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Il n’y a pas de Beckett

Christopher Prendergast, 14 November 1996

Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett 
by James Knowlson.
Bloomsbury, 872 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 7475 2719 9
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Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist 
by Anthony Cronin.
HarperCollins, 645 pp., £25, October 1996, 9780246137692
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol I: Waiting for Godot 
edited by Dougald McMillan and James Knowlson.
Faber, 472 pp., £75, March 1994, 0 571 14543 4
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol II: Endgame 
edited by S.E. Gontarski.
Faber, 276 pp., £50, November 1992, 0 571 14544 2
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol III: Krapp’s Last Tape 
edited by James Knowlson.
Faber, 286 pp., £50, May 1992, 0 571 14563 9
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Eleutheria 
by Samuel Beckett, translated by Barbara Wright.
Faber, 170 pp., £6.99, September 1996, 9780571178261
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... to do with religion and a text by Eric Griffiths which Cronin, understandably, misattributes to Christopher Ricks in Beckett’s Dying Words. Griffiths’s edifying send-off was impressive even by the standards of the ghastlier forms of obituary-speak: ‘Catholics pray for the dead that they be granted refrigerii sedem, quiet-is beatitudinem, et lumines ...

English Proust

Christopher Prendergast, 8 July 1993

In Search of Lost Time 
by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright.
Chatto, £15, November 1992, 0 7011 3992 7
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... Much or the last volume of Proust’s novel is devoted to life in Paris during the First World War. Proust, the least chauvinistic of writers, is nevertheless so moved by patriotic sentiment as to transgress the convention which keeps a fictional world separate from its author: In this book in which there is not a single incident which is not fictitious, not a single character who is a real person in disguise ...

The Thing

Michael Wood: Versions of Proust, 6 January 2005

In Search of Lost Time: Vol. I: The Way by Swann’s 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 496 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118031 5
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol.II: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by James Grieve.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118032 3
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. III: The Guermantes Way 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Mark Treharne.
Penguin, 640 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118033 1
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. IV: Sodom and Gomorrah 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by John Sturrock.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 9780141180342
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. V: ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Fugitive’ 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Carol Clark and Peter Collier.
Penguin, 720 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118035 8
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. VI: Finding Time Again 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Ian Patterson.
Penguin, 400 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118036 6
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The Proust Project 
edited by André Aciman.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., $25, November 2004, 0 374 23832 4
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... to ‘a’? Quoting the same sentence in his preface to the full set of new translations, Christopher Prendergast writes: ‘all paradises are lost paradises.’ This is impeccably aphoristic, and assumes that false paradises are just not paradises at all. Proust himself could be more accommodating, and at one point implies that almost anything ...

Unreal City

Michael Wood, 7 October 1993

Paris and the 19th Century 
by Christopher Prendergast.
Blackwell, 283 pp., £35, June 1993, 0 631 15788 3
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... enjoyments of the tourist city are still possible – more possible, and more permissible, than Christopher Prendergast suggests – and they are surely more appealing than the glum romanticising of awfulness by which many city-dwellers manage simultaneously to accuse and congratulate themselves. But of course ...

All the world’s a spy novel

Michael Wood: What Didn’t Happen, 30 July 2020

Counterfactuals: Paths of the Might Have Been 
by Christopher Prendergast.
Bloomsbury, 257 pp., £19.99, February 2019, 978 1 350 09009 5
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Telling It Like It Wasn’t: The Counterfactual Imagination in History and Fiction 
by Catherine Gallagher.
Chicago, 359 pp., £26.50, January 2018, 978 0 226 51241 9
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... thing.’ The problem, as this revised possibility suggests, lies not with the facts but with what Christopher Prendergast calls ‘fact-complacency’ and ‘fact-naturalisation’. ‘The “facts”,’ Prendergast writes, ‘can have an imprisoning rather than an anchoring effect, as the mask that ...

I am a Cretan

Patrick Parrinder, 21 April 1988

On Modern Authority: The Theory and Condition of Writing, 1500 to the Present Day 
by Thomas Docherty.
Harvester, 310 pp., £25, May 1987, 0 7108 1017 2
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The Order of Mimesis: Balzac, Stendhal, Nerval, Flaubert 
by Christopher Prendergast.
Cambridge, 288 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 521 23789 0
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... to which On Modern Authority belongs – currently a rather overcrowded one – is summed up by Christopher Prendergast in The Order of Mimesis as ‘a critique of authority in which, from the terms of the critique itself, what is at once presumed and indefensible is the authority of the critique’. Prendergast’s ...
... as well as the unbridgeable, while evoking something that is certainly dangerous to approach. Christopher Prendergast FranceTwo days before the Brexit referendum Le Parisien reported that 34 French businesses had written an open letter intended for the British press – the Sun was mentioned, along with the Times and the Telegraph. ‘French bosses ...
... Waugh’s predilection is to be found in Decline and Fall, written before his conversion, where Mr Prendergast confesses to a very special doubt: ‘You see it wasn’t the ordinary sort of doubt about Cain’s wife, or the Old Testament miracles or the Consecration of Archbishop Parker ... No, it was something deeper than that. I couldn’t understand why God ...

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