Flaubert, Joyce and Beckett: The Stoic Commedians

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Overview

An enlightening study of three writers, Flaubert, Joyce and Beckett: The Stoic Comedians begins with an explanation of the effect of the printing press on books. The "book as book" has been removed from the oral tradition by such features as prefaces, footnotes, and indexes. Books have become voiceless in some sense -- they are to be read silently, not recited aloud. How this mechanical change affected the possibilities of fiction is Kenner's subject. Each of the three featured authors approached this situation ...

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Overview

An enlightening study of three writers, Flaubert, Joyce and Beckett: The Stoic Comedians begins with an explanation of the effect of the printing press on books. The "book as book" has been removed from the oral tradition by such features as prefaces, footnotes, and indexes. Books have become voiceless in some sense -- they are to be read silently, not recited aloud. How this mechanical change affected the possibilities of fiction is Kenner's subject. Each of the three featured authors approached this situation in a unique, yet connected way: Flaubert as the "Comedian of the Enlightenment," categorizing man's intellectual follies; Joyce as the "Comedian of the Inventory," with his meticulously constructed lists; and Beckett as the "Comedian of the Impasse," eliminating facts and writing novels about a man alone writing.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564783806
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2005
  • Pages: 107
  • Sales rank: 986,229
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William Hugh Kenner, was a Canadian literary scholar, critic and professor.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Table of Contents

1 Gustave Flaubert : comedian of the Enlightenment 1
2 James Joyce : comedian of the inventory 30
3 Samuel Beckett : comedian of the impasse 67
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2014

    a wonderful piece of literary criticism from a master.

    The inimitable Hugh Kenner explores the way that the technology of the book has influenced the form of the novel. Where the classic novel has taken the form of a transcribed oral narrative, a voice speaking a story, the trio of Flaubert, Joyce and Beckett pushed the novel into non-narrative directions modeled on the technological artifacts of print culture. Flaubert parodies the encyclopedia; Joyce tries to stuff a city into a novel, like a geographical gazette; whereas Beckett delights in endless modal permutations.

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