This volume of the bdmp analyses the genesis of one of Beckett's most important works, the novel L'Innommable / The Unnamable, written in French in 1949-50 and translated into English by Beckett in 1956-8. Through an examination of the surviving manuscripts and typescripts, as well as the French and English pre-book-publication extracts, this study locates the novel within Beckett's developing aesthetic, especially his interest in Fritz Mauthner's 'critique of language' (Sprachkritik). It aims to show that the compositional processes of both the original French version and the English translation of L'Innommable reflect, in their different ways, Beckett's attempt to achieve what he famously describes as a 'literature of the unword'.
Dirk Van Hulle is Professor of English Literature and Co-Director of the Centre for Manuscript Genetics at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Shane Weller is Professor of Comparative Literature and Co-Director of the Centre for Modern European Literature at the University of Kent, UK.
This volume is part of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (bdmp), a collaboration between the Centre for Manuscript Genetics (University of Antwerp), the Beckett International Foundation (University of Reading) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin), with the support of the Estate of Samuel Beckett.