On Beckett
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269 pages
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Description

The first collection of writings about the Nobel Prize–winning author that covers the entire spectrum of his work, and which also affords a rare glimpse of the private Beckett.


“On Beckett: Essays and Criticism” is the first collection of writings about the Nobel Prize–winning author that covers the entire spectrum of his work, and also affords a rare glimpse of the private Beckett. More has been written about Samuel Beckett than about any other writer of this century – countless books and articles dealing with him are in print, and the progression continues geometrically. “On Beckett” brings together some of the most perceptive writings from the vast amount of scrutiny that has been lavished on the man; in addition to widely read essays there are contributions from more obscure sources, viewpoints not frequently seen. Together they allow the reader to enter the world of a writer whose work has left an impact on the consciousness of our time perhaps unmatched by that of any other recent creative imagination.


The Essential Beckett: A Preface to the Second Edition – S. E. Gontarski; A Beckett Chronology; Acknowledgments; Crritics and Crriticism: “Getting Known”– introduction by S. E. Gontarski; PRELIMINARIES: Beckett and “Merlin” – Richard W. Seaver; Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts: The Embarrassment of Allegory – Dougald McMillan; When is the End Not the End? The Idea of Fiction in Beckett – Wolfgang Iser; THE PAGE: “Murphy” and the Uses of Repetition – Rubin Rabinovitz; “Watt” – Lawrence E. Harvey; “Mercier and Camier”: Narration, Dante, and the Couple – Eric P. Levy; Molloy’s Silence – Georges Bataille; Where Now? Who Now? – Maurice Blanchot; The Voice and Its Words: “How It Is”– J. E. Dearlove; The Unnamable’s First Voice? – Chris Ackerley; Between Verse and Prose: Beckett and the New Poetry – Marjorie Perloff; “Worstward Ho” – Dougald McMillan; THE STAGE: MacGowran on Beckett – interview by Richard Toscan; Blin on Beckett – interview by Tom Bishop; Working with Beckett – Alan Schneider; Notes from the Underground: “Waiting for Godot” and “Endgame” – Herbert Blau; Beckett Directs “Godot” – Walter D. Asmus; Beckett Directs: “Endgame” and “Krapp’s Last Tape” – Ruby Cohn; Literary Allusions in “Happy Days” – S. E. Gontarski; Counterpoint, Absence, and the Medium in Beckett’s “Not I” – Paul Lawley; Rehearsal Notes for the German Premiere of Beckett’s “That Time” and “Footfalls” – Walter D. Asmus; “Footfalls” – James Knowlson; Samuel Beckett and the Art of Radio – Martin Esslin; Light, Sound, Movement, and Action in Beckett’s “Rockaby” – Enoch Brater; Beckett’s “Ohio Impromptu”: A View from the Isle of Swans – Pierre Astier; “Quad” and “Catastrophe” – S. E. Gontarski; CODA: Burroughs with Beckett in Berlin – edited by Victor Bockris; Notes on Contributors 

