Forgive me now and always for all my stupidities and blanknesses, I am only a tiny little part of a creature, self-hating vestiges, remains of an old longing, when I was little, for rounding out, even on a small radius. That shuts you in your whole life long. And one drives in vain towards figurelessness.

These words, which Beckett wrote to art historian Georges Duthuit on August 12, 1948, underpin the line of inquiry Joseph Anderton takes in his first monograph, Beckett's Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (published by Bloomsbury in 2016 and out in paperback in 2017). Anderton's focus on the nature of this “drive towards figurelessness” in Beckett's well-known texts written after the Second World War positions Beckett's work in the shadow of the historical context in which they were written. The study does not seek to pinpoint references...

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