Academic journal article Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

A Bibliography of Anglophone Critical Works on Molloy, Malone Dies, and the Unnamable

Academic journal article Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

A Bibliography of Anglophone Critical Works on Molloy, Malone Dies, and the Unnamable

Article excerpt

Editorial Note

One or more of Beckett's three novels appear in a great many pieces of literary or cultural criticism. The remit for the bibliography was to be as comprehensive as possible for publications since Raymond Federman and John Fletcher's Samuel Beckett: His Works and His Critics: An Essay in Bibliography (Berkeley: U of California P, 1970). At the same time, to cite every piece in which Molloy, Malone Dies or The Unnamable is given at least a paragraph would have been unworkable. Some of the selective principles are as follows:

Only articles, essays, chapters or books which take one or more of the three novels as a primary focus are included. Pieces which use Beckett's text(s) principally for a point of comparison are not included. By contrast, pieces which focus on readings of the Beckett text(s) by other writers (for example, by Bataille, Blanchot, Coetzee) are included. Likewise, pieces which focus on allusions in Beckett's text(s) are included. Translations of essays by French writers have not been included. Monographs on Beckett are included where they give sustained attention to any or all of the three novels. Page ranges for these are not included because they could not be registered consistently: a number of the books cited here have chapters or distinct sections on pieces from the trilogy, but others bring them back at different points. Monographs not exclusively focused on Beckett are included (under 'Other Monographs') where they contain at least one chapter that gives sustained attention to any or all of the three novels. Page ranges for these are included. The bibliography includes works published between 1970 and 2013. It is non-evaluative in the sense that no judgments about the relative quality of the work have been factored into selection; at the same time, it has entailed 'aesthetic' judgments regarding the degree of sustained attention given by a monograph, essay or article.

Two or three examples to clarify 'primary focus': A piece which has something very interesting to say about the three novels but which does not have a 'primary focus' on them is Rolf Breuer's "Paradox in Beckett," in Modern Language Review 88.3 (1993), 559-80. Though it gives attention to each of the three novels - a paragraph or two each - its emphasis is on the oeuvre. Essays of this kind, whose focus is on the oeuvre, have generally not been included. The dividing line in these cases has inevitably not always been absolutely certain. By way of contrast, James Meriwether's "Towards a Contemporary Theoretical Structure" takes the three novels as its single case study and model for the wider discussion. Martha Nussbaum's "Narrative Emotions," similarly, is organised around the trilogy. Such essays are included.

A database of the entries printed has been compiled and includes some further information, such as whether a piece focuses primarily on Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable or a combination of the three. Again, the divisions are not always clear-cut. For reasons of consistency the additional details are not printed here. However, the database can be considered a working document that may be refined and made available for scholars at a future date. There will have been oversights as well as intentional omissions in this bibliography; information on these communicated via the editors of SBT/A would be most welcome. My hope is that the bibliography will help those preparing new work on the three novels to see what has come before, as a basis for avoiding oversights of their own, and as a reference guide that gives a picture of how the field has been.

Articles and Essays

Abbott, H. Porter, "A Grammar for Being Elsewhere," in Journal of Modern Literature 6.1 (1977), 39-46.

-, "The Harpooned Notebook: Malone Dies and the Conventions of Intercalated Narrative," in Samuel Beckett: Humanistic Perspectives, ed. Morris Beja, S. E. Gontarski, and Pierre Astier (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1983), 71-79. …

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