By John Peck
A quick background of English Literature presents a full of life introductory consultant to English literature from Beowulf to the current day. The authors write of their often lucid type which permits the reader to interact absolutely with the narrative and simply comprehend the texts when it comes to the social, political and cultural contexts during which they have been written. A masterpiece of readability and compression, this e-book is a must-have for an individual drawn to the historical past of literature from the British Isles.
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It seemed to me that many of the leading Beckett interpreters substituted their own brilliant intellectual gymnastics for what should have been solid, responsible scholarship; that they created studies that told more about the quality of the authors' minds than about Beckett's writings. This exasperating situation made me aware of the need for a factual foundation for all subsequent critical exegesis [xii]. 6 But hers is still a curiously negative stance for a fledgling biographer and critic to take, especially when writing a book about a still-living writer whose response to the enterprise was no more positive than "that he would neither help nor hinder [her]" (Bair xi).
That the similarities and differences between Joyce and Beckett have taken on almost mythic proportions is only one problem in the study of these writers. Erroneous notions, too, have been perpetuated, even though critics have attempted on numerous occasions to stamp them out. The notion that Beckett was Joyce's amanuensis still survives although Bair (71) and Gluck (27) have pointed out that Beckett's willingness to assist Joyce does not support the view that Beckett acted as a secretary. The prolifera- Page xvi tion of such misunderstandings is hard to eradicate, and John P.
She shies away from extended critical analyses; those she offers are intelligent, restrained, sober, but usually quite ancillary. , there are remarkably few nods toward critics. The standard names do appearJohn Fletcher, Ruby Cohn, Lawrence Harvey, Hugh Kenner, Vivian Mercier, often more for biographical than critical reasonsbut there is no feeling that anyone has been of more than passing help in explaining the work to her. Does the statement from the Preface quoted above mean that she has painstakingly been through the criticism and rejected almost all of it?
A Brief History of English Literature by John Peck