The Intermedial and the Transmedial across Samuel Beckett’s Artistic Practices

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Abstract

The essay offers a brief overview of famous Irish playwright Samuel Beckett’s intermedial practices. By exploring a number of artistic media (drama, theatre, novel, television play, film) the artist tried to get at the essentials of each medium by virtue of his minimalist and media-conscious aesthetics. As a result of this gesture he uncovered certain transmedial properties such as musical rhythm and structure, montage, black and white film and photography aesthetics and tenebrism situated at the core of supposed media-specificity. Moreover, it is argued that Beckettian intermediality has a pronounced meta-referential dimension as defined by Werner Wolf. Most, if not all, of Beckett’s artworks include a medial self-reference of sorts such as the comment on the disembodiment of speech in radio plays or on the formative powers of lighting in theatre and film. What they also do is make the spectator aware of the fact of mediation and of what it entails. Therefore, the essay ultimately aims to show the immense significance of Beckett to intermediality studies not simply as an artist and a case study but as a media and intermediality theorist as well.

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