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 janvier 2014
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781783081585
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,008€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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On Beckett
On Beckett
Essays and Criticism
Edited and with an Introduction by S. E. Gontarski
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2014 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
First published in hardback by Anthem Press in 2012
© 2014 S. E. Gontarski editorial matter and selection; individual chapters © individual contributors
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested.
ISBN-13: 978 1 78308 154 7 (Pbk) ISBN-10: 1 78308 154 6 (Pbk)
This title is also available as an eBook.
For Jane
Sitting prettily between the Vivaldi A Minor and the Bach Double
CONTENTS
The Essential Beckett: A Preface to the Second Edition
xi
S. E. Gontarski
A Beckett Chronology
xvii
Acknowledgments
xxvii
Introduction
Crritics and Crriticism: “Getting Known”
1
S. E. Gontarski
Preliminaries
Beckett and Merlin
15
Richard W. Seaver
Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts: The Embarrassment of Allegory
23
Dougald McMillan
When is the End Not the End? The Idea of Fiction in Beckett
36
Wolfgang Iser
The Page
Murphy and the Uses of Repetition
53
Rubin Rabinovitz
Watt
72
Lawrence E. Harvey
Mercier and Camier : Narration, Dante, and the Couple
92
Eric P. Levy
Molloy’s Silence
103
Georges Bataille
Where Now? Who Now?
111
Maurice Blanchot
The Voice and Its Words: How It Is
118
J. E. Dearlove
The Unnamable’s First Voice?
133
Chris Ackerley
Between Verse and Prose: Beckett and the New Poetry
138
Marjorie Perloff
Worstward Ho
152
Dougald McMillan
The Stage
MacGowran on Beckett
157
Interview by Richard Toscan
Blin on Beckett
167
Interview by Tom Bishop
Working with Beckett
175
Alan Schneider
Notes from the Underground: Waiting for Godot and Endgame
189
Herbert Blau
Beckett Directs Godot
209
Walter D. Asmus
Beckett Directs: Endgame and Krapp’s Last Tape
218
Ruby Cohn
Literary Allusions in Happy Days
232
S. E. Gontarski
Counterpoint, Absence, and the Medium in Beckett’s Not I
245
Paul Lawley
Rehearsal Notes for the German Premiere of Beckett’s That Time and Footfalls
253
Walter D. Asmus
Footfalls
265
James Knowlson
Samuel Beckett and the Art of Radio
273
Martin Esslin
Light, Sound, Movement, and Action in Beckett’s Rockaby
292
Enoch Brater
Beckett’s Ohio Impromptu: A View from the Isle of Swans
299
Pierre Astier
Quad and Catastrophe
307
S. E. Gontarski
Coda
Burroughs with Beckett in Berlin
313
Edited by Victor Bockris
Notes on Contributors
318
THE ESSENTIAL BECKETT: A PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
S. E. Gontarski
The first edition of this collection opened with an attempt to assess Samuel Beckett’s legacy:
On 13 April 1986 Samuel Barclay Beckett will mark his eightieth year, an event that will be commemorated by international festivals, performances and publications unprecedented in an author’s lifetime. Such attention was neither sought nor particularly welcomed by Beckett, but […] is fully the measure of his impact on the literature and culture of the latter half of the twentieth century […]. Publication […], however, usually lagged behind composition, and in 1951, at age forty-five, having been publishing for over two decades, Beckett was little known outside a small circle of avant-garde artists. It is a memory he doubtless tapped for one of Krapp’s birthday memoirs: “Seventeen copies sold, of which eleven at trade price to free circulating libraries beyond the seas. Getting known.”
What may have seemed at the time like overstatement appears now like understatement. Not infrequently an author’s reputation wanes with his physical demise. Beckett’s, on the contrary, burgeoned after 1989. Witness the opening assessment of Marjorie Perloff ’s presidential address to the Modern Language Association in December of 2006, a year that has come to be called the Year of Beckett:
This year marks the centennial of Samuel Beckett’s birth, and the celebrations around the world have been a wonder to behold. From Buenos Aires to Tokyo, from Rio de Janeiro to Sofia, from South Africa (where Beckett did not permit his plays to be performed until apartheid was ended) to New Zealand, from Florida State University in Tallahassee to the University of Reading, from the Barbican Theatre in London to the Pompidou Center in Paris, from Hamburg and Kassel and Zurich to Aix-en-Provence and Lille, from St. Petersburg to Madrid to Tel Aviv, and of course most notably in Dublin, 2006 has been Beckett’s Year. Most of the festivals have included not only performances of the plays, but lectures, symposia, readings, art exhibitions, and manuscript displays. PARIS BECKETT 2006 , for example, co-sponsored by the French government and New York University’s Center for French Civilization and Culture, has featured productions of Beckett’s entire dramatic oeuvre, mounted in theatres large and small all over Paris, lectures by such major figures as the novelists-theorists Philippe Sollers and Hélène Cixous, the playwrights Fernando Arrabal and Israel Horovitz, and the philosopher Alain Badiou. To round things out, in 2007 the Pompidou Center will host a major exhibition of and on Beckett’s work. […] Who, indeed, more global an artist than Beckett? (Perloff 652).
Beckett struggled for recognition early in his career, only to struggle as assiduously to avoid it once achieved. A quotation his authorized biographer James Knowlson found among Beckett’s notebooks was from Alexander Pope, “Damned to fame”; it became an apposite title. What he would have thought of the celebrations surrounding his centenary year is not difficult to adduce. He would certainly have recognized that such an expansion of audience into the global market is not without cost. Many of these symposia and performances garnered financial support not only from universities, foundations, and cultural arms of governments but also from banks, airlines, and other corporate entities. One might well ask what drives such acceptance, such institutional enshrinement? How could an apparently hermetic artist like Samuel Beckett be opened up to more than local comprehension? Does such global acceptance entail a necessary blunting of the resistance inherent in the Modernist enterprise and, for our purposes, in Beckett’s work in particular? Roland Barthes already anticipated such absorption and rehabilitation of Modernism in the 1960s: “the bourgeoisie will recuperate [the avant-garde] altogether, ultimately putting on splendid evenings of Beckett and Audiberti (and tomorrow Ionesco, already acclaimed by humanist criticism)” (69). The festivities commemorating the Year of Beckett may have been just such recuperation, such a series of “splendid evenings” in the culture park.
The surge in global popularity of Samuel Beckett’s work is thus something of a mixed blessing. This global Beckett, sans frontiers , reflects the extension of a particular western European moment, Modernism as the avant-garde’s interrogation or critique of the cultural and moral bankruptcy of bourgeois Europe, onto a trans-cultural stage where it is now embraced not only by those cultures that were the object of its critique but also by cultures where the European moment barely resonated. Whether such response represents a victory for or signals a crisis in the arts is an issue that itself wants interrogation. Are we in the midst of a global triumph of the avant-garde, or simply witnessing its reduction to nostalgia or its assimilation into commerce and so into kitsch? In the case of Beckett, the twenty-first century has been witness to the commercial and popular embrace of a twentieth-century icon who happened to be not a rock star but an esoteric Hiberno-Gallic poet. His emergence into the global economy has been, admittedly, through popular culture, where he and his work are too often reduced to a few immediately recognizable emblems, clichés, or catch phrases, like trash cans, bowler hats, or the act of waiting itself. Such popularity, distorted as it is, tinged with sentiment and sporting the trappings of kitsch, remains nonetheless a measure of his cultural impact, part of his legacy as he is absorbed into and celebrated if not revered by a twenty-first century global economy, and so a commodity in the culture industry.

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