Salisbury is RCUK Research Fellow in Science, Technology, and Culture at Birkbeck, University of London. She works on modernist and contemporary literature and on the relationship between science, philosophy and culture. Her major new research project is a study of the relationship between neurological conceptions of language, modernism, and modernity.

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