Beckett and the Modern Novel
Additional Publication Information
Samuel Beckett's narrative innovations are among his most important contributions to twentieth-century literature. Yet contemporary Beckett scholarship rarely considers the effect of his literary influences on the evolution of his narrative techniques, focusing instead on Beckett's philosophical implications. In this study, John Bolin challenges the utility of reading Beckett through a narrow philosophical lens, tracing new avenues for understanding Beckett's work – and by extension, the form of the modern novel – by engaging with English, French, German and Russian literature. Presenting new empirical evidence drawn from major archives in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, Bolin demonstrates Beckett's preoccupation with what he termed the 'European novel': a lineage running from Sade to Stendhal, Dostoevsky, Gide, Sartre and Celine. Through close readings of Beckett's manuscripts and novels up to and including The Unnamable, Bolin provides a new account of how Beckett's fiction grew out of his changing compositional practice.