Ever since the first appearance of Proust in 1931, Samuel Beckett has responded extremely ambivalently, both praising and belittling his subject. Captivated by his occasionally contagious enthusiasm for it, Beckett's own critics have praised Proust as the ideal guide to both its subject and its author, creating the myth that their concerns are somehow one and the same.
Nicholas Zurbrugg's work – itself virtually a trilogy of critical studies – offers a timely antidote to this confusion. He begins by reassessing the Proustian vision before considering Beckett's Proust when he examines the evolution of this essay with particular reference to Beckett's own annotated copies of the work. Finally he reassesses Beckett's fictional vision, arguing that its peculiarly anti-Proustian character may be traced from his first, unpublished novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, to Company and his most recent writing of the 1980s.
I found [it] such compelling reading that once I had started I could not lay it down. . . . No-one can read this without learning much that is permanently useful not only about its central subjects, but also about lines of influence in modern literature, and about the nature of literary experiences. . . . I am sure I shall have cause to reread it many times.' Professor S.S.PrawerMore info →