Samuel Beckett's Postmodern Fictions

Brian Finney on Beckett's place in Postmodern literature
Bram van Velde, 'Sans Titre' (1970)
From Brian Finney, 'Samuel Beckett's Postmodern Fictions' (courtesy of LitBlog):
'After completing The Unnamable, Beckett felt that he had exhausted his vein of self-immersive narration. The nineteen fifties were the years in which Beckett established his reputation as a dramatist with Waiting for Godot, Endgame and Krapp's Last Tape. In 1950 he did begin writing a series of linked short prose texts in French that he reluctantly released for publication in 1955 as Textes pour rien (Texts for Nothing ). In 1956 he claimed that the trilogy brought him to the point where subsequently he felt he was repeating himself: "In the last book--L'Innommable--there's complete disintegration...There's no way to go on." He adds that Texts pour rien "was an attempt to get out of the attitude of disintegration, but it failed." Apart from being wary of Beckett's constant put-downs of his own work, failure, as he wrote, is in his view the modern artist's world. As the voice remarks in the first text, "nothing like breathing your last to put new life in you." Texts for Nothing certainly does not match the virtuoso performance of The Unnamable. Yet it points forward to Beckett's last full-length novel, How It Is, by looking to form for a way out of the dead end reached at the close of The Unnamable.'