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Samuel Beckett's 1976 Television play Ghost Trio is one of his most beautiful and mysterious works. It is also the play that most clearly demonstrates Beckett's imaginative and aesthetic engagement with the visual arts and the history of painting in particular. Drawing on the work of Stanley Cavell and Michael Fried, On Ghost Trio demonstrates Beckett's exploration of the relationship between theatricality, absorption and objecthood, and shows how his work anticipates the development of video and installation art. In doing so Conor Carville develops a new and highly original reading of Beckett's art, rooted in both archival sources and philosophical aesthetics.
Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts is the first book to comprehensively assess Beckett's knowledge of art, art history and art criticism. In his lifetime Beckett thought deeply about visual culture from ancient Egyptian statuary to Dutch realism, from Quattrocento painting to the modernists and after. Drawing on a wide range of published and unpublished sources, this book traces in forensic detail the development of Beckett's understanding of painting in particular, as that understanding developed from the late 1920s to the 1970s. In doing so it demonstrates that Beckett's thinking about art and aesthetics radically changes in the course of his life, often directly responding to the intellectual and historical contexts in which he found himself. Moving fluently between art history, philosophy, literary analysis and historical context, Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts rethinks the trajectory of Beckett's career, and reorients his relationship to modernism, late modernism and the avant-gardes.