Beckett's Dying Words: The Clarendon Lectures 1990

Beckett's Dying Words: The Clarendon Lectures 1990

by Christopher Ricks
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Most people want to live forever. But there is another truth: the longing for oblivion. With pain, wit, and humor, the art of Samuel Beckett variously embodies this truth, this ancient enduring belief that it is better to be dead than alive, best of all never to have been born. Beckett is the supreme writer of an age which has created new possibilities and

See more details below

Overview

Most people want to live forever. But there is another truth: the longing for oblivion. With pain, wit, and humor, the art of Samuel Beckett variously embodies this truth, this ancient enduring belief that it is better to be dead than alive, best of all never to have been born. Beckett is the supreme writer of an age which has created new possibilities and impossibilities even in the matter of death and its definition—an age of transplants and life-support.
But how does a writer give life to dismay at life itself, to the not unwelcome encroachments of death, when it is for the life, the vitality of their language that we value writers? Beckett became himself as a writer when he realized in his very words a principle of death: in clichés, which are dead but won't lie down; in a dead language and its memento mori; in words which mean their own opposites, like cleaving; and in what Beckett called a syntax of weakness.
This artful study explores the relation between deep convictions about life or death and the incarnations which these take in the exact turns of a great writer, the realizations of an Irishman who wrote in English and in French, two languages with different apprehensions of life and of death.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Not only a superb work of criticism but also an extremely funny book."—New York Review of Books

"Rick's fascinates, teases and enriches our understanding."—Sunday Telegraph

"The best introduction to why Beckett writes as he does."—TLS

"Ricks is justifiably considered one of the foremost interpreters of Beckett, and this essay is a brilliant example of scintillating commentary, abstruse references, and ironic allusion....Recommended."—The Reader's Review

"An eye-and-ear catching book....[A] learned, marvelously witty, always serious analysis of how the desire to die paradoxically gives so much of Beckett's prose its uniqueness and élan."—The Beckett Circle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780192824073
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Series:
Clarendon Lectures in English Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.61(d)
Lexile:
1250L (what's this?)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >