Introduction to Beckett’s “Absurdist” Excess
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This section presents extensive evidence that Beckett’s Waiting for Godot has been consistently successful with general (non-academic) audiences despite its intellectual sophistication and that some of the specifics of its reception indicate that it can mobilize action-oriented and solidarity-based affects and cognitive processes in interpreters even in the most unpropitious conditions (prisons, disaster areas, conflict-torn regions, etc.). It explains this process by proposing that Beckett’s paradox-based discursive operations constitute compelling means of translating, for interpreters, class/ gender/ other forms of subordination and repression into processes rather than data of experience—processes that can be sustained or, conversely, suspended. The section also explains the rationale of focusing exclusively on some of Beckett’s postwar works, presents the chapter-by-chapter content, and situates the book in relation to a number of (relatively) recent studies that resonate with some of its core arguments.