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Samuel Beckett's Samuel Johnson

Stephen John Dilks
The Modern Language Review
Vol. 98, No. 2 (Apr., 2003), pp. 285-298
DOI: 10.2307/3737811
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3737811
Page Count: 14
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Samuel Beckett's Samuel Johnson
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Abstract

Before 1937 Beckett was a mere footnote in Joyce studies. In that year he developed a selective portrait of Johnson that helped him begin to articulate a post-Joycean aesthetic. The 1937 Johnson Notebooks suggest that the 1945 incident celebrated by Paul Lawley and others as Beckett's creative 'turning point' was preceded by a less dramatic, but equally important, period of preparation. After 1937 Beckett began to fulfil his 1932 vow to 'get over J.J.' The version of Johnson in the 1937 Notebooks allows us to identify a significant, but under-appreciated, step in the development of a distinctly Beckettian aesthetic.

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