I I I

\ I

I .1

on

beckett

I
,

I

alain badiou

I
editors

alberto toscano & nina power

\

,'i

. . , , .

"

, ; ,

I

Copyright © Clinamen Press 2003 Translation, introduction Postface © Andrew published by Clinamen PTP rl:iT Unit B Aldow Enterprise Park Blackett Street Manchester M12 6AE
www.clinamen.co.uk

'The Writing of the Genenc' publIshed in French in the work Conditions by Editions du Seuil as 'L' ecriture du generique: Samuel Beckett' © Editions du Seuil, 1992 Editions du Seuil, 27 rue Jacob, Paris

This book is dedicated to the memory of our friend

Sam Gillespie

Tireless Desire published in French by Hachette as Beckett: L 'increvable desir © Hachette, 1995 Hachette Livre, 43 quai de Grenelle, Paris 'Being, Existence, Thought: Prose and Concept' published in French in the work Petit manuel d'inesthetique by Editions du Seuil as 'Etre, existence, pensee: prose et concept' First English translation © Stanford University Press Stanford University Press, 1450 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, California This book is supported by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs as part of the Burgess Programme headed for the French Embassy in London by the Institnt Franyais du Royaurne-Uni All rights reserved. No part of this edition may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written pennission of the publishers. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library hardback paperback ISBN 1903083 26 5 ISBN 1903083 30 3
,

Designed and typeset in Times New Roman with Verdana display by Ben Stebbing, Manchester Printed and bound in the UK by Biddies Ltd

i

,

.Badiou. .'Think.-- "" -- --"" " Alain Badiou On Beckett r------01 l Alain Badiou On Beckett Contents I .I I . Notes on References Note on the Contributors Acknowledgements Editors' Introduction . pig!' Author's Preface Vlll IX X Xl • • • • • I xxxv . Beckett and Contemporary Criticism Andrew Gibson Notes Index I The Writing of the Generic 37 79 113 1 19 1 37 161 I . Thought: Prose and Concept 4 What Happens 5 Postface . 2 Tireless Desire 3 Being. . . Existence. I .

1988) ISIS .W aiting/ Godot (Grove Press.Ala i n Badiou On Beckett r----- l Ala i n Badiou On Beckett Note on the References The situation regarding Beckett translations is without doubt a complicated one. 1 996) HII US How It Is (Grove Press. He is the translator of Badiou's forthcoming Handbook ofInaesthetics and The Century. C . 1996) CDW .Trilogy (Calder Publishers. London. He is currently preparing a book on ! Alberto Toscano teaches at Goldsmiths College and is the author of several articles on Badiou. 1 984) T . The Unnamable) (Grove Press. 1 994) TN .III Seen III Said (Calder Publishers. 1 958) GSP The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989 (Grove Press. Because of important terminological differences and due to the interest of Beckett's own 'self-translations' we have placed the original French (Les Editions de Minuit) quotes in . 1 997) M .Happy Days (Grove Press. 1954) or WH . Novel: From Leavis to Levinas.How It Is (Calder Publishers. . 1 996) SP Collected Shorter Plays (Grove Press.Nohow On (Company. opting for the insertion in brackets of the British (Calder Publishers and Faber and Faber) and American (Grove Press) page references in the main body of the text. . Any other comments made by the editors will appear in brackets. for a variety of oft-discussed authorial and editorial reasons. 1 986) E Endgame (Grove Press. 1 970) WG . we have endeavoured to render the references in On Beckett as practicable as possible. I. Ethics and the Badiou's reading of Beckett.Murphy (Calder Publishers. 1991) W W (Calder Publishers. I i Note on the Contributors I: . 1 970) att W US W att (Grove Press. . In order to allow the reader to navigate Badiou's essays and refer to the Beckett texts when necessary. Page references are to the editions currently in print by each publisher. W orstward Ho) (Grove Press. Nina Power is currently studying for a PhD in philosophy at Middlesex University. 1 983) - Andrew Gibson is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Royal Holloway and is the author of Postmodernity. I . Nietzsche and Schelling. III Seen III Said.The Complete Dramatic W orks (Faber and Faber.Collected Shorter Prose 1945-1980 (Calder Publishers.Three Novels (Molloy. 1 990) CSP . The abbreviations used throughout the ' texts for the British and American editions are as follows: . 1 997) MUS . 1995) HD . 1 983) HII.Worstward Ho (Calder Publishers. the endnotes.Company (Calder Publishers. Malone Dies. i' i .Murphy (Grove Press. 1 970) NO . De1euze .

as well as from the majority ofAnglo-American Beckett scholarship. I i . and. for example. our thanks go to Alain Badiou for his unflagging support of this proje ct.-- --------.2 This introduction will seek to develop two basic theses: Firstly. also from 1 998. L 'increvable desir ( 1 995). for his assistance and generosity and Bruno Bosteels for kindly providing us with his original translation of 'The Writing of the Generic' . but a Beckett quite distinct from those of other French thinkers such as Deleuze. The editors wish to thank Leslie Hill for his insightful comments and advice on the original manuscript. amiability and useful interventions. Bill Ross at Clinamen for his patience. indebted to some of their key insights (such as. a short monograph entitled Beckett. comprise ten years of work by one of France's leading thinkers on one of the 20th century's most innovative and vital writers. that Badiou's reading ofBeckett. . I I . and finally 'Ce qui arrive' . These writings on Samuel Beckett by Alain Badiou. Blanchot's insistence on the relationship between writing and . Dr Julian Garforth at the Beckett archive University of Reading. a long chapter on W orstward Ho from the more recent Petit manuel d 'inesthetique ( 1 998). . Bataille. Peter Hallward and Ray Brassier for their vital insights into Badiou's thought. Blanchot or Derrida (to note some of the most obvious of Badiou's 'rivals' in this enterprise). these texts reveal a complex and rigorous reading of Beckett. Above all. assembled here for the first time. pig!' An Introduction to Badiou's Beckett • .1 Viewed as distinct moments in a prolonged intellectual encounter. whilst in part a response to other currently more celebrated French interpretations. a brief conference intervention. This volume brings together translations of 'Samuel Beckett: L'ecriture du generique' (the concluding chapter of the collection Conditions ( 1 992)). A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r-- l Ala i n B a d i ou On Beckett Acknowledgements 'Think.. i I . indeed.

it is entirely fatuous to think that we have (always) already understood Beckett. we can of course note the polemical nat ure of such an affirmation. . In stark contrast to pre valent readings of Be ckett's work by either Anglo-American or (the major ity of) other European commentators. From the outset Badiou's unusually strong reading thus upsets the (admittedly understandable) trepidation that has always accompanied the more careful readings of Beckett undertaken during the laller half of the 20th century. In fact. Indeed. . I i' h .they are by no means a mere 'application' of Badiou's doctrin e to a figure writing (ostensibly) in another discipline. above all.3 Certainly this lack of dialogue is revealing. appearanc e. as we shall see below.Beckett possible? The Beckett we know from Blanchot.------ Badiou On Beckett III (:oll1mentary about Beckett. '4 In the first place. quite simply. we shall arg ue that the encounter with Beckett forces Badiou to introduce concepts and ope rations which. the fundam ental tenets of his enterprise. and ultimately (and. Ind eed. in the first pla ce. being. and from numerous others. additions to. courageous . Moreover. Badiou fails to even discuss the vast bulk of contemporary Anglo-American Beckett scholarship. prima f e. whom I have always "avoided" as though I had always already read him and understood him too well. so often manifested in thc scholarship. In his exploration of Beckett's writings. however much he seems to pre­ empt us . '''----------'L A l a i n �. I" I . hy thc wry 'admission' that Beckett has stranded his critics in the position of having nothing left to do. Badiou conceives of Be ckett's oeuvre as. and not their critical reception. as well as refusing any protracted engagement with any of his French predecessors. i .__ __ --------i A l a i n B a d i ou On Beckett r----------. as with all thinking worthy of the name. and po ssibly problematic. philosophically amenable. we cannot 'avoid' Beckett. as well as their transformations. over-determining its 'literary' qualities. . is such that. that finds in Beckett so many hypostases ofthe 'paralysing' i mperative of language and silence. without a stringent and systematic investigation. more hopeful than hopeless. these two lines of inquiry wil l also give us the opportunity to consider the vexed question of the relatio nship between philosophy and literature.event. that. Badiou will thus engage in none ofthe rhetoric. Badiou outlines a vision of a pareddown.. in its general aims as well as in the detail of its argument s. he has been explicitly criticised for failing to engage with either of these two strands of Beckett study. is this affirmative. prefigured 1.J silence. i : . this distinction is precisely at stake in Badiou's notion of 'inaesthetics'). . or variations upon. I I I' . It is. above all. . from Ricks on the British side. from the manner XII XIII . or Bataille's account of Beckett's impersonal ontology) is ultim ately different in kind to them. Badiou's desire to read Beckett 'at his word' or 'to the letter' that indicates that what we are dealing with. it is worth beginning with one of Badiou's dec isive formulas: 'the lesson of Be ckett is a lesson in measure. Secondly. surpri aci singly) resourceful literary and intellectual projec t. whilst Badiou's writings on Beckett functio n to some extent as occasions for the rehearsal or mise-en-scene of the princi pal components of his philosophy . In order to indicate in what sense these texts present a unique exposition of Be ckett's thinking. as it comes to be defined by Badio u's recent doctrine of 'inaesthetics' . the end of 1l10dernity. From the outset. Rather. Taken together. nevertheless constitute considera ble. Indeed. in other words. so that IlllpiclcJy has this edict of 'timidity' subtended the 'post-humanist' rules :lllything at all about Beckett. of course. necessarily and constitutively cannot be this strong ' ethical' writer.the singularity and intellectual weight of his work is such as to demand an explicitly philosophical response and articulation (without. truth. but arguably indicates more about the nature of our expectations when it comes to a critical reading of Beckett rather than demonstrating any outright omission or shortcoming on Badiou's part. the generic . in toto. Badiou seems to say. exactitud e and courage' . more optimistic than nihilistic. Ho w. all one can do is acknowledge that every possible allY criticism begins already from a position of inherent weakness. designed as it is to elicit the surprise and conste rnation of a certain sensus communis pervading both Beckett criticism proper and the reception of his work beyond the narrow confines of the academ y. the complexity ofthe categories and operations deployed in Beckett's work. if not entirely new to his thinking. the opacity of the signifier. half-arrogant declaration: 'Beckett. . _-. that it is seemingly impossible to assert assertion already becomes its negative within Beckett's work itself. Beckett's writing draws its force and urgency precisely from the way that it subtracts itself from our impressions and intuitions.\ I l'\ . from Bataille. . points to as the 'impossibility' ofwriting defmitively about Beckett. is Beckett's texts themselves. subject. etc. We are also a long way here from Derrida's half-humble. Badiou's reading must therefore surely betray what Derrida.thoug h atheological and non-redemptive .

We will then move on. above all. Badiou argues that the incessant repetitions in Beckett's early works. led to a crisis for Beckett . however. therefore.- . for Beckett. As Badiou puts it: It was necessary to have done with the alternation of neutral being and vain reflection so that Beckett could escape the crisis. so that he could break with Cartesian terrorism. we would like to point to one of the crucial instances in which these resources are to be found: The importance ofthe much-overlooked and. - -------' ------A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r--- l Alain Badiou On Beckett I . as Badiou puts it. In order to shed some light on this transformation we will need to shift our focus onto the philosophical armature that subtends Badiou's various readings. . SUbjectivity and ' aporetics'. As we shall argue. The aforementioned division of Beckett's oeuvre into two distinct periods. Where then. in section two.' In this respect. he intends to approach it as a problem that demands resolution from Beckett at the level of the writing itself. between Sartre and Blanchot. This will help us the better to discern the stakes of his approach and the challenge it poses to rival interpretations. together with any intimation that we are here faced with the linguistic 'truth' ofhuman finitude or with an episode in the genealogy of nihilism. Malone Dies. it was necessary to find some third terms. the growing importance ofthe event (which adds itself to the grey black of being) and of the voice of the other (which interrupts solipsism). in some sense. 'worst understood' 1960s prose text How It Is. While the so-called 'Trilogy' (Molloy. with Beckett's English version published by Calder in 1964) seems most often to be filed under the category of ' anomaly' for many Beckett scholars (although there are indications that this is increasingly no longer the case). In order. and the identification of a chronological break (corresponding to a real crisis in Beckett's thought) before and after this text. Badiou thus argues that there is a break with two key early positions: the schemata of predestination that emerge in W and Murphy and the att oscillation between the solipsist cogito and the 'grey black' of the 'Trilogy'. 'Saying' had. reached a ' last' state. the text occupies an absolutely crucial role in Beckett's oeuvre. and W and Mur att phy are seized upon as anticipation oflater problematics and for their characteristic humour. To do this. we must now refer to the key concept that sustains this view ofthe later Beckett: the event or encounter.of the encounter and the figure of the Other. and Badiou chastises himself for having originally accepted this vision of Beckett as manifesting ' the (ultimately inconsistent) alliance between nihilism and the imperative of language. What exactly happens with How It Is for Badiou to find these 'third terms ' so crucial? In How It Is the prose is grounded in different categories: the category of 'what-comes-to-pass' [ce-qui-se-passe] and. How It Is (published as Comment c 'est by Minuit in 1 96 1 . we should note that Badiou wishes to evacuate the defeatist pathos accorded to the impasse. to assess the consequences . reached its absolutely maximal degree of purification.of B adiou's concern with B eckett' s method and with the 'philosophical anthropology' that the latter implies. all that remained to be said is that there was nothing more to be said. does Badiou find the critical resources to present us with a Beckett so vigorously opposed to many of the shared presumptions of contemporary scholarship and philosophical reception? Simply in order to orient the reader. between vital existentialism and the metaphysics of the word. rather. Whence. to understand Badiou's seemingly indefensible claim regarding the affirmation and hope present in Beckett's work. It was important that the subject be opened up to an alterity and cease being f olded upon itself in an interminable and torturous speech. In the kind of ad hominem argument that would scandalise any good Derridean. the constellation of concepts employed in these texts is neither (explicitly) Beckett's nor (entirely) Badiou's. . For Badiou. indicating a decisive shift in both the themes and the style of his prose. But this is not the end of the matter.both for his reading of Beckett and for his thinking as a whole . The Unnamable) has received copious and exacting attention for its exploration of the vicissitudes of language.s That by the early 1960s he had. Badiou nevertheless professes to agree with all those who see impasse and the torture of language in the prose works up to and including the Trilogy and T extsf or Nothing. fissuring and displacing the solipsistic internment of the cogito. the category of alterity . I . neither reducible to the place of being nor identical to the repetitions of the voice. " I in which it excavates our muddled and spontaneous phenomenologies to reveal a sparse but essential set of invariant functions that determine our 'generic humanity'. before and after How It Is is crucial to XIV XV . but is rather the product of a philosophical or ' inaesthetic' capture of a literary work which does not leave philosophical doctrine untouched. what he refers to as an oscillation between the cogito and the 'grey black'. I'II .I .both personally and as a writer. beginning with How It Is (composed between 1 959 and 1 960).

' The numericality of this newly arisen pair is crucial. What does this 'lack of limitation' mean? Simply that.question: what else is there 'besides' the prose?). wholly new. therefore. . This position. popular-cultural sense. It is true that Beckett's characters often seem without sex or androgynous. Two. the absolute novelty of the event of love. the violent tussles involving can-openers and bashed skulls. it is the only event to do so happiness. if it happens at all. onto universality. however temporary. the love which would be denigrated as 'fusion' in the Freudian sense. XVII . but to infinity.. there is: 'before Pim with Pim after Pim' . If anything marks out Badiou's approach to the literary and stage works of Samuel Beckett. then. What How It Is indicates. This 'exponential curve' to infinity derives from the fact that the Two of love. the solipsistic One has no resources to escape its One-ness. only that ' something happens to us' . in the commonality of human properties. conjunction of the Two allows is an opening onto infinity. with and through another: 'two strangers uniting in the interests of torment'. as an effect of the encounter. but. both for Badiou's reading of Beckett.not. within the prose.'- - ------ . amidst the Dante-esque crawling and drowning in the mud ofHow It Is. One. which can be expediently summarised as a concern with method. is a movement beyond the impasse in the prose itself.is undoubtedly what makes these commentaries so alien to the more or less pervasive vision of Beckett as a relentlessly elusive and anti-systematic writer. What the temporary. that is not itself limited to it (here we are obliged to bracket the . The encounter.and which does not exclude careful considerations of both the methods of failure and the failures of method . there is possibility of an existence that is wholly other. It also permits . a thorough and unapologetic operation of ormalisation is in order. it is only by confronting this question that we can come to terms with what constitutes. is absolutely not pre-determined. of the pure encounter is apassage.always ironic . though (crucially) universalisable. as in Martin Esslin's work on the absurd. even (or especially) in what concerns its oscillations and aporias.in fact. nuance. The encounter. romantic. together with the Two of the sexes or sexualised figures. his contemporaries when it comes to the writings of Beckett. the darkness and silence. Love permits 'beauty. But to what? Badiou replies: to 'the infinity of beings. This is partly because there is nothing inevitable about the event. Encounters in Beckett always arise by chance: Prior to a meeting there is only solitude. if not all. and partly because what follows from the event is absolutely singular. Indeed. ' II. 'that for the likes of us and no matter how we are recounted there is more nourishment in a cry nay a sigh tom from one whose only good is silence or in speech extorted from one at last delivered from its use than sardines can ever offer. one demonstrating the ultimately unequivocal f character of Beckett's thought. Bearing in mind this 'shift'. as a reading that would wish to re-inscribe him into the long wave of humanism. in the absolute' singularity of an unforeseen encounter. however sadistic. The Two oflove introduces a new opening onto the sensible world. and indeed. it is the steadfast conviction that in order to really think through their uniqueness. The encounter. colour' . indeed. that sexuation becomes possible. Prior to the encounter. the notion of an unforeseen event or encounter that constitutes subjectivity in the meeting of an other. smashes apart the solipsistic linguistic oscillation. infinity: For the voice ofHow ItIs.I i . but in the present. and the revelation that. 'the narrative model is not enough'. on the contrary. for Badiou's own work as a whole._. that something else can happen.-------' Ala i n Bad i 0 u On Beckett r-------'-i l Alain Bad i o u On Beckett !I ' .. the Two occurs. and what sets it apart drastically from the interpretations of most. It is only as a consequence. radically separates Badiou's 'affirmative' reading from any interpretations centred on the notion of a human condition. not only in the life of memory and images. As Badiou writes: 'In the figure of love . One consequence of this state of solitude is the lack of any essential or substantial sexual difference. from whence arises the Two. and experience' . understanding the role of the 'event'.6 : " XVI . the uniqueness of Badiou's reading. away from the endless circuits of language. Perhaps we are now in a better position to see where the 'hope' and potential in Beckett's work ultimately lies for Badiou . Whether the reader of these pages will recoil in horror at such an unwavering Beckett or assent with enthusiasm to their formal systematicity will depend to a considerable degree on the manner in which he or she responds to the claims made herein about the existence and nature of a rationally re-constructible and rigorously actualised method. does not lead back to a new One. non-fusional. III . or even in a banal. for example. such that the speaker of How It Is can recognise that 'with someone to keep me company I would have been a different man more universal' . for better or worse.

8 For Badiou. we have a tormented subject oflanguage. Interruption. It is in this space that the language ofthe cogito attempts to approach its Qwn origin. In 'Tireless Desire' these are enumerated as follows: Rectification. but as Molloy points out.7 This is. In this reading ofthe 'void' and the impossibility of silence. and to do so through the problematic. a rigour that the seriousness of Beckett's impasses (especially the one sealed by T exts f Nothing) bears witness to. absolutely central to Badiou's approach. or the tender cadence of disaster. I. or the phrased embodiment of variants. or the function of emergence of prose. is ultimately incapable of accepting the conditions imposed by the undecidable character ofthe event. The grey black of being is precisely 'nothing'. whether in literature or philosophy? Secondly. the crux of the problem: What is thought in Beckett's work? This question needs to be understood in both senses. cannot be matched by the desire for cessation. on the one hand. despite its formidable inventive capacity and unmatched vigour. ' It is necessary that the subject literally twist itself towards its own enunciation'. Expansion. an insistent presence in these pages) have in Beckett's work? Rather than. following the Atomists: 'Nothing is more real than nothing'.or 'leastening' in the vocabulary of W orstwardHo is akin to Husserl's epoch?! 'turned upside down'. ". we can see an implicit criticism of those commentators who stay with the aporia. Tracing a lineage from Descartes to Husserl in terms of a postulate of suspension. begins The Unnamable with an aporetic joke: 'I should mention before going any further. or the poetic incision of memory. links the circularity of the cogito to the 'nothing' beyond it . or the work on the isolation of tenns.. The 'torture' of the cogito is precisely the imperative or 'pensum'. for the Two. of 'thinking humanity'. the 'grey black' ofbeing. We are thus left only with a voice that oscillates. Elongation. after all. those formal aesthetic inventions which are both technical discoveries and new postures for thinking. Badiou argues that Beckett's method of suhtractive paring-down. who see in Beckett only the problem of language and its impossible constraint. Because ofthe necessary interiority of the cogito. For the cogito. For Badiou.----- l Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett In this respect. This slIsfiends the sub is an intriguing reversal. By this Badiou means tha t rather than 'bracketing' or suspending the world in order to examine the purciy formal conditions of that world in and for consciousness.---------� . Beckett himself. and a non-intentional analysis of the 'landscape' of being. Declension. I. via Beckett. according to writing the dubious privileges of expressive imprecision and fleeting affect. to begin again. as Hugh Kenner would argue. Beckett ject in order to see what then happens to being per se. Before this event. The desire for silence cannot. struggling relentlessly between temporary self-affirmation and the 'beyond' of being. its self-supporting persistence. which is precisely void. on the other. what do Beckett's many texts allow us to think which was previously unthought. all saying is precisely 'ill saying' because it can never come close to touching the void from out of which language speaks. succeed. but necessarily always falls short of its object. Rimbaud's work. and links back to Badiou's initial formulation for the condition of possibility for the encounter. as well as the more sustained consideration of Beckett's Cartesianism. it is worth spending a brief moment to elucidate this method of Beckett's. Badiou. ' As a second approximation to this delicate question of method. as if realising the temptation of following the 'pathless path '. or the maxims of comedy. to commence again.this is the noir gris. Firstly. B adiou's uncompromising penchant for formalisation is designed to affirm the rigour ofwriting as a discipline ofthought. it is only by confronting the characteristic operations or procedures defining Beckett's work that we can really come to terms with the singularity and force of Beckett's contribution to thought. to focus on analogous identifications of recurrent Beckettian 'themes' that Badiou may share with other writers. more or less explicitly. or upon apparently convergent assessments of certain characters or texts would in the end divert us from a lucid appraisal of Badiou's challenge. or The comparisons with Kant and Husserl. I I It could not be any clearer that what captivates Badiou is not the equivocity or impotence claimed for Beckett's writing. . there is only the solipsistic 'torture' of the cogito. should therefore be taken at their word. that I say aporia without knowing what it means. the fact that the latter can never be transitive XVI I I XIX . but rather the relentlessness and precision that mark its fundamental moves. for the imperative to repeat. In other words. I ' I . what place does thought (la pensee. let us contrast it with the explicit discussion of method through which Badiou elsewhere approaches the works of Rimbaud and Mallarme. Leaving aside for the moment the vexed question of the demarcation of the literary (or aesthetic) from the philosophical. The first approach to the question of method is couched in explicitly philosophical parameters. therefore. to say again. . --------� Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett . Declaration.

together with the cartography of the places and inscriptions of being. As he put it: '[Beckett's] creative intuition explores the elements of experience and shows to what extent all human beings carry the seeds of such depression and disintegration within the deeper layers of their personality. conferring upon it its singular place as a reference for Badiou's work. writing in the late fifties and early sixties. a writing that wholly affirms the undecidability proper to an event that can never be attested in or by the situation without a long labour of detection and reconfiguration. principally set out in L 'etre et I 'evenement. The identification of the functions of the human on the basis of the torsion of the cogito onto the imperative of language. sees in Beckett not so much a delving into deeper and deeper layers of humanity (and the subsequent 'redemptive' conclusion that always follows these humanist attempts via the I I I! Ii . Ii I • :I . we will now look at the role ofappearance. " " ' " . the event functions as an interruption of torture (rather than an interruption of joy in defeat. This is why Mallarme's method is concerned with the isolation of an event that is constitutively evanescent. It could therefore be said that Beckett's method partly inverts the methods of the two other writers considered by Badiou. Given over as it is to what Badiou regards as the 'mirage' of a complete possession of truth.before'). sought to extract from the dramatic works a Beckett absolutely existentialist in his proclamations and scope. as in Mallarme). to resort to the operation ofinterruption. To emphasize this more conflictive dimension of Badiou's encounter with Beckett. How. that it is the bearer of universal formulations regarding 'human nature' . the painstaking work of a truth that can never be immediately present as the truth of things. In brief. Mallarme's method thus establishes something like an intrigue of the event 's disappearance.including those conditions of a cognitive or linguistic order that threaten to forestall any such emergence. when faced with the non. to that l Alain Bad i o u On Beckett ( 'artesian torture which so preoccupies B adiou in these pages. can we affirm in a given situation that something has happened. being as such neither present nor non-problematically individuated in the realm of appearances. all seem to indicate. focussing throughout on how these notions determine a certain perspective on thinking humanity. With Mallarme's method.or extra-ontological demand of the event's emergence. we move instead to a writing that is entirely positioned 'after ' the event . Badiou's Beckett is almost (and this 'almost' marks the very place of the event in Beckett's work) wholly devoted to delineating the conditions demanded for the emergence of truth and novelty . that being and the event can never enter into any sort of communion. and Mallarme as the protocol of fidelity in its subtractive 'relationship' to a disappearance and to the isolation of a pure multiple (' after '). we have Beckett as the courageous preparation for the event (. in Badiou's reading.thereby signalling both the denial of novelty and the defeat of language. the situation that it affects. it is worth turning now to the peculiar and problematic effects that this preparatory or anticipatory character of Beckett's method has with regard. and Mallarme the retrospective detection of the traces of a vanished novelty. on humanity as a pure capacity to be affected by the irruption of novelty and to decide upon the event. or rather.•• c __________________________________________ ______________________ _ Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----to. as in Rimbaud) and prose lays out the ontological groundwork prior to an event (rather than thinking it in its disappearance. Rimbaud as the defeatist decision against the undecidable of the event ('during'). or coincide with. that allows Badiou to isolate this method in the first place. whilst seemingly sharing the universalising impetus of Esslin's reading. that must be wagered upon in order then to register its traces and effects upon a situation. in the absence of any normal 'evidence'. and. We have grown accustomed to (and accustomed to criticising) claims that Beckett's work offers us a disquisition on the 'human condition'. '9 Badiou's take. a syntactically driven investigation into the potentially determinate but inapparent effects of something that can never exactly be said to be. These traces and effects are to be considered in terms of how the event both inscribes and subtracts itself from an ontological state of affairs. Rimbaud's poetry manifests the incapacity of assuming the hardships of subjectivation. which in the end denies the 'now' of an event that can itself never be identified with the situation . consigning the subj ect to the infinite ordeal of solipsism. or as the linguistic celebration of the appearance of the world. on the basis of this wager (this dice-throw) deduce its consequences for the situation? Such is the axis of Mallarme's method. In sum. ' Forcing our schematisation somewhat. xx XXI . Hence the tendency of Rimbaud's poetry. that is. Exemplary of this position is Esslin who. an attempt to 'prepare' for an event that is only liminally introduced through the ligures of the Two and the Other. Lest this partition appear all too tidy. as 'the thought of the pure event on the basis of its decided trace. to the elaborate doctrinal apparatus. sub jectivity and language in these essays on Beckett. In it. we could say that if Rimbaud shows us the abdication oflanguage in the face ofthe present demands of the undecidable.

to Badiou's f stance . Though Beckett's epoche subtracts the subject in order to lay out the place of being (or rather. argues universally underlies 'personality' and ' culture' . as when we speak of a subject being questioned. openness or the grey black . of its appearance). if not contrary.. to borrow from Badiou's friend Natacha Michel. in a similar way. whilst at the same time holding itself at a distance from this name:l l In other words. : f .I ' " " isolation of some unalienable qualities or properties that sum up what it is to be 'human'). It also requires a consideration of the relationship between the human as capacity and the imperative oflanguage. within a literary set-up. if it is not the speaking subject? It is XXII XXIII \ � � --------.of a subject be ore or without the event. for one.1o Just as Kant and Husserl vehemently refused any form of 'psychologism' in their work. humanity is only more admirable. to its atemporal determinants.I I 'I Ii' I'' I .language and its subject abide even (or especially) in the most extreme moment of their destitution. . it is hard to say that the notion of humanity receives any sustained formal treatment in Badiou .. This subject in turn excludes itself from the place simply by the act of naming it. being and language. but rather proposes that in Beckett's work we encounter an ormal reduction of 'thinking humanity' to its indestructible absolutely f functions.presupposes or connects to a subject. For what is in fact this torture of thought? As we've already said. if it is reduced to its absolutely primordial constituents? With explicit reference to Plato's Sophist. but rather a tom figure. given both Badiou's fidelity to the tradition of philosophical anti-humanism and his 'post-Marxist' decision for a theory of the subject that regards it as predicated upon the irruption of an event. it demands an interrogation of subjects that come 'before' the event (something seemingly written out of his major works).---- . if we wish to measure the distance between Badiou's own doctrine and how it responds to Beckett's art. As Badiou states: ' all fiction. the dim . so Beckett can be read. this attempt to determine an ' atemporal' humanity in its basic functions arguably involves certain deviations from the mainstays of Badiou's philosophy. Badiou views this suspension of cultural and individuating traits in Beckett as anabsolutely positive procedure. . It is in this respect that Beckett is compared to Descartes . is that the 'Cartesian' concerns in the latter's work introduce the problem .�-------� . thrice divided into a sub ject of jectivation and a sub ject of the question.in closure. because it allows one. But what is the being of speech. To fill it. enunciation. it is worth quoting Badiou at length.which is otherwise alien. appearance. Something in the critical and ascetic approach of Beckett can thus be said to lead Badiou to an interrogation. it . 'Question' can be taken here in its judicial sense. as we have already noted.is ultimately nothing but an empty scene. it is necessary to tum ! " .the grey-black that localises being . the inevitable and ultimately 'absurd' 'predicament' that Esslin. as proposing. otherwise absent or latent .�-------�---/ Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-------� • l Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett in his philosophy. it demands the introduction of the crucial concept of Badiou's recent work. in the confrontation between the tortured cogito and the indifferent cartography of the places of being. aside from texts that lie somewhat outside the speculative core of Badiou's philosophy (namely the Ethics and its discussion of the immortal. the same move away from personal descriptions of ' states ofmind'. as acogito constitutively determined by the imperative to speak and name being.I . Rather than witnessing in Beckett the essential 'miseries' .suspending all that is inessential and doubtful before beginning his ' serious enquiry' into exts f Nothing among them) or humanity. a passive body ofsub On this 'third' subject. to go ' straight to the only questions that matter' . Lastly. towards this irreducible region of existence constituted by speech . it turns out that the resolute annihilation of all subjectivity is simply impossible . What's more: 'Thus reduced to a few functions. What weight are we to give to this attempt to delineate the pre-evental ' ethical substance' of fidelity and subjectivation. more energetic. and what importance must be ascribed to the fact that this is done in language? The hypotheses on humanity that Beckett sets out through his derelict figures and desolate landscapes are initially staged by Badiou. Certain of Beckett's prose works (T can therefore be read as asking the following question: What is the composition of thought. For instance. But as it arises in his readings of Beckett. he argues. I i I ' I . Badiou isolates certain generic functions of Beckett's characters in the early texts: movement and rest. is itself not a simple or point-like instance. can never evade the problem of enunciation: 'Who speaks? 12 This subject of fiction or subject oflanguage. However. . ofphilosophical anthropology.something that should not elicit surprise. more immortal' .the third universal function of humanity. along with movement and immobility. as devoted as it may beto establishing the place of being . The first thing to note. the very attempt to establish a literary or fictional ontology (as opposed to a neutral mathematical ontology) cannot do without the supplementation provided by a subject. and the defence of universalism in the Saint Paul).

via the aforementioned operations.-----therefore necessary that the subject literally twist itself towards its own utterance. to the place of being. it functions as its intrinsic supplement. etc. 1 . Unlike the subject of the event. Whereas the first two of our essays find the counterpart of the cogito in an ontology oflocalisation (the theme ofthe 'place of being' . through those operations that 'worsen' I . Badiou's reconstruction of the impasse thereby amounts to the thesis that it is only in the introduction of another supplement (as testified by the figures of the Other. if we begin from existence. But l�qually. through f language (though this does not stop Badiou. to puncture speech and corrode its authority. if one will allow the expression. . This time. finds one of its most elaborate accounts to date in the painstaking theoretical reconstruction of W orstward Ho. otherwise I(u'cign to his doctrine.w from indicating. Thought: Prose and Concept' we are presented with a far more systematic distinction between being ('the void') and appearance ('the dim'). What his rcconstruction of Beckett does not involve however. a supplement which is entirely incalculable and which is only glimpsed at the far edge of Beckett's work (namely in the conclusion of W orstward Ho). in 'Being. its anti-humanist drive amounting to an attempt to efface the torture of speech into the grey black of being. . which will lead Beckett into the notorious impasses. What is at stake is once again the notion that what 'lies behind' can only 'seep through' (to use Beckett's expressions from his letter to Axel Kaun) if we begin from the inscription of being in language and things. decision and fidelity. . It is this role oflanguage that Badiou is obliged to assume and. i . What is of interest for our purposes is the realisation that this subject of language is in no way that subject ofthe event whose theorisation has abidingly occupied Badiou's speculative energies at least from the Peut-on penser fa politique? ( 1 985) onwards. Beckett's Cartesian scenarios preclude any crypto­ I{omantic dissolution of human subjectivity into the One of language. I' . and to the very extent that most of his work is driven by the wish to 'ill say'.to the operations undergone in Beckett by grammar. The doctrine of appearance. in a qualified manner.I . to the usage of certain tropes. fertile grounds for discussions of style and technique). it is nevertheless identified as an ineluctable and incliminable 'function' of the human. . coupled with the requirement to subtract and supplement. I· I' . Beckett does demand from Badiou the recognition. The same impossibility of outright destruction.Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett . marks that category which is not simply a 'dimension' but the defining name for existence (as opposed to being) in Badiou: appearance. I . they forestall any thanatological abdications of the obstinate courage that so insistently marks his figures and voices. In this sense the subject of Beckett's art which according to Badiou s inaesthetics is not the author but the work. . In this respect. of course. or 'grey black'). in other words. which has been a chief preoccupation ofBadiou in recent years. of an irreducibility proper to language or speech as a 'rcgion of existence' . it is an inescapable and constitutive feature of the fictional set-up. XXIV XXV . . • I. Existence. it is the expression 'writhing in pain' that must be interpreted literally. though language is not itself an object of spcculation (whether structural or hermeneutic) or adulation (it is the very stuff of our earthly ordeals). the Event). and chiefly to the crisis which we've already seen is punctuated by and surpassed in How ItIs. what captivates Badiou when it comes to Beckett as a thinker is precisely what emerges from a subtraction o and. In this sense. " ' . Where does this leave the problem of language. The purity of the void can only be attained in the intervals of appearance. Once one perceives that the identity of the subject is triple. that the linguistic and ontological ordeal ofthe subject oflanguage can be alleviated exts f Nothing or or interrupted. which had initially attracted our young Sartrean cretin (as Badiou portrays his former self) to the - " I I I. himself a novelist and playwrigh. affirm. it is not rare and dependent on chance. Moreover. on a number of occasions. " . . that it names and configures in fiction. Whilst the linguistic dimension is indeed ineliminable. rather. the torsion of this triple subject of language is transitive to the situation. • . . and its incapacity to twist free ofthe equivocity that defines its triplicate composition. Beckett's 'misuse' of language is in this respect initially aimed. . " I It is the tension within this subject of language. The mutation signalled by the works after T can thus be conceived as the passage from a nihilist solution to the problem of a subject oflanguage (the attempt to perpetrate its demise. and not just double. is any specific attention to the 'texture' oflanguage itself. to destroy even the voice) to a hazardous but ultimately productive one (the conversion of the subject by the event of alterity). I. the subject appears as tom.is defined by the movement beyond the tormenting excess of a subject of language towards the futural fidelity of a subject of the event. an essential component of that capacity /()r thought that determines the existence ofhumanity. at the stepwise elimination of this subjective excess. even and especially at their most ragged and risible. or. the Two. works of Beckett? l Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett Surely.

