Beckett's narrative texts present fundamental challenges not just to conceptions of modern subjectivity and identity, the relationship of time and space, or the basic cognitive modelling of reality ... read more
Beckett's narrative texts present fundamental challenges not just to conceptions of modern subjectivity and identity, the relationship of time and space, or the basic cognitive modelling of reality through hierarchically structured differentiation; they also constantly pose the question of possibility of narrative itself. By deconstructing our notions of character, setting, event as well as of a more or less linear narrative progression or the distinction between narrative levels, Beckett's prose texts sound the very limits of what can still be considered narrative. At the same time, they, thus, highlight the very processes of hermeneutic understanding and their epistemological, ontological and anthropological assumptions. By focussing mainly on the famous Trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable) but also taking into account Beckett's later prose, this course aims at tracing the radicalization of Beckett's deconstruction of the genre of the novel and at situating it within its historical and philosophical contexts at the brink between modernist and postmodernist writing.
As these are difficult texts, I strongly recommend that participants familiarize themselves at least with the Trilogy prior to the start of the class.
Participants will have to meet the standard requirements: regular attendance, response papers and a presentation are obligatory, credits can be obtained by submitting a term paper.