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The Edinburgh Companion to Irish Modernism$
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Maud Ellmann, Sian White, and Vicki Mahaffey

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456692

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456692.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

‘A form that accommodates the mess’: Degeneration and / as Disability in Beckett’s Happy Days

‘A form that accommodates the mess’: Degeneration and / as Disability in Beckett’s Happy Days

Chapter:
(p.387) 22 ‘A form that accommodates the mess’: Degeneration and / as Disability in Beckett’s Happy Days
Source:
The Edinburgh Companion to Irish Modernism
Author(s):

Seán Kennedy

Joseph Valente

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456692.003.0022

The essay begins with Max Nordau’s theory of degeneration, which intact form signals cultural health and broken form cultural deterioration, to show how Samuel Beckett de-pathologized the indices of degeneracy by finding a form to “normalize” the messy feelings of non-normative experience. Beckett uses disability as aesthetic principle by formalising affect, thereby universalizing divergence from ideals of embodiment.

Keywords:   Disability, Samuel Beckett, Happy Days, Max Nordau, Degeneration, Affect theory, Aesthetic form

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