Professor Patrick Bixby
Patrick Bixby, Assistant Professor of British Literature at Arizona State University, studied at UCLA (B.A., psychology), CSU Long Beach (M.A., English), and Emory University (Ph.D., English). While at Emory, he served as a Graduate Fellow (1998-2002) and an Assistant to the Editors (2002-2003) for The Letters of Samuel Beckett, positions which provided the opportunity to work closely with the correspondence, to perform extensive biographical research, and to access library archives worldwide. His own research falls primarily under the heading of Irish studies, but also includes British modernism, Continental philosophy, postcolonial theory and criticism, and the history of the novel.
Dr. Bixby's recently published monograph, Samuel Beckett and the Postcolonial Novel (Cambridge UP, 2009), sets out to revise the Irishman's reputation as a distinctly "apolitical" and "ahistorical" writer. Placing Beckett's novels in the context of the newly founded Irish Free State, the study explores for the first time their confrontation with the legacies of both Irish nationalism and British imperialism. In doing so, it reveals Beckett's fiction as a remarkable example of how postcolonial writing addresses the relationships between private consciousness and public life, as well as those between the novel form and a cultural environment including not only the literary tradition, but also political speeches, national monuments, and anthropological studies. With special attention to these relationships, the study demonstrates Beckett's challenge to familiar narratives of personal identity and communal belonging, which makes his writing integral to understanding the history of the novel and the fate of modernism, in addition to the emergence of postcolonial literature.