Title page for ETD etd-07282005-174600

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Carriere, Julien F.
Author's Email Address jcarri1@lsu.edu
URN etd-07282005-174600
Title Samuel Beckett and Bilingualism: How the Return to English Influences the Later Writing Style and Gender Roles of All that Fall and Happy Days
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department French Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jefferson Humphries Committee Chair
Greg Stone Committee Member
John Lowe Committee Member
Pius Ngandu Committee Member
Gerald Kennedy Dean's Representative
  • gender
  • bilingualism
  • samuel beckett
  • dante
Date of Defense 2005-05-18
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation addresses Samuel Beckett's bilingualism in an effort to understand how the author's use of language affected his writing style and depiction of gender. Beckett began writing in English, switched to French for the composition of new works for ten years, and then returned unexpectedly to English. His first English works are characterized by stylistic virtuosity, erudition, and misogyny. With Beckett's adoption of French his style became simple, spare, and cerebral. Plot structure based on a journey in early works was abandoned in favor of static situations and dialogue. Women were either ignored or viewed negatively. In 1956, Beckett returned to his mother language with All that Fall, a radio play. The setting and language are distinctively Irish, the plot is built around a trip to the train station, and the protagonist is a woman. Another play from the second English period, Happy Days, displays a more balanced synthesis of style and contains elements of both the English and French writing. It retains the French period qualities of static plot and simple language; however, it has a female protagonist who may be, in part, based on the author's mother. The study of these two plays in the context of Beckett's bilingualism shows the influence of the mother tongue on writing style and the introduction of positive depictions of women.
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