Samuel Beckett is arguably the most influential writer of the second half of the 20th century. He reinvented theatre with Waiting for Godot and wrote startlingly original fiction. Today few works in either form do not bear some trace of his imprint. Beckett, however, is often misunderstood as purveyor of bleak nihilism with a relentlessly pessimistic view of the human condition. In this course, we will explore a very different Beckett: a writer of compassion, invention and harsh beauty, responding to his Irish roots and to terrible public events with humor, playfulness and courage.
Sample reading list:
Samuel Beckett, The Complete Dramatic Works
Samuel Beckett, Novels Volume I Grove Centenary Edition
Samuel Beckett, Novels Volume 2 Grove Centenary Edition
Samuel Beckett, Nohow On: Company, lll Seen, lll Said, Worstward
See instructor for complete list
Students will be expected to write a short blog post before each class. In lieu of exams each student will write a substantial essay, one for mid-term, and one for the end of term.