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Demented Particulars: The Annotated 'Murphy'
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Demented Particulars offers a detailed annotation of Samuel Beckett’s first published novel, Murphy. The book includes an extensive Introduction, which outlines the compositional and publishing history of the novel, the critical debate, an account of Beckett’s reading that went into the book, and a sophisticated discussion of the ‘Cartesian catastrophe’ at the heart of this comic cosmos. There is also an extensive bibliography of works pertinent to Murphy, and a thematic Index. The main thrust of the book concerns the page by page annotations of the novel itself, with close reference to the range of Beckett’s reading (literary, philosophical, theological, biographical and other) that went into the making of this encyclopedic work. The importance of the study lies not simply in the discovery of many new facts, but equally in the assessment of how these laid the foundations for so much of Beckett’s later work. The book pays tribute to the astounding range of Beckett’s reading in the 1930s, and in so doing documents with precision the extent to which Beckett’s later writings, and his dramatic pieces in particular, arise out of the matrix of the earlier works.
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