UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The unnamable text : a deconstructive reading of Beckett’s The unnamable Nixon, Nicola C.


Traditional criticism of Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable has sought to establish a universal "truth" or unified consciousness behind the dispersive nature of the text, and consequently readings of the novel have been both reductive and inadequate. Because Beckett's text distorts and displaces traditional narrative tools, and the Western metaphysical tradition from which they arise, criticism concerned with the upheaval of tradition is more appropriate for reading The Unnamable. The thesis takes three different textual positions in the text--the question of beginnings and endings in the text, the problematic of the subject (the proliferation of the "I" versus a concept of the unified consciousness), and the notion of propriety in the concept of the proper name--and engages in textual play with the text. By using certain modified methods of what we might provisionally call "deconstruction," the readings open the metaphors in the text, and examine the nature of the distortion of tradition that Beckett achieves? the readings are productive rather than reductive. The thesis is more concerned with enacting the upheaval of The Unnamable, and is less concerned with describing the textual ruptures or arriving at any fixed meanings or conclusions, for that would be to remain strictly within the tradition that Beckett and the decontructors attempt to dislodge.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.