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    Motherhood, Female Ageing and Samuel Beckett

    O'Connell, Brenda (2019) Motherhood, Female Ageing and Samuel Beckett. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis examines the prose and drama of Samuel Beckett’s work to analyse the tropes of motherhood and female ageing in his oeuvre. The thesis is divided into two parts: part one investigates themes of misogyny, maternity and motherhood in a selection of the young Beckett’s writing. I consider how the trope of misogyny, which spans twenty years, provides a gateway to investigating how matters of sex and reproduction profoundly structure Beckett’s work. The first chapter asks how misogyny can illuminate questions of gender in Beckett’s writing by investigating the possibility of an alternative queer reading, which may go some way to explaining the caustic treatment of women in Beckett’s early fiction. Gender and sexuality are not niche critical concerns in Beckett Studies, but central to Beckett’s aesthetics. Chapter Two focuses on how sexuality and reproduction come together in the figure of the mother or maternally identified women. The representation of fictional and semi-monstrous maternal figures is a central but ambiguous concern of Beckett’s early to mid-phase of writing, with these mother figures emerging as simultaneously nurturing and stifling. Part Two of the thesis moves to Beckett’s drama to consider the potent combination of age and femininity in his late drama. By adding age as an interpretive category, I argue that age is a missing category of identity in Irish Studies. Chapter Three analyses female ageing on the page, while Chapter Four analyses female ageing on the stage. It also examines the impact of the #WTF movement, before considering the responses of several women directors and actors of Beckett’s drama in Irish theatre and performance. The thesis concludes with an analysis of Beckett’s influence on Irish performance art and a consideration of Beckett’s legacies for twenty-first century performance cultures.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Motherhood; Female Ageing; Samuel Beckett;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 15376
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2022 16:59
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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