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The Body Abject

Self and Text in Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett


David Houston Jones

This is the first sustained study of the formation of identity in the fictions of Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett. In works like Beckett’s prose Trilogy, or Genet’s Journal du Voleur and Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs, the human is beset by social exclusion and bodily disintegration. The sense of self which arises from this predicament is bound up with the sensation of abjection, the site of both a radical oppression and a paradoxical resurgence. Genet’s and Beckett’s affiliation with abjection frames questions of selfhood, body and language which continue to be posed with particular urgency in contemporary writing and theory.
Contents: Abjection: Theory and Writing – Origins: Parenting Fictions – Transgressive Sanctities – Visions and Derelictions – The Body Abject – Textual Abjects.