This paper examines gesture in music and literature—it presents a “theory of gesture”—culminating in a close analysis of Samuel Beckett’s Not I in the contexts of psychology and neurology. It examines gesture in relation to music, free indirect discourse in literary texts (with Joyce as example), speech-act theory, and Beckett’s play as it was performed for television. In the course of its argument, it analyzes the neurobiology of gesture and signaling—from studies in cognitive psychology, evolutionary biology, and semiotics—in the context of what Colin MacCabe, following Eugene Jolas, calls “the revolution of the word” in literary modernism. In its detailed argument, it focuses on the “performativity” of modernist literary arts by examining literary texts—from Joyce and Beckett—in relation to gestures in music, and especially the performative gestures of popular musical performance.
"Modernism as Gesture: The Experience of Music, Samuel Beckett, and Performed Bewilderment,"
Criticism: Vol. 61:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol61/iss1/5