Stage, Body, Text: Beckett's And Weiss's Theaters Of Embodiment

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Comparative Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In this dissertation, "Stage, Body, Text: Beckett's and Weiss's Theaters of Embodiment," I compare theories of acting and spectatorship in theatre and film, focusing on representations of the human body in the work of Samuel Beckett and Peter Weiss. I argue that film and theatre acting must be theorized in specific relation to each other, and that media comparisons should be a central aspect of both theatre and film criticism. Through close readings of Beckett's and Weiss's work, I explicate the intimacies between theatre and film acting and spectatorship; the role of the written text as it relates to embodied representation; and tropes of bodily fragmentation and alienation that became newly relevant in the 1950s and 1960s in Western Europe. Using a comparative media framework, my study treats these theoretical approaches to film and theater acting as being critically similar, reevaluating different concepts of the performing body in film genre studies, playwriting styles and acting systems, and in specific experiments with text, body, and technology in modernist theatre.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Lutz Koepnick

Committee Members

Robert Henke, Jennifer Kapczynski, Anca Parvulescu


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