for example. love and the Other . inaesthetics describes the strictly intra-philosophical effects produced by the independent existence of some works of art. ' 13 How then are we to square this inaesthetic protocol of demarcation and vigilant commerce between philosophy and art (literature) with what appear as the invasively philosophical claims made for Beckett's thought. for classical thought. Under what Badiou calls the '" 1 " " . in Badiou's eyes. nor Nancy after. opens the question of how such an encounter may reconfigure the relationship between philosophy and literature as separate. for the abdication of speculative rationalism at the altar of some supposed literary intuition. defining it as ' a relation ofphilosophy to art which. art is not ' innocent' of truth. It is also with the event . III. for example. when we can rejoice at the poverty of words. divesting it of (almost) all order and ornament.if nothing else. though this thought of thought is p redicated upon the production of works (otherwise. " • X X VI X X V II . This proposal is driven by his identification of the four intellectual disciplines (or generic procedures. or worse. Badiou's 'official' position. In this schema. art cannot do the work that philosophy does. The formalising tour de f existence.. but on the contrary introduces themes otherwise not prominent in Badiou's work (from the positive characterisation of the Other to the idea ofthe atemporal determinants of humanity). " " . . For him. is clear enough. The fact that Badiou's reading of Beckett does not result in any straightforward illustration or ventriloquist application of the former 's philosophical doctrines. Philosophy as the ' go-between' is thus duty-bound to make the truths of art apparent and consistent with the abstract discourse of ontology. This is why Badiou provocatively describes philosophy as the ' go­ between' or 'procuress' in our encounters with truth. .needs to be supplemented by the only thing which. . politics and love. in the technical vocabulary) that serve as the 'conditions' of philosophy: art. and they are always immanent and singular. for one. Descartes and Husserl . " " . there are truths specific to art. and what art says about 'being'.that a novelty beyond the ordeal of speech can make itself known. rather. disciplines of thought. Badiou has been proposing for some time a steadfast distinction between the thinking of philosophy and the thinking of art. It is these conditions. Badiou takes a somewhat different tack. philosophy itself strictly speaking possesses no truths of its own). with 'visible humanity'. these essays wish to convince us that there is as much rigour and as much thought in How It Is as in the Meditations. and particularly in the form of the poem. • . Philosophy itself therefore has no ' truths' of its own. Against aesthetic speculation. and not philosophy.Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r------ L A lain Bad i o u On Beckett J'()l11 antic schema (the key figure here is Heidegger. in The Un namable as in the orce which generates the systematic Parmenides. and no longer possesses the ability to operate as the formal (and empty) mediator between one specific condition and the others. the simplification that defines Beckett's confrontation with appearances with the ' shades'. . and art. art w'J:ld be surreptitiously sutured to philosophy as an ultimately speculative or reflexive pursuit). that are responsible for the subjectivating capture of events and the production of multiple truths (though questions about the number and nature of the 'conditions' remain open). For such a classical stance. science. as well as between each condition and the abstract indifferent discourse which is set-theoretical ontology. makes no claim to tum it into an object for philosophy. the 'last state' of saying. . if interacting. though neither Nietzsche hefore him. Conversely. with all that Badiou classes under the rubric of 'phenomenology' . not to mention the concepts that his writing seems to suggest or add to Badiou's own approach? After all.with beauty. philosophy has been ' sutured' to one of its conditions. and there are thus no meaningful parallels to be drawn between what philosophy says about 'being'. Against any deconstructionist or postmodernist penchant for disciplinary hybridisation. it is 'the thinking of the thought that it is'. . can truly announce an upsurge of the void that would not be founded on the pure and simple annihilation oflanguage and existence: the event. whose primary impetus is didactic. Ultimately. Art is not blind to its own truth-content. Hadiou's schematic presentation ofthe so-called classical view of art indicates that. . remains ent i rely irreducible to philosophy. however. there is nothing in the least ironic about the methodological parallels drawn with Plato. but not to assimilate them to itself and claim them as its own 'property' (after all. It is with the event that for Badiou we attain the maximal purification (but not destruction) of language. maintaining that art is itself a producer of truths. whilst not the object of a thoroughgoing deduction. art is 'innocent' of all truth. . It is this 'relation' b etween philosophy and art that Badiou has b aptised as ' inaesthetics' . are exempt from the appellation) art alone is capable of truth. .I .

be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the No I . ] loved to gnaw at the edges ofthat peril which all high . So that Beckett's work is indeed a specifically artistic or literary confrontation with the resources of language and the power of fiction. the very same that Beckett later dismissed as ' German bilge' : [ . has already come. Whilst these are both valid pursuits. I cannot imagine a higher goal for a writer todayY . we should at least leave nothing undone that might contribute to its falling into disrepute. his own encounter with Beckett seems to push us towards the recognition that there is a place for thinking thought itself.begins to seep through. or the capacity thereof. If only that. since the dim can never go . • . Mallarme. in light of the very themes raised in these essays there is perhaps another avenue worth considering. whilst obviously indebted to much of the work undertaken by Badiou in L 'etre et l 'evenement and the forthcoming Logiques des mondes. however corroded by comedy it may be. • L • I . . but to wallow in the apparent purity of the concept. when language is most efficiently used when it is most efficiently misused. Or we could enlist it in an appraisal of Beckett as a thinker for whom the category of 'art' or 'literature' is far too narrow. . Indeed.. This at least seems to be the 'programme' laid out in the famous letter to Axel Kaun of 1937.16 and wary of any over­ determination ofthought either by philosophy or by any one of its conditions. thank God that m �ain circles it . is also an attempt to show. nor to do without its speculative. that we might be in the presence of a thinking transversal to those disciplinary borders that Badiou himself sets up to avert the disaster of suture . Whilst Badiou is explicit in his affirmation of the multiplicity of cognitive disciplines and generic procedures. . . r: • XXVIII XXIX . 14 i: 'I: . something other than fiction. 'i' • " " • . To philosophise. and specifically around the capacity for thinking through the radical consequences of cncounters and events that defines the very being of thinking humanity. worsening. in short. W witness. And therefore: To register truths. .that reciprocal parasitism of philosophy and its conditions which periodically announces the weakening or abdication of thinking.never able or willing to fully abandon the injunction and the constraints of utterance. until what lurks. in a manner both transversal to the multiplicity of disciplines and anterior to the irruption of any event. but it is also an attempt to think through and beyond the limitations imposed by the linguistic set-up and . in considerable detail. Following Jacques Ranciere. literature exposes itself to: No longer to produce unheard-of impurities. As we cannot eliminate language all at once. subtraction . universalising desideratum. ] more and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must . This is what Badiou writes in the Petit manuel by way of introduction to his formally exacting reconstruction of Worstward Ho: Samuel Beckett [ .it is not in the destruction o r language (which would amount to the annihilation of humanity and the imperative to speak that defines it) but in its subtraction and supplementation t hat 'the things (or the Nothingness) behind it' can see the light. we could appropriate the case of Beckett I(lr a critique of the demarcationist purism and philosophical sovereignty potentially evinced by Badiou's 'conditional' schema. and the questions raised by Badiou's Beckett are perhaps not ultimately capable of doctrinal resolution. that even a doctrine for which every subject hinges on the incalculable upsurge of a novelty and the systematic deduction . rather than producing them.that Beckett's thought remains impure . This consists in seeing Beckett's or writing as centred around the notion of a capacityf thought. This effort toward purification. To bore one hole after another in it.in its wish to purge language of i tsclf. how literature has nothing to envy philosophy in matters of complex thought. as Badiou is adamant to point out. '.to attain something other than language. behind it ­ be it something or nothing .since appearance or inscription is ineluctable . In brief.in operations ofleastening. avows that in the case of Beckett the practice of inaesthetic demarcation might find itself stretched. ] Let us hope that time will come. as he does elsewhere with regard to that great French dialectician. Of orstward Ho remains the most accomplished this wandering at the edges. Badiou. I • '."ngness) behind it.Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r----- l Alai n Bad i o u :On Beckett • I' I • reading of W orstward Ho as a distilled ontology. It is thus in its very drive to purity . . neither the empty capture of evental truths nor their production in a generic procedure). is therefore revealed both as the singular resource of his writing (its capacity to vie with the great philosophers in a delineation of both the parameters of appearance and the determinants of humanity) and as the specific threat it incurs (that it might tum into an amphibious entity of suture: neither art nor philosophy. Beckett's characteristic ascesis.I' .

p. a term to designate being ' in its localisation. translated f hy Alberto Toscano (Stanford: Stanford University Press. " with the other does not operate as a principle or foundation that could serve to plot the outline of a ' hope-giving' series of texts. It is.it is neither light nor dark. 'I . 'dim' (W orstward Ho) and ' gloom' (The Lost Ones) whereas - S Regarding this question of the 'grey black' lying beyond the solitary subject. I " " • 4 Jacques Derrida.- Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r----- l Alai n -I3ad i o u On Beckett . interesting to note that Beckett has so many words in English for this 'nothing' among them 'half-light'. if we must 'shelter and retain' the truth that arises from an event. how Badiou can argue that Beckett is a writer of hope. In this regard. ed. 1998) is forthcoming. it is because of its potcntiality for thought. 'Nothing'. 1 / Or: To produce a radically egalitarian notion of the human that would this is what Beckett allows us. because the event or encounter • spL'cL'h to the invention of operations capable of affirming new beginnings. See also Dominique Rabate's stimulating essay . Whether such a capacity is itself open to a formalisation equivalent to that provided for the event is of course a matter that can only be addressed elsewhere in a critical engagement with the resources of Badiou's own thought. 2 See Andrew Gibson's postface for a critical comparison ofBadiou's work on Beckett :l Again. 407-420. " ' ''. in effect. . into the wretched \ I i I t i I ism of annihilation or (worse) the pieties of humanism. Continuer.. See Alain Badiou. . briefly. he also manifests t h e i nescapable demand that ' thinking humanity' find its fictional and o r la nguage into the realm of the incalculable. neither one colour nor another. provides Beckett's characters with the only 'way out' of the perpetual linguistic oscillation between the solitary cogito and the grey-black of being . moves through a resolute confrontation between subj ects and their enunciations. moving beyond the 'on' of I I I I i losophical determination. Acts o Literature. colourless. empty of any event'.Beckett' in a recent collection of essays on Badiou entitledAlain Badiou: J>enser Ie multiple. Perhaps this is the real challenge posed by the conceptual configuration that has arisen between Badiou and Beckett: To think the entanglement and reciprocal determination of a thinking of the human as pure capacity. on the one hand. . it is the event which in the last instance permits us to think the figure of ' thinking humanity'. 2004). . a thinking of generic humanity that pivots around the capacity for thinking and which. Badiou is clear: We cannot simply rest content with an exploration of Beckett's work that colludes with the sophistical obsession with language. even if this means moving beyond the boundaries IV.' ' . . .I . . he tends to use penombre across the texts. The French term perhaps better to wish to convey . whilst never reducible to its linguistic inscription. and the way its pure inconsistency can burst through the partitions of apparent order. 1 8 Whilst Beckett shows us that an inquiry into the atemporal i nt o the ordeal of the subject and the impasse of fiction. by Derek Attridge (London: Routledge. but for action . . Nina Power and Alberto Toscano I I I t h is light. I() that of recent Anglo-American commentators. but a hope based on nothing. t o do. see Gibson's essay for an analysis ofBadiou's implicit decision not to engage 1 An English translation of the entirety of the Petit manuel d 'inesthetique (Paris: most radical. it is in French. " . . on the " . f 1 991). topography that Beckett seems xxx XXXI . Ultimately. with other critics and commentators. 6 Beckett shares his identification of a method of subtraction or reduction (Beckett's 'leastening') with two of the 20th century's great philosophical readers of Beckett: encapsulates the exact sense of the empty. •• ':l I l l 1l�how remain entirely faithful to the anti-humanist legacy of Althusser i 1 l 1 d hllicault. 'Nothing' . 2002). . 60. � l l llT. The major shift in potential that Badiou sees with the encounter fromHow it Is onwards. SL'uil. or even the quasi­ anthropological invariants required for its irruption. because the ultimate resource from which generic humanity draws its cognitive and practical capacity for novelty. among others I I �.'. and most generic. Handbook o Inaesthetics. to reveal the . and a thinking of the incalculable novelty of the event. and not only for thought. by Charles Ramond (Paris: L'Harmattan. of its consequences has a place for something like a philosophical anthropology. is the void. We have seen. i I ' wc must remain ' tirelessly' faithful to the event. or rather forces I I l Iguistic and cognitive determinants of humanity on its own cannot but lead 1 1 . pp. as well as its courage to confront the torture of the cogito and the indifference of the dim. Though Beckett allows Badiou to consider the ' figural preparation' of this event. ed. equality. it is this incalculable encounter that frees generic humanity from the relentless and aporetic contortions of language and subjectivity. it is indicative that the encounter with the other only appears as a question for Beckett following the impasse of the investigations of the operations of language in the ' Trilogy' .

Needless to say. 1997]. Bruno . Adorno and Giles Deleuze. I I I I i s worth noting that the problem of the name. I ('sl . I I ) l Iadiou will write of the manner in which Beckett's 'anti-phenomenological' or dlSl'ussion of the thought of Giordano Bruno and its influence on Vico. Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett . It is a I so a crucial materialist postulate of Badiou's that we cannot consider thought outside identification of a transcendental subjective capacity (one unhinged from the irruption of its inscription in bodies and places (i. p. as well as their singular resolution. " . inDis work. p. connection . pp. It is IV' II lh noting that Beckett himself draws on this theme from the calculus in his ' Joycean' IIl illlentional reduction allows us to grasp the moment when 'movement becomes \ lcrnally indiscernible from immobility' . 1 4 Petit manuel d 'inesthetique. . . 1 l IIove beyond this identity of contraries. to use Badiou's terminology. 1 6 See Conditions. " " " " ' with Badiou's depiction of Beckett as a rigorous thinker of formalising procedures.----Theodor W. . for whom Beckett's reductions lead to a becoming-imperceptible. and specifically of the naming of Thought: Prose and Concept' . 1998). his 'anti-art' culls 'aesthetic meaning from the radical negation of metaphysical meaning' (Aesthetic Theory [Minnesota: University of Minnesota. Ih" �vent.It'S 111 0ndes). in Badiou's terms. ' See 'Dante . 2000). as revealing 'an existence that is shut up in itself like a mollusk.• -- . Adoorno's reading of Beckett is. Adorno ultimately retains the category of the absurd as the key to Beckett's worrk. many of which are drawn from the domain ofmathematical thought. Logiques . The Theatre o the Absurd (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Joyce'. that is. . . In 'Trying to Understand Endgame' (1958). expressing a sort of minimal and ideal mobility. I I I"'� than a differential of rest.has no counterpart in Deleuze's reading. Deleuze's study of the stepwise. Adorno reads Beckett's method of subtraction against 'modem ontology' and the 'poverty of philosophy' . 7. 348. L 'ecrivain pensif (Lagrasse: Verdier. especially as it has come to i l lcorporate a thinking of appearance (see the preface to the English edition of the Fillies. the maxima with the maxima. 244) and the 'pathogenesis ofthe false life' (p. . In this respect.on the basis both of Lyotard's doubts about . steeped as it is in the condemnation of 'the irrationality of bourgeois in its late phase' (p. XXXII of the event and the procedures that can ensue in its wake) would merely occlude the ordeal of the cogito for the sake of a meta-head. Adorno refuses to see in Beckett any concession to the speculative drive and also discounts a priori any reading of him as an affirmative or hopeful thinker (Adorno concludes that in Endgame ' [h]ope skulks out ofthe world' [po 275] back to death and indifference). in Essays I. 246).e. no longer capable of universality'. is far more prominent in the first two essays in this collection than in 'Being.. ' I kyond Formalisation' . . p. the forthcoming Angelaki interview with Bruno Bosteels and Peter Hallward . In this light. when movement becomes nothing • " II affirmation' . ' [N]ot only do l i lt' Illinima coincide with the minima. 1 991 )... to the aesthetic relevance of concepts of eternal novelty or generic humanity (see 'Trying to Understand Endgame' . to a spiritual and cosmic experience of Life (as he concludes in 'The Greatest Irish Fihn Ever Made'.The Exhausted'. " " ' I 2 See her fine essay on the novel.. I ' ' I Arguably the irreducibility of the 'functions' allows Beckett. Vico.--.. 1 7 This link between a capacity for thought and the event (of the Two) is one of the principal objects of Badiou's essay ' Qu' est-ce que I ' amour?'. . Adorno explicitly argues for Beckett's opposition to the 'abstraction' of existentialist ontology in favour of 'an avowed process of subtraction' (p. 11< " l Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett l) f Ma r l i n Esslin (ed.-. In Adorno's estimation. combinatory 'reduction' of language in Beckett's television plays (. from Conditions. . intervention. Badiou's preoccupation with the place of 'thinking humanity' in Beckett's work . p. 1 (New York: Colombia. subtraction. but the minima h the maxima in the succession of transformations. Critical and Clinical [London: Verso. . pp 1 3 Petit manuel d 'inesthetique. pp. in Notes to Literature. 7 Badiou's own philosophy is itself articulated in terms of such' operations. 8 See Conditions (Paris: Seuil. I " " Ihe theory ofthe two names of the event inL 'etre et l 'eVl?nement and ofthe immanent I " Ikillands of Badiou's own thinking of subjectivity. Nevertheless..1 72. . 271). ' ' . operations such asf orcing. strictly 'anti­ philosophical' .' I' . and is impervious. 1 992). " " kpendence of the theory ofthe event on a philosophy ofthe name has been the object r a self-criticism on the part of Badiou .together with its Cartesian and Husserlian echoes . 1983). vol. 1 52. 243). despite his somber acumen and eloquence. 1 4 1 . 1 ' \ islence. these diffferent appreciations of reduction and formalisation find their deeper reasons in Badiou's polemical engagement with Deleuze's philosophy in Deleuze: The Clamor ofBeing (Minnesota: University of Minnesota. . in appearance) and that any straightforward subjectivation is eminently operational in character. However. thereby ignoring the seriousness of Beckett's impasses. 246) that reduces it to a single category: 'bare existence' (p. in his later IV i I . pp. 1997]. avoidance. 66. The very process of evental . Beckett's 'metaphysical negation no longer permits an aesthetic form that would itself produce metaphysical I %X). -" )-62. 146. Maximal speed is a state of jecta (London: John Calder. This is explained by the fact that the . . 1 7 1 . 1 5 Disjecta. XXXIII . also in Essays Critical and Clinical).1 74) bears far greater affinity .). a trait clearly attested to by Badiou's recurrent references to the production (rather than intuition) of truths. . p. 247). and the forthcoming maj or work by Badiou himself.

the language of Descartes. I. into victims of the cogito. Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r----- L Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett 1 8 In this respect. . without either hope or hopelessness. . . . to consider how the capacity for thought which sustains Badiou's Beckettian venture into philosophical anthropology also signals a caesura within man separating him. I . For we can say that Beckett. from a French perspective. The French language changed the paradoxes of the given into metaphysical problems. W ho can fail to see that in English any of Beckett's fables simply do not sound the same? They are more sarcastic. 1\. led to irony and suspension. . as formulated in 'What Happens' : 'To relegate the divine and its curse to the periphery of saying. ! I . A u thor's Prefa ce • " :1 " . " I .'I alone am man and all the rest divine' . In short.changed picaresque characters into the witnesses of the reflexive Subject. ' I . • I • • J \ . more mobile. . moving contrariwise to my French capture of this immense writer of the English language.' At the antipodes ofthe divine. . I. more empiricist. . . Whence Badiou's Beckettian programme.from the classically humanist pronouncement from 'Dante . in I hc English. The humanity recast in the later Beckett under but no man is divine' (Dis the (empty) sign of the generic is a humanity stripped of such transcendence. " • " . Joyce' : 'Humanity is its work itself. it would be of interest . . . . French served Beckett as an instrument for the creation ( 1 f an often very solemn fonn of distance between the act of saying and what i s said. Beckett's great philosophical referent . . It inscribed into verdicts and conclusions what. He is so even in the translations made on the basis of his ( I Wn French. and to declare man naked. Bruno . : . . ! !ere then is what I have tried to say about Beckett in French brought back i l l i o English. Vico. more detached. I II I' I . [ .:r . Beckett's French XXXIV " • . surviving. 22). . It also permitted the invention of a colder poetics. French . • . of an immobile power that keeps the excessive precision of the English language at bay. . pig ! ' . . and consigned to the excessive language of his desire. relentless. p. .• . . it would be interesting to measure and interrogate the gap that separates the dictum from The Unnamable of which Badiou is so fond .whence the emblematic nature of Pozzo's exhortation: 'Think. . which amount to something quite different than translations. " I . and 'blessed' with immortality only through the arduous fidelity to a vanishing event. ] Humanity is divine jecta. is an entirely ' ! �nglish' writer. .' I " I '. I . as rare but Immortal subject ofthe event. from a 'nihilistic' substrate of corporeality and animality . .

in that it brings Mirliton together w ith Heraclitus the Obscure: ) I ) ' l I . just as Conrad's English is a much 'too' mannered sort of English. that what I have described is Beckett in French. substitutes a rigid rhetoric that spontaneously lays itself out between ornament and abstraction for the descriptive and allusive finesse of English. and thereby attain a strange 'not enough' . . I .a kind of subtracted English. . . placed in this in-between of languages? This is for the reader to say. But thought. he must undo this 'too much'. in the end.2 It is quite singular. This is because. translated into French by Edith Fournier).Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-------. like Conrad in English. even when this language did not exist for him (such is the orstward Ho. And what of me. • ' " ' . . l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett ' " . However. not from words' . A language adopted in order to say things in the least immediate way possible. Plato claims that philosophy 'starts from things. the finery of Chateaubriand.in Beckett's prose we glimpse the elevation of Bossuet. . . between Beckett and me. T h e I m p e ra ti ve a n d its D esti n a t i o n Our starting point: some verses of doggerel. • • ·' " . speaks no language. nevertheless. But Beckett too starts from things ! So let us simply say that these essays. .. an English of pure cadence. far more in fact than the taut 'modem style' which is characteristic of Proust. . speak the Anglo-French of things. radical as his inventions are . His English is a French laid bare. . The Writing of the G eneric1 • ' :1 . Speaking of what? Of his English? Of his French. a mirlitonnade written by Beckett around 1 976. • • flux cause que toute chose tout en etant toute chose donc celle-la meme celle-la tout en etant n est pas parlons-en • • . " 1 . He abandons himself to speed and its variations. . Who is 'English'. . It must be noted. the language that serves Beckett as a model is a language learned in its classical form. There is something of the 'grand style' in Beckett's French.I • I• II ·. And of whom I am here speaking of in English. a language to which he resorts precisely so as not to let himself be carried away by familiarity. I . I' VI " . .like the asyntactic continuum of How It Is .'I . reconfigured here into English? It is impossible to find our bearings here. You will case of W read a French philosopher speaking of a French writer. It is thus that Beckett's French is 'too' French. this excess. So that when Beckett returns to English. flux causes that every thing while being every thing hence that one even that one while being is not speak on3 t XXXVI . the musical grasp of Rousseau.

so many disasters (CDW. the man of an immobility (being).the ' speak on' . in I his way he points out that it is only by losing and dissipating these peripheral calamities that the essence of generic humanity may be grasped. U ntil 1 960. if! could go. caught up in an ironic analogy that characterises his relationship to philosophy. . ' " 11' II I . It is clear.1 • " I I \' ! I' I' U �i . health. . possessions. I I I . 238. being. amidst the vicissitudes of experience.presents itself. . SP. the being. and the saying. in the guise of an imperative. if only because the doggerel form is suited to it. The thing is not withdrawn. " . We might then say that writing . third fatherland. This is precisely why writing never destined by what is immobilised in its being . who realise the fiction of generic writing.always and everywhere � the man of a trajectory (going).volens nolens . all I 'lTiphcral distraction. Initially. In Beckett's 'novels' . p. all the disastrous ornamentations of circumstance. is exposed to the undecidable question of its own stability. it can be shown. we The subtraction of 'disaster s' gives rise within Beckett's prose to a fictional set-up of destitution [dispositij de denuement] . I think it is very i mportant to relate this set-up to the function that it has for thought. if! could be. . in order to exhibit or to detach those rare functions to which writing can and should restrict itself. and perhaps a little after. it is this thing. 78).------ . an absurd a bandonment. These three questions are clearly stated in T exts f Nothing. a l id saying. art and nature. if its destiny is to say generic h IIl1lanity. because i 1 has far too often been interpreted . on the verge of disappearing. I " .---�--. . and the man of a monologue (saying). the 'character' will be . I . . . . In quite general terms. what would I say.6 Such is the triple instance of an 'I' that is transversal to the questions themselves. for whom possessions are the only proof ofbeing and sense! In fact.taking what is simply a figuration too Ii Icrally . the treatment in writing " I I hat which alone constitutes an essential determination. . if ! had a voice [ . . p. p. Consider. He does not miss an opportunity to ('. . hody parts and fragments of language. being. this subtraction of ornaments has an inner I l l daphor: the characters. . :1 .of the balancing and weighing of the thing . Writing installs itself at the point where the thing. summoned by the non-being of its flux. cunt. with respect to the uncertainty of the thing. J? (CSP. GSP.Ist unpleasant epithets upon these pointless ornaments and possessions. I . lose their i lll. .as a sign that for Beckett humanity is a tragic devastation. I laving grasped this triplet of elementary situations of the subject. that this decision will never be sublated by a dialectic. • . We must repudiate those interpretations of Beckett that are filtered 3 2 . or Here is one variant: Where would I go. and is not to be confused with Hegelian Becoming. p.in losing.4 Kant's thought organised Critique around three questions: What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope? There are also three questions in Beckett.---. these functions are three in number: going. objects. . we are dealing precisely with one who has succeeded . For Beckett. lill' i nstance. at the beginning ofthis prodigious enquiry into humanity I ha I Bcckett' s art constitutes.-. when Beckett presents us with a subject who is at the extreme point of destitution. heart and conscience. 1 14)5 " 'lllplcxity of experience to a few principal functions. it oscillates according to its flux between being and non-being. . writing I : : a l l act governed by a severe principle of economy. . -- -------- ---------� Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett ' : 1 1 1 immcdiately pinpoint what I will call Beckett's fundamental tendency l o w a rds the generic. I I I I I i The three-fold interrogation bears on going. .1 • . 82. The image of the flux conveys the fact that the thing can stand simultaneously at the place where it is and at the place where it is not. But this flux is never the synthesis of being and non-being. Beckett often lists what must be lost so that the generic functions may emerge. housing conditions. By ' generic' desire I understand the reduction of the . once determined. . but an imperative for the sake of the oscillation or the undecidability of every thing. : To speak will always remain an imperative for Beckett. . God and man. one of these lists in Rough f Theatre II: or Work. It is necessary to subtract I l lorc and more � everything that figures as circumstantial ornament. family. . of a subject captured in the interval of the going. what this interminable imperative must contend with is the curse of the oscillation rfleau d 'oscillation] between being and non-being . . finances.but this curse is also transformed into a number of questions.holds itself at the place of a decision as to the being of the thing. and yet. in what constitutes the best-known part of Beckett's work. Allow me to say that this is the point of view of an owner. and saying.sscntial attributes in the course of the text: clothing. who would I be. ' . .

. I . " . " :! " " . first ofall. These genera are the latent concepts that capture the generic existence of humanity. that can be presented in the i'ietionalising set-up [le dispositijfictionnant] in such a way that the very h e i ng of this place of being becomes transmissible? Ifwe consider the entirety of Beckett's work. is never indifferent [quelconque] . Logos) as displaced variants of the Platonic proposal. . . . . so that the set of features of the place of being may be enumerated and named with precision. I. How does a truth of being enter the fiction of its place? 2) That of the sub ject. " I . . or.9 h " 'I �i '1 • 11 . which for Beckett is essentially a question of identity. we find that there exists ill fact a kind of interweaving of two ontological localisations.� - - - . Finally. . All needed to be known for say is known (CSP. inasmuch as it is? The operator of truth. The four questions are the following: 1 ) That of the place ofbeing. grasp any truth whatsoever [une I '. This is obviously the case for the room in which t he characters of Endgame are confined. however. " . the centre of gravity shifts to the question ofthe Same and the Other. . Is there a place of being. I I . this problem is closely related to that of the capacities . .. on the basis of this triplet. and logos. r: " " I" . those that organise the fiction of a humanity treated and exhibited by a functional reduction oriented towards the essence or the Idea. and. " . . Knott's house in W It is also true att. p. ' "I � . iI ' . Beckett speaks to us of something far more thought out than this two-bit. ' " I '. it is a restricting of the metaphorical aspect of the prose to a finite stock of terms. " ·' i .-.-. " .who is very close to Pascal in this respect . For Beckett. . p. ". . from Beckett's first to his last writings.. . from 1 960 onwards. ' " . ' " :: . towards a kind of rupture that submits the prose to a hidden poem. this (lpcrator is a set-up of fictions [un dispositijdefictions] . Rest. . so as to examine the intimate articulation of its functions. In the text entitled Fizzle 5 /Closedplace}. in the flesh of the prose. . Beckett writes the following:8 Closed place. " ' . . whose combination and recurrence in the end organise the entirety of thought. ' . who is an artist. constitute the points of reference. The fictional device of destitution is. understood as what makes it possible to think our destiny. I "' : . " . These are some instances of closure. an altogether flagrant process that moves. Beckett's text is oriented towards an economy that I would readily call ancient. a progressively purified operator for the presentation of 'characters' . Ifwe note (and how can we not?) that. l'ii:etive Two possible. immobility and the vo ice. I • This is exactly the set-up of fiction with regard to the question of the 5 . I Inder the sign of the closed.. to that of the existence . we will argue that behind the trajectory of this body of work are the five supreme genera (or kinds) of Plato 's Sophist. .'Tite quelconque] regarding what is. Is it possible to name what happens or what takes place. We will say that these supreme genera (Movement. ' . . or primitive terms. and they underlie the prosodic destitution.. ' . " ' . ' . -" . Is an . T h e G rey B l a c k a s t h e P l a c e of Be i n g Since the originary axiomatic is that of wandering.- . " ' . By means of which processes can a subject hope to identify itself? 3) That of 'what happens' [ce qui se passe] and of 'what takes place' 4 2 . dinner-party vision of despair. inasmuch . On the basis of these axiomatic terms we can grasp the questions proper to Beckett's work.I : : " ' " . Little by little.. The work of Beckett is a summa. simultaneously theological and a-theological. in particular. which indeed seem to be opposed to one another.aims at subtracting the figure of humanity from everything that distracts it.of the Other. '" . of which many other examples could be given. rest. so that the question hl�comes one of place. for an axiomatic of humanity as such. It is also. GSP. IS i I lakes place? 4) That of the existence of the Two. or for Mr. " lallguage. that of the fiction of its truth.' -'�---�------- - - - - - - -- - . .�------- Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r------ l Alain Bad i o u On Beckett I . The aim is that 'what is seen' be coextensive with ' what is said' . I.. or of the virtuality of the Other. the Same. through the 'nihilistic' worldliness ofthe metaphysical tramp. ' IllIi advient] .--- - -. 1 99. How is the event as a supplement to immobile being to be I hollght? For Beckett. . or categorial. Beckett . the Other. . of the cylindrical arena of The Lost Ones. 236). it also holds for the bedroom where Malone dies (or does not die). " . can we. to be more precise.. .' ' " . We have already seen that the primitive functions are movement. and it is not possible here to exhaust its set-up [disposition] . I will limit myselfto treating only four of these questions. The first localisation is a closure: arranging a closed space. a Two that would be in excess of solipsism? We might : i l so say that this is the question of love. .' ' " . T h i s is the question that ultimately ties together all of Beckett's work.whether real or potential . . : . . .

the anti-dialectical grey black. 6 I[ere the Cartesian criterion of evidence is reversed.I " " . 1 93 . " " . Or in the city and the streets of The Expelled. Unworsenable void. but the most accomplished is to be found in Worstward Ho. I At the end of its fictive purification. the novel ofthe journey. The figure that goes and the one remaining at rest will become superimposed at the place of being. This phrase is: 'Nothing is more real than nothing' (T.where Molloy undertakes the search for his mother. By contrast. and. these two figures are in I I Il'iaphors oflocalisation. We encounter it. This final and unique place. 82). This results in a filtered image of the earth and sky: a place of wandering. wandering and closure remained disjoined split between Molloy. or 'the void'. p. to 'I " Ilotions clear and distinct. The question of being. . . The localisation by the grey black ultimately entails that the being of i w i ng cannot be said as an isolatable singularity. However. I' " I . though it tends towards a uniform abstraction.. Never more. ' . p. . I' . or ofthe possible space of all movement: Grey sky no cloud no sound no stir earth ash grey sand. there operates a progressive fusion of closure and of open (or errant) space. yes. but only as void. In the text called Lessness. we find the li)II()wing: All save void. . slIpl:rimposition is achieved in How It Is. which from the localisation of being in the grey black ' I ITivl:s at the void as the name of what is located. . does not allow itselfto be distinguished or separated by an I t ka l articulation. No. GSP. whereas earlier. and A '"/0111' Dies. 197-1 98). " I '. an 'uncontrasted' black. This is one of the conquests of his prose. separated from all contradiction with light. In this text. is basically established as ('arty as Malone Dies.. a space of transit which includes a variety of trajectories. i i" i :. cannot fall I I l 1dn thc regime of clear and distinct ideas.u " . The grey black is a black that must be grasped in its own arrangement arid which does not form a pair with anything else. hills and forests . . Beckett tends to suppress all descriptive ornamentation. When the I ll'I ion that fuses the darkness of wandering and the darkness of immobility ( Iperatcs. I think that all that is false may more readily be reduced. pp.I . even. geographical space. but a place that is itself akin to a motionless simplicity. This requires an especially ascetic type of localisation. 1 53. .. . in the countryside . distinct from all other notions ('I'. But there is also a completely different set-up: an open. we notice that what this place presents as the form of being can oilly be named ' the nothing'. reaching the truth of being requires I hat onc think the in-separate. for example. TN. In Molloy. what separates and d l st ing uishes . p. Void too.planes. · "'"11/(' place. Many variants will follow. making it impossible to know whether this grey black is destined for movement or immobility. ' I " ": . In this grey black that localises the thought of being. . . and has no other name. for sure. Little by little. • Alain Bad i o u On Beckett r-----place of being. Both in the spaces of wandering and in the closed places. 1 1 \' I w o major figures of generip humanity. This maxim. p.'1 " t'i • . and we can see w h y : if the grey black localises being. the place of being is fictionalised as a black that is grey enough to be anti-dialectical. Never less. we find the ultimate purification of the place of crossing. TN. covered with flowers. Ash grey all sides earth sky as one all sides endlessness (eSp. p. where the journey and fixity II. Little body same grey as the earth sky ruins only upright. What is the grey black? It is a black such that no light can be inferred to contrast with it. .pcl:ch' . II " .constitutes the p l acc nf non-being and of falsehood. in the expanse of black mud on which the larvae of essential humanity crawl in How It Is. Or in the beautiful Scottish or Irish mounds. In an abstract sense. I . ' . for example . This might suffice. This black is sufficiently grey for no light to be opposed to it as its Other. Never since first said never unsaid never worse said never not gnawing to 7 I ()2). .10 l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett . Malone's voice begins by warning us that we are dealing w i t h a terrible phrase. where the old couple ofEnough wander around in happiness. and Moran his search for Molloy. we could call the place of being (or the set-up that bears witness to the question of being in the form of the place) a ' grey black' [noir gris] . the in-distinct. one of those little phrases that 'pollute the whole of :.what separates dark from light. Beckett's poetics will fuse the closed and the open into the grey black. This cardinal statement about being pollutes the entirety of language w i t h its inconceivable truth. 1 1 1 1:. ' ' .' : . which is the place of saying fixed at its point of death. when this set-up is that of closure: a strict reversibility of vision and diction in the register of knowledge. grasped I I I l i s IOl:alisation. 82. we find this peremptory anti-Cartesian utterance: I I hink so.

This delicate separation between the thing that does not exist and the same thing which . no doubt always shall. The reference to the cogito is explicit in many texts. as the vocabulary of castration I I I Beckett's original French crudely suggestsP It is thus obvious why there cannot be any clear and distinct idea of presence. " " " " " . that presence between. . . t h a i i t is impossible to say more about it than that it is a subtraction from l'\islence. l i ne i s what Beckett has to say in this regard: So I shall merely state. p.. or that existed if you insist. � . 1 1 3)Y . above all. p. . p. . II I " '" . Existence is that of which it is possible to speak. GSP. the place of the grey black. This is the ultimate point that the fictionalisation of the place of being allows us to attest: being as void 'inexists' for language. ' • . . that presence of be gone (WH. " " .. is itself very Cartesian. TN. 1 veritable being which is not an illusion. . which is a gift of I w i l lg [donation d 'etre] from what is not in a position to exist. it effectively proposes . s i l lee it refers to the inexistence of being. we can call 'Presence' that aspect of being which remains unpresented in the existent. " . though I'll be buggered if I can understand how it could have been anything else (W. More generally. which is precisely its unsayable " . I · · I .' I " " . that i ll my opinion it was not an illusion. but perhaps. Secondly. I . " . 43.. p. 3 5). 45). we would be forced to agree that we are very close to the vmious negative theologies. we can stipulate that this Presence is I i t ' i l h er an illusion (the sceptical thesis) nor a truthful and sayable t t ' 1 1 Iprehension (the�dogmatic thesis). . The clearest statement about this question is perhaps to be found in Watt. In First Love. consequently. But I I l erc is something that comes before this localisation of being. from 1 945. :: . but not with the existence I ascribe to them (eSp. Firstly. thirdly. If being presents itself at the grey black place 8 This text tells us three things. something I hat cannot be reduced to the being of the inexistent. II. and which is reflection as slIch. . p. we can call being 'Presence' inasmuch as it 'inexists' for language. this impossibility is also a prohibition.I. ' I. NO. it dates far back in Beckett's work. Indeed. Following an ontological tradition that Beckett takes up in his own way..always exists with an other kind of existence brings us back to the oscillation of the Heraclitean doggerel: the ' speak on' must operate at the place of being. " . the movement that goes from the void to the cogito.1 4 The main effect of this conviction is to split being and existence asunder. That being qua being is subtracted from language is something that Beckett says in a great many ways. " I II ' II : I. we already find the following: But I have always spoken. whereas the being of existence remains subtracted from the network of meanings. But it is precisely being's subtraction from language that arranges it between its first two categories. a point that is often made about Beckett. 10. by means of the always possible equivalence between dit and mal dit.1 5 what did not exist. it presents the missaid as the essence of language. p. 9 . '" . If there were only the fictional set-up of the grey black. which maintains an undecidable distinction between existence and the being of existence. Such an idea could not exist because what remains of it for us is p l l rcly a proper name: 'void' or 'nothing' . " . 42. Beneath its absence of sense. as long as it lasted. but rather a certainty without concept. I ii . but that its prl'il:rred place is no doubt rather the 'between'. 1 1 6. This equivalence does not amount to an opposition between well saying and ill saying. Rather. that presence. is itself not an I 1 I I Is i on. . of things that never existed. .i ll. as Molloy says: ' all language was an excess of language' (T. without enquiring how it came. that presence within. ' • . ' " " . . " . I . the interval. . • • " :. and.--------� Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----� ---------� l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett \\' I wle existence 'indistinguishes' itself. said and missaid. Because the onef whom there is the grey black and the or I I l 1sayable presence does not stop reflecting and articulating both the local isation and its impasse.I" . p. This name is the beam lfleau] in I lIe I I eraclitean balance. ' . speech [la parole] or logos. no doubt always will. we know that Beckett was raised on Descartes. whose virtues we h ave exhausted. but it also proposes a non-being. . .inasmuch as it is seized by speech . I k s i des. movement and rest. :: I : . . that it is distributed both within and without. ' I .I : . or how it went. And. despite the anti-Cartesian statements that I quoted above (concerning the cri tcrion of evidence). ' . and 'inexists' for language. . Even though it is only in the later works that this split between being and existence with respect to language unfolds according to its true fictional operator (the grey black). and the third one. . p. In a certain sense. ' . ' . subtracted as it is from every degree. the cogito. " I II' .W US. I . 1 1 6)..16 . that presence without.. . : 1 : . that presence entails no meaning whatsoever. . it states that being inexists in language and that consequently.

