© 2020

The Affects, Cognition, and Politics of Samuel Beckett's Postwar Drama and Fiction

Revolutionary and Evolutionary Paradoxes


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Contagion and Accessibility: Revolutionary Beckett

  3. Script Evaluation and Enrichment: Evolutionary Beckett

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 271-286

About this book


The Affects, Cognition, and Politics of Samuel Beckett’s Postwar Drama and Fiction: Revolutionary and Evolutionary Paradoxes theorizes the revolutionary and evolutionary import of Beckett’s works in a global context defined by increasingly ubiquitous and insidious mechanisms of capture, exploitation, and repression, alongside unprecedented demands for high-volume information-processing and connectivity. Part I shows that, in generating consistent flows of solidarity-based angry laughter, Beckett’s works sabotage coercive couplings of the subject to social machines by translating subordination and repression into processes rather than data of experience. Through an examination of Beckett’s attack on gender/ class-related normative injunctions, the book shows that Beckett’s works can generate solidarity and action-oriented affects in readers/ spectators regardless of their training in textual analysis. Part II proposes that Beckett’s works can weaken the cognitive dominance of constrictive “frames” in readers/ audiences, so that toxic ideological formations such as the association of safety and comfort with simplicity and “sameness” are rejected and more complex cognitive operations are welcomed instead—a process that bolsters the mind’s ability to operate at ease with increasingly complex, malleable, extensible, and inclusive frames, as well as with increasing volumes of information.


Samuel Beckett drama theater affect theory political theory humor in Beckett postwar American literature

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Fanshawe CollegeLondonCanada

About the authors

Cristina Ionica teaches English, Film, Writing, and Professional Communication courses at Fanshawe College in London, Canada. Her research has been published in ESC: English Studies in Canada, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, MLS: Modern Language Studies, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, and Horror Studies.


Bibliographic information