English 166

Special Topics: Beckett


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2022 Danner, Mark
TTh 2-3:30 Wheeler 30

Description

Laughter and Annihilation

The Writing of Samuel Beckett

English 166 Tuesday/Thursday 2-3:30

Mark Danner

 

The Twentieth Century offered a unique blending of advancement and atrocity, genocide and progress, and surely no single artist captured this more fully and more fearlessly than Samuel Beckett. Spanning the modernist and postmodernist eras, Beckett's vast body of work in fiction and drama confronts us with a relentless exploration of loneliness and destruction and a single-minded flight to the very limits of human expression. Out of this near maniacal quest he produced -- impossibly -- writing that is off the charts funny. How did he achieve this pungent blending of laughter and doom in works like Waiting for GodotMolloyEndgame and so many others?  In this class, through a close reading of Beckett's stories, novels and plays, and a taste of some of the writers who most influenced him and whom he most influenced, we will seek to find out. In addition to Beckett's major works we will read a bit of Descartes, some Joyce, a pinch of Proust and a sprinkling of Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Sam Shepherd and Suzan-Lori Parks, among others.

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