John Pilling


Since its inception three years ago the Journal of Beckett Studies has published two inédits of Beckett’s, the television play Ghost trio (now available in book form in the Faber volume Ends and odds) in the first issue and the text ‘neither’ in the fourth issue. We were also able in issue 3 to make available to a wider public than had been possible previously the important prose work All strange away (now available in a trade edition from John Calder (Publishers), and the subject of an extensive review article in this issue). In this fifth number we publish an extract from Beckett’s present prose ‘work in progress’ (another extract from which appears in New writing and writers 17) and are once again deeply in debt to the great and continuing generosity of Samuel Beckett himself. There can be no greater stimulus to the Beckett exegete than the thought that Beckett’s oeuvre is still developing in new directions despite (and at the same time because of) the forbidding obstacles he has discovered (and at the same time planted) in a path that now reaches back exactly fifty years. The new directions in Beckett criticism are also well represented in this issue, notably in the review article and in a fresh approach to Endgame, but without neglecting the tried and trusted traditions: the relevance of a philosophical approach to Murphy and the overwhelming importance of Dante to the corpus as a whole. The practice begun in Journal of Beckett Studies Number 3 of including articles on areas that are adjacent, in one way or another, to those mapped out by Beckett continues here in the shape of an important re-assessment of Nathalie Sarraute and a radical revaluation of Harold Pinter’s most famous play.