Article

Samuel Beckett

Luke Thurston

in British and Irish Literature

ISBN: 9780199846719
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199846719-0004
Samuel Beckett

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“You must choose,” Samuel Beckett’s title character Molloy tells us, “between the things not worth mentioning and those even less so.” The choice facing the Beckettian bibliographer today, though perhaps less invidious, is no less onerous, for a vast, rich, and still contentious field of scholarly debate surrounds Beckett’s work, dealing at times with its many contexts and genetic complications, and at others with its formidable intellectual frameworks or its ongoing significance for thinking in the 21st century. And if Molloy’s advice seems perhaps a shade too uncharitable—since in this bibliography every effort will be made to mention things that distinctly are worth mentioning—it nonetheless might serve as a timely reminder at the outset that Beckett was always profoundly skeptical about academic interpretations of his work. There is no doubt that Beckett still poses, in one sense, a fundamental challenge to critical discourse and to the academic institution, though there has been no shortage of critics keen to take up that challenge. By accepting the task, both difficult and delightful, of interpreting Beckett, critics have come to ask questions not only about the significance of one man’s literary work, but also about the interpretation of literature—and thus of life—in general.

Article.  13489 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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