While most European editors in the so-called Sattelzeit (the period leading up to and following after the French Revolution) were preoccupied with establishing and fixating national Urtexts in the service of nation-building, authors became increasingly aware of the literary creation as a process and started preserving their rough drafts and manuscripts. This trend prefigured a Darwinian change in editorial thinking: from an essentialist approach to a new focus on gestations and processes, marked by an acceptance of imperfection and an appreciation of the value of ‘mistakes’ as a crucial element in the dynamics of writing.
Insofar as writing can be regarded as a form of thinking, authors' manuscripts may serve as tools for interdisciplinary research in the area between literary studies and cognitive philosophy. This article studies the manuscript versions of Beckett's late texts “Ceiling” and as a case study to analyze the ways in which genetic Beckett studies can contribute to recent “enactivist” developments in cognitive philosophy. In terms of methodology, the article proposes to extend Brian Richardson's concept of “denarration” with a genetic dimension in order to study the way Beckett “decreated” traditional models of the mind and prefigured new ones.
This essay investigates to what extent it is possible with hindsight, on the basis of manuscripts, to reconstruct the cognitive process underlying the textual genesis of a literary work. The case study is Beckett’s novel Molloy and the characterization of Molloy and Moran against the background of Beckett’s reading of André Gide’s Dostoïevsky and Pierre Gustave Brunet’s Curiosités théologiques. The seemingly programmatic Molloy/Moran dichotomy, possibly modelled after Gide’s contrast between Dostoevsky and Balzac, turns out to be the result of an écriture à processus rather than à programme. This case study serves to illustrate how consciousness enactment, combined with an enactivist approach to cognition, can be of help in defining the role of the reader in genetic criticism.
The notes on the Presocratics, which Samuel Beckett wrote in the 1930s, are interesting and perhaps even paradigmatic for genetic Beckett studies. To examine this presocratic matter, this essay opens with some pre-Beckettian observations. After a short analysis of Beckett's notes on the Presocratics and of their reverberations in his post-war texts, the essay concludes with an examination of the way in which these notes may be of help in making a methodological distinction between source studies and genetic criticism.
As a tribute to Marius Buning, in his capacity as Joyce and Beckett scholar, this article starts from the -shape on the page of the Book of Kells, discussed in Joyce's . This -shape is relevant to Beckett's treatment of the Manichaean separation of light and darkness in . Beckett's notes on this “wild stuff” from the reveal a chiastic “shape of ideas” that mattered to both Joyce and Beckett. But whereas Joyce employed the chiasmus as a stylistic device to mark his characters' epiphanies, Beckett turned it into a structural principle of reversibility.