Hugh Kenner, A Readers’ Guide to Samuel Beckett (1973).
A Readers’ Guide to Samuel Beckett (1973)

clearest, most limpid, most disciplined joiner of words in the Englsih language today [10]

We shall no find out who Godot is, and shall waste our time trying. Nor are we meant to ask what Godot ‘means’ (‘If I knew, I would have said so in the play’, said Beckett.) [10] the quality of their waiting [11]

he has no minor works; each undertaking is of the same magnitude [11]

By the time we arrive on the scene, as readers or as spectators, the story is over, and what is left is a situation amidst which it is being recalled ... [9] Since the story .. .is frequently of secondary imprtance, he will often use and er-use a story, or a motif, until we are apt to supose tha we are re-reading versions of the same work. [12] The torment he has devised for many characters (who deserve it) is the torment of self-repetition, reciting the same tale again and again. [12]

fiction can afford to be most unspecific about what the stage manager must specify, and can dilate as a play cannot on mental nuances. [12]

after Madame Bovary the theme of fiction after fiction proved to be illusion. [13]

[...] Endgame, I think his best play, is that apparent impossibility, a play abut a solipsist’s world, accomplished with no Pirandello flummery. its world is monstrous, but o is the world we are defining, the world spun abotu one man who is acustomed to dominate because we can dominate or mental worlds. Its grotesque actualities ... correspond to Hamm’s monstrous egocentric vision ... [13]

Murphy ... elaborately jocular, in Watt he is reporting the results of defective research, in Mercier et Camier he lets us know that he is content to be arbitrary, the novel, then, explicitly the novelist’s fantasy. 16]

the experience of living in France during the Occupaton systematised cruelties [16]

Kenner willingly foregoes discussion of uncollected pieces.

The players in Play are like sentient tape recorders, switched on and of at whim but never changing a word. And it was somehow to be expected that Beckett shold eventually devise a two-part structre of exact recurrent, thogh no audience, as heraclitus foretold, steps twice in the same stream. [157]

How often in Beckett’s work, the long-age death of love has been the crucial event! [161]

The reason Embers failed entails a problem that has beset Beckett’s work since Endgame. He has been preoccupied since then with illusion - one pauses to remark that Happy Days is the exception - preoccupied with solipism, with lonely people haunted by interior voices, with peoplings (How it Is) that may be the illusions of solitude. [163]

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