The Imperative of Narration

For more rights information Contact Us

More About This Title The Imperative of Narration


This work, the first of its kind to deal with the self-reflexive nature of narration of Samuel Beckett and Thomas Bernhard, shows how their works are representative of a persisting perplexity with regard to language. The Imperative of Narration details how the texts of both authors are marked by their narrator’s obsessive need to write, which is inextricably intertwined with their profound suspicion of language. The perpetuation of the narration is explained as an imperative, a simultaneously conscious and unconscious command that forces the artist to submit to the creative process. The author places this inexplicable force of the imperative within the context of Arthur Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theory and Jacques Lacan’s concept of desire. The attempt to define and interpret the two authors’ prose and drama is displaced by this sense of the infinity of desire and by the eternal becoming of the will, which reveal themselves to lie at the heart of Beckett’s and Bernhard’s creativity.


Catharina Wulf is the editor of a special issue of Samuel Beckett Today, and an organizer of literary festivals.