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research in poetry

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Trapped in thought; a study of the Beckettian mentality.

Levy, Eric P.

Syracuse U. Pr.


248 pages



Irish studies


To some critics, to describe certain passages by Beckett as empty pits would be to assign them too much space and air. Levy (English, U. of British Columbia) understands well that critics have difficulty interpreting what may appear to be nothing but what he calls "formal brilliance." Instead of assigning Beckett's less-penetrable texts to the category of mystery, he seeks the great paradox of Beckett, which is the purpose of purposelessness, the understanding of life as the inability to begin that which is not yet ended or to end that which has not yet begun. After a review of critics that also serves as his introduction, Levy shows how Beckett's opacity hides an open wound carefully tended so it cannot be touched by healing, a construct in which all content is removed from experience except that consistent with the attitude registering it.

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