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The Cambridge Companion to Beckett (Cambridge Companions to Literature) Paperback – 17 Mar 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (17 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521424135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521424134
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'An invaluable addition to Beckett criticism … an outstanding book, faultlessly edited and superbly presented …'. Independent on Sunday

Book Description

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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The preface of this collection of scholarly essays expresses the hope that the volume will fill a gap by providing the general reader with a comprehensive introduction to the many spheres of Beckett's achievement. This the book does surprisingly well, by and large. I had feared endless impenetrable argument about being and non-being and suchlike unleavened by biographical context and straightforward description of the work, but most of the chapters here strike a good balance of the three. I particularly recommend Paul Lawley's essay on 'Krapp's Last Tape', 'Happy Days' and 'Play'; Jonathan Kalb's look at Beckett's work for radio, film and TV; and Keir Elam's illuminating study of the shorter works for the stage (or 'dramaticules') which draws some fascinating parallels between these pieces and Dante's 'Inferno'. Some of the other chapters are heavier going, not surprising when the title is 'Beckett and the Philosophers', but more unexpected when it is the editor's own contribution - for me, John Pilling's chapter was the nadir of the book, maddening in its smug opacity. If I disliked his essay, however, I have to commend his editorial policy: the movement of the book chronologically through the well-defined phases of Beckett's career makes it, overall, a satisfying and thorough introduction to the work of this most inscrutable of writers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9500fcc0) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x954fa6cc) out of 5 stars A useful and stimulating collection of articles. 12 Dec. 2001
By tepi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When it comes to Beckett, there are two schools of thought as to how to approach him for the first time. Some feel that we should just plunge in unprepared. Others feel that his writing is so strange and original that a certain amount of preparation is advisable before taking the plunge. But on the principle that two or more heads are better than one, there can be no-one whose understanding, after having read Beckett, will not be deepened and enhanced by reading what at least some of Beckett's many sensitive, intelligent, and informed readers have to say about his work.
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.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95416624) out of 5 stars Informative 4 Oct. 2010
By DOROTHY - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Informative and interesting, giving a range of perspectives of many different writers critiquing Beckett's work.
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