Reads Beckett's comic timing as part of a post war ethics of representation. Samuel Beckett is a funny writer. He is also an author whose work is taken to respond ethically to the unspeakable seriousness of the post Holocaust situation. How can these two statements sit together? Ranging widely over Beckett's fiction, drama and critical writings, and including readings of Murphy, the Trilogy, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, the late prose and the late plays, this book demonstrates that it is through Beckett's comic timing that we can understand the double gesture of his art: the ethical obligation to represent the world how it is while, at the same time, opening up a space for how it ought to be. Presents invative readings of the comedy found in Beckett's fiction, drama and critical writings; spans Beckett's entire oeuvre, using published and unpublished sources; engages with recent and contemporary philosophical approaches to literature, including work by Derrida, Badiou, Levinas, and Ador; makes a unique contribution to theoretical work on comedy and laughter and provides a rigorous introduction to the theoretical debates surrounding the relationship between modernist literature and a post war ethics of representation.
Laura Salisbury is RCUK Research Fellow in Science, Technology, and Culture at Birkbeck, University of London.