I'assement] of writing which simultaneously effectuates its point of l'llunciation and wants to capture or signify it.in the outline of Film. I :I I' I . named E .hkrhouse.of the general form of being. 1 0 find the path of its own identification. that by an inversion of values. . This 'I' is doubly closed: in the fixity of the body and in the 1 . . that this point of identification . It is in chains. . In order to identify oneself. or stuck in a jar that advertises a restaurant opposite the assigne a residence] . and which is the SUbjective condition of all 1·1 l0U IlCements. It paradox: the necessity that the ontological condition of all naming be itself I I llnameable. in a very precise sense. The relentless aim of the solipsistic voice . I n ·s. spoken so long and so valiantly. which is also the question of enunciation [I 'enonciation].the conditions of the cogito considered through the sole resort of its capture by a li xed voice . I: . Of course.or All extraneous perception suppressed. fictional 1 I I I I Ia i i v es and concepts . which is the void. p. this 'I'. fables. perception maintains in being. divine. and. he introduced it with a text called Esse following: film is the story of the pursuit of 0 by E. . . The failure of what. ' I : . J there were moments I thought that would be my reward for having l' I <' . that the unbearable. . The and it is not until the end that one is meant to grasp the identity of the pursuer and the pursued. p. O n t h e S o l i p s i st i c S u bj e ct a s To rtu re The fictional set-up that deals with the closure of the cogito is the one that structures the best-known part of Beckett's work.which for Descartes is one of the first victories of certainty . tied to a hospital bed.are. There is an existent whose being cannot inexist: the subject of the cogito. says Beckett .an object 0. The figure of the impossible. holding death at a distance ('living').albeit with an ironic grasp of this rationality . 1 9 3 . This body is mutilated and held captive.is inaccessible to any enouncement whatsoever. When Beckett published the script. It is the voice's place of being and as such is itself • est percipi. human. The first determination is that the conditions of this operation . charged as they are cor ps being no more than the fixed localisation of the voice. Search of non-being in flight from extraneous perception breaking down in inescapability of self-perception (CDW. I ha l supports each and every word. p. with anxiety and mortal exhaustion.is to attain this originary silence. Under the second determination it becomes evident. p. whose being is . or the unnameable." : l il/I/amable: save for the ironic nuance which .appears here as a failure. TN. is trickier than would be too simple to believe that this inaccessibility is the result of a formal [I 'enonce]. exactly? Of the extension to the All " " I ." the place of being: namely. to enter living into silence [ . where we can read the I I I pres upposed since it is that which makes both the voice and the : l l I h l ractcd from all naming.I:.el l? It means . The cogito undermines this extension. tortured by the imperative of the enouncement si l ent being of all speech . it is necessary to enter this silence I he voice of the cogito . What does it mean for this repetitious voice of the cogito to identify Film is indeed a film. " . derives from the fact that the search for truth is replaced by the search for non-being.producing the pure and silent point of enunciation . ..with the help of a vast array of enouncements. " " . of course. has been described perfectly by Maurice Blanchot as an ' endless recapitulation' . 400. This entry into silence. upon closer inspection. It concerns a man . l s l l'llee of a voice with neither answer nor echo. a film whose only character is played by Buster Keaton. of the eye and the man.l Ich.subject included . SP. 323. is always antecedent " l I l l l l l leements possible. . We are now appproaching our second question.a voiceput under house arrest by a body [qu 'un i l lsistence without hope. . 1 63). reduced to cogito is a situation far more complex than simple self- 10 11 . J (T. Beckett soon finds out. d ' I I I I '. t ' cogito. 1 8 This is the argument of the (l)lIsl i tuted by its enunciation. I h at it fuses together two determinations that Beckett's prose consigns to an ." . 'the inescapability of self-perception' . 396).20 [ ." " . :.the .'. It I [Ie Tout] . • .who flees because he is pursued by an eye.• Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---and it is set out in an entirely rational manner . • . . This is the set-up of the motionless voice . " I' I: . after the one concerning . l A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett . this pure point of enunciation. self­ 'I' . animal. This will be the hope of the 'hero' of The . the question of the subject as it is caught up in the closure of the cogito. moreover. 1 1. . it endlessly persists in I I V i l l I '." .

- Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett r. 4 1 8 . ] . " " I. because I t k i l l I lieation is impossible. . indifferent to all po ssibility this terroristic commandment to sustain the unsustainable . if that is the name for this vertiginous panic as of hornets smoked out oftheir nest. of enouncing the question concerning itself. what a no one (eSp. p. p. declares : 'My thought has thought itself.I II . Beckett underscores the fact tha t if the '1 think ' wishes to mark its own thinking-being . . I . it sketches out a three-fold configuration. " I i . This imperative.21 Be ckett. besides its 1 1 I 1 1 I H' l I t ing and unbearable conditions. .is insufficient. . I I I l ' ( 'ogito is not a reflection. . 3 5 3 .----� ••. It would be necessary to find a vocal regime that could simultaneously reach the apex of veheme nce and of the vociferating multiple and. as much as it is able to. . Here is a p: l :. a Two (the couple of enouncement and " l l l I l Ic iation). As for the conditions of the cogito. speaking? ' [Qui parle]. GSP. without ceasing to speak. uncomprehending. and I am pe rfectly dead ' . . . The I l Ii l l l l d iscovery that these texts bear witness to is that the cogito. to torture..the reign of terror will commence . . ] . .22 l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett I I I l l I l l l l I a t ioll of the voice's obstinacy is also that of an unbearable torture. p. . in a paroxysm of anxiety and crisis. . I I . This is the passive being of the subject of enunciation. This is beca use speech is never relentlessly repetitive or mobile enough and. . 1 1 1 I 1 I1 1 I . the How is this infernal trio distributed? 1) First. This is the I I II I I I I ! ' I I I when the relation between the 'you must go on' and the '1 can't go " I I ' \ " : :>0 tense that the writer is no longer sure he can sustain it. Indeed.• --. I . I'll go on (T. Who's speaking?. ] you must go on. p. ' I ' he T extsf Nothing proceed in a more theoretical way. . the obscure matter of the one who is speaking.concludes The Unnamable: _ [ . . 3 50). reflection. . I can't go on.-iy I he place of dying. who hears without understanding. and it imposes an obstina cy that gives no quarter and allows no escape. a superegoic perseverence capable of literally submitting the subject of the cogito to the question. . in order to fold back. the cogito involves not two but three tel1lls . p. i : I . . ' and one who hears. . which could be said to be locate d exactly at the point of caesura between the two opposing regimes. be the almost-nothi ng. The 'I think' presupposes terror.24 I . mute. points to the suffering rather than to de ath itself. . this on e is also given as an imperative without concept. in its restraint. ----' - II. far from all [ . TN. " other now [ . 2) Then there is the subj ect of passivity. or the one capable of also asking 'Who's . . . I "' . ho l i l the Unnamable.. l Ich heroism on the part of the cogito designates an impasse. . the supposedly 1l" llexive subject of enunciation. � . . TN. one of I I I\' densest and most purely theoretical texts written by Beckett. • • " \' .23 Sin ce what is ne ed ed is pr ec ise ly that which is impo ssi bl e. where the temptation to abandon the imperative I I I IV t l l l l l g . and what escapes it is the unnameable. 4 14). they are terribly restrictive. :. The schema of Film the eye and the objec t . " l I gaged in the terrifying fictional set-ups of the solipsistic subject.. rather. The injunction that the 'I' addresses to itself "lu'l"\'IIing the naming of its own founding silence is object-less: in effect. . .. ! I : l t Icy upon The Unnamable we have T or extsf Nothing.imposes itself.I . There are three 1 1 I : : I : l l lces ofthe 'I' that cannot be reduced to the One except under conditions I I I l o l a l exhaustion. In the words of the hero of The Unnamable: I only think. 1 50). there is the 'one who speaks ' [Qui parle]. Following 1 I 1 1 I 1 1I·. " " • . at the sam e time. The crucial text in this regard is the twelfth 'text for nothing' . tears stream down the face of the speaker. . The cogito's confession of silence would need to be extorted from it. " " '" " " "' " . II .sagc that undertakes the analytical decomposition of the cogito: . on the edge of breathing. Like all terror." .I . it is never insistent or immobile enough. ] with his babble of homeless mes and untenanted hims [ . and what a one. . towards its own point of enunciation. who is 'far away' in the sense of being the underside. ] one who speaks saying. p. It is this s l Ibject whom the hero of The Unnamable seeks to identify beneath the terror. once a certain degree of terror has bee n exceeded (T. 112. which alone compels the vo ice to over­ extend itself towards itself. or of a thinking of think ing [une pensee de la pensee]. This is because in order to reach this point an inner violence is necessary. " :I . on his part. And this There's a pretty three in one. . is ultimately without finality. . there is the subject who functions as the support of the 12 13 .if thought wishes to grasp itself as the thinking of thinking . 3) Finally. which occupy 1 1 1 1 1 t:. of the dissipation of all subjectivity. The voice cannot maintain this tenuous equilibr ium. This resonates with the famous letter in which Mallal1lle . since they are or j. to rest from the torture of the cogito .

" .o u . as it has always been. When these problems tum out to be caught in a prosodic set-up that either does not or no longer allows them to be solved. his work is in no way the expression of a spontaneous metaphysics.:. T h e Tra n sfo rm a t i o n i n Beckett 's w o rk a fter 1 9 6 0 It is not true that Beckett's enterprise develops in a linear fashion on Ihe basis of its initial parameters. .entation of thought. p. between enunciation and passivity. Every question implies a scale of values (what is the answer worth?).25 . Of course. In the egg. and more precisely through a chan I I lte llectual transfo . Never.I I! I' " I" " .. the subject of passivity. 'nihilism' . . 1 1 1 1 ' J l ll' s l ion s were 'dead the whol e brood no soon literally mpletely trapped in the impasse.. what happens at the end of the fifties. and the questioning subject. not that truth of a ing more to show for itself. " .. " . can it not desert and deconsecrate the dead end of its own identity? Well. Beckett.. They come to the I l ' i l l i S of the nothingne but that there is nothing (Beckett will never be a nihilist). through enunciation and passivity. . l I ' n l isa l ion . This is... after the The idea of disarticulating the subjective trio by suppressing the questioning instance cannot be put into practice. '. No. With not being able not to want to know. 70). - " . These texts tell us the \\' 1 I I i I Ig has noth the end of the fifties: what he has written up to ii l i l ia l ion .11" " 1 1 I this terrifying rambling of the question which. ' . or of a slavish obedience to an imperative whos I I s i mp le obsession must ask ourselves through what this continuation I ll' I acitly acknowledged.as exts or the mark of a major transformation in the way that Beckett fictionalises his 14 15 .:. II " . we find only what was there be ore every question .:: a: d i . makes the question of what he is insist... l I ah l e but it is also ine in n is interminable and pointless. . we find only the void of being. NO. between the neutrality of the grey black of be I I ll'd iation whatsoe ger sustain rture of the solipsistic cogito . .. And. in the anti-dialectical identity of being? Can the subject not rejoin the place from which all questions are absent.:I-=. instead. I" " " I .:. ' " I " '" " ' . being f as the grey black . " ". A a i . without a doubt. . if we wish to join them together. -�------� Al a i n Ba d i o u On Becke tt . Enunciation. Beckett displaces. rr: : ' . . The third of these subjects is ultimately the one for whom the relation between the other two is at issue ..that is.:n B. This is why II 1 1 1 1 l 1 g. or a time. transforms and even destroys (ISIS. it can no longer susta 1 11 1 1l 1'�.' "I ..::. the answer is no. With extraordinary I . .:. " "" .:. in order to do so. .. '"I '" .. The cogito is We are co vitable. . .. inIll I' I I"'i I : III 1 1 1 'r ·1' .. One cannot rejoin the T f Nothing. and if. ". With not being able. . that his work drove itself ever deeper into 'despair'. there never was a time or a place when i l I I I 1 1I ' 1 I 101 'ia i peace of the er hatched '. l.ultimately a little known book . • .:. but neith lucidity._On__e__ett _ _ _ . . Long before. one might think that the only solution is to abandon all questions. question: this is the 'pretty three' of Beckett's subject. ': " I . Beckett e vacuity . a nothing that is worth nothing. I . as Seen III Said.. they or is period are textsf nothing. . and who.' ." I i " . serenity and the end of the tormenting question of identity not reside in a pure and simple coincidence with the place of being. because it is one ofthe instances ofthe subj ective triplet. "..." 'I . . . of did go on.::-.:. it cannot do this. I am conv ge in the rmation. " . the relation. "I .... We can take How It Is . . .-----question of identification.I : : I . Beckett treats a set ofproblems in the medium of prose. where the question has been abolished: Was it ever over and done with questions? Dead the whole brood no sooner hatched. The subject is thus tom between the subject of enunciation. ' grey black. " " "' " " I �. " . 26 I .' r ". ... . .. passive reception. insists without appeal..S of identificatio Beckett's er can the place of being welcome us . . Writing can no lon I I Il' en dless to I I :w l r by means of this alternation. I ' " . this set-up and its corresponding fictions. 37. Question answered much critical opinion would have it.. I ' . I . expressly says that it is impossible to reach a place. It is also utterly wrong to maintain.". With not being able. p. Why is it worth nothing? Because the void of being does not itself claim to be the question of its own being. we have ." I """ . with the unquestionable grey black? Why wish for the silence of the point of enunciation rather than for the silence as it is. I : . to count all three of them as One.� I :. It is impossible to go on alternating..:.:::..then the value of the answer is zero. 'I I . I " . " . we d inced that it happened through a real artistic an r a l l l e to pass. would turn the torture of identification into bitter buffoonery. In the case of the subject. The question. I .. or the defeat of meaning. _ B ck __ . Long before. 4 . that is. that of Be ckett at . Would rest. i'rom th ss of the attempt in progress . The solipsism that is given over to the I I I I I w . were it to issue into the void pure and simple.:: 1 " " "" I I ' I . without any l l i a l p o i nt can 't go on ing and ver. . Unless we imagine that it was a matter And yet. submits himself to torture. I ' " ' " . ' . : : ' . " '" I' " '.". "" ' " ". Over and done with answering. II ' ". . A dream. the one who. in the end..

but as situations. do not involve fictionalisation. characterised by their slow motion. I . From a more abstract point of view. 16 17 . which opens out onto infinity. The distance between the latent poem and the surface ofthe text varies. however. indifferently sustaining both success and failure. Beneath the surface. 'III/aires] of the subj ect (or of what is dispersed within the subject) the I I lollologue/dialogue/story triad must be deposed. Instead. . and neither is the solipsistic 'internal' monologue. which ends with the word 'alone '. This evolution is typical. the construction of the texts also undergoes profound changes. but it is not itself I '. which fissures and displaces the solipsistic internment of the cogito. This opening orthe multiple will give rise to combinations and hypotheses reminiscent of cosmology.Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r----- l Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett In order to grasp the discontinuous interweavings [intrications 1.as opposed to the obstinate repetition of the Same as it falls prey to its own speech Beckett's prose becomes segmented. the subject will be pinpointed according to the variety of its dispositions vis-a-vis its encounters . It is this abdication of the fictive functions of prose that leads me to speak of the poem. the encounter and the non-encounter. not as suppositions.as the only regime of prose adequate to the generic intention. Since what is at stake is a generic truth of Humanity.both of which remain very close to Kafka's textual procedures . We could say I hat in Happy Days. or to the enumeration of its figures. These situations will allow us to enumerate the possible fortunes or misfortunes of Ihe subject.I . we have the passage from a set-up of fictions. adopting the paragraph as its musical unit. Finally. Rather. in the face of everything that supplements being with the instantaneous surprise of an Other. of course . However. " . In order to track the discontinuity ofthe subject's figures . this movement is Iq�lIlated or unified by an inapparent poetic matrix. . which are a lways affirmative. With regard to the subject.present from the start but now recast .obstinate trajectory or interminable soliloquy . above all.. to a semi-poetic set-up that puts situations into place. recurrences. It is this subversion without lransgression that Beckett was to refine after 1 960 with a great many hcsitations. this oscillation itself constitutes a principle of openness. I think.will come to be governed by a latent II(ll'fI1.even when reduced to the pure feature of its trajectory . . " or example.and. an effort which the monologue of The Unnamable had subjected to its own brand of torture. under the signifier of a 'happiness' that cannot be abolished by the writing's ironic tone. it is the positive inflection Ihat predominates. I " thinking.segmented into paragraphs . " " " " " . The subject's capture within thought will take place in a thematic network: repetitions ofthe same statements in slowly shifting contexts.. there is a final deconstruction of that which . These combinations and hypotheses are captured in their literal objectivity.between trajectories (or wanderings) and fixities (or constrained monologues). This form is progressively replaced by what I would like to call thefigural poem o/the sub ject 's postures. of the encounter and the figure ofthe Other. In Company. The thematic recurrences appear on the surface of the text. . /. etc.not even when these are reduced to their bare bones (the grey black that describes only being. whose stories are perhaps intended 1 0 be allegorical.in the sublimity ofthe night .in the face of 'what-comes-to-pass ' . of what I am trying to present here under the name of 'the writing of the generic' . this new proj ect oscillates between realisations of failure and flashes ofvictory. without I I IC text itself actually entering the realm ofpoetry. the narrative model . The second half of Beckett's work in effect marks an opening onto chance. to its possible positions. As far as the question of the Other is concerned. At the same time.. Yet in all these texts there is a k i!ld of subversion of prose and of its fictional destiny by the poem. I would say that I he prose .as we have seen . alterity and solitude. Enough or III Seen III Said. It attempts to ground itself in completely different categories: the category of 'what-comes-to-pass ' [ce-qui-se-passe] . . Beckett's evolution goes from a progrannne of the One . Instead of the useless and unending fictive reflection of the self. they are given. Neither the technique ofMolloy nor that ofMalone Dies . not even when it produces fictions and fables. the poem is almost entirely exposed in Lessness. .is not enough.to I he pregnant theme of the Two. by contrast. reprises.. since the operations of a poem. In order to remain adequate to the categories ofthought. . what is at stake in this poetics is no longer the question of its identity. This text breaks with the confrontation that opposed the suffering cogito to the grey black of being.suffice to submit the prose to what is indiscernible in a generic truth?? - " " • o . .. the category of alterity. we cannot :q wak of a poem in the strict sense. whereas it is ( kcply buried in Imagination Dead Imagine. . Chance - . This poem holds together what is given in the texts. Beckett's concern will tum to the occurrences of the subject. circles. ivcn. " " " . Beckett's prose is no longer able to retain its usual 'novelistic' functions (description and narration) . the pure wandering that narrates only itself). The canonical form taken by the fictions of the 'early' Beckett alternates .will have been but the fiction of a Two. .

and in the earth's stony ingratitude. in the earliest of Beckett's works we can already find traces of this break with the schema of predestination. it was obliterated by the works that brought Beckett fame. partly at least' (T. Or. .t . to the science of place. let us cite the visit of a piano tuner and his son. It is central to W which dates from the forties. What common opinion retained from these works was precisely that in the end nothing happened. there is the not-all. . 18 Mr. on the one hand. even though ( W. 7 1 . 1 40. This is what will arouse Watt's passion as a thinker.' I: " " " " " III . This concession prepares the judgment ofEnough: ' Stony ground but not entirely' (CSP.29 There is here a breach of being. of 'what-comes-to-pass ' .18 This 'partly' concedes a point to the non-identity of the self. of this opening up to the chance possibility that what exists is not all there is [qu 'il n y aitpas seulement ce qu 'il y a].' . and from it 1 I(llhing taken away. there is a limit to this investigation. . All that ( Il l e can do is to reflect the Law of invariance that governs the place ofbeing. or ' Can a subject who is prey to language rejoin its silent identity?' Instead. Watt takes great pains in 'formulating hypotheses about this content. more precisely: 'Is there a name for the surging up. . It is no longer a matter of asking the question 'What of being such as it is? '. 74). proving that presence at all times [ . it is \ "' 1 1 1 . which is where the risk of a possible freedom lies. a s All and as Law: I I II W att. or the pulting out of Mr. one asks: 'Does something happen?' And.31 This place is both immemorial and invariable. I am thinking. . Knott's establishment. What is at issue is not a cogito under the torturing compulsion of I he voice. Knott's house binds presence and meaning so closely that no breach I I I i t s being is thinkable. or on the first floor? These are questions that relate to pure knowledge. ). " . and here all presence was significant. p. at any time. contributes in part to curing Beckett of the secret schema of predestination. 1 " • l' " . II I' " " " ' " " . . nothing but the wait for an event.32 it was impossible to say of what. its status as exception). a limit that Beckett will not cross until much later: the hypotheses about the incidents remain . . 1 87). att Of course. they are the rationalisations of :. Beckett will say . 54. Knott. . .29 What is this breach in the totality of being and self? What is to be found in this breach that is simultaneously the not-all of the subject and the grace of a supplement to the monotony of being? This is the question of the event. TN. and. ] . N a m i n g The interrogation concerning both what comes to pass and the possibility of a thinking of the event as it arises motivates some of Beckett's earliest att. In W however." 5 . Speaking of these incidents. What provokes thought is the contradiction between. and The Unnamable. 1 3 1). on the other hand.. In addition to W aiting f Godot. . in all essential respects. of the moment when Molloy declares: ' one is what one is. "" ' 19 . . alld so it would remain to the end. texts. Mea n i n g . It is here that his thought is really awakened. "I . p. for an incalculable advent that de-totalises being and tears the subject away from the predestination of its own identity?' lino calls 'incidents'. but rather calculations and suppositions designed to raise the content ofthe incidents up to the level of their formal brilliance. " ' " ." . which are themselves quite real. I he formal brilliance of the incident (its isolation. Godot is nothing but the promise of his coming. GSP. evident in the work between W and How It Is. to borrow a concept from Lacan.in a formula of major l i llportance . p. p.. p. for instance. . . so it had been in the beginning. .Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----- l A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett 1 1 11 " . 54). ". Malone or Dies.( li llcthing like a 'waiting for Mr. I l ow does the house function over time? Where is Mr.' 1"'. Knott'.I' of Mr. this means essentially the trilogy of Molloy. These traces are linked to the muffled exposition of the schema itself. Knott's dish for the dog in front of the door. . In this sense. But. but that as it was now. Godot will not come. a subtraction from the indifferent ingratitude of the grey black. the role of the event is akin to that of woman in Claudel: a promise that cannot be kept. to a considerable extent. . . p. 1 29. W US. whether by supplement or by subtraction.' . p. at any given I I IOlllent? In the garden. the opaqueness of its content. /Vlltt provides the allegorical arrangement of a structural place: the h"I I:. on the other. Event. .' . .that they are 'of great formal brilliance and indeterminable purport' (W. both in that coincidence of self with self that speech exhausts itself in situating. any significant presence.33 What are these incidents? Among the 1I10st remarkable ones. att. Knott. a dog whose origin is itself an 'impenetrable' question. But besides the law of place and its uncertain science there is the problem of incidents. p. W US. we encounter the crucial problem of what J nothing could be added to Mr.

] the meaning attributed to this particular type of incident. by Watt. Then far from the still agonizing eye a gleam of hope. However. pp. to preserve within language a trace ofthe incident's separation. and that which is . other. Beginning with the play Endgame.the l I a m c ofthe ill seen . How explain it? And without going so far how say it? Far behind the eye the quest begins. on t hI. l .. that ofnaming. awakens thought in a lasting manner (. after a delay of varying length. [Pause.then this name cannot remain prisoner of the meanings " I ' the ill said. from the initial absence of meaning (W p. Mr.] ( ' 1 'oV: [Impatientl What is it? I llat's a good one! A a i n B a d i o u On �ck__ �___I--=-____________Be__ett__ l _ " /laugh. was now the initial meaning that had been lost and then recovered. We are still within the confines of an attempt ofthe hermeneutic type. . 'Ill seen ill said' designates the possible agreement between that are attached to the monotony of the place. Two. Beckett replaces his initial hermeneutics . which posits that the incident is entirely devoid of meaning and that it is therefore really separate from the closed universe of sense (Mr. what does 'ill seen' mean? 'Ill seen' means that w h a t happens is necessarily outside the laws of visibility of the place of being. only this third hypothesis. Beckett dissociates what-comes­ to-pass from any allegiance .after a delay of varying length').with an entirely different l Ia l i l i ng '11\ Tat i on.Icy black of being. 'I" att of meanings. 76. he can generate one. . By the grace ofthese modest beginnings 20 21 . Startling without consequence for the gaze the mind awake. Confronted with a chance supplementation ofbeing. because the well-seen [bien-vu] is always framed by the The poetics of naming is central to III Seen III Said. p. Of course. and now a meaning evolved. What time the event recedes. and the poetics of its name.�. Here is a decisive passage concerning this point: During the inspection a sudden sound. . of the incidents: y.'nsc of the term).even an invented one . on the one hand.to meanings. but instead proposes to draw an I l i vented name out of the very void of what takes place. or hermeneut.does not preserve its character as a supplement or a breach. Reinforced a little later if not enfeebled by the infrequent slumberous. But if we do I l i anage to produce the name of what happens inasmuch as it happens . Knott's house).OV: Mean something ! You and I. When suddenly to the rescue it comes again. captive to a problematic of meaning. We are therefore dealing with the agrcement between an event. . in his relations. by means of a well-conducted interpretation. if this is all there is. 1 07-1 08.34 The hermeneut has three possibilities: if he supposes that there is a meaning to the incident he can retrieve it. W l lat truly happens cannot be properly seen [bien vu] (including in the moral " . I hncby supplanted by a poetics of naming that has no other purpose than to >I ::.\. Forthwith the uncommon common noun collapsion. starting with the \. pp. and demands its labour ('with greater or less pains ') . " sense. Interpretation is /1 \ I hc incident. if the interpreter is the giver of t I t ! p i n the event to the network of meanings .1 y title ofthe text. The interpreter creates nothing but an agreement between the incident and that from which he separated himself at the beginning .the established universe ::urprise that belongs to the event-incident.] I IA MM: Clov! '. . and with greater or less pains. into agreement with the established universe of meanings. and now a meaning quite distinct from the initial meaning. A slumberous collapsion. If instead he supposes that there is no meaning.which attempts [ . in which one is supposed to bring the incident. Knott's house. or else propose an entirely different one. He postulates that the existence of an event does not entail that we are subj ected to the imperative of discovering its meaning : HAMM: What's happening? CLOY: Something is taking its course.' . W US. . does not seek any meaning at all. to . mean something ! [Brie I I A M M: We're not beginning to .l I hlracted from meaning (the 'ill said'). . Here is the passage that lays out the hierarchy of possibilities that are open to Watt as the interpreter. 79).A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----:. 32-33)35 Ultimately. In W there certainly is a chance that something may happen. It thus belongs to the register t hai which is subtracted from the visible (the 'ill seen'). . then we remain prisoners of meaning as law and imperative. but what-comes-to-pass . E. And what does 'ill said' mean? · I I I C well-said is precisely the order of established meanings. Indeed.] Ah ( ' I .once it is captured and reduced by the hermeneut . mean something? ( '[)W. . and thus cannot possess the capacity for isolation and "' � :"1 } • I .

38 This obstinate imperative is no longer 1 l l lpcrative: to look for their los in The Unnamable.to a separable supplement which. 1 59 . to be more precise.CS could serve ern also recall Dante 's Inf o. This naming emerges from the void of language. is nevertheless. What kind of hope are we dealing with here? The hope of a truth. Beckett rejects the hypothesis . it is the well-seen. isolated in its formal clarity. which is also an Other-than-self. a ' little pe op le ' busies itself with obeying a sin I " ! '. The name of the noise-event is a poetic invention. ' The inspection' accords with visibility. and temperature are regulated by rigorous wl lic h the variations of light. During the torment of the submission to the law of place. 'of great formal brilliance'. p. the place in question is a giant rubber cylinder in In The Lost On und. subj ected to strict parameters that one '. The naming guards a trace of an Other-than­ being. In passing. so rically observable and yet conceptually unknown. however ill seen it is said to be. or ure of the sensible. like an ill saying adequate to the ill seen of the noise. as e or of rej oining oneself at the pure point of silence. 83). ! T' • . four possible positions for ' each an d therefore four fig on e' who searches for its lost one. :. th ligures. m inutiae. r is both constant and varied.a l i ty. People run around The quest for the othe der . in-visible. p. There exists no other beginning for a truth than the one that accords a poetic name . Th ::p ca king one's self ch one look for the other. Here is ching for its lost one' (eSp. All of this amount lost one is in one of th king icated exercise that Beckett describes in all of its painsta 1 0 a very compl n nevertheless distinguish four figures of the quest. These laws are empi os. of its figures and occurrences. purified and reduced to a complex of closure and Tl iis is a simple cosm gle it. The most significant set-ups [montages] I \ ' .Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett . or of the closure of a room in an asylum . In its separable origin. (ISIS. :llI d the one of How It Is. p. however obscure. in the classical abruptness of the supplementation by an event.a name without meaning . a truth dependent on the naming of an event which will itself be eclipsed. I I�. it is up to ea I I I I pe rative is to the very beginning of the tale: 'Abode where lost In look for its other. . Within t ones. Il' Spcct are the very ' str I " /0. in the end.which might appear as more ambitious but actually exhibits a lesser freedom . >. It is no longer a question of 1 1 t : 1 1 of identification. To find one's lo st I lie extent that they are lo would be to come to oneself [advenir a soil in the nll C [etre 'depeupl t!'] \�Il counter with one's other.----The text. whereby it incurs the risk of the Other. tion to focus upon the figural dispositions of the subject . tion lays out an abstract place that does not imply any I II both cases. " 6 . This is the source of the subject's dis-closure.of an explanation that would 'well say' about the ill seen. speaks about itself.for example climbing the ladders to see if the l�vcrywhere in the cylin s e niches installed at various heights. j 1 I j .as what names the suddenness of the noise as a poetic wager on the ill seen . .Ia hli shed fig ing. published in I I I I ' . i . but they . This noise is out-of-place [hors-lieu]. A truth that will be interpolated into the grey black. p.36 l A la i n Ba d i o u On Beckett in ts after 1 96 0.I I II Ickct cosmolo gy. In the end we ca ures of the subj ect. ill seen?7 The entire problem is to invent a name for it.p :I(' l� is homogeneous e as the object of an exact science. law s. The place is no longer that of the fore . one 'uncommon' and the other 'infrequent' .) 1 . ere are two criteria for setting up this typology of Roughly speaking. 20 2) . . Their bareness allows . this is the domain of alterity. t i l a l len es.then and only then is there 'a gleam of hope' .39 i >nd ics roam each sear you. The " I I I Il' Ilowers of wander and regulated. NO. The moment of grace. F i g u res of t h e S u bj ect a n d Fo rm u l a s of Sexuation The fabulation of the figures of the subject will persistently occupy 22 23 . 55. It does so under the sign of the hope opened up by ontological alterity . L ( ' I I in his tex ucturalist' one of The Lost Ones. those who still - " " . What is thus opened up is the domain of truth. which is moreover presented here as a torture. Such coded places evok '. e is the one who. GSP. I . or. there is a noise. up contrasts those who search and those who have given The first one live in accordance with the single imperative on the search. Even more important is the fact that once ' slumberous collapsion' is uttered .(.the breach in being which is crystallised both by the suddenness of the event and by the brilliance of the ill seen. the 'grace of these modest beginnings' . fic sts. once subtracted from the grey black of being. . by being your lost one. . This is what Beckett signals by the paradoxical alliance of 'collapsion' and 'slumberous ' . singularises The lost on ly to from the anonymous status of those who have being on ka rs you away st among the people of searchers .

Or again: I l l l 'vlTsibility is a law of choice..and eve n some who no longer move at all. or immobile for a very long time. are cal led the sedentary. but neither docs it know any compromise regarding the imperative of the Other. ' . there are oth ers who sometimes stop. What distributes this ethics into its two sides is a figure of the subject. is never to be vanquished by the other. 1 67. Of course. i t can only be half-said. a law of the moment. ' " .1 . . 4) The non-searchers. . ' " " . ceaselessly turning in all directions. I . The subject's maxims are therefore as follows: to give up is irreversible." 1 1111 possibilities exist even where nothing attests to them. r" .. we cannot escape this number. .I I . . . . " .. since there exists no other desire than that of finding one's lost one.. who 'rest' .. they cannot be immobile.I I ' " ' :. only three can be named. I he proportion that Beckett proposes is somewhat different. . bringing us closer to the crucial problem of the Two.. � j t' . In How It Is. 130)42 24 25 . for example. and the vanquis hed. . Those who are immobile. the vanquished.which is the same as giving up on one's desire. I I " 1 1 : 1 o r the search. ) of a vanquished one to the . ' . .40 = I I " . 1 .�" .the infants. . 1 . : :" I :::11 ' . The mothers also belong to this category.. but there are cases . but rather entails that one has renounced the other. . ' . 2 1 1 -2 1 2). Beckett says as much in an extraordinarily succinct 1 ':lssage. But. . "I " " . The moment when one gives up on the imperative is a point ofno return.. I I"" . and not in its I 'l l n' moment. on their mothers' backs to be sure. The infants never stop circulating. The slightest failure is total (because less nothing) but no possibility I �. annihilated (because not-possible provisionally no longer possible). 1 1 hOl l rs l A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett all of Beckett's paradoxical optimism: the return (which is rare. .I ". in the midst of I I ll' ligures of sedentarity. :. We thus end up with four types of subject: 1 ) The searchers who circulate nonstop.". " i'" Ii iI I I '" I . .: : 1" . 3) The searchers who are definitively motionless. . To be vanquished. there exist a variety of possibilities . ' [ . . . II" " 'I. from the side of the imperative ofthe lost one. p.. . let us note. the description ofthe subject's figures takes place in another rictional montage. .. 1 1 1 1 I t . II . The second criterion has its origin in the Platonic categories ofmovem ent " and rest. Beckett calls these defeated searchers the vanquished.: iI . we can fundamentally distinguish two ' extremal' po sitions: the absolute nomadic living beings. I . except in that approximation ofdeath constituted by irr eversibility.. and then there are those who stop often . I "I" "'" I . p. Nothing in them moves. HI! US. GSP. Of the four figures. . . . a truth can never be entirely said. which 1 0 .. pp. Here the set-up involves a certain torsion: giving up on I i i.one can circulate between partial and total immobility.. "" . . the problem is knowing which of them are nameable. By combining the criteria of the imperative (to sea rch) and of movement. on the one hand. . .40 When it comes to the truth of subjective figures.". " " . I 1 . J the voice being so ordered I quote that of our total life it states only three quarters (HI!. Beckett maintains that there are four main figures. not even for an instant.' / Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r-------------. it does not govern a ' : I : i I (' of affairs.. whose importance for Beckett's thought I have already indicated. 1 ' . �. that of sedentarity. and those who have given up on this imperative . 142. . so that in this case speech can reach three quarters of the truth: = " /.. 1I '" . There are searchers who circulate without stopping. This is if we view things from the side of life. on the other. but without ever coming to a halt. A passing remark: you are probably acquainted with Lacan's thesis about what can be said of truth. " " ' ' and in the least less the all of nothing if this notion is maintained (eSp. The one who stops circulating becomes sedentary. : : . but who . I:: "' ' I . There arc always four figures. I . The ethics of the cylinder knows no eternal damnation.. . which is apathetic immobility. k :l l . which presents a very abstract and profound insight into the link I H'l ween an imperative and the domain of possibilities in which it is exercised: [ . Between these two figures lie partial and total sedentarity. There is even the possibility of the following mi racle. . For Lacan.. . . 2) The searchers who sometimes stop. . . whom we might call the 'nomads ' . J in the cylinder what little is possible is not so it is merely no longer so "I ' . . this search can never be interrupted. I . either constantly or for a long time.continue to search with their eyes for their lost one. irreversibility is not irreversible. and who are the 'initial' living beings . . ' !I' . "'. The principl e underlying this distribution of figures is the fol lowing : since the law of desire is the search for the other. p. I . • . Grasped in all its consequences and figures." .' l i l lperative is irreversible. excep t the eyes. is not irreversible . . . from the other point of view. thereby entering int o the figure of the vanquished.and this is very important . but the result of (or the punishment for) this .sl n e ver takes place.

and this profound equality offate authorises the following remarkable statement: 'in any case we have our being injustice I have never heard anything to the contrary' (HII. Tw o . '. in brief. ii . . . " " . . the Two of duality. . It is very important to note that these figures are egalitarian ones. _ •• >:1 . . . No Two. . whilst immobility in the dark applies to the abandoned torm are I . ' 1II II Ieys and immobilities. Depending as it does 1 1 1 1 1 00 com victim and tormentor. res ults of a separation. . Within this typology. HII US.this schema of sexuation.l lI . which Beckett tries to list. These are the four figural postures of the subject in How It Is: 1) To wander in the dark with a sack. immobile in the dark. . "" ' p l icated. Of I I I the dark. these figures are only the generic avatars ofexistence. r • • t . . 1 24). .45 The two figures of solitude are: to wander in the dark with one 's sack and to be immobile because one has been abandoned. . but one day another sac w i l l be found . "' " I . . ! . . something falsely pathetic in these conventional denominations. I " . ' . .are bound together through 'stoic love' en a mortal crawling in the dark encounters another mortal crawling h. . I .I' I .43 Of course. on the other. . . HII US. we can nevertheless group the figures of solitude. . " " .called 'the tormentor's ' . . These are the generic figures which cover everything that can happen to a member of humanity. There 26 27 . " ' " " . I " I I . The sack is very important. I . 4) To be encountered by someone in a passive position (someone pounces on you while you are immobile in the dark). l let you reflect upon these theorems. as it unfolds within the process oflove. 2) To encounter someone in the active position. as figures of solitude. " . In this set-up there is no particular hierarchy. This is the position of the so-called 'victim'. 135. In sum. dea r that the se figures are sexuated. all the other hypotheses. The joumey is that of a victim who abando ent I". " :. on the basis of an encounter hio log passive one I I I wh ich the active position . . we must examine scx uat that Beckett's 'termina l' thought on its own terms . which is neither destined nor predestined. like everyone else. and the figures of the Two. the figures of solitude are sexuated in accordance with two tted out by How It Is: I " ('al exi stential theorems .ct us note that. I " . " . " . nothing to indicate that this or that one among the four figures is to be desired.is in no sense either empirical or ical. is not the realisation of any pre-existing I I n fact. we will see that the positions of the victim and the tormentor designate everything that can exist by way of happiness in life. p. The figures of the Two are the tormentor and the victim. which states that wandering II k he must be '{" /i lies a woman and that ifthere is a mortal immobile in the dar li l lian . " . " " " . on the one hand.. The words 'tormentor ' and 'victim' should not mislead us in this regard. and to explain this fact God is the simplest hypothesis. . does not refer to any kind of finality. In order to shed more light upon the matter. by the violent demand of a story. The sexes cal led 'the victim 's' . are extremely ns her I h. are not the last word on Ac ion. second theorem: whoever is immobile in the dark is a man. only solitude obtains. whose evidence is plo . This is the so-called 'tormentor 's' position. they are equivalent to one another. Love a n d its N u m e r ica l i ty : O n e . of their t i l l I hc chance of the encounter. 62). p. I . and are tied to one another by the extorsion of speech. This is the thought eSl ablishes the power of the Two as truth. Besides. Beckett is careful to warn us that there is something exaggerated. I I I : :' I" i i . . there are always fewer and fewer tins about. it provides the best proof that I am aware of for the existence of God: every traveller finds his or her sack more or less filled with tins of food. pouncing on them in ' the dark.first theorem: only a woman travels. .A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----- L Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett . with his or her sack full of tins of k ('ourse . 69. . by the one encountered. '/ 'pen wh food. " " " " . except by the chance crossing of two trajectories . This is ' life in stoic love' (HII. Moreover. I ". .. The sexes are distributed as a result. God wilIling. Indeed. tt does I I I:. It is this fourth position that the voice is not able to say. These postures are the consequence of a chance encounter in the dark. one feature remains unchanged: love begins in a pure encounter. the journey and immobility or. Sexual difference is unthinkable except from the point ofview ofthe encounter. p. thus leading to the axiom of the three quarters concerning the relationship between truth and speech. I n fi n i ty Whilst Beckett's fables are subject to a number ofvariations. ' . . 3) To be abandoned. " .as long as we don't stop crawling. 1" '" ' . Prior to I his meeting. 1 I . and in particular no sexual duality.1 pro nounce the words 'man' and 'woman'.. the justice evoked here. p. however. "I . or distributed differently than the others. tive and pa ssive positions. precisely fortably to a structural and permanent Two. Becke because they refer 1 . " " 7 . " .and the . but in a latent manner. It concerns only the intrinsic ontological equality of the figures of the subject. " . " Iel ltor. preferred. exists before the encounter. as a judgment about collective being. What we should note I wil l 1 l l 1ediately is that this doctrine of the sexes.

