Cover: Beckett’s Art of Mismaking, from Harvard University PressCover: Beckett’s Art of Mismaking in HARDCOVER

Beckett’s Art of Mismaking

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Product Details


$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674504851

Publication Date: 01/04/2016


208 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Excellent… Where most studies are busy narrowing their focus, Durantaye roams across the Beckett canon, making connections between early and late works, and with other writers too where pertinent… Durantaye deploys theory with a confidence and lightness that are exhilarating without ever becoming flamboyant or flippant… He himself is a wonderfully lucid critic, particularly when it comes to unpicking critical clichés… On questions of characterization, setting and style he is consistently illuminating, and he has, like the finest critics, an ability to ask questions that seem obvious only once they are posed.—Dan Gunn, The Times Literary Supplement

Samuel Beckett’s works continue to intrigue audiences and enthrall critics, yet for many his work remains difficult. In this lively study, La Durantaye addresses this head on and provides a fresh approach for appreciating Beckett’s aesthetic practice… Treating the essential difficulty of Beckett’s art, this volume will prove helpful to those who find Beckett’s work engaging and those who wish to understand more clearly his guiding artistic motivations.—J. S. Baggett, Choice

In this lean study, de la Durantaye combines exegesis, biography, and deeply informed critical theorizing to speculate on the meaning and methodology of Samuel Beckett’s famously demanding oeuvre. De la Durantaye’s central thesis is that Beckett’s ‘logoclasm,’ or ‘ruptured writing,’ dismantled the traditional aims of literature in order to uncover what, if anything, lay beneath the language. In dense but artful chapters, de la Durantaye explores how and why this logoclasm manifested in Beckett’s preoccupation with landscapes that evoke estrangement, his Oedipal flight from friend and mentor James Joyce’s style, and the psychopathology of his ‘gallery of moribunds.’ In interpreting Beckett’s aesthetic pessimism in terms of these categories of ‘willed creative mismaking,’ de la Durantaye goes some way toward distinguishing his book from the wealth of available studies on the modernist master. [A] brief but substantial contribution.Publishers Weekly

A fascinating account, both intelligent and irreverent—in the best sense of these words—of Samuel Beckett’s creative chaos, his mismaking ‘by design.’—Chris Ackerley, University of Otago

This book feels so different from almost every other book on Beckett. There are many insights, quick excursions, surprising allusions. The reader is a companion, part of a conversation, and the effect is very exciting, a sort of collaborative critical project. An intellectual adventure.—Michael Wood, Princeton University

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