English 372b 
Debora Sherman
TTH 2:30 - 4 
HU III

Joyce/Beckett

Writing for The Guardian in 1991, Seamus Deane characterized Irish writing in general and Beckett’s writing in particular as caught between “silence and eloquence”:  “Yet time and again the rhetoric of their work enacts a movement that begins in aphasia and ends in eloquence.”  We will want to test this critical formulation against the work itself, in this case a comprehensive reading of Joyce, in the most prolix, the most carnivalized of texts, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and Beckett, where texts border upon or court in silence their own undoing.  We will want to press issues of language, of text, of reading, of narration, and the experimentalism in form that produces these as issues that exfoliate from these texts.  As an alternative or possible corrective to readings which seem to isolate language and theory, we will also want to recuperate Joyce and Beckett as Irish writers in the postcolonial readings that are much underway in the critical community, looking for the inscription of and marking of that colonial experience in the language itself.  More provocatively, perhaps, we will want to suggest that those experiences of a (post)colonial language are not unrelated to but form a radicalized space in which to explore seemingly theoretical issues of language entailed in the philosophically rich problematic of language as it mediates (or fails to mediate) consciousness.

 

Texts

           
Joyce:                        Ulysses
                        Finnegans Wake

Beckett:            Three Novels (Molloy; The Unnamable)
                        Waiting for Godot
                        Endgame; Not I; That; Krapp’s Last Tape
            `           

Pre-Requisites: Two 200 level English Courses, or consent of the instructor

Limited enrollment of 15