Beckett’s Ticklish Characters: reading Beckett through Žižek

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In this paper I show how Žižek’s theories can serve as a useful tool in interpreting Samuel Beckett’s works, and in particular his novels. I focus on his novel The Unnamable and on the way its main character is constructed. This has been typically understood as representing a fragmented or decentered self, and thus as a form of critique of the Cartesian subject, ‘the spectre that is haunting Western academia.’ By contrast, I attempt to demonstrate how this character is rather simply reduced to its minimal condition of possibility. As such, it is the expression of a radical experience of the subject, which shares a deep affinity with Žižek’s theory as presented in The Ticklish Subject. The comprehension of the subject that is revealed through the structure of the character implies a certain comprehension of the humanity of the human subject. Through an allegorical reading of Beckett’s short text All Strange Away, I show how his characters function as a radical critique of the conception of the human as a ‘gifted animal,’ proposing instead a vision of the human subject as original lack. In this sense Beckett’s novels can be said to be an effective weapon of potential ideological resistance.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Numero di pagine14
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2009


  • Beckett, Samuel
  • Literary Character
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Slavoij Žižek
  • personaggio
  • Žižek, Slavoij


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