After the Final No: Samuel Beckett's Trilogy by Thomas Cousineau

By Thomas Cousineau

This research explores the dialectic of destruction and renewal within the paintings that Samuel Beckett considered as his masterpiece: the trilogy of novels he wrote after international warfare II. It translates the trilogy as proposing a subversive critique of the 3 idols -- mom, father, and self -- to which humanity has searched for security and counsel all through history.


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In keeping with this aim, the Encyclopedia contains, among other things, (1) synopses of all of Kafka's fictional works, as well as his published and unpublished essays; (2) brief descriptions of the primary characters of his fictional texts; (3) information about his literary notebooks, diaries, and epistolary correspondence; (4) discussions of the published editions of his works; (5) explanations of his relationships with family members, friends, and significant contemporaries; (6) descriptions of his reception of major writers, artists, and thinkers; (7) information about Kafka's life and the intellectual climate in his native Prague; and, finally, (8) the elucidation of literary-historical terms, cultural concepts, and textual motifs that are central to his writing.

Aestheticism. Emerging in the latter half of the nineteenth century, aestheticism is a movement in art and literature that promotes a radical separation of the aesthetic domain from morality, religion, and politics. In so doing, it elevates the sensuous experience of the beautiful, the self-sufficiency of poetic or pictorial signification, and the creative imagination to the center of artistic activity. Consequently, aestheticism promotes the intrinsic value of fleeting experience itself and a detached view that regards life and the human self as a spectacle, rather than the cause of direct social commitment or action.

Because of extensive professional and administrative commitments by the two original authors, progress on the book moved slowly for the first several years, and the decision was eventually made to invite others to become part of an author collective. In 2001 Rolf Goebel and Clayton Koelb officially joined the group, and the pace of work on the manuscript began to pick up. Over the course of work on the book, especially with the addition of the new authors, the original list of entries was revised and, above all, considerably shortened.

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