The Cambridge Companion to Beckett (Cambridge Companions to Literature) Paperback – 17 Mar 1994
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'An invaluable addition to Beckett criticism … an outstanding book, faultlessly edited and superbly presented …'. Independent on Sunday
This book, first published in 1994, provides thirteen essays on every aspect of the work of Samuel Beckett, including his most famous plays and prose fictions, his theatre directing, his poetry, bilingualism, and his relationship to the philosophers.See all Product Description
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The present collection is a fitting addition to the distinguished Cambridge series of Companions and contains thirteen pieces which cover all aspects of Beckett's work: the essays (Proust); the early English fiction (Murphy, Watt); the trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable) and four nouvelles; Waiting for Godot and Endgame; Krapp's Last Tape to Play; Texts for Nothing and How It Is; the radio and television plays and Film; the 'dramaticules'; the Residua to Stirring Still; Beckkett's poems and verse translations; Beckett as director; Beckett's bilingualism; Beckett and the philosophers. The book also contains a Chronology of Beckett's life; detailed topical bibliographies accompanying each essay; a useful guide to Further Reading; an Index of works by Beckett; and a General Index. Physically the book is well-printed on excellent paper, and bound in a sturdy glossy wrapper.
Of the thirteen essays, which are of varying merit, I was particularly impressed by three - Paul Davies on the trilogy; H. Porter Abbott on How It Is (with his insightful analysis of how the poetic prose of this book works to generate multiple meanings as we read); and P. J. Murphy's leraned treatment of Beckett and the philosophers - though most of the other essays are well worth reading and add considerably to our understanding of this deep and enigmatic writer. Happily only three of the book's contributors were so balefully under the influence of French theory as to have given us pieces which are not so much about Beckett as about themselves, and which will be of interest only to those who are interested in 'Beckett Studies' as opposed to Beckett himself.
All in all, then, this is a useful and stimulating collection of essays which ought to be of considerable interest to most serious students of Beckett, and as such it may be strongly recommended.