Beckett’s Aesthetic of Vision: Figuration and Surrealist Influence
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This chapter analyses affinities between Beckett’s essays, fiction and poems in the light of Surrealism, focusing on the relationship between the visual and philosophical in Surrealist essays and poetry. It looks at how Beckett engaged with and was influenced by André Breton and Paul Éluard, before turning to consider these Surrealist lineages in relation to the aesthetic of “défiguration” in Beckett’s essays and poems in the 1930s and 1940s. Lawrence outlines overlooked connecting points between Surrealism and Sartrean phenomenology, drawing upon both perspectives’ shared affinities with the representation of objects in Watt (1945), before reflecting on the relevance of translation to Beckett’s interrogations of the visual in Murphy (1938).