English 190

Research Seminar: Beckett's Prose


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2021 Blanton, C. D.
MW 9-10:30 305 Wheeler

Book List

Beckett, Samuel: The Selected Works of Samuel Beckett , 4 vol. (Grove Press)

Description

The career of Samuel Beckett began with some (rather ragged) poetry, continued with a handful of novels and short stories, and culminated with a handful of the twentieth century’s most important plays. But most of his work refuses generic descriptions like these; refuses them more strenuously as it goes, in fact, finally shedding most of our critical language as it sheds everything else. We are left, in the end, with something that is difficult to call anything at all.

Lacking better options, we will call that writing “prose” and attempt to find a language for it, as well as a way of reading it. We will read our way from Beckett’s more “conventional” (though not very conventional) experiments of the 1930s and 1940s, before tracing his movement away from any literary convention at all--away from English, away from novels and narratives and plots and characters and all the rest--paying attention to the sentences and the syntax and the styles that are left in texts that seem to confront us with nothing but words.

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