New Book: Samuel Beckett in Confinement: The Politics of Closed Space by James Little, Bloomsbury Press

Confinement appears repeatedly in Samuel Beckett’s oeuvre – from the asylums central to Murphy and Watt to the carceral dynamics that shape plays such as Waiting for Godot and Endgame. Drawing on spatial theory and new archival research,

Beckett in Confinement explores these recurring concepts of closed space to cast new light on the ethical and political dimensions of Beckett’s work. Covering the full range of Beckett’s writing career, including two plays he completed for prisoners, Catastrophe and the unpublished ‘Mongrel Mime’, the book shows how this engagement with the ethics of representing prisons and asylums stands at the heart of Beckett’s aesthetics.

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Praise for Beckett in Confinement

“The many characters Beckett invented share one characteristic: they are all imprisoned or trapped in some way, no matter where they are. Samuel Beckett in Confinement: The Politics of Closed Space draws on untapped riches from Beckett’s correspondence and the archives to reconsider the obsession with entrapment, coercion and detention central to Beckett’s varied oeuvre. In this exciting and illuminating analysis, James Little offers a fresh and original reading of the work’s ethical and political dimensions, and shows us why we need to stop thinking about confinement as a metaphysical metaphor.”
–  Emilie Morin, Professor of Modern Literature, University of York, UK

“James Little’s Beckett in Confinement offers a brilliant analysis of the politics behind Beckett’s production of closed space, both as a writer and as a director. It carefully examines the move from writing about closed space to creating an art of confinement. To argue that Beckett’s use of confined space is central to the political dynamics of his works, James Little also superbly employs genetic criticism to open up the confined space of the published text and bring highly relevant draft materials back into the critical conversation.”
–  Dirk Van Hulle, Professor of Bibliography and Modern Book History, University of Oxford, UK