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Title: The Mutability of Origin: Joyce, Beckett and Ohio Impromptu
Authors: Stewart, Paul
Date: 2004-04
Issue Date: 2016-09-06 15:38:47 (UTC+8)
Abstract: This paper examines the literary relations between James Joyce and Samuel Beckett through the prism of the latter's play, Ohio Impromptu. In the play, two figures, designed to look as similar as possible, sit at a table, one reading from a large volume, the other rapping on the table to call for repetitions of, or pauses in, the text. On the table sits a Latin Quarter hat. Although the action of the play is typically sparse, allusions within the text to Joyce's life in Paris combine with biographical evidence (Beckett was one of many to whom Joyce dictated passages of Finnegans Wake) to suggest that the drama can be read as an examination of the literary relations between the two figures. If one takes the auditor as representative of Joyce and the reader as representative of Beckett, a complex pattern of influence emerges. The reader is under the command of the auditor, and yet appropriates the words as they are spoken, as if Beckett were subsuming Joyce. This is strengthened by the fact of the drama itself; Joyce is contained within Beckett's dramatic representation. Against this must be placed the text which is read in the play, which gives a schematic description of the play seen on stage. Here, the book contains the play, as if Joyce contained Beckett or Beckett derived from Joyce. The Latin Quarter hat (an icon of Joyce) sits on the table like a crown to be gained. It is argued that Beckett is dealing with issues of influence and originality, yet, rather than a simple chronological form of influence, Beckett seems to represent a confusion or symbiosis of origin, and, whilst suggestive of a Bloomian anxiety and agon, the play demonstrates a spirit of sameness and collaboration between the two figures.
Relation: 臺灣英美文學期刊, 2(1), 33-43
Taiwan journal of English literature
Data Type: article
Appears in Collections:[文山評論:文學與文化 THCI Core] 期刊論文

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