Samuel Beckett and Modern Dance

  • Evelyne Clavier
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature book series (PMEL)


Samuel Beckett wrote that he could not talk about dancing in his German Diaries, on 11 February 1937. However, in this chapter, I aim to prove that during his formative years his encounter with dance, an art of ‘no-word’, affected durably his aesthetics and his ethics and made him someone new: a new writer speaking of a ‘literature of no-word’ (in a letter to Axel Kaun 9/7/1937) and a new citizen aware of the dangers of body and mind control and of political manipulation of language.

There is dance in Samuel Beckett’s own work: Lucky’s dance, the dance of the old fool, a far cry from the dance of glorious bodies of the Nazis. His representation of weakness, illness, and disability on stage has had a major influence on French contemporary dance, in particular the choreographer Maguy Marin, who continues in a certain way Samuel Beckett’s political work.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evelyne Clavier
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Bordeaux-MontaignePessacFrance

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