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Palgrave Macmillan

Samuel Beckett’s Legacies in American Fiction

Problems in Postmodernism

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Provides a wide-ranging survey of Beckett’s influence over American fiction
  • Considers Beckett’s dissemination in the US through the author’s longtime relationship with the Evergreen Review
  • Investigates Beckett’s role in the development of literary postmodernism through close textual analysis

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About this book

Samuel Beckett’s Legacies in American Fiction provides an overdue investigation into Beckett’s rich influences over American writing. Through in-depth readings of postmodern authors such as Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Paul Auster and Lydia Davis, this book situates Beckett’s post-war writing of exhaustion and generation in relation to the emergence of an explosive American avant-garde. In turn, this study provides a valuable insight into the practical realities of Beckett’s dissemination in America, following the author’s long-standing relationship with the countercultural magazine Evergreen Review and its dramatic role in redrawing the possibilities of American culture in the 1960s. While Beckett would be largely removed from his American context, this book follows his vigorous, albeit sometimes awkward, reception alongside the authors and institutions central to shaping his legacies in 20th and 21st centuryAmerica.

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Table of contents (7 chapters)


Everyone knows Beckett’s influence is global, but this is the first study to examine his influence on fiction in America with the thoroughness the topic deserves. It is a fresh, lucid, and necessary book, which sheds fascinating new light not just on Beckett but on postmodernism and its legacy.


    Bran Nicol, Professor of English Literature, University of Surrey


Authors and Affiliations

  • London, UK

    James Baxter

About the author

Dr James Baxter was awarded his PhD at the University of Reading in 2018, where he specialized in Beckett’s legacy on Postmodern American Literature. James has published articles in high-profile journals such as Textual Practice, and continues to contribute essays and reviews on popular film and music for a variety of outlets. Forthcoming projects include a study concerning the prevalence of populist poetics in American periodical culture in the 60s and 70s. 

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