This course will focus on Samuel Beckett as a prose writer, with the wish to understand how he significantly changed the writing of fiction after 1950. The focus of the class will be his first trilogy and we will need to survey Murphy and Watt in order to understand the genesis of such a particular esthetic. We will concentrate on the three novels Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable and also read the texts collected in The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989. Our approach will explore the related issues of Beckett's philosophical background, of his Irishness, of his humor, of his narrative techniques. The theoretical introduction we will use is Daniel Katz"s book Saying I No More (Northwestern University Press, 1999) which will be required reading.
Requirements for the course include one oral presentation, two short papers of eight pages, and a final research paper of about fifteen pages. No final exam.