then pushed out into the . . but the rustling night. Now. " " " " . w h i c h jointly validates the thesis of the One and the thesis of the Infinite. I' . 2 6 1 .Ililicthing unfolds within the night of presentation. It is in ' the thirties. Moll. from the One of solipsism (which is the first datum) to the infinity of beings and of experience. " .. . p.-:. I . The Two. The encounter is the founding instance ofthe Two as such. p. that Beckett asserts this excess without measure of ·.the Two arises. the encounter: i Ihat the Two of love elicits the advent of the sensible. . Rather. above all. I would now like to quote three such poems that are latent within the plOse. a man nearing his end and launched into interminable a l l empts at anamnesis (he listens to recordings of his own voice at different .. The encounter is the originary power ofthe Two. of stars and water. .. 1 24. the 1 1 1 1 '. opening instead onto the limitless multiple of Being. . .46 problem or else we are innumerable and no further problem either ( l 1 lI.! .': Ii : . Ihe other coherent thesis. however tender. It presents what one might call the other I II . Between these two presentational positions. 260). opinion) depends upon a pure event: an encounter whose strength radically exceeds both sentimentality and sexuality. ' I . · ' I WI) gives rise to a sensible inflection ofthe world. r· . . "" . because the infinity of the world is. I I lade under the ever-present threat of the grey black in which the original ( )lIe undergoes the torture of its own identification. " 'I ' I. HII US. retrieves the crucial moment when the Two of love had re­ I )pcned the multiple: -upper lake. p. alarms and bashful fumblings. The love that is admirably recounted here.'"i . We might The Two of love deploys the sensible version of this abstract axiom. The hero. . .'. it is a passage. V hlack of being had taken place. nuance. : . 1 3 5 .I " "" " ' ' ''' . " 'ii' " 'Ii'" '' " :: : ' ." . p. crawling in the dark. This power."" I ' " ' . This explains why in Beckett's prose one often chances upon these : . however expert (M. ' I ' . like the love ofthe aging or the dying.I . so that another Beckett may be heard . In the figure oflove . under the sign of the inaugural figure of the Two.."" " •• • " " .. which is inaugurated by the encounter and whose truth results from love.IY .e c ond nocturne . . . '. ( )ne of the axioms of How It Is is that the One and the Infinite are the 1 \\ 1 ' coherent ontological theses. 28 29 . takes on an extraordinary lyrical intensity. and of bodily motions. Love as a matter oftruth (and not of .. on the other. the Two of love operates the :. where before only the ." 'I" ' " '". colour. 1 1 11 Two of love functions both as break and as a constitution.1 ' " . ' I " "" ' I 1. Malone comments on the truth-effects ofthis love as follows: But on the long road to this what flutterings. that they gave Macmann some insight into the meaning of the expression. Rather. it can hardly stand on its own... . " And to meet [ . p.Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---- l Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett . or authorises the pass. .1 1 1 ofleaves and plants.] in my sense exceeds the power of feeling. is practically without measure. this is the romantic version of love that Beckett never ceases to deride.-. . 1 24f7 in other words in simple words I quote on either I am alone and no further >. This Two constitutes a passage.. I . p. I . " " " " . the sensible and the infinite are I I h l l l i c a l . . an authorisation granted to the multiple. : II. ' I .ed by the encounter and the ensuing toil. at the moment in which I he hero of the play. . The truth of I I . by virtue of this very fact. TN." I " I ' Beckett never reduces love to the amalgam of sentimentality and sexuality endorsed by common opinion. This something is the I l l I d tiple as such. . •• . ."" " . Love is never either fusion or effusion. together with the One of the .1 " ' I" I I . on the one hand. w l den poems where. and the I I I Ii 11 itely varied darkness of the sensible world... ' .• •• - II'"� " " "" " . In particular. ' ". This includes the Two of the sexes or of the sexualized figures. :'1 ' ..44 1 "l l ow i ng: II " .I"". .a Beckett who gives voice to I I Ie gift and the happiness of being. ( agcs of his life). I . The Two of love is a hazardous and chance-laden mediation for alterity in general. it is incommensurable with the power of feeling and with the sexual and desiring power of the body. Love is. ' I I :I' '� � . M US. I ' 1 1 I I . It elicits a rupture or a severance of the cogito's One. Two is company (T. bathed off the bank." . An example is provided in Malone Dies by the fictitious encounter that Malone engineers between Macmann and his guardian. .'. Under the very strict conditions I " )�. . In no way does love tum a pre-existing Two into a One. .. does not remain closed in upon itself. . I"I" I' II "I' "I II:: ' I ' '. . I l I ve offers beauty.such as it originates in the encounter .I" " " .".d " is no originary or prior difference that conditions or orientates this encounter. it is the often painstaking condition required for the Two to exist as Two. with the punt.not the grey black of being. f I . The first poem is taken from Krapp s Last Tape. in Murphy.I i ssion of the dark into the grey black of being. of which only this. 222). a pivotal point. however..1 II I'' ' ' ' ' " 'I I. . • I .. 11::. the first numericality. .' I " II " . . ".. and therefore of love itself. which within its own domain is not preceded by anything. asserts the .

of course. in a world of hills in bloom. and it is doubtless the one most " It IScly bound to the metaphor of a division of the dark and of the advent of l l il� second nocturne: You are on your back at the foot of an aspen. and as the nocturnal fissure of the grey black of being. p. I noticed a scratch on her thigh and asked how she came by it. Sun blazing down. . Having misted it with his breath and polished it on his calf he after a few moments she did. I n order from time to time to enjoy the sky he resorted to a little round [Pause. She murmurs. which are a lso four figures of the subject within love. p. a short text entirely devoted to love. artistic innovation.] Let me in. broken in two. Here is another very beautiful passage. Or to cruder imperatives of an anatomical order. Listen to the leaves. in I he sense that they are the organising functions of any generic process. We lay there without moving. The first of these functions is wandering [l 'errance] or the journey. . . IVC is when we can say that we have the sky. before the stem! [Pause. up and down. I: . She lay stretched out on the floorboards with her hands under her head and her eyes closed. As you can see. Graving themselves in his memory as best they could the ensuing cubes accumulated. But there is also a conspiring of the Two . 221 . This fidelity organises four functions in Beckett. This text establishes precise connections between love and infinite lmowledge. It is my conviction (for which I a m unable here to adduce proof) that these functions have a general value. she said. At an average speed of roughly three miles per day and night. I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. this is the poem ofthe opening ofthe waters. brings forth the infinity of the sensible world. 66-67.] I asked her to look at me and after a few moments - l Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett ( )n a gradient Of one in one his head swept the ground. NO. 35). p. In your dark you look in them again. are never closer to one another than when they discuss mathematics or astronomy: His talk was seldom of geodesy.] - Illirror. 1 88) . SP. You feel on your face the fringe of her long black hair stirring in the still air. which presents 31 30 . But we must have covered several times the equivalent of the terrestrial equator. and from side to side. The second quote comes from Enough. without opening her eyes. . The two walking lovers. p. because of the glare. Low. Still. Picking gooseberries.] Past midnight. The crest once reached alas the going down again. . even if it is in the statement of its own end. p. " " " . What mental calculations bent double hand in hand! Whole ternary numbers we raised in this way to the third power sometimes in downpours of rain. [Pause. To what this taste was due I cannot say. In their trembling shade (C. and that the sky has nothing. [Pause.50 I . pp. [Pause. 52 The last poem is taken from Company. [Pause. once again fromEnough. I have it! he exclaimed referring to the Lyre or the Swan. the multiple of the absolute moment. The way they went down. Eyes in each other's eyes you listen to the leaves. Within the tent of hair your faces are hidden from view.. bit of a breeze.an insistence that takes the ligure of fidelity. They relate to the duration of love. GSP. " . In its trembling shade. " . " looked in it for the constellations. Never knew ­ (CDW. - Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r----stream and drifted.53 I I i s then that the multiple of Constellations is held in the opening of the (j . but also to scientific accumulation. She at right angles propped on her elbows head between her hands..51 But under us all moved. II " :I " " " " " " . when love. when the figure of the beloved man becomes this instance of lmowledge through which the sky is presented in its proper order: All of these quotes show the Two of love as the passage lPasse] from I he One of solipsism to the infinite multiplicity of the world. 142. 1 4 1 . and moved us. GSP. . I said again I thought it was hopeless and no good going on and she agreed. . . but the eyes just slits. We took flight in arithmetic. 190). water nice and lively. with or without the benefit of a sack: a journey in the dark. gently.] We drifted in among the flags and stuck. p.] I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. 6 1 )48 " . To love of the earth and the flowers' thousand scents :lI1d hues. sighing. Your eyes opened and closed have looked in hers looking in yours. and political tenacity. • . When time would have done its work (CSP. And often he added that the sky seemed much the same (CSP. He never raised I he question. p. In view ofthe converse operation at a later stage.49 Two .' • I .

two. The third function is that of the imperative: always to go on. t .like an archive that accompanies wandering . 1 97). rather than of names. but with the infinity of its unfolding in the \\ l Il ld.is the setting for what I kckett quite rightly calls happiness. this prescriptive immobility remains mute. little by little. and that each numericality singularises the type of procedure i I I question. the imperative. This custody I I l 1 pl ies the errant chance of inquiries. •• 1 32 33 . love's powerful abstract conviction. I 'll go on). 'We're in love'. from the standpoint of the Two.'. where. and which in each of its occurrences is always pronounced for the first time. ! 'I " I' :I " " . He thus establishes the masculine and feminine polarities of the Two independently of any empirical or biological determination of the sexes. . but in love there is happiness. To be a 'man' is to remain motionless in love by retaining the founding name and by prescribing the law of continuation. it is captured in the between [l 'entre. that is. nothing would bear w i l iless to the Two of the sexes. and politics . This immobility is that ofthe second nocturne. and happiness all concern the advent. by combining these four functions. Joy. the endless crossing of a world henceforth exposed to the effects of the encounter. in science joy. 153. It establishes the duration of the Two and grounds time under the injunction of chance. Thc feminine polarity combines wandering and narrative. And because the function of wandering is missing.everything that one may discover in what Beckett calls 'the blessed days of blue' (eSp. In the case of love. as it is gathered within a subject. guards or maintains the fixed point of the first naming.niption without proof. Lastly. is also exhibited in the incessant walking of the lovers of Enough among the hills and flowers. This is why love il lolle calls for the observation that there is indeed 'man' (immobility of the I I l 1perative. p. two.< . Without love. art. It does not stick to the sole 1 ' 1 '. step by step . infinity . or whatever might come in its stead. is to move about in i l l t 'ordance with a custody of meaning. motionless in I I " d : 1 I1 . rd with the fixity of the name. It does not i l l t . The second function is exactly the opposite. there is first the One of solipsism. This is the senseless 'I love you'. Yet. in politics enthusiasm. which is that of their numericality. Such is the reward proper to this type of truth. whose abstract variant we encountered in How It Is. which.have different I l limericalities. In the case of happiness this void is an interval.I the infinite chance of the faithful journey of love. We saw that this naming pins the ' incident' to its lack of meaning. The ou imperative of the Two relays that of the soliloquy (Y must go on . it deciphers a truth about the Two itself. and permanently fixes that which is supernumerary into a name. the narrative of its unending glory. This numericality ( one. We could demonstrate I hat the other truth procedures . In art there is pleasure. To be a 'woman'. and the story. This function of wandering. of the small craft caught in the flags. which arises in the event of an " I ICllUnter and in the incalculable poem of its designation by a name. Love exists as the determination of this polarity. as well as the perpetual depositing of 1 1 1 1. chance into a story. in the context of love. the custody of the name) and 'woman' (wandering of a truth. of gazes absorbed by the eyes of the other. but only to retain.l'lleric procedures. but organises the constant inquiry. of the void of being. supporting the four I l I l Ictions and providing them with a singular distribution. . which is the confrontation or duel between the cogito and the grey black of being in the infinite I l'capitulation of speech. and One again. The fourth function is that of the story.Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett r----1" l Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett . albeit in the regime that is its own) weaves within its singular duration these four functions: wandering.science. but it subtracts the element ofpointless torture from it. whether one is a victim or a tormentor. immobility. t ( ) l Isequences of the name within speech). There would not be man and woman. . pleasure. to decree that separation itself is a mode of continuity.<. GSP. under the assumption that the event of love has taken place. The functions combined within the masculine polarity are those of immobility and the imperative. I here is the Infinity of the sensible world that the Two traverses and unfolds. the naming of the event-encounter. inscribing. within I he world. a 'man' is the name's silent custodian. The numericality of love . Beckett constructs the Idea of the sexes. I H lthing that bears witness to this love. because the narrative function is missing. the verification I I I : 1 capacity. for happiness can only exist in love. Next comes the Two. offers up the latent infinity of the world and recounts its unlikely unfolding.. immobility. Happiness also singularises love as a l ruth procedure.one. which watches over. thereby imposing the strict law of happiness. II " . of the two sexes. all the while illuminating how truths belong to totally I lderogeneous registers. Instead there would be One. In love. hili not Two. to be a man within love is also � < < .54 Love (but also any other generic procedure. even in separation. p. infinity) is specific to the procedure oflove. enthusiasm. These reflections open onto an important doctrine that concerns all 1 '. I.

. " If "" . . ' ii:! " Ii! ' . Without him I would not have had it. One last. There then she sits as though turned to stone face to the night. of sexual difference. On. but rather the desire for the manifestation of the Two in the divided between. " jl' " . a truth that love alone makes effective. . Grace to breathe that void. ' . Such helplessness to move she cannot help. .57 l A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett .I. The heroine of Enough will say: 'We were severed if that is what he desired' (eSp.. "" . . Moment by glutton moment. I "" ' " .' :r . the masculine polarity supports a desire for scission.1:1 1 " :::: I I' "". . that is. within the constantly reworked narrative of wandering: This notion of calm comes from him. imperative and story.' ' ." :::: � I I I "" . . '"'' I I . .I I. At evening when the skies are clear she savours its star's revenge. p. I . at one and the same time. against the void that affects the Two from within and which is symbolised by the man's leaving in order to die. that is. Such as the foot of her bed. it is. 'man' is the blind custodian of separation.. Save for the white of her hair and faintly bluish white of face and hands all is black. Heading on foot for a particular point often she freezes on the way.59 . " I. The entire beginning revolves around the word 'misfortune'. . I \�. a separating void and the conjunction that reveals this void. . I J '.55 In fact. " . Sky earth the whole kit and boodle.11. . First last moment. NO. No more rain. Down on her knees especially she finds it hard not to remain so forever.I! · . it is the subjective indicator of a truth of difference. '.' . ' l l' Y nocturne (ci limbo between life and death). as the outline of happiness. it is the nothing of the Two and the nothing but the Two. pp.. . 144. 'i: ..which captures the brilliance of I I I is fortune: From where she lies she sees Venus rise. No but slowly dispelled a little very little like the wisps of day when the curtain closes. All this in the present as had she the misfortune to be still of this world (ISIS. Know happiness (ISIS. This happiness is basically all that takes place between the beginning and the end of III Seen III Said. " ! !' . whereas the feminine polarity desires nothing but the Two. . Hand resting on hand on some convenient support. Then she rails at the source of all life. Rather. This instance of the 'woman' is magnificently proclaimed at the very end ofEnough.56 . p. 49-50)..' " ' '. . 86). ' . at the end there arises a kind " I l ra nsparent void. If at the outset we have the reign of the visible and the rigidity of seeing in the 34 35 . 1 88). 1 4 1 . And on them her head. This is its separation. " . pp. At the other window. . Of itself by slow millimetres or drawn by a phantom hand. 192). In happiness. For an eye having no need oflight to see. Her old deal spindlebacked kitchen chair. .' '' .. of the between. . which is laid out in the second nocturne." .� I i . '. Unable till long after to move on not knowing whither or for what purpose. What more is I l ine to do than to listen to what is happening? What follows is the opening passage . This is not at all a longing to return to solipsism. ' . On.. !. . in that which constitutes the effective character of the Two. There is a Two only ifthere is this between where the void is located as the ontological principle [principe d 'etre] of the Two.. Lick chops and basta.' " ' . Enough my oid breasts feel his old hand (eSp. No more mounds. And now the end. No. illil:i I " ". ' 'III ! " . At this point. One moment more. From where she lies when the skies are clear she sees Venus rise followed by the sun.in my view one of the most I wa lltiful texts in the French language . while the end leans towards the word 'happiness'. Such is its inseparable sexuation: immobility and wandering. "'t·1 Happiness is indistinguishably 'man' and 'woman'. p. Not another crumb of carrion left. This woman is the one who insists on the 'nothing but the Two'. the infinite tenacity whereby the Two endures as such. even if it is only in its simple mnemonic outline. GSP. Rigid upright on her old chair she watches for the radiant one. 7-8. Then in that perfect dark foreknell darling sound pip for end begun. GSP. which is both the site and the stakes of happiness. � r . ' 1 ' '''''II " '" ' ''''" ' ' ' . 59. 'II. . I . !I ' IP'" I ' " . We might say that man desires the nothing of the Two. Grant only enough remain to devour all. where the instant of happiness is conquered in the vcry brief and trying duration of a visitation of the void:58 Decision no sooner reached or rather long after than what is the wrong word? For the last time at last for to end yet again what the wrong word? Than revoked. It is there that a woman argues for persistence. On. Nothing but the two of us dragging through the flowers. with the myth of fusion. It emerges from out the last rays and sinking ever brighter is engulfed in its turn. at the very heart of happiness. . . against the nothing of the Two. Now I'll wipe out everything but the flowers. p. NO. The desire of 'man' is assigned to or by this void. p. the difference of the sexes as such. - ------- Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett Deux]. As happiness. Farewell to farewell. once more we come up against sexuation. Happiness is not in the least associated with the One. p... " "" . She sits on erect and rigid in the deepening gloom.

So that forty years later. A ' Yo u n g C reti n ' I discovered the work of Beckett in the mid-fifties. as well as the combination of wandering and fixity. I •• . the wager of a name. j'y suis to ujours ]. T i re les s Des i re60 . against the disillusioned.only then. a subjective blow of sorts that left an indelible mark.:." . I'm always there' rry suis. of imperative and story. A a i n B a d i ______ke tt • ." I . . I can say. ""j 1 . l�_I______o u On Bec______".I' .-." I . with Rimbaud: ' I'm there. that 36 . -'''' Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett This is also what I would like to call the writing of the generic: to present in art the passage from the misfortune of life and of the visible to the happiness of a truthful arousal of the void. All of this must in turn be traced out within the division of the night . Translated by Bruno Bosteels Revised by Nina Power and Alberto Toscano ". This is the principal task of youth: to encounter the incalculable. . under these rare conditions.�. and thereby to convince oneself. This requires the measureless power of the encounter. j " . will we be able to repeat with Beckett: 'Stony ground but not entirely' [T erre ingrate mais pas totalement] . . It was a real encounter.

in later years.Iatement pronounced by Sartre. I never understood a word of it in any case. which I considered my own. I . of despair. p. In such 'modem' writing. as stirring as its promise may be. In my eyes all of this remained the literary allegory of a conclusive :.in youth this seems the least that one could do. 259).62 :. When I discovered Beckett. keeps us from nostalgia. to enter living into silence. It's a poor trick that consists in ramming a set of words down your gullet on the principle that you can't bring them up without being branded as belonging to their breed._---- -- ------- �---�----� Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----the thesis 'nothing is. one that would take him ten years to get out of. there is no sense in stalking people. pp. I used to delight myselfwith the most sinister aphorisms . p. no. I lived in the company ofthe striking mixture o f hatred and saving familiarity that the ' speaker' of this novel lavishes upon h i s linguistic instrument. Being young is a source of power. almost violent. of incommunicability and of eternal solitude . I could only see in Beckett what everybody else did. But youth is also that fragment of existence when one easily imagines oneself to be quite singular. I think I have nothing to learn. so as to be able to enjoy it. 80). an existentialist. TN. TN. But I'll fix their gibberish for them. was to complete the Sartrean theory of freedom by means ( 1 I" a careful investigation into the opacities of the signifier. 400. fiction is both the appearance of a story and the reality of a reflection on the work of the writer. But the (ultimately inconsistent) alliance between nihilism and the imperative of language. I was a complete and total Sartrean. 80. is always also the youth of a 'young cretin'.63 I should have liked to go silent first.--- --- - -- - - . so as to feel myself silent [ . p. . From such a makeshift observatory. This is why The { fnnamable was my favourite book.. J (T. All the same. • I . but these are strained by their all too easy capture by repetition and imitation. TN. . this is. it would have demonstrated more lucidity on my part to have understood that for Beckett The Unnamable was really an impasse. my stupidity lay in unquestioningly upholding the caricature 38 39 .Iyle brings to the commonplace (and sub-Kafkaesque) thesis of universal l " I II pability. on its misery and its grandeur. around 1 956). So long as it is what is called a living being you can't go wrong. any old remains of flesh and spirit do. between Sartre and Blanchot. to speak like Beckett.youth having a fatal tendency to believe that ' our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought' . Thought only subtracts itself from the spirit of the age by means of a constant and delicate labour. p.the simultaneously sublime and derisory function ofwords . This is why all youth. 260. .. as well as what exactly is designated by these ' stories ' spewed forth by the breed. the abiding obsession of my generation and of the ones to follow: the question of language. For several months (in youth. It is more difficult to notice the fact that this very wish could end up as the material for the forms of perpetuation of this very world. nothing is valuable' is both false and oppressive. a 'vast time'). . Basically._ . of empty skies. p.61 L A I__n B a d i___On__e__ett__ __ a i ____o u _ B ck__ No matter. you have the guilty one (T. p. Bearing this in mind. in that the destiny of writing. It didn't have the same flavour as the maxims on language. 324-325). and was going to be for a long while. though I was possessed by a question whose importance I thought I had personally discovered to have been underestimated by Sartre. the relationship between the endless recapitulation of speech and the original silence . and indeed I confuse them with accidentals (T. Above all.was entirely captured by the prose at a distant remove from any realist or representational intention. like gobbets in a vomit (T. rather suited the young cretin that I was at the time.64 . I don't know why. between vital existentialism and the metaphysics ofthe word. Into sundry notebooks I copied things like: And when it comes to neglecting fundamentals. not a word of the stories it spews. 396). the famous 'man is a useless passion'. which I used in (lrder to support my conviction that the decisive philosophical task. A writer of the absurd. when I delighted in reading (from Malone Dies): Without doubt I should have pondered this 'valiance' inherent to all speech. when really what one is thinking or doing is what will later be retained as the typical trait of a generation. It is easy to want to change the world . p. But also a 'modem' writer. �\ :\ � I d i dn't pay enough attention to the denial that this affirmative. 327. TN. a time of decisive encounters.in sum. there were moments I thought that would be my reward for having spoken so long and so valiantly. I had yet to realise that it was already.1 I should have concentrated my attention on the irony that charges this nihilistic verdict with a bizarre energy. some years after the beginning ofhis French oeuvre (that is.

cinema. We could say that we are dealing with an enterprise of meditative thought . a ' thin Rabelais' . One can certainly discern in Beckett a central oscillation between philosophical abstraction (an abstraction that is entirely purified in W orstward Ho) and the strophic poem. I would like to hold onto this aphorism which still astounds me today.- Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett which was then . Neither is it the contrary. He is no stranger to the maxim. ' I I ' l\t • Iii/' Nothing ( composed between 1 950 and 1 953). The caricature of a Beckett meditating upon death and finitude. if! had a voice? ' After 1 960. That is what I would like to establish in these few pages. '66 Ah! One really should speak of the stoniness. The effect of this oscillation and this caesura is that no single literary " . In truth. He comes out of this impasse with I !. the scraps of fiction or spectacle that Beckett employs attempt ' I I . the writer is overcome 2 . \ /1 l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett loy . when the 'unnameable' speaker. a nothingness that would be materialised. Let us take just one maxim amongst many others. little by little. p. l i l t ' disposition of the paragraphs and the intrinsic value of the visions indicate I I l a l t he text is governed by what could be defined as a 'latent poem'. The lesson of Beckett is a lesson in measure. extended by the resources of art to cover the nothingness of writing. exactitude and courage. relinquishment. And since it was on reading The Unnamable that my forty-year passion for this author was born. B e a uty The work of Beckett. 302. this prose that we know is destined to ' ring clear' and to keep courage alive within us. the waiting in vain for the divine and the derision of any enterprise directed towards others. into hopeless . solving none of the problems that it has posed. These qllestions are very few in number. In a manner that is almost aggressive. p. the work of the prose is intended to isolate and a l low to emerge the few points with respect to which thinking can become a nirmative. After in the conduct of the prose. a conclusion: ' Stony ground but not entirely. which always carries with it a principle of relentlessness and advancement. television.1 960). theatre. .widespread: a pitiless awareness of the nothingness of sense. a text that introduces a clean rupture in the themes as II I 40 41 . The novel 1 1 11 1 1 1 is still perceptible in Molloy. as some have tried to argue: farce.in one of those periodic inquiries about the ' mystery of the author' in which every artist is invited to take up a pose and fced the century an ersatz of spirit . what Beckett offers to thought through his art. as it were. The latter describes a kind of picture through the incessant repetition ofthe same groups ofwords. I I \'d ing of impasse and impotence.. but in The Unnamable it is exhausted.why he wrote. rather than in the statements on language that enchanted my youth. It took me many years to rid myself of this stereotype and at last to take Beckett at his word. through his tears and in the certainty that he will never give up. if the other exists?' The work of Beckett is nothing but the treatment of I hesc four questions within the flesh of language. Neither existentialism nor a modem baroque. Like many other writers since Flaubert. We should also refrain from the belief that Beckett sinks into an I I ltcrrogation that is sufficient unto itself. 300).. radio. poetry. To Kant's famous 'What can I know? W hat should I do? What may I hope? '. declares: I alone am man and all the rest divine CT. On the contrary. 1 1 1(' can command the comprehension of Beckett's enterprise.and still is .which attempts to seize in beauty the non-prescriptible fragments of t·xistence. that he was an inventor of rhythms and punctuations. so that the 'not entirely' may come to shine within the prose. --" -- ----- ---- ---- . displace the meaning ofthe text (a technique pushed to its extreme in Lessness). prose. the dereliction of sick bodies. No.is really a complex trajectory employing a great variety of literary means. and through minute variations which. comes the threefold response from or " " Is / Nothing: 'Where would I go.-- --- . ' 1 l l IlIgh it is not possible to say that the poem prevails . all of Beckett's genius Il:nds towards affirmation.65 /. is not this gloomy c orporeal immers ion into an abandoned existence. A Beckett convinced that beyond the obstinacy of words there is nothing but darkness and void.- . if I could go? Who would I be if I t Olild be? What would I say. one can add: 'Who . of t he ingratitude ofthe Earth! But only as a last resort. / 11/ I. When asked . TN.'x pose some critical questions (in Kant's sense) to the test of beauty. he telegraphed back: as -II /1 Is ( 1 959.half-conquered by the p()cm . which is often presented as a block or as a linear movement . derision.becoming increasingly nihilistic in content and increasingly concise in fOlm . Beckett often remarked that only music mattered to him. We can also identify two major periods within Beckett's work.even if the cadence. a concrete flavour. and criticism. by means of increasingly tight and increasingly dense prose pieces that abandoned all narrative principle.

from a 'natural' language. God and man. There was the wish to work in the theatre. that extreme flexibility which permits the withdrawal ofpunctuations. . not completely! That's all. In the egg. and at a distance from the mother. p. A dream. " . At the other window. on French territory. there was the immediate and very dangerous commitment to the resistance. who. a tenderness which until that point had been restrained. p. Not completely. and the activity of literary criticism (on Proust and Joyce). he called upon the services of a secondary and learnt idiom. which annul any loftiness in the tone of the prose: Work. in which the calculus of sound appeases the tension of the spirit. Question answered (ISIS. . Long before. so little compromised. She at And finally .67 And also by means of a declarative tone that establishes the splendour ( ) f the universe and the apparent misery of its immobile witness as a spectacle Ihat is unveiled through prose. " I ' " " . Your eyes opened and closed have looked in hers looking in yours. On. all things considered. in III Seen III Said: Was it ever over and done with questions? Dead the whole brood no sooner hatched. ". In their trembling shade (e. 7. In its trembling shade. finances. family. p. we can clearly see as a central reference for all the couples who traverse Beckett's work. p. Over and done with answering. All the same. There were the relations with painters. Enough my oid breasts feel his old hand (eSp. pp. On. " I I . Then she rails at the source of all life. No more mounds. With not being able. With not being able. art and nature. With not being able not to want to know. cunt. No. Eyes in each other's eyes you listen to the leaves. 70). GSP. » . third fatherland. many other things. There was the constant preoccupation with the use of new techniques : radio (Beckett is a master of the radio play). Long before. I have never deemed it necessary to take entirely seriously the declarations of artists regarding their absolute vocation. television. 37. adding epithets or repentances. cinema. . 78). I . No more rain. which. 66-67. this language conferred upon him an unheard of timbre. p. And many other people. not only as an author. Beckett. 144. " ' . Rigid upright on her old chair she watches for the radiant one (ISIS. Thus we read. health.71 But it also occurred by means of sudden lyrical expansions. NO. the imperial ordeal of phrases and the mysticism of the page. p. NO. but also as a punctilious and demanding director. as in III Seen III Said: From where she lies she sees Venus rise. p. At evening when the skies are clear she savours its star's revenge. i i i And also by way of falls and halts in the action that indicate. 1 92). i . Little by little. p. p. Never. a 'foreign' language: French.10 i . Nothing but the two of us dragging through the flowers. 35). " I . but not completely! There was the complicated relationship with Joyce. without engaging in vulgar 'biographism'.by means of length. which is why. whilst showing in the rhythm that the business of life will not have the last word: Now I'll wipe out everything but the flowers. heart and conscience. this took place by a sort of intimate rupture which isolates words in order to rectify their precision within the phrase. . or And also by the jokes (here from Rough f Theatre II). There was the long marriage with Suzanne. From where she lies when the skies are clear she sees Venus rise followed by the sun. Beckett truly was a constant and attentive servant of beauty. from the mother-tongue). NO. Within the tent of hair your faces are hidden from view. She murmurs. Listen to the leaves. housing conditions. From Company: You are on your back at the foot of an aspen. Still. so many disasters (eDW. in the prose of Enough. You feel on your face the fringe of her long black hair stirring in the still air. SP. one would need to look far and wide. filling the air with the nocturne of reminiscence. Against the Nazis. at a distance from himself (at a distance from nature. ' That's all I'm good for ' [Bon qu 'd 9a] . when Beckett wants all the data of a 42 43 .69 1 . was Beckett's immediate master. 49). it is true that to find a writer of this calibre so little exposed to the world.68 ". In particular. 238.- Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r------ l Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett right angles propped on her elbows head between her hands. In your dark you look in them again.against the grain of the brevities and caesurae that elsewhere dominate .

' I I 3 .- - -- - --- -- . .. Such is the case with movement: not only must wandering be detached.the movement in movement .. In Malone Dies. Interruption. ' ' injure himself. a skull with two holes to ill see and an oozing of . or the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . In this separating function. according to its proper density. p. I . When Beckett wishes to concentrate his attention on one of thc I i I tie. A ' character' is never anything but the assemblage . It is this beauty that tells us what it is that Beckett wishes to save. or the tender cadence of disaster. in the end. These are.Beckett's advance !tlile I poetic incision of memory. l a l es three l i e down). which reduces the evidence of the world to that of the intentional fluxes of consciousness. . - '''.72 Rectification. the old who have lost their walking sticks. and in particular of the beauty that Beckett aims at. impossibility of silence). an identity. and perceptible surfaces of mobility. . Immobility would thereby find its complete metaphor in the corpse: ' dying' is the conversion of all possible movement into permanent rest. To separate appearance. In this dispossession. I . no longer know where he is.--------� Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r-. w h ich is not reducible to these three functions and to demonstrate that these I I l l1ctions are what cannot be abolished. rest itself is presented as the integral of movement and language. HII US. Fiction. Beckett's poetics is thus constituted by a progressive alleviation of constraints. moment in which movement becomes externally indiscernible from i( H f. I a nd the impotent. the 'character' reaches a pure i mmobility. Declaration. memories and words. a . a demolition of that which delays the moment of immobility. f I he essence of movement . Asce s i s a s M e t h o d In his own way.JI 44 45 .. . their illnesses. a sort of differential of w hich we could say . I . or the function of emergence ofprose. as a strange mix of the deceleration of prose and the acceleration of its dispersal . one sees how movement and language ultimately infect both being and immobility. __ __ __ 'il situation or of a problem to be enveloped in a unified prosodic movement 1. This is because the destiny of beauty. it is necessary to reduce humanity to its indestructible functions. to a head. testified only by a minute tension. This is why we must begin with the beauty in the prose. the places. the the paralytic. as an aleatory montage.111. ' l a me. .. The ' character' (Molloy. 1 1 1[' 1 1 1[' lI:: In the first part of his French oeuvre. but since it is a matter of presenting by little.that it is brought back to a point of movement. and even lose . p. Innumerable in Beckett's prose are the blind. that which exceeds it. "I . as well as vacillation of any identity whatsoever). and. Elongation. or the maxims of comedy._--. Beckett's methodical ascesis functions: movement and rest (to go and to stall. w i l l bring with it the destruction of all the means. But here again. or the phrased embodiment of variants.. " . or indeed their wandering without any perceptible finality.�-'-- - ---_. . the appearances. or Husserl's epoch!!. so as to be no more than a difference of rest. 1 24). 'I: . it is first of all necessary to suspend everything that is either inessential or doubtful. 1 ' .--_I a i __ i u ______ tt l A __n B a d_o_ On Becke_ __ __ 'il" . or the work on the isolation of terms. so that the point of immobility is constantly deferred. those bodies that are reduced. ------ ---. which is always presented mbitrary. being (what there is. If movement is undone. I I I a journey.so exhausted is the prose . ' .is nothing other than the protocol of an experience which deserves comparison with the doubt by means of which Descartes reduced the subject to the vacuity of its pure enunciation. J . Expansion. language (the imperative of saying. I I " good part of his body. B eckett rediscovers an inspiration belonging to Descartes and Husserl: if you wish to conduct a serious enquiry into 'thinking humanity' [l 'humanite pensante] .--------� -. and to isolate. to speak unrepentantly of the stony ingratitude of the Earth. in other words. in my opinion. the word declares what we must disregard in order to face up to what may be of worth. tends to set out the loss of everything I. --something that he attempts in How It Is: in other words in simple words I quote on either I am alone and no further problem or else we are innumerable and no further problem either (HIl.- . or Moran) will I l l i siay his bicycle. the helpless . 1 3 5 . little by words for ill saying. the irreducibility of the functions means that 'dying' is never death. everything that has so often been taken as an allegory of the infinite miseries of the human condition . a mouth. and a cruel chatter. from the universal core of experience.their poverty. The destitution ofBeckett's characters .I ' at one and the same time. " I . their strange fixity. is to separate. �. rom all apparent sense. or to collapse. which it both restores and obliterates. This is because movement is no longer anything but its own ideal mobility. it does not allow itself to be constructed otherwise than as the unattainable limit of an increasingly diminishing network of movements. the principal operations through which Beckett's writing attempts.----- . Declension. outside supports. It is indispensable to take Beckett at his word: the word of beauty.'I I I ".

