‘On Beckett: Essays and Criticism’ (Revised Edition) by S. E. Gontarski

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On Beckett: Essays and Criticism is the first collection of writings about the Nobel Prize–winning author that covers the entire spectrum of his work, and also affords a rare glimpse of the private Beckett.

More has been written about Samuel Beckett than about any other writer of this century – countless books and articles dealing with him are in print, and the progression continues geometrically. “On Beckett” brings together some of the most perceptive writings from the vast amount of scrutiny that has been lavished on the man; in addition to widely read essays there are contributions from more obscure sources, viewpoints not frequently seen. Together they allow the reader to enter the world of a writer whose work has left an impact on the consciousness of our time perhaps unmatched by that of any other recent creative imagination.

The contributors include the names of most of the minds of the twentieth century who have grappled in print with the meaning of the Beckett phenomenon. Among them are many of the artists who had a major role in bringing Beckett’s work to the stage and who worked side-by-side with Beckett, such as Alan Schneider, Roger Blin, Herbert Blau and Jackie MacGowran. Also included are some of the foremost writers of our time, whose encounter with the work of Beckett has produced lasting commentary, such as Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot and Martin Esslin. Among the noted Beckett scholars found here are Ruby Cohn, Walter D. Asmus, and James Knowlson. An interview with Susan Sontag and William S. Burroughs completes the book.