'I Switch Off': Beckett, Bion, and Thinking in Torturous Times
Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
This essay analyses Beckett’s What Where and its staging of torture by contextualising it within postwar psychological and psychoanalytic attempts to make sense of social and political violence. Placing What Where in dialogue with the Milgram experiment and Wilfred Bion’s work on ‘splitting’ as a switching off of ‘thinking,’ the essay explores how Beckett uses a reflexive aesthetic authoritarianism to represent and enact “the works,” while constructing a temporal form within which the fragile and difficult work of thinking might yet be contained.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Rodopi via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 29 (1), pp. 51-65