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Beckett on ScreenThe Television Plays$
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Jonathan Bignell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719064203

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719064203.001.0001

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(p.164) 5 Evaluations
Beckett on Screen

Jonathan Bignell

Manchester University Press

This chapter discusses the formation of and the critical response to a canon of British television drama in terms of a conflict between aesthetic modernism and critical realism. It notes that some of the critics' responses to Beckett's work in the 1970s reflected the critical debate of the time over the politics of naturalistic versus avant-garde form. It determines that Beckett's television plays are placed within a complex dialectic of critical discourses around the aesthetics and politics of television drama, and part of this debate is about the address to the television audience. Finally, this chapter tries to link critical work on Beckett's television plays with discursive models of how television audiences were imagined by critics, television institutions and authors.

Keywords:   British television drama, aesthetic modernism, critical realism, naturalistic form, avant-garde form, discursive models, television audiences

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