In 1983, Frederik Smith made use of the occasion of a special edition of Modern Fiction Studies to take stock of Beckett criticism. Smith argued that given Beckett's attitude to the distorting glass of language, a critical book on him was 'almost a contradiction in terms', for in writing on Beckett we distort him. Smith boldly concluded that it was 'theoretically impossible to write sensibly about Samuel Beckett'. In its immediate context, Smith's essay was a brief introduction to a number of new critical works. However, within the larger, historical context of Beckett scholarship, he had made a point with such clarity and incisiveness that one wonders, when reading it, how it had not been made before. Perhaps it had, but amid the burgeoning years of the Beckett critical industry, who would have been likely to stop writing on Beckett's writing out of a fidelity to the metaphysics of the text?