The 'with the other' is decisive. We are very close to what Plato.:. reduced to its primitive functions. It thus that the 'speaker' of The Unnamable. 'with Pim' and 'after Pim'. it is necessary to isolate the essential nature of this 'with the other' by means of a montage that eradicates all psychology. it crawls with its sack . whose essential functions are: going..:. It is not by chance that the three parts ofHow It Is relate to the three moments that are named by the following syntagms: 'before Pim'. as opposed to flight).. . I·' I . it relates childhood stories of a rare poetic intensity. a. One can never emphasise enough the degree to which the confusion between this methodical ascesis . I I I I L�e primitive functions. purified by a methodical literary ascesis. p. a itcrity. all the dubious possessions that would have diverted him from what it is his destiny to experiment. and all empirical exteriority. I I I. ------- - --------� Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----functions. And if he is clearly '.:.. then Beckett the writer intends. d i _u On Becket_ .'.. 46). I ·' I. 43.ii ' .n that of the victim. -. of the external voice. the will to movement.. poverty. I :11' HI : " .the lis immobility. .I': "Ii Ii.::: i �---. destitution..metaphorically enacted as loss. in How It Is: the dejections no they are me but I love them the old half-emptied tins let limply fall no something else the mud engulfs all me alone it carries my four stone five stone it yields a little under that then no more I don't flee I am banished (HII.. From the sixties onwards. more energetic. trapped in a jar at the entrance to a restaurant. II II • 1 I H. and the subject matter of his gigantic monologue is nothing more ----.. he is indiscernible from me. of the creative capacity (in this case. must be j' II.admitting that we are indeed animals lodged upon an earth which is insignificant and brimming over with excrement . through the ascetic movement of prose.. like everyone else. and which concerns generic humanity.. I " ( ) I her encounters an immobile entity.. language. If Plato the philosopher uses these to determine the general conditions for all thinking.:n B a---. Sameness. . Thus reduced to a few functions. The existence of the ( ) 1 her is not in doubt. and some sort of tragic pathos of the destitution and the misery of man has distracted our contemporaries from any deep understanding of the writings of Beckett. -- L A I.. It presents itself as a voice reaching ()ut to someone in the dark. or that a later text is called Company. so the other.. is a difference of the immobile. I . . of this abandon) what is inessential. This is not a tragic image.. could be the case that there is nothing but ' [t]he fable of one fabling of one with you in the dark' (C. NO. I .. in The Sophist.. ofthe companion. Beckett says.. . or death. to present in fiction the atemporal determinants of humanity. 39)13 We cannot understand the text ifwe immediately see it as a concentration camp [concentrationnaire] allegory of the dirty and diseased human animal. p. is never anything but the inaccessible limit of movement and of language.where.1 .. we see that generic humanity can be reduced to the complex of movement. of thought. 89. is rendered immobile.staged with a tender and voluble humour ­ . more immortal. I II" ' " II ." . � I" " " :II "I"' . he makes sure that the others are blocked. This humanity. But here too. is caught in the following tourniquet: i f he exists. since this time the Other is assigned to the third function.. but its construction and identity refer back to an evasive circularity. which has been called 'larval' or 'clownish'.:. and which in W orstward Ho in fact comprises nothing but skulls oozing words. we will say that this ' character' . in I I I Ihe black night .I'. his existence is uncertain. But since no real movement ()r corporeal encounter bears witness to it. If we disregard (and Beckett's prose is the movement of this disregard. . Movement. and Other. HII US.I " identifiable. its existence remains suspended: it . whose proper name is effaced or undecided and who is utterly destitute. than the imperative to speak. The singularity of this voice is not in doubt. a relentlessness based on almost nothing . "" . On the contrary . humanity is only more admirable. . what distracts us (in Pascal's sense). of language (as imperative without respite) and of the paradoxes of the Same and the Other. :. and nothing besides these positions can serve to specity • In Company. by the reptations of a subject. This accounts for the derived f U llctions of activity (the one who falls on the other: the tOlmentor) and of passivity (the one on whom the other falls: the victim). " " 1 In all these cases we can see that the ascesis . names as the five supreme genera: Being. the problem is inverted. the Other is assigned to movement and to rest: sometimes. In fact.it is a matter of establishing that which subsists in the register of the question.. he is like me. In How It Is. being and saying. Just as movement. .:.. has actually succeeded in losing all the secondary ornaments. a fourth function takes on a more and more determining role: that of the Other. i II I 46 47 I I .. all evidence. Rest._o ________t __.leads to a conceptual economy of an ancient or Platonic type. sometimes it is encountered in tum. if we consider what requires thinking in the beauty of prose. and the immobility of being. I • • . of rest (of dying). it is possible to occupy successively the position of the tormentor. The Other is itself a knot tying together the '" L .

l" I .than being. This same tendency is exemplified by the room where the two protagonists of Endgame are enclosed. 1 1 1 opposition that we could refer to as Bergsonian. In all these cases.I I 48 49 i . 'I' . but of what does speech speak? Of what can it speak? 4 . . .where Molloy looks for his mother. I ' II ' II I I. What is in question is a wholly other equality between language and being: the flexibility of the first matches the versatility of the second. it is not by controlling its elements that prose adheres to being. All needed to be known for say is known (CSP. but rather because it flees as fast . . nevertheless..or even faster .:1 . to the question that makes writing itself possible. it extends I he dissipation and tries to maintain itself as close as possible to the flight of a ppearances. It is also. which governs in particular the imperative of the writer . to the extent that it d l sl i nguishes the closed and the open. II'I I'. as we will later learn.75 Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett --------- - I <: ' ---j I I .the operator of thought is the fiction within prose. since. " . There are two places of being in Beckett's first fictions. what good is the imperative that we should speak on? For the artist . ' I'.it blocks the always menacing identity I I I heing and nothingness . . GSP. by the room where Malone dies (or rat her moves indefinitely towards his death). according to . Whether it is a question of the closed 'I. ". The aim of the fictions I I I closure is that the seen be coextensive with the said. Therefore. and by the house of Mr. .' i. the one that is able to ground the fact that there is a reason to write [qu 'ily ait lieu d 'ecrire] : what is the link between language and being? Of course.who differs from the philosopher in this regard . Beckett will fuse together these two prosodic figures of the place of being. Little by little. and above all because as soon as it is named that which is and of which we are obliged to speak escapes towards its own non­ being. In these open places the arrangement of the fiction seeks to capture in language the 'conversion times' of being into nothingness. This equality tries to anticipate the metamorphoses. That being ceases to flee in order to convert itself into nothingness entails that language must determine the place of being within a fiction. flux causes that every thing while being every thing hence that one even that one while being is not speak on74 toute chose done celle-ld meme celle-ld tout en etant n 'est pas parlons-en On this basis.Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r------ I ----1---1 "- I thought of as constituting a sort of purified axiomatic. that it must assign being to its place.attune itselfwith being? Have we some hope that language could stop the flux and confer upon a thing (that one / even that one) at least a relative stability? And if not. This means that the work of naming must always be taken up again. this corridor is infinite. the set-up of the fiction [Ie dispositij de fiction] ('stablishes a strict control upon place. and where Moran looks for Molloy.plane. Fizzle 5: Closed S pace: Closed place. I I . this is not simply because we are prey to language. hills. The open place instead exposes the aleatory character ofpaths.. gloomy forests . first of all. Knott III W att. as well as by the cylinder where the entities of The Lost Ones bustle ahout. The closed place forbids flight . how can the imperative to speak. it is a fact that we are constrained to speak. Beckett fixes this I Ihjective in a short text.and above all of the one who is 'good for' nothing else . 199. This is the case with the I rish countryside . 1 1 11 1 the components themselves can be named exactly. p. We also find it in the town and t he labyrinth of streets of The Expelled. "I' II. allowing us to go straight to the only questions that matter. This is what is summed up in one of the mirlitonnades from Poemes: flux cause que toute chose tout en etant . and it is even present in the corridor o f black mud where the torturers and the victims ofHow It Is crawl.. p.because the set of its components is denumerable . constructing a universe sufficiently till ite so that when the prose wishes to seize being its escape can be temporarily hl ocked. Be i n g a n d La n g u a g e If it is indeed necessary to speak. On this point. And. i tl 'l'kett devotes many of his inventions to the following task: to name the I h i io nal place of being. 236). . Beckett is a disciple of Heraclitus: being is nothing other than its own becoming-nothingness.

and it takes the name of 'dim' : Dim light source unknown. or black marked by an uncertain colour. p. Ash grey all sides earth sky as one all sides endlessness (CSP. one could call the place of 50 51 . GSP.80 I l lhe grey-black.presupposes or connects to a subject. yes. space or of wandering. It is 1 1" . the subject advenes as an incomprehensible supplement of being. the grey-black itself does not let itself be spoken of in a . as Malone says (not without warning us that one could thus ' pollute the whole of speech'): 'Nothing is more real than nothing (T. . which . I think that all that is false may more readily be reduced. as Mallarme said. is expended in trying to Icave no room for any supplement whatsoever.in closure. GSP. Know minimum. which does not separate the dark and the light. 2 1 3). Whence the torture of the cogito. It is far from being the case that employing the resources of the latent pocm allows Beckett to surmount all the obstacles before him. p . . the suppression of any descriptive particularity ends up with a uniform image of the earth and the sky. p. �ssary to reverse the Cartesian equivalence between the true and the clear­ illid d istinct. This is because I IlCre is not just the place. In effect. 82). a 'grey-black'. This is the point where. NO. 1 69. whilst at the same time holding itself at a distance from this name. language. then artistic prose is required. It is here that the closed and the open become II I. At most mere minimum (WH. p. it is borne by a prose whose entire energy. " .79 Beckett notes with great precision that this 'mere minimum' is the being of an empty place awaiting bodies.'. as I levoted as it may be to establishing the place of being . p. fil l i l n l i-dialectical black. In so doing. stands towards it in a relation of unclear equivalence." . of what there is prior to all knowledge. Prose alone can reach the exact point where being. This metaphor designates being in its localisation. . Then all go (WH. is the place " Iheing..must be grasped in the neutrality of that which is neither the night nor the light. .( lI1tradiction with the light. to " . Little body same grey as the earth sky ruins only upright. of determining its lighting. the question ofthe prosodic construction of the place of being.. 1 8 . and that voyage and fixity become the reversible metaphors " I I l la l aspect of being which is exposed to language. . it is not true that 'nothing will lake place but the place' [rien n 'aura lieu que Ie lieu]. p . a black which is not the opposite of anything. At the end of this fictive simplification. 1 97-1 98). in which any movement is equivalent to a transparent immobility. 1 92). pp. 91 ). which is empty of any event. 9. 97). This is why literary writing is required here.represents in my view the successful realisation of Beckett's poetic effort to assign being a place: Grey sky no cloud no sound no stir earth ash grey sand. all fiction. openness or the grey-black .77 Thus in The Lost Ones: What first impresses in this gloom is the sensation of yellow it imparts not to say of sulphur in view of the associations (CSP. TN. or.78 notions clear and distinct. is explicit. half-light. TN. Thus in Molloy: . Of course. _ ----- ." " " In this kind of passage. Which is the most appropriate colour for the empty place that constitutes the ground [f ond] of all existence? Beckett replies: dark grey. p. . it is a question for Beckett of fixing the scene ofbeing. 82. Often Beckett typifies this with the names gloom. Know nothing no.76 . far from letting itself be thought in a dialectical opposition to l Ioll-being. A black grey enough so that it will not enter 1 1 1 1 " (. Save dim go. inasmuch as it seeks to make the real and the nothing equivalent.. or rather of the minimum of knowledge to which language can cling. since it alone carries a possible thought " I I he in-separable. distinct from all other notions (T. 1 53 . This subject in tum excludes itself from the place simply by the act of naming it.I ar and distinct manner. NO. of the indistinct.precisely because we are 'before' the taking place of something . or light black. " ' In Worstward Ho. I In. The one for whom Ihere is the grey-black does not cease to reflect and recommence the poetic work oflocalisation. I ." ------ Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r--- 1 11 1 1 11 '" or Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett dim. p . p. The text Sans (for which Beckett created the word ' lessness' in English) .'" I I "". 8 1 [ think so. and events: Void cannot go. Too much to hope.a pure description that slowly repeats or modifies its components .hsl i nguishable. p. p. or dim. I ! .

. k::lroys not language but the subject and. First of all. .84 " I I the silence. TN. the support or the idiot body of all thinking subjectivity. 1 5 0). 4 1 8 . will " . mute. since reflection. on the contrary. an excess so violent that it Let us note carefully the components of this 'pretty three in one'. TN. i . far from all [ . T h e S o l ita ry S u bject Let us then suppose that the subj ect. it will be I. the subject who wants 1 0 know what is at stake in the being of the subject. I'll wake. subjects himself to torture. . . . To seize and annul itself the voice must enter into its own silence. whimpers and takes flight.82 But the desired self-annulment reveals itself to be inaccessible. Let us call this the subject of enunciation. it exhausts itself in what is said but nevertheless always ' remains on this side of things. .the same . ] with his babble of homeless mes and untenanted hims [ . inventing nothing. Everything will be reduced to the voice. This oscillation between.--. ' ' . to obtain silence through the violence inflicted on words. . But this sterility is still not enough if. And this other now [ . . what a no one (eSp. 1 1 2. this place of experimentation. 414). and that it is is absolutely impossible to try and reduce this triplicity exts f Nothing. in order to :lttain this knowledge. IiI . :i/() in a state of genuine terror. analysing Beckett. Sometimes. has rightly said. I I . to stop this haunting exception to the pure grey-black of being? Writing. who hears without understanding. or dream. / A lai ���-------------- n Bad i o u On Beckett i ". . and concepts . Ii . it can only do so by returning to the silence that can be supposed at the origin of all speech. In T or I " I lowing decomposition of the cogito into three: - " .. or pinned to a hospital bed. Let us call this the subject I 1 . dream again. Finally." . In what then consists the effort of fiction to seize. Who's speaking?. an original silence is to suddenly emerge. from a tired and worn out language.the pure point of enunciation. First of all. . Sometimes this voice is exacerbated: it proliferates. mutilated. does not possess the simple structure that one may at I l lsl imagine (one who speaks and . ] one who speaks saying. Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-------� 5 . it must produce its own silence. once a certain degree ofterror has been exceeded (T. such as it is t i t pos ited in the voice. This is the fundamental hope of the 'hero' of The Unnamable: [ . all a dream. This faculty is not itself said. dream of a silence. In the T exts f Nothing. Let us call I h i s the subject of passivity. i I '' .Beckett ::liows that the subject is not double (the thought and the thought ofthought). that would surprise me. on the other. we find the I t l t he unicity of silence is impossible. I he subj ect who wants to identify the ' ego ' of speech.� peaks. repeats itself. to the letter (these i t " . . 350). to reduce. and who. invents a thousand fables.. " . and what a one. .. I.83 I only think.. p. dying . as always. p. uncomprehending. I!' li :.so that the title must be taken. a lack which in vain " p( )ses the subject to the throes of 'dying' . if that is the name for this vertiginous panic as of hornets " I' " " I I I " I ' But the objective is also inaccessible. who is 'distant' because he constitutes the obscure matter of the one who . In the words of the hero of The Unnamable: . the subject of saying. p. p. ] (T. .1 I !. there is the subject who speaks. as a silence which is indefinitely productive of the din of words. and one who hears. smoked out oftheir nest. But this mobility is insufficient for the intended aim: to destroy language by excess and saturation. p. :. . Stuck in a jar. ----� - 'I . or the thought of that which thinks itself in speech. nothing results from the artist's thought) . on the one hand. i' I . because the necessary conditions for obtaining this awakening of language to its first silence submit the subject of the voice to an intolerable torture. places the subject ofthe Beckettian . 52 53 . the fact that what is said belongs to a singular faculty of saying. I li i t t riple. The role of the voice is to track down . the voice exhausts itself: it stammers.. ] perhaps it's a dream. 353. which coincided with a serious crisis in or I kckett's work .one who thinks speech so 1 1 1 : 1 1 it may tum into silence). narrative fictions. . annul the other primitive functions of humanity: movement and the relation to an other. a dream silence [ . p. is the thought of thought.I . in I . . who IS equally supposed to be capable of asking 'who speaks?' at the same time :IS he speaks. and never sleep again.by way of a great deal offables. there is the subject who asks himself what the other two are. _---. How can such a repetitious and interminable speech identify or reflect itself? As Blanchot. J . ] There's a pretty three in one.captive. in its link to language. [ . .is nothing more than the vanishing support of a word. without ceasing to speak.� I s are written for nothing. the body .I : � . GSP. Then there is the passive subj ect.

II

II
I,

------

Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-------..;
of the question. 'Question' can be taken here in its judicial sense, as when we speak of a suspect being questioned. For what is in fact this torture of thought? As we've already said, the dim - the grey-black that localises being - is ultimately nothing but an empty scene. To fill it, it is necessary to turn towards this irreducible region of existence constituted by speech - the third universal function of humanity, along with movement and immobility. But what is the being of speech, if it is not the speaking subject? It is therefore necessary that the subject literally twist itself towards its own enunciation. This time, it is the expression 'writhing in pain' that must be interpreted literally. Once one perceives that the identity of the subject is triple, and not just double, the subject appears as tom. The 'true' subject, the one who should be led back to silence, and who would reveal for us what there is in the grey-black of being, is the unity of the three. But Beckett tells us that this unity is worth nothing. Why then? After all, the fact that it is 'nothing' does not constitute a failing, because, as we have seen with regard to the grey-black of being, 'nothing is more real than nothing. ' True, but the whole problem is that unlike the dim, which is in fact indiscernible from nothing (because being and nothingness are one and the same thing), the subject results from a question. Now, every question imposes values, and demands that one is able to ask oneself: what is an answer worth? If, in the end, after an exhausting labour of speech, the only answer one finds is the one that precedes every question (the nothing, the grey-black), the torture of the subject's identification will have amounted to nothing but a bitter charade. If, when you count as one the subject of enunciation, the subject of passivity and the subject of a question, the question itself is dissolved in the return to the indifference of being, then you have counted badly.85 That means you must begin again. You must recommence even though you have just realised that all this work is impossible. The only result of the torture is the desolate and desert-like injunction that one must subject oneself to torture again. Such is, after all, the conclusion of The Unnamable:
[ . . . J you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on (T, p . 4 1 8; TN, p. 414).86

--

----,

A la in Ba d io u On Beckett

"
,

,

1 1 11 1 1 < 1 go on, and the response was negative. How could one continue to IllId

1 1.':( , 1 1 late - helplessly and without result - between the grey-black of being

! I' I'
,

"I ' "

" , I

t he infinite torture ofthe solipsistic cogito? Which new fictions could be 1 ' 1 1 1 I,cndered within such an oscillation? Once being was named and experience w a s had ofthe impasse of that subject which constitutes an exception within I w i ng, where - if not in the pure impossibility of rejoining its constitutive ':i lcilce - does the writer's word find its nourishment? It was necessary to have done with the alternation of neutral being and vain reflection so that Beckett could escape the crisis, so that he could break w i t h Cartesian terrorism. To do this, it was necessary to find some third terms, I wither reducible to the place of being nor identical to the repetitions of the voice. It was important that the subject open itself up to an alterity and cease I teingf olded upon itself in an interminable and torturous speech. Whence, heginning with How It Is (composed between 1 959 and 1 960), the growing I mportance of the event (which adds itself to the grey black of being) and of t hc voice of the other (which interrupts solipsism). 6 . T h e Event a n d its N a m e
Little by little - and not without hesitations and regrets - the work of Beckett will open itself up to chance, to accidents, to sudden modifications of the given, and thereby to the idea of happiness. The last words ofIll Seen III Said are indeed: 'Know happiness '. This is why I am entirely opposed to the widely held view according to which Beckett moved towards a nihilistic destitution, towards a radical opacity of significations. We have already remarked above how the destitution of the scenes and the voices, as well as of the prose, is a method directed against mere distraction [divertissement], and whose ever more prevalent support is the poeticisation of language. The opacity results from the fact that Beckett substitutes the question 'how are we to name what happens?' for the question 'what is the meaning of what is?' But the resources of happiness are considerably greater when we tum towards the event than when we search in vain for the sense of being. Contrary to the popular opinion, I think that Beckett's trajectory is one that begins with a blind belief in predestination and is then directed towards the examination of the possible conditions, be they aleatory or minimal, of a kind of freedom.
55

II

,I
, ,

i

"

I,

,

I '
,

,
,

,

The cogito of the pure voice is unbearable (stricto sensu: in writing, it can be borne by no one), but it is also inevitable. Having come to this point, it looks like we have reached an impasse. At the time of the T f Nothing, exts or this was indeed Beckett's own feeling. It was a question of knowing if one
54

I

i

. _ '

-

--

Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett)r--Of course, as we shall see, the interrogation regarding the event is centra I att, to W the writing of which dates from 1 942- 1 943. But the immense success or aitingf Godot, after the impasse to which the trilogy (Molloy, Malone of W Dies and The Unnamable) had led, has served to hide this initial impetus. Of all these works, all that people retain is the idea that in them nothing ever happens. Molloy will not find his mother. Moran will not find Molloy. Malone stretches ad irifinitum the fables that populate his agony, but death never comes. The Unnamable has no other maxim than to go on forever. And Godot, of course, can only be awaited, being nothing but the constantly reiterated promise of his coming. It is in this element devoid of emergence and novelty that prose oscillates between grasping indifferent being and the torture of a reflection without effect. att, the place of being is absolutely closed; it validates a strict In W principle of identity. This place is complete, self-sufficient, and eternal:
[ . . . J nothing could be added to Mr. Knott's establishment, and from it nothing taken away, but that as it was now, so it had been in the beginning, and so it would remain to the end, in all essential respects [ . . . J (W, p. 1 29; W US, p. 1 3 1 ).87

I I I I I I I ) , I J I wil l therefore seek to bring its knowledge of the 'indeterminable ' lliance ' . This formal 1 ' 1 1 ' 1 " I I I of incidents to the height of their 'formal bri I I I o I l idl lcc designates the unique and circumscribed character, the evental I d i l l y, lhe pure and delectable 'emergenc e', of the incidents in question. Si nce it is a question of the event, Beckett must take a further step. 1 1 1 1 : ; i s the step that takes us from a will to find a meaning for the event (a d l ';,o tJ ruging path, precisely because the event is what is subtracted from any the event a fer I I I '. I I I IC of meaning) , to the entirely dif ent desire of giving
I

-------j ", B l--..:.�I:..= i n B a d i�...:_On____ke _ A a��:...:...::..: o u :.: _=_ ec__tt .: .: __I__I.J ,
_ _

, ,

I

':
,.
,

' '"

1, ', : , 1'1'

I :

1'1

I I,

,

1 I i 1 1 1 1t'.

I,

Ill lvl'I is not entirely detached from a religious symbolism (I call 'religion'
,I

In W att, we still possess only the first figure of the event, so that the

!

I

l i l l' dcsire to give meaning to everything that happens). Watt is an interpreter,

"

,

..

Ill'rmeneut. Even the hypothesis of meaninglessness is the prisoner of a ',l l I ilhorn will to give meaning, and even more of a will to link this meaning I I I : 1 1 1 original meaning, a meaning lost and then found again (this is the 1I Il'Iuctable tendency ofwhat I call 'religion' : meaning is always already there, 1 11 1 1 man has lost it):
[ . . . J the meaning attributed to this particular type of incident, by Watt, in his relations, was now the initial meaning that had been lost and then recovered, and now a meaning quite distinct from the initial meaning, and now a meaning evolved, after a delay of varying length, and with greater or less pains, from the initial absence of meaning. (W p. 76; W US, p. 79).89
,

'r

,

I
,

I

, !

It could therefore be believed that we are here in the midst of a typically predestined universe. Knowledge lacks any kind of freedom; it consists of questions relative to the laws of the place. It is a question of attempting, forever in vain, to understand the impenetrable designs of Mr. Knott. Where is he right now? In the garden? On the first floor? What is he preparing? Who does he love? Struggling with obscure laws - here lies the Kafkian dimension of this book - thought is irritated and fatigued. What saves thought is that which functions ' outside the law', what adds itself to the situation - which is nevertheless declared closed and incapable of addition - as symbolised by Mr. Knott's house. Watt calls these paradoxical supplements 'incidents' . For example, the fact that, according to the perceptible laws of the House, the origin of the dog for which Mr. Knott leaves out his dish is entirely incomprehensible. As Watt declares, with regard to these incidents, they are 'of great formal brilliance and indeterminable purport' (W, p. 7 1 ; W US, p. 74).88 At this juncture, thought awakens to something completely different than the vain grasp of its own predestination - not to mention the torture elicited by the imperative of the word. By means ofhypotheses and variations,

!I I , I' , '
. I
"

I

I'
,
, ,

, I,

att, I I I W thought is therefore granted the following opportunity: that the event ex ists. But, once awoken by incidents, the movement of thought turns back 1 0 the origin and the repetition of meaning. The predestining pull of Mr. Knott's house is the strongest element of them all. The question remains that of linking incidents back to the supposed core of all signification. Almost at the other extreme of Beckett's trajectory - inIll Seen III Said orstward Ho - we encounter once again the central function of the or in W cvent, but here thought's awakening operates in a thoroughly different manner. I t is no longer a question of the play of sense and nonsense, of meaning and meaninglessness. Already in Endgame ( 1 952), Cloy mocks Hamm's idea, according to which if ' Something is taking its course' (CDW, p. 1 07; E, p. 32)90 one must conclude that there is meaning:

I, !!

I,

Ii I'I '

I

56

57

-

-

,-

' �----

-

- ----- -

-

-

--

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

'

"

,

-

I' '

Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---/laugh.] Ah that's a Mean something! You and I, mean something! [Brie good one! (CDW, p. 108; E, p. 33)91
IX

,,

i n Bad i o u l Ala':":":'�-=-:�----=--- On Beckett � �
-

-

-,' I
,

'

What does 'ill seen ill said' mean? The event cannot but be 'ill seen' , since it precisely constitutes an exception to the ordinary laws of visibility. The 'well seen' takes us back to the indifference ofthe place, to the grey-black of being. The formal brilliance of the incident, of 'what happens' , thwarts both seeing and 'well seeing' by way of the surprise that it imposes. But the event is also 'ill said', since well saying is nothing other than the reiteration of established significations. Even under the pretext of meaning, it is not a question of reducing the formal novelty of the event to the significations carried by ordinary language. To the 'ill seen' of the event there must correspond a verbal invention, an unknown act of naming. In terms of the usual laws oflanguage, this will necessarily manifest itself as an ' ill said' . 'Ill seen ill said' designates the possible agreement between that which, as pure emergence [surgissement], is in exception of the laws of the visible (or of presentation) and that which, by poetically inventing a new name for this emergence, is in exception of the laws of saying (or of representation).92 Everything depends on the harmony between an event and the poetic emergence of its name. Let us read the following passage from III Seen III Said:
During the inspection a sudden sound. Startling without consequence for the gaze the mind awake. How explain it? And without going so far how say it? Far behind the eye the quest begins. What time the event recedes. When suddenly to the rescue it comes again. Forthwith the uncommon common noun collapsion. Reinforced a little later if not enfeebled by the infrequent slumberous. A slumberous collapsion. Two. Then far from the still agonizing eye a gleam ofhope. By the grace of these modest beginnings (ISIS, p. 55; NO, p. 83).93

I

!' :! ,,
"

Ii :

I

l

We must carefully note the stages whereby Beckett fixes within prose the movement of the 'ill seen ill said'. 1 ) The situation that serves as the starting point is the ' inspection' , understood as the normal role of seeing, and of well seeing; the ' inspection'

hausts itself(as Beckett says, the eye is ' still agonizing') in the consideration " I what there is, of the neutral abode of being. 2) Reduced to a simple trait by the method of ascesis, the event is a Ii(lise, constituting an exception ('sudden') to the monotonous and repetitious 1 I 1 spection. 3) 'The mind awakens' . This confirms that thought is only diurnal and v lj',ilant under the effect of an event. 4) At first, the question that constitutes the awakening of thought is PIl:occupied with explaining ('How explain itT). This is the dominant figure I I I Watt. But the subject renounces explanation at once, in favour of a ('( llllpletely different question, the question of the name: 'How say itT 5) This name is doubly invented, doubly subtracted from the ordinary laws oflanguage. It is constructed from the noun 'collapsion' of which it is lIoled that it is 'uncommon' and of the adjective ' slumberous' which is i I I frequent' and moreover does not agree with the noun. In sum, this name is a poetic composition (an ill said), a surprise within language attuned to the :all'prise - to the ' sudden' of the event (an ill seen). 6) This attunement produces a 'gleam of hope' . It is opposed to the l orture of inspection. And though it is certainly nothing more than a rommencement, a modest beginning, it is a commencement that comes to I he thought that it awakens like an act of grace. What is this beginning? What is this hope? What power is harboured hy the precarious agreement between the emergence ofthe new and the poetic illvention of a name? Let us not hesitate to say that we are dealing with the hope of a truth. Meaning, the torture of meaning, is the vain and interminable agreement hdween what there is, on the one hand, and ordinary language, on the other between 'well seeing' and 'well saying' . The agreement is such that it is 1I0t even possible to decide if it is commanded by language or prescribed by heing. Frankly, this is the tiresome torture of all empiricist philosophies. A truth begins with the organisation of an agreement between, on the one hand, a separable event 'shining with formal clarity' and, on the other, I he invention in language of a name that from now on retains this event, even the event 'recedes' and finally disappears. The name will i f - inevitably guarantee within language that the event is sheltered. But if some truths exist, then happiness is not out of the question. It is si mply necessary to expose these truths to the test of the Other. One must experiment if at least one truth can be shared. Like in Enough, when the two
� � �

I
, ,

,

-------

,

, , " II

Ii
,

,i'

I

58

59

," -

being-two is inscribed into the many. The most important among these criteria distinguishes searching humans 110m those who have renounced the search. they move towards their own so litude. p. love. on the bustle of plural humanity. I I my where the animals in question are atemporally observed. I I '1\ . To find one's lost one is to come to oneself. with the couples of Vladimir and Estragon (W ing ait f Godot) or Hamm and Clov (Endgame).·. The second criterion brings us back to the primitive categories of l IIovement and rest. Il' a I parameters are subj ect to laws (light. Two is company (T.--.e. p. The latter have given up on their dcsire.-- ------ - - -.'to become what one is ' ) . a sort of 'no-man's land' between life and On this simple basis. Beckett devotes some of his texts to arranging.I i • .ularises a given inhabitant.) which Ill ' .. climb ladders. despite everything. 1 88)94 A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r. Without doubt it is in Beckett's theatre. that they gave Macmann some insight into the meaning of the expression. 1 4 1 . Note that to be vanquished is never to be vanquished by the other.l l l lIIounts the painful antinomies of the cogito: one's identity does not depend I IpOIl the verbal confrontation with oneself. Beckett recapitulates as follows the human groups that can be described . These texts are human comedies in which the diversity of so cial and SUbj ective figures is replaced by an enumeration of all the essen tial po ssibilities that existence could ever contain. It is 1 1 1 1 1 It i l lable that these laboratories clearly resemble Dante's settings.97 I "j f . 26 1 . whom the VI )Lmg Beckett knew well . I racting a few criteria for the classification of plural humanity. TN. of which only this..I "! • • · . : "Ii! . Ihil i l l /\ s though it were necessary. that something or which will not cease to be at the heart of Beckett's fictions comes to the for e: the couple. strict and contingent as the laws of physical science. ( 'SP. p. What is the ' lost one '? It is each one's own other. on a background [f d] of anonymous being. int o the bizarre mUltiplicity of human animals. the voice of the other. etc. since in the cylinder no other desire exists than that of finding one's lost one (i. .96 The ' little people' l i l i l l Ili habit the place have no other aim than to look for their lost one. and lastly. . etc.in the words of Nietzsche..I:.. the Two. I kckett undertook painstaking studies of The Inf . The poem of improbable names makes it possible to imag ine an amorOUH mathematics. I . sound. The tone of The Unnamable could even be described as starkly solipsis tic. . p. This is I h.. so as to classify its postures and inventory its functions. Some of the searchers ambulate ceaselessly. some stop and others no longer move. in order to guarantee prose's definitive i" A I a i n B a d i o_ On _c_ t_ l�________ u___Be_ke____. share some mathematical ce rtainties with each other: We took flight in arithmetic. . GSP. Beckett succeeds in " . that prose establish an eternity of sorts. who wrenches the inhabitant away from ill I I l y mity. On the contrary. .plore the niches situated at different heights.). 260). But they are also divine comedies. These broken searchers . Malone recounts all the elem ents that this love contains: [ . I' p i ural humanity. p. Always careful to bring the proliferation of details back to a few crucial traits. no desire other than . 1 rc called the vanquished. 00 1 ICr. 202). but upon the discovery of one's l' I " " . and through the meticulous description of the \ Il'issitudes ofthe search (one must run around in the cylinder. Both to de fer and to beckon death through distance.. Oth e rs I'"'' I I! " Even though Molloy. of course. I 60 61 . " . GSP. a separate 1 11 1 " ' 1 . 1 5 9 . because the will to produce the complete inventory of actions and situations (alwa ys.95 I I I The Lost Ones ( 1 967-70) the place is a huge rubber cylinder whose I 'll \ : . As we erno. ------. What mental calculations bent double hand in hand! (eSp. ' vny start of the fable: i\bode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. l l l Iplc element of the small group of searchers. 1 1 11 " 0 I I i! . Nevertheless. under the rule of the methodical ascesis) presupposes the exist ence of a fixed place far from any empirical reality. Malone and the Unnamable seek ou t and encounter other suppos ed subjects. J what flutterings. It is thus that Beckett '.- ---- - - :1' I " ' old lovers. here to be vanquished is to renounce the other. 1 1 1 1 " I I I particular. temperature.�----- - . an enumeration which is declared to be exhaustive. and of the fifth k . p.! t : . the one who " I III'. to no longer be a r . 7 .-�---. alarms and bashful fumblings.

I. At this point. the non-punctuated style that unifies all the ramifications of the idea: [ . pp.. That means that the choice of renunciation destroys everything. For though this desire diminishes ('the least less '). Of course we can be vanquished. On the other hand.which is to say the reversibility Ii possibles. but only temporarily . p.without doubt the greatest of Beckett's prose works. I. all that 1 l' l lIains is to make oneself immobile in the dark. But even then.that a vanquished searcher returns to the arena of the search. I! I I' I: . This passage is a perfect example of what above I called the 'elongation' of the phrase. .for one who dwells within it . could easily be exaggerated. I The absolute nomadic living beings (first category) and the vanquished (fourth category) are extreme figures of human desire. This is the position that Beckett calls the ' victim' . and it is you who will Ilave to give him his due of fables. with an event) .. I II. J Fourthly those who do not search or non-searchers sitting for the most part against the wall [ . this time in a passive position: he pounces on you while you are immobile in the dark. may become miraculously reversible. 1 6 1 . J (CSP. 4) Being encountered by someone. memories.� --'�------. Thirdly those who short of being driven off never stir from the coign they have won and when driven off pounce on the first free one that offers and freeze again. . what is not 'no longer' l 't I'. The human animals crawl along through a sort of black mud. . pp. Even the one who gives up on his desire can suddenly desire to desire (we are then dealing. t i I I. . . all of Beckett' s paradoxical optimism is concentrated in one point: it can happen . each one t i l :Igging a sack of food. . There is no eternal damnation. One can I ravel alone and one can be immobile alone. it is also as if it had annulled itself (in the least In How It Is . i I I 62 63 ." . all possibilities still exist... i .99 This statement is elucidated as follows.- --- . On the one hand..98 ------- A a i ____o_ On B_____ l__I__n B a d i_u____e Cke tt___ I " .� e! 1" .stories. Secondly those who sometimes pause. These figures are sustained by a rigorous principle of equality: none is sliperior to the others. . This imperative to travel harbours four possiqilities: 1) To continue crawling alone in the dark. n i t I l i g with Enough and III Seen III Said. defeated in the desire that constitutes us. [ . that is. GSP. which takes place precisely at the point at which one has renounced them. ----- - --- - - - - I -- . and hell . 204-205). Notwithstanding these distinctions. 2) To encounter someone in an active position. as Beckett warns. The enumeration of the generic figures of humanity operates once again hy combining the movement/rest couple and the self/other couple. . Firstly those perpetually in motion. It does not imply any sort of pathos or ethics .\ figure of plural humanity is always suspended between the i l l t'versibility of choice and the maintenance .. one can be either a tormentor or a victim. .:: ihle. Between the two we find those that Beckett names the ' sedentary' (the second and third figures). I t iI . This indestructibility of possibles." .besides the ethics of prose.. Every sedentary figure is a possible nomad. I ------ Al a i n Ba d io u On Beckett r--and enumerated with the help of these two criteria: Seen from a certain angle these bodies are of four kinds. . GSP.. since words always 'ring' too much for them to maintain the :ll1onymity and the equality of the figures that the human animal can take. . every lapse in the desire to search for one's other is absolute.. is affirmed by B eckett in an extraordinarily dense passage. irreversible in its essence (for how could the one whose desire is dead even desire for his desire to return?). I' ..the distribution ofthe figures obeys 1\ t I i f'icrent principle. And even the latter. however. This is what we could call the Beckettian conception of freedom. that is. but not quite never . including the possibility that this defeat. . in a strong sense.very rarely.'ahle (such as recommencing one's search if one has renounced it) is not "" 1 1 1 1 1 ively and properly speaking impossible. I I lIt t l I e possibility that inheres in choice remains mysteriously indestructible. fables from another 1 1 1l:. pouncing upon them in I I Il' dark. This proves that the tormentor also wants to find his lost one.. 2 1 1 -2 1 2). . t here is 'the all of nothing'). It I hc wrested away from solitude and subtracted from the darkness of infinite nawling by the one he encounters. p.� .if needs be by plallting in his arse the sharpened top of a tin can .can be revealed as nothing but a purgatory. 3) To be abandoned by the one encountered. The use of the words 'tormentor' and 'victim' must not Icad us astray. J in the cylinder what little is possible is not so it is merely no longer so and in the least less the all of nothing if this notion is maintained (CSP. Note that the prillcipal activity ofthe tormentor is to extort from his victim . This is the figure that Beckett calls the 'tormentor ' . 1 67. .. . almost never.

