Beckett, Decadence, and the Art of Revisioning: Review of Stanley E. Gontarski, Revisioning Beckett: Samuel Beckett’s Decadent Turn, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018, pp. 320


  • Barry Allen Spence Smith College



The recent collection of occasional pieces by renowned Beckett scholar Stanley Gontarski situates the Irish Modernist’s life and work within the broader historical context of the cultural and intellectual trends of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly those trends which ran counter to bourgeois values and expectations. Within that context, he explores, among other subjects, the complex and varied forms of rewriting and revisioning central to the writer’s creative process, the most important of which are realised in the writer-cum-theatre director’s close involvement staging his dramatic works, whether for the boards, radio, television or film. Gontarski’s friendship with Beckett often imbues the collection with the authority of an eyewitness, a privileged proximity always kept in service to meticulous scholarship..

Keywords: theatre; Samuel Beckett; decadence; Barney Rosset; revisioning

Author Biography

  • Barry Allen Spence, Smith College


    Department of Classical Languages and Literatures