The beauty of failure: Errancy as a methodology in the works of Samuel Beckett, Mary Swanzy and Jack B. Yeats
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This thesis argues that Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) creates not only an aesthetic of failure but also a methodology of failure that permeates his works and intensifies as he matures as a writer. I contend that the impetus for this methodology is nurtured by Beckett’s life-long engagement with the visual arts, painting in particular. In turn, his commitment to and valorisation of purposeful failure by worsening and distorting images and structures of syntax and performance enable Beckett to interrogate representation and abstraction, and manipulate the role and effect his works have on spectators and actors. Finally, this dissertation argues that Beckett’s methodology of failure can be applied to the works of two major Mary Swanzy (1882-1978) and Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957), in order to examine how image and the materiality of the paint and the canvas are in constant competition for the spectator’s gaze.