A Beckett Canon

Ruby Cohn
An indispensable guide to the oeuvre of Samuel Beckett, spanning sixty years


A Beckett Canon by renowned theater scholar Ruby Cohn is an indispensable guide to the complete works of Samuel Beckett. Beginning in 1929 with Beckett's earliest work, the book examines the variety of genres in which he worked: poems, short stories, novels, plays, radio pieces, teleplays, reviews, and criticism. Cohn grapples with the difficulties in Beckett's work, including the opaque erudition of the early English verse and fiction, and the searching depths and syntactical ellipsis of the late works. Intended as a resource to accompany the reading of Beckett's writing—in English or French, published or unpublished, in part or as a whole—the book offers context, information, and interpretation of the work of one of the last century's most important writers.

The late Ruby Cohn (1922-2011) was Professor of Comparative Drama at the University of California, Davis. She was author or editor of over twenty books, including many influential volumes on the work of Samuel Beckett.

Praise / Awards

  • "Those who think they know their Beckett will be surprised and delighted at the wealth of materials Cohn presents. . . . The book is a notable contribution to our understanding and appreciation of one of the last century's most challenging and rewarding writers. Cohn's scholarship is humane and sane and her style is direct and free of the jargon that clogs most criticism."
    —Gerry Dukes, Irish Independent, January 2002
  • "Deeply immersed in Beckett's life and writing, Cohn is also an exceptionally astute commentator on acting and directing. Although written primarily for a scholarly audience, I hope those who stage Beckett's plays will also consult it. A Beckett Canon makes for illuminating and deeply pleasurable reading, whether taken in bits and pieces or in long sustained gulps."
    —Peggy Phelan, Modern Drama, Winter 2002
  • "Sensitivity to nuance enriches a reading of Beckett's canon. . . ."
    Theatre Research International, Volume 27: No. 2 (2002)
  • "Cohn's approach is intensely personal, the fruit of decades of research, and her book provides a unique resource to accompany and enrich our reading of Beckett's books and scripts. Providing context and informed discussion and interpretation both of well-known and obscure or unpublished texts, Ruby Cohn is to be praised for her inclusiveness. And though some may disagree with her interpretations and chronology, every serious Beckett scholar will want to own this book."
    —Karl Orend, TLS, August 22, 2003

Look Inside

Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 432pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11190-9

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  • $104.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2005
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03131-3

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  • $30.95 U.S.

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