It is not often one can say that a book makes a uniquecontribution to our knowledge of Beckett’s work. But what Richard N. Coe hasdone for our understanding of the philosophical and religious aspects, or whatLawrence Harvey has told us about the close connections between Beckett’s lifeand his poetry, is now paralleled in Dr Zilliacus’s masterly and surelydefinitive study of the works for and in radio and television. No single stoneis left unturned: he has read everything germane to his topic, much of itunpublished material in the archives of universities, publishers andbroadcasting organizations around the world, and he has corresponded witheveryone who could possibly tell him anything useful. In addition he haslistened to or watched broadcasts and recordings which his own background inthe profession uniquely qualifies him to evaluate. No one will be able to writeabout Beckett’s plays in future without referring constantly to this book, thefruit of several years’ concentrated, meticulous research. It is atreasure-house of information, all of it scrupulously documented, but it ismore than that: an incisive and perceptive essay in criticism which throws newlight on , , , and , as well as on other non-media works like and which have at various times been adapted for radio ortelevision performance. As Zilliacus says, the media plays have tended to beignored by serious Beckett critics, or at least misunderstood and underrated(my own critique of , deftly rebutted by Dr Zilliacus, being a casein point); but no one will any longer have any excuse for dismissing themlightly. Quite simply, his book is indispensable.
Founded in 1951, by F. W. Bateson, Essays in Criticism soon achieved world-wide circulation, and is today regarded as one of Britain's most distinguished journals of literary criticism. Essays in Criticism covers the whole field of English Literature from the time of Chaucer to the present day. The journal maintains that originality in interpretation must be allied to the best scholarly standards. Moreover, whilst always pursuing new directions and responding to new developments, Essays in Criticism has kept a balance between the constructive and the sceptical, giving the journal particular value at a time when criticism has become so diversified. In addition to the articles, Essays in Criticism has lengthy and searching book reviews, and the 'Critical Opinion' section offers topical discussion on a wide range of literary issues.
Project MUSE - Essays in Criticism
Essay exploring the literary criticism of Matthew ArnoldIn The Study of Poetry, (1888) which opens his Essays in Criticism: Second series, in support of his plea for nobility in poetry, Arnold recalls Sainte-Beuve's reply to Napoleon