Literary Criticism

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The Imperative of Narration

Beckett, Bernhard, Schopenhauer, Lacan

Author Text to Follow

This is the first book to deal with the self-reflexive nature of narration of Beckett and Bernhard. Samuel Beckett’s and Thomas Bernhard’s works are representative of a persisting perplexity with regard to language. The texts of both authors are marked by their narrator’s obsessive need to write, which is inextricably intertwined with their profound suspicion of language. The perpetuation of the narration is explained as an imperative, a simultaneously conscious and unconscious command which forces the artist to submit to the creative process.

The author places this inexplicable force of the imperative within the context of Arthur Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theory and Jacques Lacan’s concept of desire. The attempt to define and interpret the two authors’ prose and drama is displaced by this sense of the infinity of desire (Lacan) and by the eternal becoming of the will (Schopenhauer), which reveal themselves to lie at the heart of Beckett’s and Bernhard’s creativity.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-898723-59-2
Hardback Price: £49.50 / $75.00
Release Date: January 1997
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-673-8
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: August 2014
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Contents to Follow

The notion of an ‘imperative’ is clearly and boldly put forward in this wonderful essay.
Jean-Michel Rabaté, Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania

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