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A history of genetic criticism in the works of Samuel Beckett: the authorial, the textual and the contextual

Lee, J. (2018) A history of genetic criticism in the works of Samuel Beckett: the authorial, the textual and the contextual. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This study charts how genetic criticism relating to the works of Samuel Beckett has developed since the inception of Beckett Studies. It offers a novel perspective upon this history by providing a comparative account of the cases of Joyce Studies and Proust Studies. The investigation focuses upon not only the social, cultural and institutional factors which have influenced the way genetic Beckett criticism has developed, but it also focuses upon the influential concepts and ideas of genetic criticism themselves. What is revealed through such a multifaceted analysis is Beckett Studies‘ uniquely direct concentration upon the authorial intention past the textual matters. Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the thesis. Chapter 2 gives a general outline of the circumstances and atmosphere surrounding the reception of Beckett in academia during the 1960s. Chapter 3 provides a detailed account of the establishment of the Beckett Collection at the University of Reading, which has played the most instrumental role in introducing and founding genetic studies of Beckett. The chapter also takes note of James Knowlson‘s and John Pilling‘s announcement of the arrival of the second generation of Beckett scholars. Chapter 4 elaborates upon the general landscape of coexistence and competition during the 1980s, between the institutionalised authorial focus and emergent theoretical trends as they pertain to Beckett. Chapter 5 follows the ascendancy of the authorial focus, precipitated by several monumental publications produced by Knowlson and Pilling during the 1990s. Chapter 6 offers in-depth coverage of the mature status of genetic Beckett criticism‘s systematisation, its diversification and its movement away from dominant notions of authorial intention in so far as this has been achieved by the third-generation of Beckett scholars. The thesis ends by questioning and positing future directions of study regarding Beckett and the archive.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Matthews, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:83953

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