Investigating the themes and ideas that sparked Samuel Beckett?s writing career, this valuable guide explores one of the least known periods in Beckett?s early life. Having just returned from Paris where he had met James Joyce, Beckett?s brief academic career at Trinity College is detailed through a student?s extensive notes from modern French lectures delivered in 1930 and 1931. Outlining Beckett?s opinions and thoughts during a formative intellectual period, many important questions are explored, such as How did he define the modern novel of his day? What should literature strive to achieve? and What should literature avoid? Revealing the authors that he studied, praised, and criticized?including Racine, Flaubert, Balzac, Gide, Stendahl, and Dostoyevsky?this informative study of his early teachings examine his preferences as a reader and the literary theories he was developing that later influenced his novels and drama. The many arguments discussed in this perceptive history provide an understanding of the intellectual basis of modernism and spotlight a previously unstudied stage in life of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.