An interdisciplinary approach to the genesis of the narratives in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame

Pim Verheyen


The genesis of Endgame is a complicated one as no other play of Samuel Beckett testifies to such a long search for a form in which he could present his work adequately. While the overall movement of Endgame is in the general direction of reduction and distillation, the dramatic lines become clearer in each subsequent version. In order to analyse these dramatic lines, the stories told by the characters in the play serve as an interesting starting point. Because these stories are constructed in a dialogical manner, the application of Conversational Analysis is interesting as it examines narratives from a linguistic perspective by looking at the purpose of these stories and the way something is said. This linguistic approach to the stories can be extended to the drafts of the play to examine the interactional mechanisms of the turn-taking in theatrical dialogues. As a case study the paper analyses the story about the Old Questions told by the characters Hamm and Clov, and aims to demonstrate the significance of applying Conversation Analysis not only to the stories in a theatrical work, but also to the genesis of the stories themselves.


Samuel Beckett; Genesis; Endgame

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Manuscrítica. Revista de Crítica Genética. ISSN: 1415-4498
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