Late Modernist Style in Samuel Beckett and Emmanuel Levinas

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-20
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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The works of contemporary émigrés in Paris, Samuel Beckett and Emmanuel Levinas, represent two of the most significant responses to the challenges of expression following the Second World War. They were both outspokenly critical of artistic and philosophical endeavour, producing writing that staked its value on the acknowledgement of its inability to express itself adequately. As such, this monograph will argue that, rather than representing a 'violently singular and personal point of view' as was suggested of Beckett in 1949, his work can be understood afresh in the light of his proximity to that of the 20th century philosopher Levinas.

Author Biography

Peter Fifield is a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford University, UK. He is the editor of the Samuel Beckett Society newsletter, The Beckett Circle.

Table of Contents

"When he was a war prisoner in Germany, Emmanuel Levinas was entertaining dreams of becoming a famous novelist. Fifield's fascinating study explains why, had he written the novels he was planning, they would have looked more like Beckett's texts than like Proust's: faces letting an infinite otherness shine through them, infinitesimal traces of traces, an 'otherwise than being' conveyed via a syntax of weakness made all the stronger by exaggerating its inability to say anything. Again and again, we are made to share the process of unsaying the said or unwording the word. Fifield provides a beautiful and compelling assessment of the convergence between the master of French phenomenology and the verbal genius of the Irish writer." - Jean-Michel Rabaté, Vartan Gregorian Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

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