'Imentor and that ofthe victim. he makes careful use ofthe pronouns and articles so as 1 11 . p. . Let us agree to call the first 'masculine' and I I I L� second 'feminine' (though it is true that Beckett refrains from uttering I hc se words). . someone who i s abandoned immobile in the dark is on the side of the 'masculine' .] in any case we have our being injustice I have never heard anything to the contrary (RII.' . Conversely.1 I " n I . after an indeterminate time. GSP. whose last word is 'alone ') or to hold the positive hypothesis (as inEnough and Happy Days. . I licr a human animal has pounced upon another. f I is this equality of the figures that justifies this very profound statement: [ .or homo-sexual . Speaking of the moments in which one is either tormentor or victim and thereby concerned with the extortion of a word or a story .. ] in my sense exceeds the power of feeling. it is certain that the figure of the tormentor is that of the commandment.Beckett declares that they relate to ' life in stoic love' . We must insist that this distinction is entirely unrelated to any . RII US.101 " . Of course. however tender. Here we must keep the complexity of l lcckett's construction firmly in mind. either in feeling or in the desiring body.. we must I I ll derstand that whoever is travelling with his or her sack is on the side ofthe ' Ieminine' . 1 24)100 " " . p. III . M US. The encounter brings forth the Two. ------- L__I_ i n B_ d_o u On Beck_tt A a__ a_ i _______e____r . p. under the condition of an ellcounter in which ' she ' would pounce on an other. we are trying to see if love and the encounter I " I I V idc us with sexuated figures.� - ��. What does this dissimilarity consist in? We have seen that in How It Is. It concerns the ontological equality of the figures taken by the generic human subject. being instead its result. But what is the content of this figure? It is 1 0 be found in the extraction from the victim of stories and reminiscences. it fractures solipsistic seclusion. it is because the very possibility of the encounter is played out within it. This establishes a double link that makes ' love' into the true name of a subject's encounter of its other or lost one and connects this encounter to the tender fables of the past. 222). Is this primordial Two sexuated? We are not speaking here of the numerous and mostly carnivalesque sexual scenes that can be found in Beckett's stories. But from within a given amorous situation (let us call ' love' what proceeds from an encounter) there necessarily are these two figures. 1 97). For all that. Love II'. leaving the tormentor 'immobile in the dark'. From the thirties onwards . which the dilapidation of the elderly is regarded with tenderness and l i pn�scnted with j oy. - Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r------ ·. The methodical ascesis forbids him 1 1 1 1111 doing so. ( IIIC can therefore say that for Beckett the sexes do not pre-exist the amorous " I I counter. often. scraps of everything that may touch on what Beckett magnificently names 'the blessed days of blue ' (CSP. I. we discover both the potentiality of love and the resources of nostalgia. and of bodily motions. can measure up to it: And to meet [ . I kckctt generally does not start out from the empirical evidence that divides 1 I I I I I1an animals into men and women. Rather.1 10 permit a decision regarding the sex of the speaker or ' character ' . . : I. in which the figure of the couple is indisputable and gives rise to a strange and powerful form of happiness). p. I..Beckett emphasises that the power of the encounter is such that nothing.-------- - - - - - ' I . We can therefore oppose the l I10bility that defines the feminine to a tendency within the male to morose i mmobility. 1 53 .thanks to the fictional set-up of the encounter with an other . The justice mentioned here is entirely unrelated to any kind of norm or finality. . of the imperative. I I . I .in Murphy . Having traversed . . It is with regard to this point that Beckett constructs set-ups of literary experience in order to evaluate the negative hypothesis (as in Company. . p.in 1 I 1l' positions of the partners. But f llC effect of the encounter truly does fix two absolutely dissimilar positions. However. however expert (M. it is the victim who goes away. a victim could become a l ur mentor..102 We are therefore :1 . . 1 24. Therefore. 8 . Likewise.lIpposed 'identity' of the subjects. . I think this is entirely mistaken. there is the figure of the I . these figures are far from being reducible to the opposition hetween the active and the passive. 64 65 . It has often been claimed that Beckett's 'couples' are in fact asexual or I I I 1 L�cllline and that there is something interchangeable . For example.�--�-�� � - - . p. or at least coming from the feminine. 1 I The event in which love originates is the encounter.the terrorising limits ofthe solipsistic cogito. 1 35 . . ' If the question of the existence and difference ofthe other is so charged. or at least can be said to stagnate in this position. I ..

. the pain of immobility. the masculine position fosters the desire for a break. GSP. the stars. p.between 'man' and 'woman' .or the amorous memories . And often he added that the sky seemed much the same (CSP.of the couple. This is because the function of involuntary memory. but rather of the Two being experienced and re-experienced [eprouve re-prouve] in the between [entre-Deux] . 1 42. whilst the 'woman' . The combination of the imperative and immobility will be called ' masculine' . the combination of wandering and the story will be called ' feminine' . in what distinguishes the two terms of the couple.105 . It is not a question of returning to solipsism. V l l i ls ligure of free knowledge [savoir]. Because in love knowledge [savoir] is experienced and transmitted I let ween two irreducible poles of experience. .desires nothing but the Two.day after day . II I : In Happy Days. and never reflect what the 66 67 . GSP. the water. p. I.constitutes an experimentation of alterity. 1 88).besides the fact that one should instead speak of a 'voluntarism of remembrance' . ----_ . p. p. every encounter prescribes four main functions: the force of wandering. The 'man' desires the nothing of the Two.- . it is on the female side that the power of the story. it is not the world that holds us captive. I " . .103 "! I. Love then is when we can say that we have the sky. N o sta l g i a Because Beckett wrote a brilliant essay on Proust in 1 93 1 . I believe that this analogy is misleading. 11 " In Enough. as elicited by love. Ultimately. I have it! he exclaimed referring to the Lyre or the Swan.in which the l A I__n B a d i___On_B__kett___. She is 'the lasting desire to last' ." I I I 9 . are always signalled by an abrupt change in the tone of the prose (a calm beauty made up of rhythmic fluidity. . the archives of wandering. It follows that the fragments of childhood .of a wondrous k nowledge that makes the universe ours. assonance. 1 4 1 .-. and the memory of beauty are set out. of the encyclopaedia .1 04 whilst the masculine is the perpetual temptation to inquire about the exact location of the void that passes between One and One. that is. The heroine (I don't exactly call the one who holds the inseparable position a 'woman') says: We were severed if that is what he desired (CSP. it is subtracted from the tedium o r objectivity and charged with desire. the enjoyment [jouissance] of the imperative. Here. In love. the masculine position is specified by a constant desire for separation. Thus we read in Enough: . in Beckett . " emerges upon the mirror of thought . it is evidently Willie who keeps himself aloof. Masculine desire is affected here infected by the void that separates the sexuated positions in the very unity of the amorous process. Knowledge is the most intimate and 1 1 1()st vital thing that we possess. . ). between the happiness of love and the joy ofknowledge. we find an even deeper determination of the duality of the sexes. of the pure point of the encounter . It is on the basis of these four functions that the encounter determines the emergence of sexuated positions. I . and that the sky has lIothing. episodes ofprosodic isolation. In effect. We have already cited the passage where the couple sustain each other in their walk by means of vast arithmetical reflections. .-" - - -- . and that childhood is privileged with regard both to places (Ireland) and to characters (Mother and Father).the wandering guardian and narrator of original unity. This conviction is reinforced when one notes that in Beckett the emergence ofthe past presents itself in blocks. On the contrary. the meadows . and declares its legitimacy. _ a i ____ o u _ _e c___ � : In order from time to time to enjoy the sky he resorted to a little round mirror. ' ------ ----- - _. and the invention of the story. invisible and absent.is 'masculine'. and an elemental certainty: the night. Having misted it with his breath and polished it on his calf he looked in it for the constellations. But the most admirable part ofthe text is the examination of the relation between love and knowledge [connaissance]. we are not seized by what the world I�. Love is this interval in which a sort of inquiry about the world is pursued I ' l i nfinity. the infinite tenacity of a lasting Two. • ' ------ Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett ----)-- ' r---- justified in saying that if on the masculine side we rediscover the (half-joyous and half-torturous) imperative to ' go on'._--- -- -- - . 1 90). and as such it is Il l ved by the woman. love is the paradoxical circulation . 106 . it has often heen deemed possible to conclude that there is some analogy between the two writers in what concerns the treatment of memory. whilst it is Winnie who proclaims the eternity . which in Proust is bound up with a metaphysics of time.

p. I said again how I thought it was hopeless and no good going on and she agreed. The voice that reaches us is thus in general a 'Strong voice.] _ ):1 . Several pieces of this fragment.it is beyond doubt that he must die interminably.:. indeed several variations. 2 1 7..:.��__ tt __ _ �II� I .unshatterable association until my dissolution of storm and night with the light ofthe understanding and the fire . which instead constitutes the subject's interior aIterity. comments upon them and records these commentaries. Krapp wil and nostalgia: 1 I I 1 I lseif go. It is essential to note that we are dealing here not with an experience of consciousness but with a story that is materially distributed at a distance from the subject.. ' l � I��n B.wh l end up letting I : : t h i s 'other life ' borne by each and every one. and moved us. bit of a breeze. without opening her eyes. Krapp's commentaries are for the most part not very affable. before the stem! [Pause. up and down. 1 1 1 But the remainder of the play shows that the insistence of the fragment is not damaged by this abstract protest. I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. clearly Krapp s at a much earlier time' (CDW.. I"I presented situation (the place of being) could harbour in terms of truth 01' eternity.. what a real encounter allows one to hear. water nice and lively.who listens after a few moments she did. I I Il' tape (i. with the punt. These three uses of nostalgia are systematically set out. She lay stretched out on the floorboards with her hands under her head and her eyes closed..- I" ' Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r----- " �'I' ------. l ' I('ll lents such that no passage can be conceived between them and Krapp.Krapp .:.] I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. [Pause. I noticed a scratch on her thigh and asked her how she came by it.. Sun blazing down. I I .� a i .. ! ! I - I " I' -upper lake.o u On Be cke_ -= .e . [Pause. SP. SP.:. What this story proposes can touch upon three distinct dimensions of the universe of nostalgia: the existence of a 'voice' that would come to the subject from outside. p. in an improbable and distance place. 57). 61).in line with the favourite occupation of the inhabitants of the grey-black of being .. SP. Whether they are gestural or practical. 1 . [Pause. p.. .uo At first. but throughout the fragment remains intact. The way they went down. with the hypothesis whereby the grey-black of being is juxtaposed. in three of Beckett's works. like in the following: .:. Picking gooseberries..] We drifted in among the flags and stuck. switches off' (CDW. 220 . will be pl l. listening to the fragment in complete absorption . Thus the distance between these fictionalised fragments of the past and his real situation is staged: Krapp is an old man who eats nothing but bananas and .(CDW. SP. The other life radiates beneath thc 68 69 .[Pause.. .. 60) . bathed off the bank. because of the glare.. composed of both percep 111111 verbal elements that are completely foreign to Krapp' s real situation.1 07 Krapp listens to fragments from these old tapes.. p. sighing. 220. Krapp struggles to annul nostalgia by recourse to pure distance: Just been listening to that stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago..1 08 Krapp s Last T ape ( 1 959) presents a ' character' . whose origin is by no means to be found in childhood or youth. Low.I Ii' I " . " III T ' that he was.1 09 ' I 'hen 'Krapp curses louder.. p. SP. being that of ltiplicity of . to a colourful and sentimental universe. Ii . one at a time. p. 60). . .. functioning here like a kind of bill iding an indirect or diagonal safety). from the mouth of an other. then pushed out into the stream and drifted. p. The narration of this universe puts solipsism to the test and forces literature to refect upon the theme of pure difference (or of the 'other life').:.:.I. 62). . and from side to side (CDW. We lay there without moving. .::. But under us all moved. This is a voice that only appears to be his. This is especially the case when the tape's prose appears to rise to the level of philosophical formulation.ap that is attributed to a scission in being rather than to temporality . it authorises Krapp to evaluate III I II ()v at iI " . at this voice is I I 1 1 I we quickly realise that he is looking for a fragment of wh this I tl l i l lg him. rather pompous. by the prose... p. We are dealing with another world. saved by iard cushio�.. gently.ented in the play. that it is composed of heterogeneous sediments. by way of fables and tender beauties. hard to believe I was ever as bad as that. This interior aIterity refers to fact that an existence has no unity. a stratification ofthe subject itself.:: a: d i =-=-:. she said.] Let me in. 222. 221 .::. and thereby proving to him the irreducible mu tible I I I I q"o [Ie Mo il This is a sublime fragment.] I asked her to look at me and after a few moments . Thank God that's all done with anyway (CDW. p. p. it thus lends greater consistency to the thesis concerning the impossibility of a cogito that would be capable of counting the subject as One. " I to various stories and reflections recorded onto magnetic tapes..=. but the eyes just slits.

TSliaded by the latent poem. .Pim.. 80. Of course. I '. No sound but its. they are ' above' .. . 63). and thus inscribes within being itself the possibility of difference: I nothing only say this say that your life above YOUR LIFE pause my life ABOVE long pause above IN THE in the LIGHT pause light his life above in the light almost an octosyllable come to think of it a coincidence (HU. Were your eyes to open they would first see far below in the last rays the skirt of your greatcoat and the uppers of your boots emerging from the sand. NO. 70 . p. which is that 'A voice comes to one in the dark' (C. even if I he certainty always returns that the other life is separated.( )Iit ude. HU US p.---- - -.. the possibility of fabulating one's own life using the most intense fragments of the other's life as material. 72)1 l4 Nostalgia gives rise in the prose to fragments of beauty. p. But the possibility of demanding the story. ". like stigmata of light. Today Godot is a classic. Nostalgia abides.. p.given that a play like Catastrophe. 79 . pp.- . lost. Soon none left to die. under its astonished gaze. of extorting it from the one with whom 'it was good moments good for me we're talking of me for him too we're talking of him too happy too' (RII. a light from elsewhere.- -.'1 '' I: _ _ _ II" '. NO. This measure concerns the gap between the other life and the real.1 . !I'" 11 were conceived in' (C." _ . as in the paragraph that starts: 'You first saw the \ ) I I " These are limpid storie s. You lean on a long staff. afterward. RII US p. 118 " I " . for examplc.. pp. because for those who crawl in the dark these fragments remain inaccessible. the construction of the text is carried out on the basis of seventeen 'memorial' sequences. in the nuances of the grey-black of being. and especially W fame. . memory is simply what attests to the immanent power of the Other. the 'victim' . p. Krapp is brought back to the classical couple of silence and the void (this is the end of the play: 'Krapp motionless staring be ore him. without exception. however. Died on to dawn and never died.--- . No. f The tape runs on in silence'. 75-76. 'I". 223. 7). Memory is not a saving function. the nostalgic tonality takes hold of the prose . between the dark and the light.. 57. 7 I I I . h t in the room you most likely l i l l i e by little. Evening. once it is captured in a story.. time is of no importance here) the eye will open and. But. 5 1 )1 I4 guarantees for prose its function as a measure. Then and it alone till it vanishes the shadow ofthe staff on the sand.who gives the 'hero' his own life. p. Light dying.- - . A strand. 39. insult. Your hands rest on the knob and on them your head. all of which are connected to the initial supposition. p. p. something will lighten. this power of the story derives from a real Other . And it is still this tonality that here demands we imagine an eternal 1 1 1�ht: : 'II . Till it slowly flows again. can be considered a late work ( 1 982). . r' " I 1 0 . 1 5 .112 No true link is established between nostalgia and the course of things." " " that life then said to have been his invented remembered a little of each no knowing that thing above he gave it to me I made it mine what I fancied skies especially and the paths he crept along how they changed with the sky and where you were going on the Atlantic in the evening on the ocean going to the isles or coming back the mood of the moment less important the creatures encountered hardly any always the same I picked my fancy good moments nothing left (HII. Ever fainter as it slowly ebbs. T h e a t re or aiting f Godot.40). NO. Moonless starless night. - __ a i ____o u _n Becke _ l A I__n B a d i___O______tt ill l i rst in a parodic way. This time the story is a transmission of existence.. 72)1 13 'III ..- _. Certainly. Were your eyes to open dark would lighten (C. No such thing then as no light. is the source of Beckett's Theatre. p. 7. Nor can this be said of the relation (or non­ relation) between the theatre and the movement of that prose which it constantly accompanied . 71 In Company. whether real or invented it does not matter: .---- ---. '! In How It Is. whos e biographical dimension is underlined \ . be found in the theatre. You stand with your back to the wash. SP. the force of nostalgia lies in giving us the power to suppose that one day (before. along with Endgame and Happy Days. the major themes of Beckett's work can. _------- -'- - -. . .._----A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---- - . we cannot say that the exact nature of Beckett's theatre has been rendered entirely clear. this tonality will attempt to overcome the danger I h a t fabulation may tum out to be nothing but a fictional rearrangement of . HII US. p. and. Vanishes from your sight. CDW. Nevertheless. p.- .

'12s CDW. from the repertoire of gutter talk: - !i I M: She was not convinced. p. How many people can boast as much? (CDW. a pale shade of grey (CDW.] Given the right light. 28): [ O o . p. the stones . confessed (CDW. There was no answer to this. he slunk in. that of Po zzo. a perfect example of which is Lucky's long monologue in W aitingf Godot or (this is especially the case if we recall that Lucky only begins to speak when Pozzo. one day we were born. as in Play in which the characters (two women and a man) are stuck up to their necks in urns . .��::. and that's an end to that.] What is one to do then. p.=:. . the question of others is incessantly brandished on stage. The estimations of the importance of language. Willie.. the same second. She did not repulse me. I' 'I I The torture of the cogito. final vocif erations] tennis .] We have kept our appointment. p.Oh he's coming to speak to me today. . 242 )y9 the light gleams an instant. what is more. WG. fell on his knees before me. until they come again? (CDW. oh this is going to be another happy day! ' ) . . that is the question. . on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite ofthe tennis the labours abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard [Melee. p. the same day.. 47)1 22 The event is also central. 1 47. 74. [Turning a little towards WILLIE. Illjunction: What are we doing here. I meant it. 4 1 . or because. one day like any other day.] Is not . 43. W I : Judge then of my astonishment when one fine morning. she kept saying. . I am sure I did. for whom time does not exist. . Turning a little f urther. WG. WG. p. though by no means invisible.it is only a question of their links..126 � Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day. I I. in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. So I took her in my arms and swore I could not live without her. . .] Grey rather than white. someone whom the voice reaches and who might respond (. at times? [Pause. that we happen to know the answer. 309. Yes. p. who will never give up on the hypothesis of ( . We are not saints. . II II that so. as in Happy Days: Words fail. Vladimir and Estragon speak to them in order to evade being 'alone once more. so calm .] the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on . p. Backf ront. stories that are borrowed. 402 . 24)120 I'I' . p. p.. 83. as I was sitting stricken in the morning room. [Pause . ] Or for night to fall. one day we shall die. ai or . SP. p. Yes. unfinished . On the one hand. WG. meaning . pig ! ' . SP. p. Willie? [Pause. Cunard . 52).odot's arrival (the caesura of time and the constitution of a meaning). whether under the effect of an encounter (meeting Pozzo and Lucky. It sets the framew ork for W tingf Godot. 1 03).1 21 CDW.. WG. p.. (CDW.:. even in their style. commands him: 'Think. is that not enough for you. p. HD. 1 23 ( )11 is that not enough for you? [Calmer. in the midst of nothingness. And we are blessed in this. there are times when even they fail.II i "! I ' " � I'' I . but imperative. pulling him by his leash. I smell her off you. one day he went dumb. . that even words fail. 9 1 )124 'I . We are waiting for Godot to come [ . I might have known. buried his face in my lap and . [Pause.:.:�-=--=----=---------" Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett . like in Happy Days. [Pause.A la i n B a d i o u On Beckett r---------from Footf ls: al -------" _ _ The assignation of the place of being. . in a certa in light. but we have kept our appointment.] They give birth astride of a grave. prey to the uncontrolled imperative of saying. or because the apparent ligure of the monologue. presupposes an interlocutor.:. one day I went blind. 72 73 . p. . l'-:. one day we'll go deaf. . �hat ife can be dissolved in an incessantly repeated and ince ssantly self­ identical pure point: Obviously. which become the eternal material of these stereotypical stories that they ceaselessly lavish upon us.] Is that not so. as in this characteristic passage Faint. . 75. that of Vladimir. so t h a l the duty of humanity is to hold onto an uncertain.I I ' the other. ill which two distinct vision s are opposed to one another. then it's night once more (CDW. 149).:. . p.

Others would meet the case equally well. p. with battered but triumphant maid-slaves. and above all the relentlessness 74 1.a principle of desire.. E. whether we like it or not (CDW. embodied by couples acting out all the postures of visible humanity. p. What's more. let us not forget that Beckett was always tempted by mime. -. or I lit: duo of Vladimir and Estragon. 90).. and even less a derision. There is theatre only so long as there is dialogue. in the dark (CDW. ' . Beckett's characters are these anonymous figures of human toil which I hc comedy renders at once interchangeable and irreplaceable. 127 1 1 -------�" .128 On the stage. if not more. we have this 'here and now' which gathers us together and authorises thought to grasp that anyone is the cqual of anyone else [n 'importe qui est / 'egal de n 'importe qUI] . . ' l Alain Bad i o u On Beckett the characters in persevering in their being. as Beckctt notes in the directions.' I"I I.II 'I i " I I. but it is enough that he is the emblem of everyone's obstinate desire for something to happen. in maintaining 1I1 1t: hell or high water .. and Beckett's ascetic method restricts theatre to the possible effects of the Two. space than the text itself. p. but also of Chaplin . babble. we will never know 'who' Godot is.. . To all mankind they were addressed. two. Willie and Winnie in Happy Days. when Pozzo asks: 'Who are you?' .ITIIl to render illegitimate or impossible at each and every instant. parodies oflofty language (in particular philosophical language) indifferent to any verisimilitude. trivialities. 126. Besides.---- . with impotent old men I l·tt:ntlessly following their passions. insults and scatology. those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place. it is precisely because in the circus one already ignores situations or intrigues. . as testified by Acts Without W ords ( 1 957). words. one easily understands . IV i I h imbecilic youths.- � - - . . so as to be together. pairing up with his own past. Hamm . all mankind is us. Hamm and Clov (flanked by Nagg and Nell) in Endgame. If these duettists have often been compared to clowns.. three. for humanity reduced to its stubbornne ss and malice. of Moliere and Goldoni. taking advantage ()f" the enduring variety of inherited theatrical types. This is indeed I hc meaning of Vladimir's exalted tirade: 1 1 I : l l l i tested by . " � I. - - Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---_ We have shown how nostalgia.blind. p. It is in this '-. The handicap is not a pathetic metaphor for the human condition. like the solitary child who turns himself into children.and the verbal capture of all the consequences of duality are Beckett's fundamental theatrical operations. '1.. paralytic and mean hi tterly playing out his uncertain part to the very end without faltering. Beckett must be played with the most intense humour. Even Krapp forms a or (flanked by Pozzo and Lucky) in W duo with his magnetic tape.even when it is aged. Doubtless. exposition or denouement. . ' " " " .why Vladimir will respond in the following way (which.lI"Ilivalesque heritage that we must situate Winnie. two by two.). Beckett is indisputably the only serious writer of the last century to belong to a major tradition within comic theatre: contrasted duos. I'!' It is not every day that we are needed. 74. But even a text as harsh and impenetrable as Endgame can sometimes open up to the metaphor of the inventions of childhood: Then babble. bowler hats. a vital power that circumstances . at this moment of time.. conceived as what a 'tormentor' and a 'victim' are capable of. Vladimir and Estragon aitingf Godot. However.. this is where the singularity of Beckett's theatre can perhaps be seen to reside. l"!nnally capable as they are of keeping the 'appointment'. sequences of skits rather than the development of an intrigue. It is only then that the I rllc destination of the comical emerges: neither a symbol nor a metaphysics I I I disguise. or the pair.--- . forms its basic unit. haunts Krapp s Last T ape. amused and revived by a mere nothing. for the laughter of all. which gives rise to calm blocks of beauty within the prose. in which the stage directions that describe the postures and gestures of the characters occupy as much. and it must be noted that the couple. what matters is the production of a powerfully physical inventory ofthe extreme figures of duality (symbolised by the juxtaposition of Auguste and the white clown). it is the subject of most ofthe plays. discord and discussion between two characters. with crippled megalomaniacs . 70). Not indeed that we personally are needed. This physical immediacy is very evident in Beckett's theatre. The display ofthe unlimited resources of the couple . i" :I ! As for love. buried up to her neck alld singing the praises of the happy day. if not better. WG. etc. and whisper together. provokes a silence): I I I I 75 -" "----"'''--'''- . anachronistic costumes (falsely 'posh' outfits. Comic I Ill'alre swarms with libidinous blind figures. From this point of view. but rather a powerful love for human ( )bstinacy. for tireless desire. .in the lineage of Aristophanes and Plautus. monotonous and almost despicable ..

i s it n �t be caus e what grants our wishes relieves us for an instant from the tiring co �c em of prayer? Never to ask for anything . how shall I say.. which is entirely comp arable to the emergence of ( . In dimmost dim. . . that we not as k an /thing frOID the prose itself other than to remain as clo se as po ssi ble to that v Thich. like for Mallarme. 54) . n firom wh' h truth proceeds . out I . Existence is not dlsso ' . HII US. • I I " . . b ecommg nothOmg more man l I ' pt'l i tion and obstmacy of hfe. the ellpty l stage of being. to IC 1 1 1 ission is to shelter these po mts of exceptIO . ntempt . A g a i n Despair. f or noth . b o th a s the interruption of the half-light and as the conjoi ne d finalitie s <> �C e x is te n c e and saymg. p. p. II I' . :ack the little fables of above littIe scenes a little blue infernal homes. 264. Sudden all far. p. reproaching you despaired too late (T. p.A l a i n Ba d i o u On Be ckett r-----" "''''' 76 . makes up each and every exi ste nc e: on th e one � and. a subterranean lighting that I have named of diffuse ligh ty m C lew rare coIours.:: �o in How It Is. you say? I am rem ind ed of this Illagnific C:. l I l ing (and why would hfe have a meamng? ls lt such a godsend. a contr0lied necesSI l aten t poem of prose. of 77 I' . o in the reconstituted fabnc of ur m ake them shine and retain the m stellar patience. NO. the half-light where everything is pla ye d out" but which i ts e lf doe s not pla y a role. HII US. . 278 . this is B eckett 's forem os t demarr. 'I · . 70). . And it is vvith hav ing Enough.I· · ! • . p. . " •• '. It 'at Bear at the end of Mallanne s Coup de des: . hol e s in the d __ stant canvas o f the theatre of the world. o set out the poem of the tireless deslre t Beckett fulfilled his task. p. meanIng?) . y beauty thiS acceptable m atenaI 0[ a I'De with I �ut when it is seized b . p. ] Th e beauty of his prose com es from this motivation. I ws of desire ' ' - But if it is best to de spair at the right m om en t. as the following remark amusingly testi fies: ' think. . II I. TN. Beauty. The enduring patience of life and pro se only exis t s Ie== r the inunortal arousal o f what fixes in be aut y the po ssi bil ity o f an en <1 . the true prayer at last. . .. the slow constructi th . pp. the events that sudde1: e ly p opulate th e stage ofb eing. ' a disappears . I II I ' I! . 1 1 6). 1 1 1 . " I . 78. These patiences are no t in themselves de serving of our .. I • I I I . A rhythm. 128)132 1 1 . -� �� --- For it was only by transferring it to this atmosphere... the o ne that asks then a little breath of fulfillment revives the bes eec h. Three pins. :=:. And nelther "IS It ensIaved to the I l l ore does it coincide with sohps d be they the suppose rclationship with others and to imprescriptible laws as a or of love. and. p. ----- A l a i n B a d i ou On Beckett We are men (CDW. W G . p. Vasts apart. 1ll wh'ICh the weakne " I I . p ... th m of being. L ik e . . At bouuosof boundless void (WH. . II . Ived III the anonymlty o[the dlnI. .�� ----.. . . Art' s It happens that something happens. At the end of the methodical ascesls. 76 . sort The element of beauty is necessary. No move and sudden all far.II . 262). hoIe th at saves us. Sudden enough. ] the j ourney the couple the abandon when the whole tale tonnentor you are said to have had then lost the journey you have made the victim yo u are sai d to have had the n lost the 1 :is told the said to =--na ges the .130 dead longings a=-:3d a munnur af fectionately :od so long. ss. he was lIke Moran mMo/lo).. All least. it is false that o ' . a o on of a world fashioned so as to allow one t the images.129 ... . He - � I I I I. I ' I I . 1 1 ( )wing happens. on the other. I i l lS a super-existence comparable .I . That somethmg happens t . needed the element of beauty. whose Kantian definition Moran IS w e l l aware of. . ( 1 1 1 1 . Love.134 .. wbo also Without doubt this is because .<:::::�-:: llt pa ss ag e f rom Malone Dies. in ing . is to be 'regarded I .13 1 but there is also: _ • [ .-->= �. TN. . there is always 'the blu e there was then the whit: · � dust ' (HII.the pm and courage come to us. through tfis hole trU see . t e t within words. as a This is a painstaking task. like stars in anonymous place s. 140. ' . k i nd of lethal glue' (T. B e a u ty. p. o us.. 277) .. 'lsm. in which pro se attains cadences that recal I the writings of Bossuet: The horror-worn eye s linger abject on all they have a last prayer. in the last analysis. which as Malone says. One pinhole.. 46-47. is born in the silent world. I. 133 e nothing wlll take plac For Beckett. N h i l i the place ' . to that 0f gaIaXles.in a far-away point . e I II I I l i t of light in the di the I .

this is Beckett's foremos t demand. No I IlOre does it coincide with solipsism. No move and sudden all far. . 54). At bounds of boundless void (WH. who also needed the element of beauty. as the following remark amusingly testifies: For it was only by transferring it to this atmosphere.I " . A rhythm. ] the journey the couple the abandon when the whole tale is told the tormentor you are said to have had then lost the journey you are said to have made the victim you are said to have had then lost the images the 76 77 . . 140. One pinhole. the one that asks for nothing. the empty stage of being. The beauty of his prose comes from this motivation. that we no t ask anything from the prose itself other than to remain as close as possible to that which. I" ! . p.1 33 But if it is best to despair at the right moment. like for Mallarrne. . p. This is a painstaking task. A g a i n Despair. Beauty. disappears. 76. HII US. 70 ). . to I llake them shine and retain them . . p. NO. B e a u ty. . in the last analysis .in a far-away point . 78 . which as Malone says. the I l l i l owing happens. . The element of beauty is necessary.stellar . Existence is not dissolved in the anonymity of the dim. . 278.in the reconstituted fabric of our patience.I I. like stars in anonymous places. p. pp. Sudden enough. Beckett fulfilled his task. . becoming nothing more than a p i l i I I ! of light in the dim of being. Love. in which prose attains cadences that recall the writings of Bossuet: The horror-worn eyes linger abject on all they have beseeched so long. in a last prayer. And it is then a little breath of fulfillment revives the dead longings and a murmur is born in the silent world. 277).ack the little fables of above little scenes a little blue infernal homes.134 It happens that something happens. 128Y32 Beckett �" ! I I 11. p. Sudden all far.the pinhole that saves us: through this hole truth and courage come to us. 1 3 1 but there is also: • For Beckett. reproaching you affectionately with having despaired too late (T. on the other. as a sort o f diffuse light within words. both as the interruption of the half-light and as the conj oined finalities of existence and sayIng. .A la i n Ba d i o u On _ _ _ _ - Beckett r-- Alai n Bad i o u On ( l l ll. WG. the slow construction of a world fashioned so as to allow one to see . At the end of the methodical ascesis. holes in the distant canvas of the theatre of the world. ' We are men (CDW. p. meaning?) 111 1 : 1 i liS a super-existence comparable to that of galaxies.I � . I. 1 1 6). p. 262). . which is entirely comparable to the emergence of the ( I reat Bear at the end of Mallarrn6's Coup de des: Enough. . . . in which the weakness. Art's Illission is to shelter these points of exception from which truth proceeds. [ . H ' pdition and obstinacy of life.. is to be 'regarded as a k i nd oflethal glue' (T. . p. 129 �. there is always 'the blue there was then the white dust' (HII. HI I U S. p. . Without doubt this is because he was like Moran in Molloy. Three pins. TN. . of . All least. 1 1 . 264. the half-light where everything is play ed out. 46-47. These patiences are not in themselves deserving of our contempt. . a subterranean lighting that I have named the latent poem of prose. it is false that 'nothing will take place hut the place' . the events th at suddenly populate the stage of being. a few rare colours. a controlled necessity in the images.- I ". but which itself does not play a role. the true prayer at last.be they the supposed laws of desire or of love. Vasts apart. makes up each and every existence : on the one hand. And neither is it enslaved to the rciationship with others and to imprescriptible laws . how shall I say. is it not because what grants our wishes relieves us for an instant from the tiring concern ofprayer? Never to ask for anything. . The enduring patience of life and prose only exist s for the immortal arousal of what fixes in beauty the po ss ib ility of an end. Like in How It Is.1 30 But when it is seized by beauty this acceptable material of a life without I I walling (and why would life have a meaning? Is it such a godsend. In dimmost dim. p. whose Kantian definition Moran is well aware of. I 'I' I ' . and. I' . He set out the poem of the tireless desire to think. p. you say? I am reminded of this magnificent passage from Malone Dies. II . TN. That something happens to us.

------ - -- . something more originary within English. by Harold Bloom (London: Chelsea House Publishers.J. : � � II . 1 959). trans. 1 52. pp. that I could venture to consider the work I had on hand [Ie travail a executer] (T. TN. I t is together with Stirrings Still. N. _ _ _ . B e ing. . BECKETT. Maurice.I'. n g u a g e s a n d t h e S h o rt h a n d o f a ) T h e B e tw e e n . by Daniel Smith (London: Verso.'" - ... Thought: P rose a n d C o n ce p t1 36 .Les Lettres nouvelles 6 ( 1 960). Georges. 'OU maintenant? Qui maintenantT . pp." . Beckett did not translate orstward Ho expresses the real ofthe English language it in o French so that W as Samuel B ckett's mother-tongue. ' Samuel Beckett et l'univers parodique' . The Unnamable. by Samuel I. . introduction to Quad (Paris: Minuit. Critique 5 8 ( 1 95 1 ) ['Molloy's Silence'. Translated by Nina Power Revised by Alberto Toscano I! ! ' Ii . 'Le silence de Molloy'. reprinted in Le Livre a venir (Gallimard) [The Book to Come.. " . . To my knowledge. 1 0 ( 1 953). .. for this exceptional artist of the French language. 1 997). The slow and sudden execution of the Beautiful. Gilles. 1 12. 2002)]. for us who hardly dare to. DELEUZE. 1 965). 1 983).II ' I. Existence. pp.: Prentice-Hall. 78 I . I .137 There are mst� ad some texts written in English that he did not translate into French. Alfred. ed.::: -:- . BLANCHOT.F. a testamental text. in Samuel Beckett: A Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood Cliffs. 75-90] . Samuel Cahiers de I 'Herne (Paris: Livre de poche. and WhICh. Nevertheless. by Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press.'1 " - Al a i n Ba d i o u On Be ckett r--------------. trans.La . Malone Dies. took this work into consideration.- � . p. L 'Alitterature Contemporaine (Paris: Albin Michel.l C ri t i ca l B i b l i o g ra p h y to 'Ti re l ess D e s i re ' BATAILLE. :i " I' " " . Claude. p.I" I' .1 74]. 77. 1 992) ['The Exhausted'. 1 1 1 ). why not. Stone (New York: George Braziller. 'L'Epuise'. We can therefore say that � 9 1 ]. . all of his texts tten in French were translated by Beckett himself into English.il l Beckett.i "1 !I' . ' . pp. II . 1 35 a i n B a d i �=__=��---=-_ke tt ---------ll A I����:.=�o u On Bec___ . 1 98 8).NR. . SIMON. Samuel Beckett (Paris: Belfond. are akin �o t e remnants of .. I' . 1 969) [The New Literature. in Samuel Beckett 's Molloy. finality without end. MAURIAC. Bei n g Samuel Beckett wrote W orstward Ho in 1 982 and published it in 1 983. 1 3-2 1 ] .:. I . inEssays Critical and Clinical. Jean-Jacques. trans. 1 976). It IS Said that Samuel Beckett considered this text 'untranslatable ' .. reprinted in Vivantspiliers (Julliard. 1 960) [' Samuel Beckett and Universal Parody' . MAYOUX.

What we will rI Iw l work of thought n . as well as of returns to their theoretical hypotheses to be re­ examined. but on its philosophical tone. organised . It begins by: . 89). 1 1 6). ' I II I. In Beckett. To study it thoroughly it would be necessary to show how it is woven out of a dense network of allusions to prior texts. We can thus say that the text is circumscribed by the imperative o f saying. l lc hed by a kind of lis I. � .a recapitulatory text.. It maintains a very deliberate and abstract dryness. The imperative of saying is the prescription of the 'again'. l l Ioe it allow e all. b ) S ay i n g . 47. is stenographic figure belonging to the text and which. one takes stock of the whole of Samuel Beckett's intellectual enterprise. with no French variant. Since in this essay we will study the French version of the text. W orstward Ho is tied to the English language in such a singular manner that its linguistic migration proves particularly arduous. it is entirely . This is a very old Beckettian I hcme.like in all the later I lL:ckett .what 1 called the 'rhythm' . The French text we are dealing with." - I!!II'I I. The first theme is the imperative of saying. ! . II . upon closer inspection.and. there are significant differences between the French and English 'variants' .like III Seen III Said. I he pulsation within the language which is altogether unique.I' " . even if. The text presents the possibility ofthe 'nohow on' as a fundamental alteration ofthe 'on'.into paragraphs. Nevertheless. for example.. There is a kind of humorous pragmatism in the English text that is not exactly present in the French. ' 80 81 . T h o u g h t Cap au pire (an admirable French translation for the title of W orstward " ) presents us with an extremely dense plot.' i ll this operatio t segments are generally extremely brief: just a few words). for III Seen III Sa id. if we compound these two difficulties. Having said this.. as a treatment in shorthand ofthe question ofbeing.in an absolutely conscious fashion . We cannot immediately approach the signification of this text by way of its letter. the translator. since he himself was situated at the interval of two languages. It is not a text that penetrates into the singularity and power of comparison that belong to language . pOSSIble to take W orstward Ho as a short philosophical treatise. on the one hand.I I --- -- On. moreover. Nothing commences which is not already under the prescription of the again or ofre­ commencing. thereby reducing Beckett's work to its fundamental hypothetical system. especially in the English original. Unlike the earlier texts.. it is not governed by a sort oflatent poem.. ' . ach Worstward Ho conceptually without thereby betraying i i I wc can appro s us to put together a table of contents for the entirety of i I : . that it functions as a sort of filter through which the multiplicity of Beckett's writings is made to pass. is not exactly by Samuel Beckett. by an extreme attention to rhythm. 1 1 1. 1 40 . rk. II nderstood as the incipit of the written text. the II '. " 'I Ii' I I . it is entirely apposite to treat this text as if it were. B e i n g . Therefore. Somehow on (p. in En 1 ' 0 .139 And ends by: Said nohow on (p. � . p. differences bearing not only on the poetics oflanguage. 1 3 8 In Beckett's case. we can also sunnnarise W orstward Ho by the passage from 'Be said on' to ' Said nohow on'. the most recognisable but in certain regards also the most unrecognised o r his themes. on the other.) cannot consider it in terms of its literal poetics. The question of knowing which text translates which is an almost undecidable one.' l i nguistic glish. abov I I " l et L's wo or a shorthand of the question of being. p. A second difficulty derives from the fact that this text is . which is offset. for it really is a translation. under the supposition of a commencement that itself never commenced. I!i!I " . and determining it as a continuation. i I. !'IIi . We could thus say that as a text it tends to offer up the rhythm of thought rather _ This is configuration.. the opposite is true. tha ( I I . 7. . II belongs in part to Edith Fournier. that is. the problem oftranslation is complex. Al a i n Ba d i o u On ---Becke tt r-------- c". ! .i . whilst. which is altogether remarkable. The negation ('nohow') attests to the fact that there is no more 'on'.is the figure of scansion I"" . to commence is always to 'continue '. and refined .41' Ala i n B a d i o u On 1111111 \\ Beckett . WI.. we have an absolutely English text. possibly contradicted or modified. Say on.- ---- . "I . Beckett always called the passage from one language to another a 'translation'.-. Be said on."I 111 " I I. just a bit watered down in the English. A first reading shows us that this plot develops l our central conceptual themes into their respective questions (I will explain I I I a moment what must be understood by 'question'). in my view. But in truth.. given the 'be said'. and there is a conceptual sincerity to the French text which is softened and sometimes. and a translation in the usual sense. In W orstward Ho. Hence the obligation of finding support for our argument in the meaning rather than the letter.

