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Look Inside Beckett and the Modern Novel

Beckett and the Modern Novel

£67.00

  • Author: John Bolin, University of Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Date Published: December 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107029842

£ 67.00
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About the Authors
  • Samuel Beckett's narrative innovations are among his most important contributions to twentieth-century literature. Yet contemporary Beckett scholarship rarely considers the effect of his literary influences on the evolution of his narrative techniques, focusing instead on Beckett's philosophical implications. In this study, John Bolin challenges the utility of reading Beckett through a narrow philosophical lens, tracing new avenues for understanding Beckett's work - and by extension, the form of the modern novel - by engaging with English, French, German and Russian literature. Presenting new empirical evidence drawn from major archives in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, Bolin demonstrates Beckett's preoccupation with what he termed the 'European novel': a lineage running from Sade to Stendhal, Dostoevsky, Gide, Sartre and Celine. Through close readings of Beckett's manuscripts and novels up to and including The Unnamable, Bolin provides a new account of how Beckett's fiction grew out of his changing compositional practice.

    • Departs from the great majority of previous studies by revealing the importance of French and Russian literary influences on Beckett's early writing
    • Presents new and unpublished empirical evidence gathered from every major Beckett archive in the UK, Ireland and the US
    • Engages with important issues such as the power of emotion in literature, intertextuality and the development of transnational modernism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Powerfully argued, the book is a timely reminder that Beckett was first and foremost a man of 'arts' and only secondly one of 'letters'.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    'Bolin elaborates fascinating connections that demonstrate the breadth of his archival research: he shows, for example, how Beckett's lectures on Gide in 1930, which emphasize … Gide's anti-realist stance, resistance to narrative closure, experiments with mise-en-abyme structures, and interest in self-reflexivity, profoundly shaped Beckett's own narrative practices and his writing of Dream of Fair to Middling Women, Murphy, Watt, and the Trilogy … his chapter on La Nausée as a source text for Molloy in their similar critique of the diary form as 'a master-narrative of self-discovery and salvation' is particularly sharp …' French Studies

    'Bolin's book provides invaluable reading for anyone interested in Beckett's formative influences or his complex relationship with modernism.' Adam Winstanley, Modernism/modernity

    'The strength of Bolin's book lies within its focus on Beckett as a writer, struggling with his material, struggling with his own tendency toward erudition and the 'loutishness of learning', and, ultimately, struggling with the coherence and structures of control of the novel form itself.' Paul Stewart, Journal of Beckett Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107029842
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. 'The integrity of incoherence': theory and Dream of Fair to Middling Women
    2. 'An ironical radiance': Murphy and the modern novel
    3. 'The creative consciousness': the Watt notebooks
    4. 'Telling the tale': narrators and narration (1943–6)
    5. Images of the author
    6. 'Oh it's only a diary': Molloy
    7. 'The art of incarceration': Malone Dies
    Conclusion: Beckett and the modern novel
    Bibliography.

  • Author

    John Bolin, University of Wollongong, New South Wales
    John Bolin completed his MPhil and DPhil at Exeter College, Oxford. From 2008 to 2011 he lectured at Oxford, where he was the Bamborough Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College. He currently lectures at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales.

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