Samuel Beckett's 'Philosophy Notes'

ISBN : 9780198734864

Steven Matthews; Matthew Feldman
576 ページ
135 x 216 mm

The Irish writer and Nobel Prize winner, Samuel Beckett, assembled for himself a history of western philosophy during the 1930s, just at the point at which his first novel, Murphy, was coming together. The 'Philosophy Notes', together with related notes taken at that time about St. Augustine, thereafter provided Beckett with a store of knowledge, but also with phrases and images, which he took up in the major work that won him international and enduring fame, from the dramas Waiting for Godot and Endgame, through to the late prose works Worstward Ho and Stirrings Still. This edition presents, for the first time, Beckett's full 'Philosophy Notes', which constitute his most extensive unpublished text. The Notes display Beckett's own interests and emphases within the history of western philosophy, from the pre-Socratic Greeks onwards, together with more familiar figures in the study of his work, such as Descartes, Leibnitz, and Geulincx. Here we see Beckett's original thoughts on all of these figures for the first time. The Notes also, tellingly and often comically, display Beckett's impatience with many aspects of philosophy, such as its anthropological or anthropomorphic bias, or the idealism of the Enlightenment and Kant. The Edition contains an extensive Introduction, outlining the origin of Beckett's Notes, his major sources and approach to them, the historical context for his view of philosophy, and the significance of Beckett's 'Philosophy Notes' within his mature writings. The many footnotes then suggest ways in which particular aspects of the philosophy narrated here by Beckett suggest fresh insights into those later writings-the images, but also the creative impulses, behind some of his most famous texts. This Edition, further, raises larger questions about, and perspectives upon, the relation between philosophy and literature in the twentieth century and beyond.


Note on the Text
Samuel Beckett's Philosophy Notes
Ancient Philosophy
Hellenistic-Roman Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Philosophy of Renaissance
Philosophy of the Enlightenment
Philosophy of the Nineteenth Century
Appendix: Samuel Beckett's Notes on 'Augustine of Hippo and Porphyry on Plotinus'


Steven Matthews is Professor of Modernist Literature and Beckett Studies at the University of Reading. He is Director of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre at that University. He has published widely on Modernism and Contemporary Literature, including books on Irish Poetry, on Yeats, and on T. S. Eliot, together with many essays on Beckett's work. ; Matthew Feldman is Emeritus Professor at the University of Teesside, and Professorial Fellow at the University of York. He is author of the seminal Beckett's Books (2006) and Falsifying Beckett (2015). He is co-editor of two book series for Bloomsbury, Historicizing Modernism and Modernist Archives.