Steven Connor, one of the most influential critics of twentieth-century literature and culture, has spent much of his career writing and thinking about Samuel Beckett. This book presents Connor's finest published work on Beckett alongside fresh essays that explore how Beckett has shaped major themes in modernism and twentieth-century literature. Through discussions of sport, nausea, slowness, flies, the radio switch, religion and academic life, Connor shows how Beckett's writing is characteristic of a distinctively mundane or worldly modernism, arguing that it is well-attuned to our current concern with the stressed relations between the human and natural worlds. Through Connor's analysis, Beckett's prose, poetry and dramatic works animate a modernism profoundly concerned with life, worldly existence and the idea of the world as such. Lucid, provocative, wide-ranging, and richly informed by critical and cultural theory, this book is required reading for anyone teaching or studying Beckett, modernism and twentieth-century literary studies.
Steven Connor is Grace 2 Professor of English and Fellow of Peterhouse, University of Cambridge. He is the author of many books in the fields of literature, philosophy and culture, including Samuel Beckett: Repetition, Theory and Text (1988, 2nd edition 1993), which remains one of the most influential titles in Beckett studies.
1. Introduction: Beckett's finitude; Part I. Bodies: 2. 'My fortieth year had come and gone and I still throwing the javelin': Beckett's athletics; 3. The nauseous character of all flesh; 4. Making flies mean something; Part II. Timepieces: 5. 'I switch off': the ordeals of radio; 6. Looping the loop: tape-time in Burroughs and Beckett; 7. 'In my soul I suppose, where the acoustics are so bad': writing the white noise; 8. Slow going; Part III. Worlds: 9. Beckett's low church; 10. The loutishness of learning; 11. Beckett and the world; 12. 'On such and such a day... in such a world'.