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Liminal spaces of waiting and expectation are at the centre of this chapter that focuses on Hamlet, Waiting for Godot and Beckett’s short story ‘Dante and the Lobster’. The chapter draws on Stephen Greenblatt’s study Hamlet in Purgatory (2001) and on Daniela Caselli’s Beckett’s Dantes (2005), but it also takes the idea of purgatory to describe a dynamic, permeable space for intertextual dialogue. I argue that the texts of Beckett, Dante and Shakespeare do not appear as stable entities but rather are in flux and resonate with one another. Beckett’s recourse to purgatory is therefore not only the adaptation of a space for the imagination of medieval readers, but also a means of reflecting on the processes in which literary space is constructed. A main part of the chapter is devoted to the reading of ‘Dante and the Lobster‘ in dialogue with Hamlet and King Lear and also with the poetry of Thomas MacGreevy, from which many of its themes derive. ‘Dante and the Lobster’ and Hamlet converge on the notion of pause, and the chapter examines the ways in which both works become mutually interanimating in their reflections on dualisms, between human being and animal, Christ and the lobster, beginning and end, hesitation and rashness, fear and the embrace of death.
This chapter reveals the elaboration of a set of critical priorities, transition prime among them, crystallised by Aaron Hill in the 1730s. Offering what he claimed to be a purified version of pantomime’s techniques for arresting attention, Hill wrote of how actors could become a ‘true FAUSTUS’ for the theatres through transition, creating iconic and dynamic moments of suspension during which they could shift mind and body from one passion to another. Hill’s emphases continue into the time of David Garrick, whose transitions into ‘pensively preparatory attitudes’ were praised as intellectual achievements and blamed as pantomimical tricks. Ultimately, pauses and the transitions that occurred upon them became moments when an actor could be described as asserting their artistic autonomy and the focal point of critical attention. The realisation of Hill’s dreams — a theatre where sophisticated emotion replaced slapstick motion as the key source of spectacle — soon, however, risked becoming a Faustian pact, for an insight into the transitions of a play seemed to demand as much private attention to the page as public engagement with the stage.
This research reports on a quantitative analysis of the combination of two types of disfluency, reformulations and pauses, in the speech of lower intermediate and advanced speakers of English as a second language (L2). The present study distinguishes between corrections and false starts within the category of reformulations as well as between silent and filled pauses. It focuses on the extent to which pause behavior within reformulations varies according to the stage of L2 development and the type of reformulation used. An analysis was made of 56 L2 speakers’ 2-min monologues. The results showed that lower intermediate and advanced speakers differed on the frequency of silent pauses inserted in corrections but not on their frequency in false starts. This suggests that false starts depend less on proficiency level, and may reflect temporary problems with conceptual encoding or extralinguistic factors that contribute to the efficacy of L2 production rather than difficulties with linguistic processing per se. The frequency of silent pauses rather than silent pause duration or the frequency and duration of filled pauses appeared to be the only marker to differentiate between false starts and corrections across the two proficiency groups.
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