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Beckett, the Late Modernist

ENGL 259.301
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30 pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

Samuel Beckett has emerged as one of the most important authors of the 20th century. He has been called the last modernist, but moves beyond schools and genres with his a very diverse and abundant work in several media. We will survey Beckett’s main works, beginning with his essays on Joyce and Proust and the earlier novels, and the essays on art criticism, We will move on to the Trilogy to which we will pay special attention. We will then focus on the main plays and the later prose pieces. Finally, we will analyze the later work for film, radio and television. We will try to understand why Beckett’s work has attracted so many philosophical readers, from Cavell to Badiou, along Adorno, Deleuze, Badiou, Nussbaum, and Critchley) and why he wrote a bilingual set of texts. The aim of the class will be to cover the four volumes of Beckett’s Selected Works (Grove Press, 2010) and to watch films and DVDs of the main visual works.      

Crosslisted: History of art, French, German.