John Fletcher’s “Beckett and Swift” was published in 1962 in a difficult-to-locate French journal, and yet when I read it in 1967 or so, it had a timely impact on me. While others had looked at Beckett’s connection with French literature, Fletcher was one of the very first to mount a case for the important connection between Beckett and a major writer of the British eighteenth century. Some years later, on rereading Fletcher’s comparative study while working on my book Beckett’s Eighteenth Century (Palgrave and St. Martin’s Presses, 2002), I was struck by the continuing value of the essay. In pursuing Beckett’s ‘dialogue’ with British writers of two centuries ago, I have built upon what Fletcher and a few others began to see during Beckett’s lifetime. I am delighted that this pioneering monograph is now being made available in English and in a form that will make it readily accessible to scholars.
(Frederik N. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
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