The politics of form in Samuel Beckett’s late theatre and prose

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In ‘The Ideology of Modernism’, Georg Lukács accused Beckett, alongside other Modernists, of having turned away from the political function of literature. This article seeks to challenge such a view of Beckett as an apolitical writer. With reference to two works in different forms–the stage-play Catastrophe (1982) and the short prose work Company (1980)–it is argued that the more social form of the theatre might fail in its attempts to protest against prevailing social and political conditions. In contrast, the work of the prose, in its relation to the Bildungsroman, is seen as political precisely in its adherence to an asocial conception of man.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of English Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Aesthetics
  • Artistotle
  • Beckett
  • Bildungsroman
  • literary form
  • Lukács, Georg
  • politics
  • Samuel
  • theatre
  • theatrical embodimenttwentieth-century literature


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