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A Companion to Samuel Beckett

S. E. Gontarski (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-5869-5
440 pages
March 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Samuel Beckett (1405158697) cover image
A collection of original essays by a team of leading Beckett scholars and two of his biographers, Companion to Samuel Beckett provides a comprehensive critical reappraisal of the literary works of Samuel Beckett.
  • Builds on the resurgence of international Beckett scholarship since the centenary of his birth, and reflects the wealth of newly released archival sources
  • Informed by the latest in scholarly, critical, and theoretical debates
  • A valuable addition to contemporary Beckett scholarship, and testament to the enduring influence of Beckett’s work and his position as one of the most important literary figures of our time
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Notes on Contributors viii

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction 1
S. E. Gontarski

Part I A Life in Letters 11

1 A Writer’s Homes – A Writer’s Life 13
James Knowlson

2 Within a Budding Grove: Publishing Beckett in America 23
S. E. Gontarski

3 Samuel Beckett and Waiting for Godot 32
Lois Gordon

4 Beginning to End: Publishing and Producing Beckett 48
Barney Rosset

Part II Charting Territories 61

5 A Critique of Aesthetic Judgment: Beckett’s “Dissonance of Ends and Means” 63
John Pilling

6 The Legacy of Samuel Beckett: An Anatomy 73
H. Porter Abbott

7 Beckett and Philosophy 84
Anthony Uhlmann

8 Philosophizing with Beckett: Adorno and Badiou 97
Jean-Michel Rabaté

9 Beckett and Ethics 118
Shane Weller

10 Beckett and Germany in the 1930s: The Development of a Poetics 130
Mark Nixon

11 Samuel Beckett and Science 143
C. J. Ackerley

12 A Purgatorial Calculus: Beckett’s Mathematics in “Quad” 164
Brett Stevens

13 Beckett and Obsessional Ireland 182
David Pattie

14 Beckett in French and English 196
Sinéad Mooney

Part III Acts of Fiction 209

15 Beckett the Poet 211
Marjorie Perloff

16 The “Dream” Poems: Poems in Personae 228
Sean Lawlor

17 Figures of Script: The Development of Beckett’s Short Prose and the “Aesthetic of Inaudibilities” 244
Dirk Van Hulle

18 Molloy, or Life without a Chambermaid 263
Patrick A. McCarthy

19 Malone Dies: Postmodernist Masculinity 275
Susan Mooney

20 “The Knowing Non-Exister”: Thirteen Ways of Reading Texts for Nothing 289
S. E. Gontarski and C. J. Ackerley

21 What We Are Given to Mean: Endgame 296
Paul Shields

22 “In the Old Style,” Yet Anew: Happy Days in the “AfterBeckett” 308
William Hutchings

Part IV Acts of Performance 327

23 Beckett’s Production of Waiting for Godot (Warten auf Godot) 329
David Bradby

24 The Seated Figure on Beckett’s Stage 346
Enoch Brater

25 Clowning with Beckett 358
Mary Bryden

26 “Down, all going down ...”: The Spiral Structure of Beckett’s Theater 372
Xerxes Mehta

27 Beckett on Television 389
Graley Herren

28 Staging Beckett in Spain: Theater and Politics 403
Antonia Rodríguez-Gago

Index 416

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S. E. Gontarski is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University where he edits the Journal of Beckett Studies and serves as Director of Graduate Studies. He has published extensively on the life and works of Samuel Beckett, including (with Anthony Uhlmann) Beckett after Beckett (2006), a finalist for the Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Award.
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  • Authoritative and insightful, this companion provides a comprehensive critical reappraisal of the literary works of Samuel Beckett
  • Brings together original essays by a distinguished team of leading Beckett scholars, including two highly regarded biographers
  • Builds on the resurgence of international Beckett scholarship since the centenary of his birth, and reflects the wealth of newly released archival sources
  • Informed by the latest in scholarly, critical, and theoretical debates
  • A valuable addition to contemporary Beckett scholarship, and testament to the enduring influence of Beckett’s work and his position as one of the most important literary figures of our time
See More

“In this way, A Companion to Samuel Beckett will indeed be a useful companion and addition to Beckett studies.”  (The Beckett Circle, 1 October 2012)

"This aside, A Companion to Samuel Beckett has much to offer Beckett enthusiasts. The volume as a whole is, indeed, a companion to the centenary celebrations and promises to be one of those collections that will remain important for years to come." (Review of Literature (Weiss), 2010)

"This collection contains some fine individual essays that will be of worth to both new and experienced readers of Beckett's work . . . The latter part of the book is strong on Beckett in performance, in various media, while a remarkable outlier by mathematician Brett Stevens shows that English, French and German are not the only languages to yield a rewarding close reading in Beckett." (Routledge ABES, 2011)

"Coming from a theatre background personally, and the fact that Waiting for Godot is one of my favourite pieces, this book was one of the most exciting and interesting collection of research I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  Take the time and immerse yourself in it, it will give you a new perspective on Beckett when you go back to re-read any of his works." (M/C Reviews, November 2010)

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