Categorially. 'nohow on ' is a variant of the 'on ' and remains constraine d by the imperativll of saying. the void is necessarily a subordinate nomination.means. i I Once it is obliged to prove itself through the crucial ordeal of disappearance. A last variant: the inscribed in being is what can worsen.is a 1 I I I HIamental theme in Beckett.:.the immediate and mandatory corre late of the firsl throughout Beckett's work . Let us note at once that with respect to these two names . the inscribed is what appears in the dim.o u On Becke_. Then all go (p. This is a question of what is proposed from the standpoint of being [du point de l'etre].: _ of what appears. " " . Oozed from softenmg soft the word woman s. It is dependent on the disappearance of the all.. The standing shade will also be found ' kneeling' . We can say that the shades are what is exposed in IItc dim. The maxim is the follo or wi Void cannot go [Disparition du vide ne se peut] . The 'there is' .if the void is determined as being nothing but difference or separation. has two names and not ju st one: the void and the dim..I 1'I " i "I And Beckett immediately adds (this will be clarified later): . The inscribed is what the dim as dim arranges within the order of appearance. p. there is what appears in the dim. but above all. Save dim go.. there is what makes the void appear as an interval. what n Hlstitutes an interval with respect to the void. and consequently as a corruption of the void .::. I . Nothmg to show a woman' s and yet a woman'S . but is instead I II ' Iposed or inscribed in being. a question about what appears in the dim. On the other.�I�:. what the dim allows to appear as a shade .. 1 8 . of the 'there is' as such..:.what is apparent in the dim. the exercise ofdisappearance. . 1 1 " to be counted.1 42 _ il .. you must at least count to three. But one can also say that it is what is given in an interval of the void.of the number of shades . I . there is the ' there is' . I I is the inscribed in being that lets itself be counted. in other words..-. .1.I . which constitutes the essen tial testing ground [plan d 'epreuve] of W stward Ho .I . or at least appear to discern. . Besides the fact that there is the imperative of saying. This is a problem of considerable importa nce. This is because things will be pronounced upon according to the two possible names of the 'there is' ..that it is an old woman: .there is the l'. to be iller :::Iid than said before [etre plus mal dit que de ditl ja Under this multiplicity of attributes . which is.we discern.! ! . If the 'all go' . l l l il � void has of being infested by shades means that it is reduced to being I I II ' figure of an interval amongst the shades.or 'bowed' . what returns I I : : I ( ) the dim as the archi-original exposition of being. 'Worsening' .as a shade in the dim [I 'ombre dans la penombre] . the 'there is' itself.i.is named by the dim. Of this shade that counts as one. Number is obviously not an attnbute . This manner 1 1 1 .1'. 3 .. But let us not forget that this 1 I I I nvai amongst the shades is ultimately nothing but the dim.these metamorphoses should elicit no surprise .from page 34 ( 1 08) on .is what allows 1 1 . 1 1 1 essential theme in W orstward Ho. The shades are the exposed plural of the 'there is' . Instead.. the presentation of shades will be minimal: the count will go up to three.! i .the shades . I. as such.. The third theme is what could be referred to as ' the inscribed in being' . 1 1 · 1 he void or the dim: void and dim do not let themselves be counted.1 43 ' 82 83 I .: d i =-=---:__ ___ tt l. which counts as one. In Worstward Ho. . The science of number .. These are different Ilames.1 I. the I' ! 'I" .void and dim . In truth. The second theme . once . the fact that disappearance is subordinated to the disappearance of the dim makes 'dim' into the eminent name of being. 1 II I I d y .::. or pure being. a subordination: the void is subord inated to the dim in ng: . as follows: a void infested by shades.n B a:. it is the one . " I A a i . What is not being as such. the disappearance ofthe dim. what is ofthe order of number.cneric name: 'the shades ' . the void has no autonomy... 9 7). On the one hand. Ifwe accept that the 'there is' is what is there in the ordeal of its own nothingness. what lets itself be counted. 1 41 . that is..you count what lets itself be counted. The imperative of saying is immediately correlated to tha t about which there is something to say.A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--. 2. where worsening is one of the text's I adieal operations . amongst other things. They are not so much states as names. which manifests it sclf here under the name of dim. It lets itself be counted pri Illordially: 1 . We shall see why it can go no lower. . wllat is susceptible to worsening or to being iller said than said ..:.e the ' there is' thought as nothingness . or again. We can also say that the inscribed in being . is what lets itself be counted. in the gap of what appears. The first shade is the standing shade. This explains how Beckett could name the universe.is that of pure being.:. what pertai�s to p i mality. '. Insofar as 'dim' is the eminent name of being. it is said .

etermmatlO�s 'man'. In the pair it is obviously a question of the other. we can say that the inscribed in being is visible humanity: wo�an as one and as inclination. Imperative of saying. Th� other is here designated by its internal duplicity. the impossibility ofproving �1�ce the femmme It IS.with regard to the question of the . Then there is the pair. In the end. ot : that of the eyes and that of the oozing of Hence two recurrent themes e matter of the brain. \' . by the fact that it . Thought al other . it is becaus ( ai led the ' seat and germ of al the and the shades exist for the head." . In all these instances . The pair is the sole shade that counts as two. the modality of saying is not the same for the one­ wo�a� and for the two-man-child. We must suppose that old man and child are the same man qua shade. ill nd attribute of thought after seeing . are 'clenched staring' . ality of existence represented by the skul mod note that the skull is a supplementary It is of capital importance to des the one of feminine inclination and the shade. Of the one it is not said until much later that It IS an old wom�n. It is. Beckett will say: 'Two free and two as one' . ' child' . th�ug t the configuratlOns of vIsIble humanity and the imperative of saying eXIst sImultaneously. that IS to say..:: 'I . the circulation I I l 1 perative of saying and the m sible humanity) are given simultaneously? "I vi ard Ho. about ical n for the text as a whole.one w As for words ..:Ii " 'j ! . . T staring is es sential to Worstw pt juxtaposition .there is the visible and there is the ('o nstitutes B eckett' s organic method seen ill said '. and to its brain. as is always the case in Beckett: infant and old �an. It designates seeing as such. IS two. The skull makes thre e. that is . besi ways . human life qua shade in its extreme of infancy and its extr��e of old age. man as double in the unity of number. ThIS mdlcates that the masculine sexuated position is evident and t at the impo ssibility of proving it is difficult to understand.- ----. in which the t i ll' ' there is ' qua 'there is ' from th odification of the shades (i .I.----. What will be sai later instead. and consequently the emblem of the ill seen. The adult is almost an ignored category. . This is thought: 'il l seen ill i I Ilp erative of saying.what can thought say about h l l l ll: lI1 ity .! . These two maxims. the crucial statement returns: nothing proves that. there is the inscribed in being. There is ' ill e presentation of the head will be essentially sa id ' .the seco d they ooze ' .e . and this is 'for' and ' in' thought. I. On the con rary. Let us be more precise.nothing provides proof. ] ooze' .acco . thought in th some soft mind [ . 'II " . a life given in what splits it in two.I . on reduced to its eyes. and yet it IS the case.designates precisely 'clenched staring' . Fmally. ill' I. is tha� nothing has proven that we were indeed dealing with an ol man a�d a chlld. whilst the composition of the pair is immediately declared (old �a�-chtld). The philosoph I I I < ladest possible organisatio e this : what can be pronounced about I I I 1st ruction of the question will go lik e vantage point of thought. This is the material figur words. . dete l. .in the guise of the pair I A I a i B __ o u On__c__l�___n_a d i____ Be_kett___". this is thought. SImply put.-----. It follows from this that th the e hand.'1: !.as is to be expected. Seeing the eye of seeing is ' cl enched staring' . A l a i n B a d i o u On Becke tt r---·-These are the fundamental attributes of the one: the one is the kneeling shade and it is a woman. . in the unity of the pair that It IS qua alterity to itself.. . In and by .' If it is referred to in this way. . One will speak of 'th e head e l. .. on the on her: two holes on a brain.! 84 85 . Let us note right away that Beckett's question is the following one: -" - � d � d � � � � � n th theme) is the focal point or the recollectio " I I I I \\! i ng that thought (the four visible (the first theme) and of the arrangement of I I I I I IC imperative of saying theme) . nd once the pair is named.--- . It IS a two that is the same. whose source is the soft of spirit .obviously an abru is always an ill seeing.. let us say it again: 'Two free [shades] and two as one. T ought is the recollection of the first and third themes: there is the . sexuated position is not evident. it is established that the shades which constitute It are an old man and a child. of the shades (third the question of being? This provides the 1 1 1 1 ' second theme. thought is represented by a or In the figural register of W stw ' or of 'the skull ' . of thought? If reduced to its absolutely What is the composition ch rding to the procedure of simplification whi pr imordial constituents . Let us remark that the one is not called woman until much later whilst the two is named 'old man and child' right away. " !. of 'the-one-and-the' other' .. 1. The pertment ages are the extreme ones. . 'woman'. The head is repeatedly 1 1(' ad . and yet. .I/ _ . . the say ' somehow from some soft min ' and the fact that words ' somehow from existence of 'clenched staring eyes e rmine the fourth theme.'. an insignificant category.that is. which counts as two. ' But.of the old man and the child. it is the one that turns into two: the old man and the chil . : " " ' .I ! . oozing words.one shade. a contrario. that is . . the fou�h theme i� thought . The 'movement' of It will be said that the eyes his ard Ho.. and it is in I H It h the imperative of saying lil�ad that the question of being takes place.

This is why there must be two names (void and dim) and not just one. First.. in his concepts of Sein and Seiende. it is necessary to admit that the head is counted by the head..�:::.do not exist. Morc specifically. What can worsen exists. These are the constitutive relations of the shades that populate the dim I i .___kett___!ili' n B o� On. absolutely certain . This is why I can call it a pure disjunction.' I! i. This means that. For a question to be. It is not simply definable as that for which there is being . as we have seen. there must be . that of the one or the two. 'Worsening ' is the active modality of any exposition to the seeing of the clenched staring eye and to the oozing of words. This exposition is existence. 88 89 . Does this not leave us exposed to an infinite regress? If thought as such co-belongs with being. I -. and what distinguishes it from being? Existence is the generic attribute ofwhat is capable of worsening. for Beckett. let us call it. or that the head sees itself as head.it participates in being as such. of the extremes of age. as figures of the same and the other. This possibility is not constituted by the void. and so on to infinity. One can say that there are woman and man. the skull-thought is itselfexposed. In Beckett's vocabulary one will say that the head (seat and terminus of all) or the skull are in the dim.if one can hazard this expression . .::. the relation of the kneeling one and the walking pair.ncs. the exposition of everything that exposes itself.I 1 I I ! . Finally.. the relation of the -------' 'I' l A I a i � a d i� u__=_:.. what exists is what lets itself be encountered.. again. . Being exists when it is in the guise of the encounter. that there be a possible interval of the void to section off what is encountered. and still remaining within the register ofthe minimal conditions for a question. and then five. A skull­ thought. the d i I Terentiation of the sexes is.. Bec___ . that it is for the clenched staring eye that there is a clenched staring eye. at one and the same time.:::. it is caught in its exposition... the sexes are without proof. ' i e ) Be i n g a n d Exi ste n ce Under these relations . that of the extremes of age. woman and man. that the skull-thought lets itself be counted in the uncountable dim. whilst nevertheless being certain. Neither void nor dim designate something that can be encountered. Skull-thought is an ill seeing and an ill saying or a clenched staring eye and an oozing of names. Void and dim . Here lies the Cartesian thread running through Beckett's thought. it is that. Why a pure disjunction? It is certain that there is 'woman' and there is . It is a lirst saying. or ofthe same and the other. Or ' that skull-thought is the third shade.of a meta-head. which I : . this is always without I 'roof. extremes which also make it so that the pair is one. The protocol of closure is given by the cogito.. I levertheless crucial. "I I II' . in the sense that it can be said. Second. Third. One must count four. like Platonic categories. The shades are what lets itselfbe encountered. :. .. that is. Heidegger saw this too. The name of being qua possibility of appearance is ' dim' . perhaps at a more fundamental level. 1 1 11 1 infest the void. because every encounter is under two conditions: on the one hand. But.in this case the old woman and the old man . It is therefore a pre-linguistic certainty.146 The dim is being to the extent that a question can be formulated as to the being of being. To let oneself be encountered and to worsen are one and the same thing. which is present from the beginning of his work.the shades attest not to being but to existence. that there be the dim. but at no time can (mc infer this from another saying.besides the 'there is' and the skull-thought ­ inscriptions of shade within the dim.the names of being . In other terms.but this certainty does l Iot let itselfbe deduced or inferred on the basis of any particular predicative I ra it. It is not subtracted from the exposition of being. hilt that this saying does not in turn have any other saying as its source. The second condition for a question is that there be thought. to the extent that being is exposed to the question qua reserve of being for appearance [ressource d 'etre de l 'apparaftre] . . and this point is essential. they are the only thing to be without proof. being must have two names. . where is the thought of this co-belonging? From where is it said that the head is in the dim? It seems that we are on the edge of the necessity . ". and in particular not from a descriptive.:.:. only alluded to in W orstward Ho. The fact that I h is shade turns out to be old woman or old man. Or. on the other. but in Worstward Ho it is identified as a kind of halting rule which alone allows thatjor which there is the dim to also be in the dim.:I ii " Ii . !llan' . taken. . ! I ! .:. A parenthesis: there is a point. and it is this that designates the existence of shades. ( l r empirical. Beckett never denied this thread.: '. " . saying.of the one and the two.. Shades are ruled by three relations.Illli absolutely beyond proof." • Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--required is the possibility that something appear in its being. and of the sexes . infancy and senescence. I :II. Or again. which is instead the name of being qua being. What is cxistence. Or.

Before formulating any hypotheses. and skull-thought. . the words to ill say it . thought. . and in particular an artistic saying. one can set the -ward. Ala i n Ba d i o u On Be cke tt r-------------_ �----=-:� � - - - :. what brings the prescriptive autonomy of saying to its culmination.is then precisely the controlled regulation of ill saying. and is not constrained by the said. Ts sary to keep all of age according to which language sticks to things with various di ll'! ri ne of langu elf rence . n Be_ketl ----------�A I a. etc Whe this well in mind.. this would arouse no interest. Saying is under the imperative of saying. Th suffer the intolerable prescription of ill saying.I I 9 ssaid. Beckett clearly indicates I llt:seription of say l l i i s from the start: I ' il ' l il. . unbinds. then ill saying is the free essence of saying.. . once and for all. To reach the point at which the awareness tha can only rem t is... In the end. to pure being. III saying is not a failure of saying.. the minimal set-up will also be referred to as follows: being. 8 ).:B a d :. of the same and the other. thought and existence. 7. The essence of saying is ill saying.:. the temptation of subtracting oneself fro I he shamefu e temptation to have done with the 'on ' . the fact that failure provides the norm of saying aro .:. What is the well sayin g'? 'Well saying' constitutes a hypothesis ofadequation: the saying IS adequate to the said. since it is impossible to speak. I. Mi ' '' :1 . to the extent that it is not subject to the authority of the said.i "- - - Therefore. In this form of failure one return temptation is to This is what we could call the mystical temptation. a hope that Beckett identifies pe .-. p. 90 91 . The text only functions from the wO llld expressions 'fail' or ' ill say' the self-affirmation of the l l ial one hears in the ing as governed by its own rule. Going where? W In Be truth. i. ell. or the words for this set-up. like Rimbaud Beckett thinks that one nevcr away from humanity. . It is by no means invented here and perhaps even constitutes one of his oldest axioms. W orstward H° will treat the triad being/existence/thought under the categories of the void. il.' I' -- j.. 'I I' I! '! i " " I'. i. tha der the sway of an imperative that is no longer the firmly places you un imperative of saying but the imperative of silence. g ) T h e Te m pt at i o n d nsequence of all this is that the norm of saying is calle The strict co uses course. emptied of all prescription. the to the void ..1'1' .:: u: O:. impossible to say ' it' . These hypotheses will concern what binds. Th mcrit of turning m the l temptation. it appears in Wittgenstein. From now say for be missaid (p. as Beckett would say.::. . or.. is an old axiom of Beckett's. This axiom goes: to say is to ill say. It is necessary to fully understand that 'to say is to ill say' establishes an essential identity.. .:. " II I . attain ll saying is impossible. that is. the direction of thought. or the affirmation of the prescriptive autonomy of saying.one can construct questions. no longer to imperative of saying . If there is no adequation. Saying is only a free saying. of the three. The apex of saying . When one possesses the figures of being. I. void or emptied. : i . or affects the triad of dim-being. 1. . But Beckett's fundamental thesis is that the saying that is adequate to the said suppresses saying. existence. . the only hope lies in betrayal: to Since we ription complete it would elicit a total abandonment of the presc it failure so an the return a relinquishment of saying and of language.::. to the void. to the extent that it does not coalesce with the said. .:. Moreover.to be s cease to exist in order to be . in the last proposition of the in the sense in which e h the point at which. He recognise st. . it is n reading in Beckett terms such as ' ill saying ' . Were we dealing with an empiricist I I " .rees of adhe moment tum out to be impossible. the text its h" '.-:___ C_____ -- _ f ) T h e Ax i o m o f S a y i n g The text will therefore organise itselfby way ofhypotheses concerning the -ward.. if the saying is not prescribed by 'what is said' but only governed by saying. To failing both language and saying to the point of disgu temptation of I. One says in order to ill say. This would me itself.1 I. which moreover generates its title.::. Of rfectly: s hope within the subject. In s absolutely the temptation of leaving humanity. To reac t it is ain silent. in its very existence as saying. the leaves. it is under the imperative of the ' on'. and of the seeing/saying complex. but precisely the contrary: all saying is.. one must seek support in a certain number of axioms that establish the primary bindings or unbindings . The ' ill saying' is implicitly opposed to the 'well saying'.. when one posse sses the minimal and experimental set-up of saying .::: i n =-=-=-i o.which is poetic or artistic saying . on Tractatus .. 1 fallaciou al failure. . . an ill saying. shade-existence.147 Say for be said. " .. going ckett's vocabulary this is called ' going '. of an absolute failure that would have the I hc hope of a maxim is is you off both language and saying.! I I. the awareness that ' it' has failed absolutely.that is. Almost the only axiom of Worstward Ho. . failure' . 'failure ' . I .

there are never sufficient grounds for subtracting oneself from the imperative of saying. where nothing is exposed to the imperative of saying any longer. Least never to be naught. Unsaid then better worse by no stretch more. this temptation will be challenged. ' . Still worse again. Here is a text in which he evokes the hypothesis of an access to going and to the void by means of an excess of failure. Till sick for good. ple abolition of the prescription of saying . according to Beckett's vocabula re ' I 'h is free saying can never be di . Worse less. it ct. 1 06). the filiation id under the guarantee of saying or be sa ::a id in the awarenes s that it cannot misation of the prescription of saying. but never at the point ofthe ' go for good'. Unnullable least. W orstward Ho is a protocol ofworsening. .1 48 A la i n B a d i o u On Beckett re g that is neither void nor dim. No. The book itself wil l try to worsen everything that offers itself up to the oozing of wo�ds. Worsening is a sovereign procedure ofnaming in the excess offailure. good and all' does not exist. but never a 'same nothing' as such. and carries with it the same impassablc 92 93 .---'--. Better again. to return to being. 3 1 -32. The imperative of saying thus takes the guise of a constant repnse. It does One ning words' [des m ots qui reduisent] . The hypothesis ofa radical departure that would subtract us from the humanity of the imperative the essential temptation at work in the prescription of silence cannot succeed for ontological reasons. the direction of a centring of failure. ' is declared to be inconceivable: Back unsay better worse by no stretch more." leave existence once and for all. it is the same as arousing thought by 'never direct.I 'I'. 'leaste at leasten are those thanks to which ds th ha s words that leasten. � � h ) T h e La ws of Worse n i n g From this point onwards. Best worse. One is always in the ' same all but nothing'. Less best worse. the fundamental law that governs the text is that the worst that language is capable of the worsening never lets itself be captured by the nothing. in the name either of the advent of a pure 'nothing' or of absolute failure. further on in the text. because every ' same nothing' is really a ' same all but nothing'. kastening words ' . allusive words' and B eckett Between Mallarm e' s 'never to be is evident. If more dim less light then better worse more dim. Or better worse.I :. . No. ho. Go for good. revoked. W orstward Ho: the title is an imperative. Never to naught be brought. . 90). as Beckett will say. an excess of failure that would be indistinguishable from the absolute success of saying: Try again. I I ha s. language can ex on ntial text. the one in which the expressi hi lt not its abolition. l l h c capacity of the least. . allusive words'. To approach the thing that is . is impracticable. of work. p. But Beckett corrects and ultimately rejects this possibility. Thus. For want of worser worst. I S a saying that leastens pect the minumum of the best worse. that is . presented as a figurc of the self-affirmation of the prescription of saying. But in numerous passages. and not simply a description. I I l C can hold the worstward 's direct. 'I This is the temptation: to go where all shade is gone. Least best worse. Less best. Never by naught be nulled. Least. . Naught not best worse. I lid s im llowing: language partakes exclusively We must therefore maintain the fo t partake of the capacity of the nothing. Where neither for good. or a ' same almost nothing' . or. The ' same nothing' is really always a ' same all but nothing'. prohibited. The 'unlessenable least best worse' can never be confused with abolition pure and simple. Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett . No. no .1 49 " I I . Unlessenable least best worse (pp. Better worse may no less than less be more. By no stretch more. This means that the 'one must remain silent'. or with the nothing.1 50 . where a capture by the nothing would � � 'Least never to be naught' is the law ofworsening. Good and all (p. and these wor . . in Wittgenstein's sense. Naught best. In other words. Better worse what? The say? The said? Same thing. Not best worse. 8. I! " • The fundamental point is that the 'throw up for good. Say that best worse. Fail again. For example on page 37 ( 1 1 0). Same nothing. of effort. but the pu L l k l' pl ac e. ' Say that best worse' is the 'unnullable least' . Here is the esse ' I castening words' also appears: � � " . Fail worse again. o r the thing leads to a radical autono ry. p. It belongs to the regime of the attempt. A considerable amount of the text is devoted to what could be called expenmcnts in 'worsening' . Worse for want of better less. This would be a nothin . Throw up for good. We must hold the worstward ho. With leastening words say least best worse. where the idea of the 'but worse more . that worsens . Same all but nothing.

Better worse so. These words are not additions .worsening the head. its leastening or reduction. Dim black.worsening the two. crased: 'The boots. Mallanne. The no hands bad. From merely bad. which is the logic of the sovereignty of language. In order to leasten 'what is said' so that . for whom the very act of the poem consists in bringing about the emergence of an object (swan. Be it bowed down. What in fact is worsening? It is the exercise of the sovereignty of saying with respect to the shades.al l 94 95 . I . This is why the operations are contradictory. rose .omes to the surface of the text so as to be subtracted. . A pox on bad. the irruption of 'graveyard'. First try fail better one. Worsening.oncrete and essential word. which appears all of a sudden. 100).one does not add. takes place through two contradictory operations. Now the two left.by way of supplementary subtractive details . Enough. it is a sure sign that we are dealing with a risky operation. and thus one must say more in order to subtract. at the same time. is only there in order to be crossed out. the head. over the configuration of generic humanity.there aren't many names like 'boots' in this piece. Not that as it is it is not bad. star.over-abundance always being relative in Beckett . the boot. In the dim Add? Never. such would be the ideality of the 'worse still' . which is really the substance of the text. Here lies the constitutive operation of language. Worsening is saying more about less. These are the three shades that constitute the phenomenal detenninations of shade. worsening the eyes. one does not make sums . 'i' The boots .worsening the one. Nothing but bowed back. one (. Beckett's 'boot' is the support­ tenn of such an act. whose texture is extremely abstract. to what should be named a mark o the one [un f imit d 'un]. p. More words to better leasten. First worse. This is the law of worsening: one cuts the legs. to be crossed out. When there are such names. Barefoot unreceding on. The logic of worsening. l i s reduction to what? Well. Worsening the one: this is the exercise that occupies page 2 1 (99): First one. This passage concerns the eyes (rc(. Left right left right on. The no-. . because words alone operate the leastening. or. . equates addition and subtraction.with regard to this purging [epuration] . Better worse bootless. Try worsen. Therefore. it only (. and the skull.uts all that one can. worsening the head. The no face bad. Topless baseless hindtrunk. Finally. Mallanne did not proceed otherwise.-- Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--- o. We can thus say that an operation of nominal ()ver-abundance . . here lies the wntradictory nature of the operation.aims hcre at an essential leastening. Now the two right. Bow it down. More back gone. These can be briefly categorised as follows: . The boots.. which is the exercise of language in its artistic tension. ' . the coat. or.. Whence the paradoxical aspect of worsening. Add -. the oozing brain.' A part of things is only given so as to fail. ) whose arrival imposes its own tennination. void. Pending worse still. Better worse so. I' "I i ) E x e rc i s e s i n Wo rse n i n g The text lavishly multiplies worsening exercises over the entire phenomenal field of shades. -- II' I I II'" I' proximity to nothingness as Mallanne's poetry. One must supplement so as to purge the last mark of failure. Add a-. Deep down. In a moment we will see this with a (. it is both saying more about them and restricting what is said. Nothing I )ut a curve. . a mark that would give the shade with nothing else besides. Something there badly not wrong. worsening the kneeling woman. From bad to worsen. Mere bad. Add? Never. Greatcoat cut off higher. Pending worse stilU5 1 l�___n B a d i___On_Be cke ____ 'i" A I a i ___ o u _ __tt I _ _ _ I . or.. To worsen is to advance the ' saying more' in order to leasten.failure may become more manifest.but one must say more in order to leasten. . Head in hat gone.1" The deployment of names that marks out this first shade with a great I H I mber of subtractive attributes is. it will be necessary to introduce new words. Nevertheless.152 'I . " I I i. worsening the pair of the old man and the child. A little better worse than nothing so (p. The words demanded for this mark are 'bowed back' . but each cut is in truth centred on the advent . On unseen knees. . knowing that l Ilore words are needed in order to make such a curve arise. And now the worsening exercise of the two: Next two. Mere worse. Way for worse. 23. Bare heels. Better worse bootless. Pending worse still. A simple curve.of a pure mark. Nothing from pelvis down.

. With worsening words. and that. Where does the courage of effort come from? I think this is a very important question. Unwavering gaping. 154 that the skull is composed of eyes on a brain): The eyes. the courage of its treatment. there is only a pure seeing linked to a hole. 202 1 . Here is the first: The words too whosesoever. giving us black.whose meaning I 've already discussed . courage comes from tile fact that words have the tendency to ring true. Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----- - l A __n_a d i___On_B___ett___ "i" �_I a i B __o u _ eck__ _ _ For Beckett. an inventive and arduous effectuation of the imperative of saying. from now on.1 53 I" I' . Say staring open. :. the courage oftruth could not come from the idea that we w i l l be repaid by silence or by a successful coincidence with being itself. We have seen this already: there will be no termination of saying. . but wholly against the grain of its destination. Dim white. What room for worse ! How almost true they sometimes almost ring! How wanting in inanity! Say the night is young alas and take heart.is that in place of 'clenched staring' we will have 'black holes'. Be they so said. ' How magnificent! Here is a variation on the theme: What words for what then? How almost they still ring. and that this operation of worsening aims at ridding us of the word 'eyes' . and then white is crossed out in favour of black. j ) H o l d i n g Worstwa rd Worsening is a labour. The logic of the writing in this passage is altogether typical. In Worstward Ho this tension gives rise to some very beautiful passages. We will pass from 'clenched staring' to ' staring open'. Better than nothing so bettered for the worse (p.we have the attempt at an opening. How all but uninanc. The on cannot be effaced. Dim black holes. To 96 97 . This is the immediate chain. An extreme tension. The question is ultimately the following: where does the courage of truth come from? It is to the extent that one can say something that rings almost true that one ean say what in the poem is 'like' the true.is a barren work on language. I .et us call this the torsion of saying : the courage of the continuation of effort is drawn from words themselves. and too singular . A rest of /ast watch to come. The outcome of the operation . ' I 'here is something like an aura of correspondence in words from which ( paradoxically) we draw the courage to break with correspondence itself. . But this barren effort draws its energy from a fortunate disposition of language: a sort of phantasm of correspondence that haunts language and to which one returns as if it were the possible place in which to draw from language itself. From it in it ooze. 1 03). holding to the worstward ho demands courage. to the simple acceptance ofblack holes as blind seats ofvisibility. Somehow try worsen. !: " I . . to hold worstward. Note that the open and the black only emerge within the sequence of the operation in order to pass from eyes to black holes. The eye as such is abolished. 'i .so as to lead us. no advent of t he void as such. Or better worse say still a watch of night alas to come. For then in utmost dim to some soft of mind they ooze. The courage of effort is always drawn out against its own destination. White? No. From now so. All pupil. From this point onwards. because it is in general the question of knowing where the courage of holding to any procedure oftruth comes from. which is a semantically homogenous datum.too descriptive. when it will be a question of eyes. All white and pupil.I I . Unclench. from open to white. and white will be terminated. that is. And take heart [Etprendre courage] (pp.in this case. We pass from clenched to open. but from words taken against their genuine destination. 'Open' will in tum give us white. On the basis of the syntagm ' clenched staring' . Effort . Time to try worsen. which is to worsen.I . Being an effort. p. where does courage come from? For Beckett. 27. by way of diagonal worsening and deletion. ' Say the night is young alas and take heart. 99). As somehow from last unlessenable least how loath to leasten. So. p.the operation of worsening .that one holds worstward. which perhaps constitutes Beckett's vocation as a writer. undertaken in order to submit language to the exercises of worsening. too empirical. artistic or poetic effort . and take heart . it will no longer even be in terms of the word ' eyes' . results from the fact that courage pertains to a quality of words that is contrary to their use in worsening.Beckett will simply mention two black holes. and this pure seeing linked to a hole is constructed by means of the abolition of the eye with the (supplementary and exemplary) mediation of the open and the white.

what exposes it to saying . precisely in order to ill say. But if the void is subtracted from its own exposition it can no longer be the correlate of the process of worsening. 1! '·· dimmer still [plus obscur encore]. seulement sur Ie pire]. . • Everything here shows to what extent one is 'loath to leasten' .\ - ' . . We may go worstward. Utmost dim. which desires the leastmost.I' Ii --- Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---unutter leastmost all (p. The argument is simple: because the dim. there is another reason why holding worstward proves difficult: being as such resists. that we draw our courage. no longer to have the void in its mere dimension of interval. but the dim in its being remains dim.. it will be said that it is an 'unworsenable worse' : So leastward on. Nevertheless. the clarity of words) and the courage with which we treat this barrenness. p. When one is led to the edge of being by a barren and attentive exercise in the worsening of appearances. I" ..' . It is what separates.'!� '. You can vary the intervals. Let us recall that dim is the name of what exposes being.being as retracted from its exposition. 98 . because the word sounds true. and exposition rules out the absoluteness ofthe dark or obscure. i . Now. 1 07). in other words.so let us state the fundamental axiom once again: 'least never to be naught'. The worsening aims to get closer to the void as such. being rebels against the logic of the worst. 1 07). Of the void 'in itself' you have nothing but the name.. . 'II. With respect to the shades or the pair.' . To dimmost dim. exposing it to an experience of suffering . a darkness that the imperative of saying desires as its own impossibility. to what extent this effort is barren. it means that it cannot even be ill said.'I !I. but to a difficulty. In it. the illusion that summons us to courage. the dim resists worsening. the void and the imperative of saying brings us to the core of our ontological questions. the void is the ground [f ond] of being. and there to continue to worsen becomes more and more difficult. . one can never attain the obscure as such. . is a condition of the worstward ho . but the void as void remains radically unworsenable. This is its definition. The void 'in itself' i s what cannot be ill said. but we can never go voidward [Nous ne pouvons mettre cap sur Ie neant. Even if one can lessen the exposition. 156 I . But these hypotheses are ultimately rejected. or most indifferent. a sort of invariance comes to confound saying.it can never be entirely given over to it. because it rings clear and it is from the word that we take heart. The torsion of saying is thus both what clarifies the barrenness of effort (one must overcome. in the utmost dim. Ii. .--------- 99 . _ . But taking heart for what? Well. The text makes several hypotheses concerning how this desire can be satisfied. This will be said in two ways: according to the dim or according to the void.155 -- l A I_________on_Be_ke tt__ _ a i n B a d i o u _ __c___ � . This relation between the dim. In fact. the saying and the said coincide. It follows from this that the dim can never be a total darkness. Thought can move in the leastmost. the almost obscure. The being of void being is to expose itself as dim. There is always a lesser least .I!. because the process of worsening only works on shades and on their void intervals. Or dimmed to . As if the experience of being were witness. 33. One loaths to leasten because words are 'all but uninane'. So that the void 'in itself' cannot be worked upon according to the laws of worsening. for there is always a minimal exposition of being. p. II'I I .ever more exhausting . but in its exposition it is a pure gap [ecart]. The void cannot but be said.---l-J i'" . towards the worst. to a growing effort . one reaches the edge of the dim. the being of being is to expose itself. Leastmost in dimmost dim. to challenge the illusion that it rings true. Within Beckett's text this is expressly formulated in the following form : . the edge of the void. As worsening comes to be exercised upon the shades. which prohibits ill saying. Unworsenable worst (p. There can be no voidward precisely because the dim is a condition of the -ward. ' 1:. i k) T h e U n wo rs e n a b l e Vo i d The void is given in experience. The imperative of saying. Beckett will say: 'vast of void atween'. Such a coincidence finds its reason in the fact that the void itself is nothing bu t its own name. the absolutely dark. but the void as void . but it has no access to the obscure as such. So long as dim still. if it is radically unworsenable. Ultimately. 33.in this worsening. which is the exposition of being.' Ii i. Leastmost in utmost dim. Thus one can argue for the quasi-obscure. Such is the figure in which the void is given. It is given in the interval of shades within the dim. This point is a very subtle one. not to an impasse of worsening. Of the dim. . Dim undimmed. is polarised by the idea that the dim could become the obscure.as if the imperative of saying encountered here what is furthest away from it.

i . . p. the 'maximum' and the ' almost' coincide absolutely. as one can see. Say child gone [ . The unworsenable void cannot disappear. Then all go. Void then not that much more again? No. ' ' Ii:. . leastmost dimmost. The void will always counter any process of disappearance with the fact that it is effectively subtracted from worsening. ----- AI a i n B a d i o u On Becke tt r-'---_" ""_".1:.which is impossible in its regard . It will also be remarked that. but that this desire for disappearance is without object. .(p. fails. Save dim go. Let us note that this is not the case with the dim. How try say? How try fail? No try no fail. this subtraction results from a property of the void. We have being. All not still gone. That the void is subtracted from ill saying means that there is no art of the void. because.. The void cannot but be said. Here then is the great passage on the void: All save void_ No. In the subjective register. Never more. 42-43. p. As good as gone. This growth would deliver the void over to the process There always remains the possible hypothesis of an abso l u te disappearance that would present itself as the disappearance of expos it ion itself. . I " I f 1 Together with the supposed movements of appearance and disappearance. The void. As good as gone. Never less. 96Y57 __ I' " . ilill __ l A _=�n B--=--=---=-�o u On Becke____. Then all go (p. the disappearance of the void is subordinated to the disappearance of the dim. seized as pure name and subtracted from every principle ofvariability. the desire that the void be exposed as such. . the last two categories in the five primordial genera of The Sophist. The one can go. the other. If one asks: What can disappear absolutely? The response is: The dim. Unmoreable unlessable unworseable evermost almost void (pp. i 97). But one must not forget 100 101 . one enters what in Beckett constitutes the figure of an ontological desire that is subtracted from the imperative of saying: the fusion in nothingness of the void with the dim. It is this experiment that the continuation of the text describes: Say child gone. The twain can go. something which is nevertheless impossible.!. annihilated. and therefore as the disappearance of the dim. All not already gone. 160 'Say child gone': Beckett attempts to approach the question at an angle.:I' ��I a i -. which says that absolute disappearance is the disappearance of the dim. 42. As soon as one touches upon a void that is not an interval. . Say only. Void cannot go. which is the void and the dim. the argument tied to the void summons all of the Platonic supreme ideas. Unworsenable void.I i Ii' . and therefore of metaphor or metamorphosis. Old woman gone.158 113). in a manner resembling the functioning of drives. From the void. upon the void 'in itself'. Till dim back. 1 7. Never since first said never unsaid never worse said never not gnawing to be gone. [As I've already said. From the stare. In other words. only arouses the desire for its disappearance. within it. for there is here nothing but a name. The question is that of knowing what becomes of movement and rest. one makes a shade disappear. which is the one-woman. ] (p. 1 8. In the skull the void arouses not the process of worsening . 1 1 3). The dim can be dimmost. the void.159 The experiment. there is no metaphor for the void. p. and you possess no process that could elicit the metamorphosis of this saying. Worst when almost. since one is dealing with a shade-infested void. . p. Less then? All shades as good as gone. A pox on void. Void then not that much more? Say old man gone. the void cannot. When you say 'the void' you have said all that can be said. Void most when almost. Then all back. perhaps a greater void will ensue. Dim can go. which is the old man/child-two. but if. The void qua pure nomination remains radically unworsenable and thus unsayable.. . The question of movement and rest presents itself in the form of two interrogations: What can disappear? And: What can change? There is an absolutely essential thesis. I: . for example. Save dim go. which is that in it the 'maximum' and the ' almost' are the same thing. being but a name. Void too.but the absolute impatience of this pure name. I I ) A p p e a ri n g a n d D i sa p pe a ri n g .-------­ ------=�. so that the two names of being do not function in the same way.-AB] Void cannot go. . For example: On back to unsay void can go [disparition du vide]. If then not that much more than that much less then? Less worse then? Enough. I . M ov e m e nt .a d i -=-�______ tt -o r language. . The void is subtracted from that which suggests an art within language: the logic of worsening. the name of the void sets off a desire for disappearance. the same.

thinkable in the statement ' dim can go'. but then all go. There is no movement but of This is a classical thesis. Good and all (p. but.: a i �:. e ought and being. Ih e pair. l and I I '. The first thesis is therefore Parmenidean: what is counted as one insofar ' . In into another place. w the old man and the child. For the pair effe the pair would have to be able topass . This being. a Greek th It is they who walk. All for good. .. On the contrary. sunk..·. Say no. The problem will therefore centre upon the appearance and disappearance of shades. and.e . there would have to be an other place her place: 'No place but the one ' .:. not two. like its reappearance. 1 9 . Consequently.. 1 6 1 of e universe. for it to recede in being. This is exactly Parmenides' maxim: ' It is the same to think and to be' . will certainly be termed ' stooped' and the 'kneeling'. Here is one: � 6 recede (p.. the skull) is incapable of .". an internal immobility to this movemen There is movement.:. i . you can always say 'Oh dim go' . and I will limit myself here to presenting my conclusions alone. There is a horizon of absolute disappearance.:. ce.:. but there is eans hat does this mean? O f course. ctively to recede. This is what is confirmed by the pa pla This ' Oh dim go' remains without effect. First.1 2 Plod on and never � t. 1 3 . that there is only one ontologica ed very early on by the maxim: but one place. 92) . The investigation ofthis point is very complex. in that prod i g i oll m matters little. Go for good. save of course the dim go. e child. all of which seems to express change. It cannot go.: d.1 3 No place but th The head. of the old man and th to alteration is consubstantially linked a T hi s is the idea that movement qu rtain t here is that this movement is in a ce I he ' other' . . But there is no ot .o u On Beck_. There are a number of texts concerning this point. This is a problem of an altogether different order which is associated to the question ofthought.:. Unasking no.. but does not thereby mdIcate a capacity of the one [I 'un] to any sort of movement. This is what is declar 6 e one (p. the dim does not care in the least. but that there is movement (they plod on l situation. But what is significan d man and the child .-=-=� e tt L A I:.. 1 1 . that the imperative of saying has nothing to do with the possibility of the disappearance of the dim.. 9 8). More generally. All this is �re�cribed by the logic of lessening within worsening. must be cogn is why movement must always be re e ot allow us to leave the unity of th n grasped as relative because it does ir. this new problem is to do with the movement of shades. or on going.. One will also say: there is heing.whi the void are under the same sign.---: Alain Badiou - O n - Becke tt r-------------.. the hypothesi of the disappearance of the dim is beyond saying and beyond thought.this is a the ol . But the crucial proviso is that we are dealing here only with prescriptions of saying. . Then all go. B eing is One in its localisation other words.�ense immobile." _ _ _ " that this hypothesis is beyond saying.- ��=---:---:.. Oh dim go. is deeply markc This immobile migration. Ask not if it can go. we must note that the head has the same status as the void when it comes to the question of disappearance.. dISappearIng. 93) . and never with a movement proper.:. esis.. m ) Lo v e d hy hich is that of the two. there is only one figure There is but one place. at the same time. or the tw o. ------= . this m They plod on and never recede. s axim of the two.. W that there is only one situation of ). who plod on. rules of the worst. remains indifferent to movement. Hence the disappearance of the dim. Nevertheless. As we've seen. as It IS only counted as one. When speaking of say: ble leitmotiv the text will constantly ve rita - " " . Parmenides designates . And concerning th th I I Il" es sential ontological pairing of g ch is the very test or ordeal of bein q l le st ion of disappearance .. etc. but i t it is Beckett's conception of love.: i =-=-:.. .:. What is important for us then is that the head is incapable of disappearing. The figure ofthe old woman which is the mark of the One.. The text always states that one [on] will say kneeling. Here.= . the one is not capable ofmovement. It is not true that the one stoops or kneels. Save dim go... supports T h is means that ultimately on I l lo vement: this is the third thes is . p.-'''" � ----". For what we have is the a so rt t presents us with the two of love as text on love that is Enough. Becket 1 02 103 . this statement remains indifferent to the entire protocol of the text. is an abstract hypothesis that can be fOImulated but which does not give rise to any experience whatsoever. there is no duality in ised. Sec?nd statement: thought (the head. p.=�n B a:. II"stward H0 declares that the skul ly the other. p.

