A matter of fundamentals : sound and silence in the radio drama of Samuel Beckett

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A matter of fundamentals : sound and silence in the radio drama of Samuel Beckett

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Title: A matter of fundamentals : sound and silence in the radio drama of Samuel Beckett
Author: Gray, Richard J.
Abstract: Samuel Beckett was arguably one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Known for his stage plays, including the renowned En attendant Godot (1948), Beckett’s contribution to the field of radio drama is often overlooked. His corpus of radio dramas included some of the most innovativeradio works of the post-World War II period. For Beckett, radio drama was not exclusively verbocentric, for he always maintained that his work was “a matter of fundamental sounds (no joke intended) made as fully as possible” (Frost 362). His (radio) drama aesthetics defined a strict hierarchy of sound whereby the dramatist balances sound effects, music and the characters’ dialogue – and the use of silence. In this essay, I examine the juxtaposition of sound and silence in Samuel Beckett’s most influential radio dramas: All That Fall, Embers, Words and Music and Cascando. In the end, this essay will show that the sounds and silence employed in Beckett’s radio dramatic works were inextricably linked, which added to the overall meaning of his dramas.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10437/3022
Date: 2011


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