Beckett and Buddhism is a new work from Cambridge University Press by long-time Beckett scholar and Society member Angela Moorjani .
Drawing on letters and archives along with recent studies of Buddhist thought and Schopenhauer’s knowledge of it, the book charts the Buddhist concepts circling through Beckett’s visions of the ‘human predicament’. Moorjani offers an in-depth elucidation of texts that are shown to intersect with the negative and paradoxical path of the Buddha, which she sets in dialogue with Western thinking. She brings further perspectives from cognitive philosophy and science to bear on creative emptiness, the illusory ‘I’, and Beckett’s probing of the writing process.
Moorjani states in her introduction that it was ‘in order to understand Beckett’s fascination with cyclical existence, the ‘not I’, timelessness, the ‘unborn’, and the void that led to this study’s exploration of the congruence of his texts with Buddhist thought and its transmission by Schopenhauer’. Hoping that her book will also be accessible to general readers as well as Beckett scholars she writes that the readership she has in mind is one ‘similar to the audience at the Samuel Beckett Summer School at Trinity College Dublin’ where the book had its genesis, and where she was taken by the mix of attendees ‘consisting of undergraduate and graduate students and scholars of Beckett and other fields as well as nonacademic participants with varied backgrounds’.
An extended excerpt from the introduction can be read here.
More information here where the book can be ordered at a discounted rate to Society members by applying the code BAB2021 to the order.