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Since Beckett: Contemporary Writing in the Wake of Modernism

Since Beckett: Contemporary Writing in the Wake of Modernism

Paperback Continuum Literary Studies

By (author) Peter Boxall

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  • Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • Format: Paperback | 246 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 18mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 5 January 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1441178139
  • ISBN 13: 9781441178138
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

Samuel Beckett is widely regarded as 'the last modernist', the writer in whose work the aesthetic principles which drove the modernist project dwindled and were finally exhausted. And yet despite this, it is striking that many of the most important contemporary writers, across the world, see their work as emerging from a Beckettian legacy. So whilst Beckett belongs, in one sense, to the end of the modernist period, in another sense he is the well spring from which the contemporary, in a wide array of guises, can be seen to emerge. Since Beckett looks at a number of writers, in different national and political contexts, tracing the way in which Beckett's writing inhabits the contemporary, while at the same time reading back through Beckett to the modernist and proto-modernist forms he inherited. In reading Beckett against the contemporary in this way, Peter Boxall offers both a compelling re-reading of Beckett, and a powerful new analysis of contemporary culture.

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Author information

Peter Boxall is a Reader in English at the University of Sussex, UK. His books include Samuel Beckett- "Waiting for Godot", 'Endgame" (Palgrave, 2000) Don Delillo: The Possibility of Fiction (Routledge, 2005) and 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (Century, 2006).

Review quote

'Superbly contextualized, beautifully written, and wonderfully attentive to (and informative about) critical and theoretical backgrounds, this is a book for all who would better understand the literary era ushered in and still presided over - in spirit, at least - by Samuel Beckett. Resisting the notion that Beckett represents the final phase (or ossification) of modernism, the immensely learned Boxall effectively demonstrates the many ways that the aesthetic postures of exhaustion and persistence crafted by Beckett breathe through the works of some of our most important contemporary writers, notably Banville, DeLillo, Coetzee, and Sebald. Since Beckett is a profound meditation on the work of the master himself and a constantly engaging argument for his continuing importance to world letters." - Professor David Cowart, Department of English Language and Literature, University of South Carolina, USA. 'In Since Beckett, Peter Boxall has written a subtle, shimmering study of the ways in which Beckett's example continues to glow and flare renewedly- to life in the work of the most significant writers of fiction since the War. In a series of luminous readings, Boxall reveals Beckett's work, not as a sternly anomalous outcrop from the literary- historical landmass, but rather an isthmus connecting an Irish past to an imagined European and even global future. Written with warmth, wit and grace, Peter Boxall's book marks a definitive new direction for Beckett studies, allowing his work to move in a larger geopolitical landscape than has previously seemed imaginable." - Professor Steven Connor, School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck College, UK 'Peter Boxall writes with sensitivity and authority about what it means to be a novelist in a literary world still unsettled by Beckett's remarkable accomplishment. Free of fashionable theory and jargon, Boxall does what only the finest Beckett critics do: he makes you think." - Enoch Bra ter, author of The Drama in the Text: Beckett's Late Fiction. 'In this excellent, topical study of Beckett's place as a writer of fiction Peter Boxall brings his wide knowledge of modern literature to bear on an investigation of Beckett's debts and legacies. He shows how Beckett's fiction has enabled others to continue in the face of loss. What is especially powerful is the nuanced shifting of perspective between national, European and global standpoints towards Beckett's writing. Original new readings of many of Beckett's prose texts from across his entire career, as well as novels and short fictions by writers ranging from Kleist to Don DeLillo and W G. Sebald, trace interconnections between these writers via guiding tropes such as waiting, falling, front and back, and tuning. This is a fascinating, highly intelligent study of how fiction continues to develop today by reconfiguring the resources of its greatest exponents." - Professor Peter Middleton, University of Southampton, UK 'For anyone tempted to see Beckett as an abstracted, isolated fig-ure, this book is the perfect antidote. Setting Beckett against Irish, European, and global contexts, it stages a series of exhilarating encounters with interlocutor writers. The 'multiply haunted Beckett' who emerges here continues to evolve alongside the ever more complex movements and revisionings of twenty-first century globalisation." - Professor Mary Bryden, Department of French Studies, University of Reading, UK 'Peter Boxall's Since Beckett is a study that at once consolidates and transcends assumptions regarding Beckett's influence on contemporary writing, and represents the culmination of a broader project to liberate Beckett from the exclusive confines of the Irish literary tradition.' -Oxford Journals

Table of contents

Introduction: Since Beckett; PART 1: BACK ROADS: BECKETT, BANVILLE AND IRELAND; 1. Edgeworth, Bowen, Beckett, Banville: A Minor Tradition; 2. Spectrality and Eclipse: Beckett and Banville; 3. Unknown Entity: Ireland and Europe in Beckett and Banville; PART 2: TUNE ACCORDINGLY: BECKETT, BERNHARD AND SEBALD; 4. Faint Clarity: Tuning in Beckett; 5. All Balls: Beckett, Bernhard and Correction; 6. A Quite Singular Clarity: Beckett, Bernhard, Sebald; PART 3: HOW IT OUGHT TO BE: BECKETT, GLOBALIZATION AND UTOPIA; 7. From Joyce to Beckett: From National to Global; 8. Knowledge Within Bounds: Beckett, Globalization and the Limits of Perception; 9. Slow Man, Dangling Man, Falling Man: Beckett in the Ruins of the Future; Bibliography; Index.