The anethics of endurance: Samual Beckett, Agota Kristoff, J.M. Coetzee.

Osojnik, Polona (2022) The anethics of endurance: Samual Beckett, Agota Kristoff, J.M. Coetzee. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I trace examples of figures of endurance across the writing of Samuel Beckett, Agota Kristof and J.M. Coetzee. These figures persevere in survival even when they lack a purpose for endurance, such that survival itself becomes an ethical maxim. I explore endurance in literary, philosophical, and ethical terms as a force which enables their characters to continue. I introduce and theorise the term ‘anethics’ as a modality of ethics founded on ‘withholding assent’ and ‘detached attachment’, and the relationship between the corporeal and incorporeal. I argue that their writing opens a terrain of encounter in which singularities co-exist in their difference and autonomy. This study of the anethics of endurance privileges the corporeal. It establishes endurance as a non-appropriative capacity of bodies to affect and be affected, and it adopts as its premises the Stoic notion of a body as consisting of activity, and in relationship to the incorporeality of utterance (the lekta), and the Spinozistic conatus as the desire to persevere. I argue that the authors offer a unique way of understanding endurance, even when figures are facing death or disappearance, violence, or ontological impotence. Beckett’s immobilised and impaired bodies often coincide with the failure of utterance, as anethics of endurance materialises as a capacity to withhold assent, yet to ‘go on’. In Kristof’s The Notebook, the main characters exercise selfpractices of deliberate non-responsivity. Coetzee further expands the concept of anethics in characters who are committed to withholding assent to mastery. These authors’ literary dramatizations of endurance and collaborative acts of vulnerability dismantle structures of subjugation and mastery; they generate new modes of intersubjectivity, transformative becoming, persistence in bare life, and self-creation and self-erasure. Perseverance, withholding assent, and detached attachment thus constitute the foundations for an anethics of endurance.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0045 Theory. Philosophy. Esthetics > PN0045.5 Relation to and treatment of special elements, problems, and subjects > PN0056.A-Z Other special. Topics A-Z > PN0056.E634 Endurance
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 10:17
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 10:17
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/105901

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