The inner “I”: Self-reference in the text -production interface in Beckett's “Endgame” and Robbe-Grillet's/Resnais' “Last Year at Marienbad”

2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

In this dissertation I discuss the concept of self-reference in the interface between text and production in Samuel Beckett's dramatic text Endgame and Alain Robbe-Grillet's/Alain Resnais' ciné-roman/movie Last Year at Marienbad. I place different mediums and practitioners in dialogue and I contend that self-reference lends these texts a socio-political dimension. My reflections depart from the texts and employ performance, landscape and space, survival, and subjectivity theories. In the first chapter I suggest that Beckett employs self-reference to create an (in)finite space that represents a totalitarian regime while the characters employ self-reference to survive this space. In the second chapter, I document the work of performers during the 2007 Shakespeare Santa Cruz production of Endgame, as it regards self-reference. Actors arrive at the same conclusion as mine, namely that self-reference lends the play a socio-political aspect, only through different, medium specific means. In this chapter, I address issues of adaptation of the written work to stage and I compare the work of theatre practitioners with that of literary critics. In the third chapter, I contend that Robbe-Grillet employs an extensive mise en abyme to undermine the realist plot structure and replace it with the “radical, self-referential subjective point of view” which is political because it is his alternative to the univocal, ordering realist narrative which reinforces the power of the middle class. In the last chapter I show how Resnais' movie Marienbad employs self-referential German Expressionist cinematic techniques to create horror effects. As such, the movie Marienbad enhances the radical self-referential subjective point of view I discussed in the third chapter. Marienbad is also comparable in its self-referential techniques with the American offshoots of German Expressionist cinema—Universal's horror movies of the 1930s and film noir. Marienbad displays some of the political dimensions of these two genres leading me ultimately to the conclusion that self-reference has several political implications in Marienbad. This chapter also addresses issues of adaptation of the cineroman to the screen.

Indexing (details)

Modern literature;
Romance literature;
British and Irish literature;
Film studies
0298: Modern literature
0313: Romance literature
0465: Theater
0593: British and Irish literature
0900: Film studies
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Language, literature and linguistics; Beckett, Samuel; Endgame; France; Ireland; Last Year at Marienbad; Performance; Resnais, Alain; Robbe-Grillet, Alain; Self-reference; Socio-political; Space; Subjectivity; Text-production interface
The inner “I”: Self-reference in the text -production interface in Beckett's “Endgame” and Robbe-Grillet's/Resnais' “Last Year at Marienbad”
Popescu, Anca Valentina
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University of California, Davis
University location
United States -- California
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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