Course code:



A - Advanced

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Once every three years

Samuel Beckett’s early studies of the masterworks of Marcel Proust (À la recherche du temps perdu, translated into English as In Search of Lost Time) and James Joyce (Finnegans Wake) are a useful starting point for examining the work of these three individuals as a particularly tightly-knit cluster of sensibilities working on the cusp of Modernism’s slide into Postmodernism.

All three writers were attempting to describe the totality of human existence, as particularly lived and reflected at the times they lived in. For Proust and Joyce this endeavor entailed a precise, expansive, and exhaustive technique, whereas Beckett responded with a contracted use of language reflecting a dwindling human capacity to comprehend our circumstance. All three authors challenged readers’ perceptions of form and pushed language to the limits of its potential.

In this course we will read extensively from In Search of Lost Time, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake finishing with Beckett’s trilogy of Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnameable. Several of Beckett’s short plays and late prose pieces will also be studied. These readings will be supplemented with critical, cultural, and historical studies by Badiou, Cioran, Campbell, Pinter, Kristeva, Lukács, Žižek, and others.



The Nature of Narrative or signature of instructor.

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