Sudden back. . because the skull. Joined by held holding hands. . This explains why the passages on the old man and the child are marked by a muted emotion. It is somewhat like above with ' Oh dim go' .I iI':'. 165 . Now the twain. it cannot 'go ' .can be heard: Hand in hand with equal plod they go. This hypothesis is evoked and worked through. In the skull one and two gone. . the skull.echoing Enough . the ' all go '. The skull i s the shade-subject. 1 I I ! . it is a delocalisation internal to the place. Alone in the dim void. The subject as skull is fundamentally reducible to saying and seeing.does not entail the disappearance of the all. ck . Now the twain.. based on the fact that they would have gone from the skull . Such is the essence of love. rather. i j . C h a n g e .=--:a d i--=. I think. " - . in particular. Free empty hands. . . All cannot go.. . e spoke above: the structure of the cogito . for the same reasons that force Cartesian radical doubt to impose limits upon itself. and cannot disappear. it does not entail the disappearance of all the shades. Now the one.. Now the one. the skull from whi shade. i The hypothesis of the disappearance of the shades. reappearance or alteration of the skull is bloc modification. Hold and be held. . . That there can be real changes. two regard to shades of type one (the woman) and type In the end. 94). i i " ' . p. All? No.----. . Sudden back changed. p. or when one says 'kneeling' . only witness to a movement. is not a hypothesis liable to affect the being of a shade.. The migration does not make one pass from one place to another.. Here is one ofthese texts. . Till dim go. but it is expressly presented as a hypothesis of .--=. there clearly intervenes the prescription of saying oozes.have been modified. in which a powerful and abstract tenderness . 102).: riation it can be submitted to by the prescription i!sel ffrom the hypothetical va o f saying.I 64 .--=-:.subject to the prescription to be made by the skull -cannot be maintained. which is at the same time a migration unto oneself. . Now the twain. Both bowed. The stare. Somehow changed.. Hold the old holding hand. Another shade (p.. I 'i '"I .. Slowly with never a pause plod on and never recede. saymg: They fade [disparaissent]. Backs turned both bowed with equal plod they go. In the free hands -no. it is a hypothesis that the prescription of saying might formulate. etc. 25-26. p. disappea represented as that which seizes itself in the by the fact that the skull must be dim. Each time somehow changed (p. . . Say then but the two gone. I I . with the immobile migration of the pair bears ( the old man and the child). The hypothesis of radical doubt. the At this juncture. 1 . Therefore we cannot presume that everything has disappeared in the skull. In the skull the skull alone to be seen. Sudden go.. In the skull all save the skull gone. J oy . ". Fade back [reapparaissent] . The Cartesian matrix is necessarily stated as follows: 'In the skull all save the skull gone'. 105 . which would affect the shades with a total disappearance . T h e S ku l l A hypothesis accessible to the skull would be that the shades . that is. Now the one._- - - i '. Now both. Say yes. Now both.i .1 66 ' of migration. cannot itself disappear or 'go'.: A I a�n B =--:::. One shade. .and thus that they would no longer be of the order of seeing or of ill seeing . 'stooped'.between a disappearance and a reappearance . Fade? No. ree ly led to the question of the changes of the type th Thus we are final ch the skull from which words ooze. Instead. which itself is a shade. which is very particular to Worstward Ho: the immobile migration designates what could be called the spatiality of love. . P a i n . ' " " I. Each time unchanged. From the stare...93). Plod on as one. I n ) A p p e a ri n g a n d D i s a p pe a r i n g . W i l l . Dimly seen. Plod on and never recede. Alone to be seen. 1 3 . - . It is necessary to distinguish what is an attribute of the shade 0 ) O f t h e S u bj e ct a s S ku l l . Now both. and this immanent delocalisation finds its paradigm in the two of love. Here is the passage in question: In the skull all gone [disparu]. . From the void. Till say no. Unchanged? Sudden back unchanged? Yes.: i :. 1 04 I " "1':" . Dimly seen. changes caught between appearance and disappearance. therefore I am a shade in the dim. Somehow unchanged. The staring eyes. Every halting point of which w ked rance. By the staring eyes (pp.:._�_Be__e____"�" . i I . A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r------------ " _ _. Till no. 14.-- - -.. Backs turned.: o u On _ _tt l-.- -.- -. The child hand raised to reach the holding hand.--_.

Somewhose somewhere someho t enough still. Remains of mind where none for the sake ofpain. and poor words for these poor remains: w Remains ofmind then still. Vain longing that vain longing go (p.. ' I. pain. But there are.:.: �=-:. in which Elektra sings a very violent 'Orestes! ' and the music is suddenly paralysed. Pain of bones till no choice but up and stand. Only! (p. Or better worse remains. as if its internal melodic configuration (which later on will present itself. that is. So far so­ missaid. . this is entirely true. Here we encounter a musical ortissimo. inasmuch as it is what arouses the shades to movement: It stands. as the imperative of saying.the will that the 'vain longing that vain longing go' itself go or disappear .an extremely meagre statement. To rejoice is to rejoice that there 106 107 . . we must do so subtractively.. All things considered. Beckett says this very clearly. Somehow stand. No bones but say bones.- -- . but one that is absolutely formless and rather lengthy. o f the scene of the recognition of Orestes by Elektra. . For faintest. So as to say pain.- - - Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----the skull brings together staring eyes and a brain.. I am thinking. which is to will the non-will. Say bones. all of whose places are assigned in the text. Pain is the bodily proof that there are remains of mind. joy). The thetic character of the universe o f the intentional opera t i o n s o r Joy. No ground but say ground. Whence the fact that in the figure of the declaration of love there is nothing to say but ' I love you' . understood as an impoverished disposition of naming. 104)1 69 I' I 'I . Longing that all go [que tout disparaisse] . 9. or that the will. Pain is ofthe body (whilst joy comes from words). 36.=. passage inj I have always liked that quite a lot. In Beckett's own words this is the 'longing that vain longing go' : Longing the so-said mind long lost to longing.: . In the body. So enough still. And longing still. 29.is that there are exceedingly few words to say it. '-- . Jus enough still to joy. Say ground. Joy is always the joy of the poverty of words.=-=-:. in their essential 'unlessenable least' . What is the essential unlessenable least of the will? It is the will given in its ultimate form.. Of pain. Somehow up. Unlessenable least of longing. pain and joy. Unstillable vain least of longing still. there are the will. as in Descartes. Had to up in the end and stand. I " ' I'I. Dim go. Beckett's method is like Husserl's epoche turned upside down. Faintly vainly longing for the least of longing.. p ) H o w c a n a S u bj ect b e T h o u g h t? Given what we have just said. The so-missaid. Other examples ifneeds must. I So much for the subjective faculties other than seeing and saying. that is.. in Richard Strauss 's Elektra. For fainter still. p. over and over again.!!I.. . what we have here is a classical doctrine of the passions.. No mind and pain? Say yes that the bones may pain till no choice but stand. Relief from. Change of (p. What? Yes. Fundamentally.-------.----.=-=----: �� - -I. In particular. Many comments could be made regarding the correlations between this passage and the canonical doctrines of will. other affections.1 68 j i . i I. in subtracting the 'there is' in order to then turn towards the movement or the pure flux of that interiority which i s directed at this 'there is' . if we wish to proceed in the study of the subject.'" II! .. Long vain longing.1 67 . or to will that there shall be no more willing.of what rejoices . 1 09). Faintly vainly longing still. in the end. ______ l" Al ai n Ba d i o u On Becke tt . Void go. Joy! Just enough still to joy that only they. It is evidently linked to the fact that there are poor remains of mind. is on the side of words. to will itself as non-will. Longing go. cannot but go on. are so few words to say what there is to say. 90).- - _ ---------- . It is as if an unspeakable and extreme joy were musically presented in the self-paralysis of the music. No mind and words? Even such words.: . because it finds itself in the element ofjoy." I . in saccharine waltzes) were stricken by powerlessness: here is a moment of 'rejoicing'. Iili.. pain is what provokes movement.- - ------.. Enough still. Extreme joy is precisely what possesses few or no words to speak itself. p. I '1. Say it stands. Husserl's epoche consists in subtracting the thesis of the world. and this is what makes it the first witness of the remains of mind. . p. Upon reflection. The mark of the state of joy or of rejoicing .. Say remains of mind where none to permit of pain. Here ofbones. Each of these affections will be studied in accordance with the method of worsening.is the irreducible trace of will. and above all the three main ones (will. Faintly longing still. Husserl's lineage originates in Cartesian doubt. Dint of long longing lost to longing. We could say that willing is shaped by the imperative of saying and that the 'all go' . Somehow up and stand.

'I " I.:i I' . only a name of . 46 . the shades . sudden imperative of language. 172 � ' Here is what is exposed. Beckett's method is precisely the opposite: it is a question of sUbtracting or suspending the subject so as to see what then happens to being. Finally. All gnawing to be naught. Worse in vain. And thus we shall maximal degree of purification. but an experience is an ill saying and not a saymg proper. 40. . No ooze then. . by being able to be sa id of language. the hypothesis of the real end of the imperative of saying. Because from this point onwards. together with a te seals the process of worsening as interminab le. In W ."""'" consciousness is retracted in order to try to apprehend the conscious structure that governs these operations. S �con ly. 1 12). I I I somehow less in vain. This means that there is no experience of being. A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett orstward Ho.II' i". Till . in partIcular because for itself it is always 'not gone' . 1 . No ooze for seen undimmed...are worsenable (from the point of view of the skull) and are therefore objects of experience of . . All undimmed that words dim. And it will be noted that there is then a better seen [du mieux vu] .A I a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---. this is a pure abstract hypothesis. we remain within the parameters of the minimal se Until page 45 and thought. we could go on forever. the last just described: it things. All so seen unsaid. In this hypothesis. The ow ntent of the 'o n' will be strictly limited to the 'noh such a way that the co more to main to be said will simply be that there is nothing on' . the same and the other . existence the strict sense .leastened' ) to the statement of or expose. one that is actually impracticable.in a moment introduced by ' sudden' . Never to be naught (p . "I" . once the recapitulation is complete th Its maxim is: 'Worse stanc in g .1 1'1 q ) T h e Eve nt t-up . Here is one of the protocols ofthis experiment: Blanks for when words gone. It can only be subtracted in formal experiments [experiences]. p. together with a hypothesis of a dIsappearance of words. Ultimately. No ooze for when ooze gone (p. No trace on soft when from it ooze again. ofwhose trajectory we shall have to say more . bem�. the skull or subject cannot really be subtracted from seeing and �aymg. 'I :. A name commands a saying. an imperative of sa in conditions will be modified in and by the event its own cessation. ll this movement is absolutely parallel to the i rru pt io It must be noted that 108 . of ho st of other things . " " . We are dealin� with a protocol of seeing that remains undimmed when the hypothesis of a dIsappearance of words is made.a discontinuity. said and outlined in the text.:ords without seeing will also be made. Let me simply indicate the essent required in order to get points.will The event ying reduced (. Same stoop for all. Such last state. I ---. It is at this point that we witnes s the that links being. i Here it would be necessary to explain the text in greater detail. Latest state.. some light is shed on being.e.i. of variations .1 shall not develop these experiments any further. At least un exity is such that long analyses would still be ds e happens.1 7 l beyond sa ion .'. A hypothesis of .I I' . .170 ------_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . as well as an untenable hypothesis.a sort of di brusquely occurs r n. gins with the recapitulation of the last state : Everything be I .I " . The last state is grosso modo what w by what Beckett calls state of is the last state as the last state of the state. artIstIc exposItion. Ooze alone for seen as seen with ooze. independently of any thesis concerning the world. . But. p..' save dim go ' .I . Then all seen as only then. Dimmed. 1 1 5) . which remains a hypothesis annihilat arrange. Undimmed. Same vasts apart. What will re have a saying that has reached an absolutely be said. whose compl ial to the bottom of it. the void is unworsenable once it is caught in the exposition of the dim.' . which is like its absolute retreat into the inte rio of this state to a limit positio in hing that had been said. .pace. As if everyt l11 th e ly found itself at an infinitesimal distance fro its last state. The inverse experiment can also be ca�ied out: subtracting sight and then asking oneself what is the destiny of an III saying that is disconnected from seeing. from ill seeing. Like Husserl 's epoche. " . . an event prepared production of an event in e have a last state. . if we recapItulate our argument about the question of disappearance we can obtain three propositions.. This state is seized by the impo ssibility of the saying of the state of ying. First of all. In it ooze again. I. The last or latest sta cre in vain' . . . For when nohow on. there is an entire doctrine of time. 109 " . The hypothesis of a seeing without words will be forwarded... something til page 45 ( 1 1 5) .I I I . .'I I .1 1j' ' I . When nohow on. I. .

" " . 1 73 ..i . First of all. In Mallarme.. . At bounds of boundless void. as far as place can fuse with the beyond . . In Coup de des. the things ofbeing' (which Mallarme says in the form: 'Nothing has taken place but the place') . One pinhole. . the figure i s given from the moment that the shades become the symbol of being of an ex istel1cc.is acsthetically or poetically prepared by a specific figure. Therefore it is not a change. :. and when you have the grave. .. that the 'enough' indicates the possibility of the event. Sudden all far. it is another scene. "I . 1 1 5). No move and sudden all far. Names gone and when to when. Nohow naught. " . In that old graveyard.when one thinks that the text will stop there. this figural preparation." i '. and takes place on a scene situated at a remove from the one at hand. In my view. For thought. 111 !I . or a 'siderealisation' [sideration]. a constellation.::. -:' . ' 1 74 I am absolutely convinced that Beckett's three pins and Mallarme's seven stars are the same thing. I . ' !.this ' sudden' . . . .I. I call this a figural preparation. ---- .making me think that the Mallarmean configuration is conscious . 1 1 6). Ii " I" . Nohow worse. . . We have a transmigration of the identity of the shade into the figure ofthe gravc.' 'I Ii 1 '1 . " . Stoop mute over the graves ofnone (p.I . creating an af i ncalculable distancing.!i " . ' Enough' : Enough.:. 46-47. that this maxim represents the last word on what the imperative of saying is capable of.:. From the point of view of the poetics ofthe text. In our text. but simply 'nohow on' . The intratextual. the Constellation is prepared by the figure of the master. Immediately prior to this passage. consists in the altogether unpredictable metamorphosis of the one-woman into the gravestone. but a separation. . I .a closely related metaphor. II! I I' " . 45. Whence no farther. we would need to demonstrate that this evental configuration . etc. call1ing forth the vessel's captain. Said nohow on (pp. In Beckett.. Nohow less. . it is because the element of the place has managed to metamorphose into something other than itselfthat the evental rupture ofthe constellation is possible. to the purity of its possible cessation. we can say that every event admits of a figural preparation. I . Sudden enough. in a suddenness that amounts to a grace without concept. the old woman herself has become a grave. Nohow on. :1 .1 75 . Just as in Mallarme the question of the dice-throw results in the appearance of the Great Bear. It could be said that it is on the background of these ' graves of none' . there emerges. . This sounds very close to 'on high perhaps. likewise what was counted in the dim will here be fixed in pinholes . p. However. the anonymous tomb opens onto the astral pin. p. Here is the passage introduced by the clause of rupture. It is not a question of the disappearance of the dim. they are in fact the same thing: at the moment in which there is nothing more to say but the stable figure of being.I " " . an overall configuration in which one will be able to say 'nohow on'. Three pins. a one-grave. And on the stoop ofthis gravestone. .it is as though a kind of addition took place. It is an event.I . Old and yet old.there is the passage: 'Vasts apart. an exercise in worsening. n Bad =----.:. It is an heing. in so doing. 1 10 . .:�-=-. This addition is sudden. The one-woman. the configuration of possible-saying is no longer a state of ar. i o u On Beckett . Vasts apart. in rupture. we have a grave.Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--." ' I would simply like to insist upon a few points. Best worse no farther. In this moment when there is nothing more to say but 'behold the state ofthings. or leastened.the 'on' of saying reduced. In effect. in Mallarme 's poem we have the foam becoming vessel and.. drowning himself on the surface of the sea.- Alai - -____""_1 .we shall see why. . " .. \'. " This passage is absolutely singular and paradoxical in relation to what we have argued hitherto. literally becomes a gravestone. At bounds of boundless void' . the analogy is a conscious one . On unseen knees. Secondly ..1".. }. doubling the scene that was primordially established. evental character of this limit-disposition is marked by the fact that the ' sudden' is devoid of movement: ' Sudden all far.. becomes a graveyard. you also have the migration of the place: what was dim. The stoop opens onto the sudden. in a passage whose imagery of discontinuity should alert us.. . abrupt. All least. Likewise. that it always possesses a pre-eventalfigure. Stooped as loving memory some old gravestones stoop." '.a sidereal metamorphosis. a scene in which a metamorphosis of exposition is presented ... in the crossing out of its name and date of existence. on this new stoop. No move and sudden all far' . because it makes a metaphor emerge with regard to the shades. Not an 'on' ordained or prescribed to the shades.:. of the Constellation at the end of Mallarme's Coup de des.. . void. . a page before the event at the limits. but of a retreat ofbeing to its very limit. or unnameable place. the stoop of the one-woman. the subject is now given only in the erasure of its name. which deserves to be admired. In dimmost dim. In Worstward Ho. . . we find the following: Nothing and yet a woman.

Unless.precisely the one that constitutes itself all of a sudden. Having been figurally prepared. the time necessary to conjoin. in a simulacrum of the void. can rest content with 'tries in view of better' [d 'essais en vue du mieux]. But in order for this to be. Ultimately.:.:. of course. all can and must recommence.1 76 And the good . For the second. the dim half-light of being and the intoxication of the event.is to sustain the 'on'.. if not the gravestone. having posited. this saying is the terminus of a sort of astral language.like Godot. -----! Ii . as well as the dates of birth and death. of which Rimbaud was the foundmg poet . one must fall asleep a little. effaced? This is the moment when existence is ready to present itself as symbol of being and when being receives its third name: neither void nor dim.I .:. with thIS fIgure 0 1 suddenness that seizes the prose. But why not begin instead with what happens.0- 112 . • . i i. like he forbids death. existence attains a symbolism of being. This is because Mallarme.? A .. W hat Hap p e n s 1 78 I I.I' l _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ AI a i n Bad i a u On Beckett r------" """ - ' L" Al ai n Ba d i a u On Beckett ��::::���:. To sustain the ' on' and to sustain it at the extreme. after the work of poetry one can also return to the shade .i I . ofthe 'nohow on'. rather than an Irish insomniac. what insists on not happening . by a mutation internal to saying. To sustain it without naming it. a saying on a background [f ond] ofnothing or ofnight: the saying of the 'on'. The first forbids sleep. . Then and only then can I and must I continue.. incandescent point at which its sole apparent content is: 'nohow on' .I. This ineluctable recommencement can be called the unnameable of saying. through the saving interruption. that a Book is possible. 177 . an event must go beyond the last state of being. such that the nature of what one will be able to pronounce with regard to being changes drastically.. disrupting both its rhythm and its image? Why not begin with the link between the impatience ofthe 'Eno�gh ! ' and the caesura of the ' sudden'.:. the imperative of saying as such. In this regard. but only the latest. floating above its own ruin and on the basis of which all can begin again. Perhaps the entire difference between Beckett and Mallarme lies here. I approve of his being a French faun.. An altered ontological scene doubles the last state. but graveyard. And what will remain in the end? Well. like in the discouragement that afflIcts the bodIes busy looking for their lost one in the cylinder of the world. A�d . Translated by Alberto Toscano Revised by Nina Power " Yes. • i! • I. _ ' III! " :I 1 ' . That is all.: '-- - What is the symbol of being of an existence. once and for all. I. there is also repetition. in order to recreate the conditions for obeying this imperative. an event is what happens so that the latest state of being will not be the last. There is a state supernumerary to the last state . on which we find the name.I i .1 I'!. there is in Beckett what does not happen.. The grave presents the moment when. which proves to be not the last. One must remain awake. the proper mode of the good within saying . and sleep between attempts. I!' • " i . like Molloy in search of his mother. .that is. its ' on'.through the suspension of the question.

.of the paradoxical courage that feeds this effort. this occasional God of the theatre. p.: 11 _ _ _ ' '. to find the name of what happens demands an invention within language.: o u On _ec_ tt l. 99). respecting the countours of thought whilst modifying its colour.. I Alternatively. Vasts apart. For want ofworser worst.183 Artistic or poetic effort is a work upon language whose aim is to bring language under the rule of the worst.. and which is nourished by the 'ringing clear' of words. as she who renders their chronicle declares: 1 14 115 .1 80 And having matched . On the contrary. to fail in words the failure of experience. Reinforced a little later ifnot enfeebled by the infrequent slumberers. for Beckett. " d " I I .179 _ _ _ . After all. By the grace of these modest beginnings' (ISIS. i . . At bounds of boundless void (WH. But this barren effort draws its energy from a lortunate disposition oflanguage.181 Where then are these 'modest beginnings'? In the prose. Sudden enough..in a figure of torsion ... beauty superimposes the path of words onto the counter­ path of thought. Such is the case with the two loyers in Enough. it superimposes the multiple onto the void.the writer looks for ' the courage to break with correspondence itself.:. p.n B a d i___.184 But we also find it . The ground of everything is but void and dim. to find the name of what does not happen is a matter of comedy . NO. at least.this prose brought to it greatest calm . One pinhole. GSP. As Beckett says: 'How almost true they sometimes almost ring! How wanting in inanity! Say the night is young alas and take heart' (WH. 32. .' . we could begin with the naming of what happens. 20-2 1 . i . .: i ! Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r--suddenness that also summons the distant. ! . NO. and which is where . 201). The first comes forth when words settle upon the inertia ofbeing. Sudden all far. 1 06).. I t is an effort and an ascesis.in order to name what happens . Like when . NO. of a ' gleam of hope. In other words. Let us listen to Lessness: Earth sky as one all sides endlessness little body only upright. It must: Say that best worst. pp.: .the uncommon to the infrequent.__. p. upon the still surface of what there is. 55.:. This is because words bear the courage of the mUltiple and the true. 1 56. " . 1 1 6).. p. then the awakening of mind under the injunction of 'what happens' gives us. because things themselves are failures of being. to ill say the ill seen. No move and sudden all far.within the ascetic effort to submit saying to the 'unlessenable least best worst' .:. the courage to continue. and by their fallacious virtue of correspondence.. NO. p. p.a sound comes to unsettle the inspection of proximity and awaken the mind.I. For if the paradoxical exactitude of an ill said in prose comes to correspond to the ill seen of experience. One step more one alone all alone in the sand no hold he will make it. With leastening words say least best worse. " I' . In dimmost dim.'11 A a.. p.like in the amusing facility of the proper name ' Godot'. as the paragraph concludes.___B__ke_ .. three configurations of beauty. benefiting from a grace compatible with the surest of maladies. Beauty surges forth when we understand that the path of words goes counter to the demand of thought. Unlessenable least best worst (WH.. A slumberous collapsion (ISIS. All least.. Beauty takes place when the poetic naming of events seizes thought at the edge of the void.:. because words themselves ring clear. 83). p. . " . a poetic forcing. in the beauty of the prose. Beckett's question is: How can this sound be said? In other words: How can the sound be said as the event is waning? This is his answer: Forthwith the uncommon common noun collapsion.:. 5 5 . I" I white blank planes all gone from mind.. The aim of the prose is to hold the worstward ho. a sort ofaura of correspondence that haunts language. we are accorded the gift. This is why we must begin with beauty. Light refuge sheer . Of course.when what.:. p. Three pins.I " . the function of words is that of bringing about the failure of things.::: i �:. like a golden dust spread upon the gray rock of the planet. through which courage is incessantly renewed. 83). All sides endlessness earth sky as one no sound no stir (eSp. .182 But the whole problem is that this failure ofprose is by no means given.in III Seen III Said . Ash grey little body only upright heart beating face to endlessness. p. Let us listen to the almost stellar ending of W orstward Ho: Enough. that constitutes the dis­ appropriation of our enslavement to the monotony ofthe near.. What is beauty? It is the trace . whilst thought obstinately seeks to approach the void. . By surprise.. by their lack of ' inanity'.. p.: . remains of humanity walks the world without pain. This is why in Beckett we find three regimes of prose. 46. NO.

p. of Beckett's worst understood p ates dence. Yes. 69 in stoic love to the last 62)187 . Words always bum when they are forced to counter thought. 1 33 . p.a little as with some of Mahler's allegros. without either hop the excessive language o f his desire.I1 . on the one hand. at this moment of time. there's no annihilating that (CSP. I I I" 116 1 17 I '. with a touch ofthe lop-sided and incongruous . to think they are probably in paradise.�:. p. between mildness (be it the mildness of tears) and violence (be it the violence of laughter). and is therefore in need of an acceleration of saying. and them look down and hear me." ' '/ 'I " iI i" l We should understand that the prosodic regime of mildness seeks the slowness of a coincidence. I believe all their blather about the life to come. HIl US p. 1 5 9).. p .- I. B :.:. p.:-_Be_k__ --. in the long run.:i o:. as ifthe path of words doubled. that's all I ask. they were so good. J" ' ' . But in my life it was eternally mild. the melding. I ' . To relegate the divine and hopelessness. GSP. which holds together the two primordial regimes... the counter-path ofthought . relentless. where can we find the entanglement of these two regimes. and there is the dry fire of incinerating sarcasm. Translated by Alberto Toscano Revised by Nina Power I :I . which recalls B o ssuet.185 ------------L A I a i n --= a d :. Such is the am�1t10n form what happens. At the other extreme. . �n p . . Let me go to hell. in his own sovereign way. that might take some of the shine off their bliss. th ing sense of the magmficent formula ak It will always be a question of m TN .to Vladimir 's sente _ which is not so easy mankind is us. But Beckett. 30 2 . 5 1) . :. SUbjecting them to a syntactical ordeal that forces them to ill ring. p . oscillating as it does between the emaciated primacy of the void and the proliferation of terms. Allow me a smgl rose.which leads to the imminence of :. shrimp and a little longer (HIl.:. p .::. n =----c_e tt . I Ii I \ I1...:. and consigned to ithful one know that it is necessary to be fa But also to let each and every or a nce in W itingf Godot: 'But at . culmin quote...:.. that ill saying is always already too much of a well saying. WG.. we can certainly call this regime of prose that of mildness [douceur] . - Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---"--. sarcasm. As if the earth had come to rest in spring (CSP.that words are an inadequate vehicle.:. and unhappiness like mine. whilst the sarcastic regime attempts to establish a perpetual lag [dlxalage] . . almost silently. we find what I will call Beckett's sarcastic prose. 111 sarcasm: • ading nowhere and saving correction no from the next mortal to the next le n up l cleave to him give him a name trai other goal than the next morta r life an capitals gorge on his fables unite fo blooody him all over with Rom .'"' I don't know what the weather is now. whether we like it or all this place. of an energy that must be ceaselessly nourished. ter of nt poet of mildnes s. knows that there is the slow combustion that takes place in the mild and nocturnal embers of prose.. for a time. 1 9 1). i' '! .the one matched by the other in a sort of immobile movement. of words Ilothing and the radiating path of of happiness. betwee . 30 0 ). it cheers me up. Finally. This pr novelty. where a long affirmative ca _ --!-l 1 . it gratingly utters . .. ". but because m the verbal al hecause of a preoccupation with form e llow.l Ibtractive counter-path of though . not ose unbinds syntax and pun�tuation I I l 1possibility of silence. not' (CDW. both th ar ks that are thereby opened one can fo the t .:: u:. This is a prose thoroughly recast in order to follow a prose and b eauty the regime o f Let u s call this third regime o f metamorphoses. il ' I' l ' 1 1' . an and all the rest divine' (T. 186 the n the deceitful excess of words and I <" IISC and volatile fault-line. e or declare man naked. Because within it everything happens. . ':11'I. on the other. and that the counter-path of thought can only be rediscovered by throttling words. survlvmg. the rhythmic mas Behold Beckett: the confide e constructor of metamorphose s. 74 .::. from The Unnamable: ' I alone am m � to its curse to the periphery o f saying.. p. Here is an altogether typical example of this regime (in From an Abandoned W ork): Ah my father and mother.... . of these contrasting fires? It is in Beckett's most ambitious prose..: _ _ Yes. as well as to a singular e that of How It Is .which leads to the captu�e.:: o. almost at every instant. Built almost entirely on rhythm. GSP. and go on cursing them there. 143.

Badiou argues that the tradition has too often made of Beckett an absurdist or existentialist. For it has invariably adopted the point o f . 1 "1 --Ifl .!I I" i I. it has effectively always contemplated Beckett as its own opposite. 111 I. ! II ' rI " '1 .'. Ii Alain Badiou's work on Beckett radically takes issue with what he takes to be a distinct and coherent tradition running through Beckett criticism. Badiou . In doing so.A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r- ---= l�_I_ i n B a_ i o u_n Becke_ A a___ d__ O _ ___ tt _ _ _ _ I I' .1 . . B e c kett and Con te m pora ry C ri t i c i s m A n d rew G i b s o n I I --- " I' Ii . as the negative to the unrel en t i n g positivity of its own discourse. a nihilist or tragic pessimist.

cannot be kept apart . for examp le. � . but rathcr as a project of thought. and the correspondence theory of truth' (Begam. from an Anglo-American perspective the critical tradition with which Badiou takes issue is one that now looks r ther dated. In its very admiration ofBeckett. ill the company of Sartre and Lacan (a Sartre and Lacan one must imagine read in Badiou's own distinctive terms). that fullness .ofbeing and meaning . �n t at BadlOu has taken issue with many of the thinkers who have chiefly IllspIred the tradition in question (Heidegger.----____i ' i. To some extent.and one would have to except here. I shall nonetheless claim that Badiou's work has the power to orient Beckett studies in a different direction: towards understanding Beckett's work. This seems all the more appropriate . has called what he refers to as 'the pervasive ass ociation of Beckett's work with the ideology of existential humanism' into question. unremitting effort and.i Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---_ view of the proprietor. p. for instance. Towards the end. Mu ch of that criticism has also taken issue with the tradition described by Badio u. " " I. .': I . p. By and large . what pri marily commands attention. . " I 120 121 I I I . taken together. In one form or another. . and. What I want to do here. is not a condition of exi stential deprivation.Beckett On . for example) than by what I would term the diagnostic attitude. WrItmg III 1 996. impl ode. too. and sometimes overlap. . These five themes are by no means clearly and consistently distinct from one another: they play against each other. According to the concept of a logic of reversal. for a reconfiguratio n of po st- � -- . For Badiou. on the other side. From the philosopher 's point ofview.� � - � . � . the instability of the name. . I shall counterpose the five themes to five emphases that I take to be central to Badiou's account of Beckett. for instance. The criticism that produ ces this insistence can understand Beckett only as inverting what it takes to be its own fullness. I. a set of parameters within which it has been operating. towards a radical opacity of significations '. . . I call these concerns: the logic ofreversal. Derrida. for whom possessions are 'the only proof of bei ng and sense' . however. . perhaps surprisingly. of something 'far more thought out than this two-bit.� . . It has been superseded by the theoretical tum in Beckett stu die s: the various theoretically informed. . . then.�� . dinner-pa rty vision of despair' [ 'beaucoup plus pense que ce desespoir de salon ']. is to position Badiou 's account of Becke tt ' not in relation to those commentaries he in some small measure add resses but in relation to a critical tradition with which he might appear more strikingl �o compete for a contemporary terrain. It is the evidence of labour.. That distance is also the measure of its own worldliness . prIncIpally because it ' derives from a phenomenological understa nding of the hum�n subjec t' which Trezise is concerned to interrogate (Trezi se. He has called. I would maintain that. the themes recur. Foucault. I shall proceed by identifying esto or what I take to be five principal concerns in the dominant discourses in Beckett eriticism over the past fifteen years. abo ve all. I will simplify matters by associating each theme with one Beckett critic in particular. the tradition has declared its dis tance from him. il .� . scattering references to others here and there.the tendency of the disposition in question has been to rethink the Beckettian proj ect as determined less by mood (the angst or despair of the existentialist. " I" I. Levinas. from a philosophical perspecti ve. Badiou's terms may seem to ask for a rather different set of applications or distributions to those proposed by Badiou himself. . There are clearly occasions on which Badiou and at least some of the new Beckett criticism have a certain ground in common. RIchard Begam suggests that readings of Beckett as either ' a �i��tic nihilist' or an 'existential humanist' are being fast outstr ipped by a CrItlcIsm that reads Beckett 'through the discourse of po ststructu ralism' and drastically reconstitutes our understanding of his treatment of ' such fundamental issues as the subject-object dialectic. the general economy. Strictly speaking. the metaphysics of presence. repetition. and he appears to be unaware of it. 'I" " . he calls 'the sophists'. with existentialist cri ticism in mind. one whose implications are ultimately ethical. Ba diou is opposed to the view that Beckett moved towards 'a nihilistic destitu tion. Lyotard) . p. x) . thought: 'Beckett speaks to us '. neither as determined by mood nor as engaged in a practice of theoretical diagnosis.. I . Bergsonians and those heirs to the linguistic tum that.more importantly . they are not themselves immune to question and . in his Manif f Philosophy. Badiou writes. Nor are they necessarily discoverable in all the positions to which I shall refer: indeed. ! - l I I' !I --- . however. war French thought which would place him on one side. � . II" " . the dissolution of the subject. however. There can be no question of systematically opposing Badiou's Beckett at every point to what we might call the postmodern or poststructuralist Beckett. sophisticated and sometimes brillia nt studies of Be ckett that have been appearing since the late eighties. they represent a kind of disposition within Beckett criticism at the current time. .is no more sel f-evident than is the sup posed 'poverty' of Beckett's art. 8). 5). . whilst Badiou's own terms of reference constitute a significant contribution to Beckett studies. in Beckett's work opposite terms are exchangeable. Deleuze. Badiou's wr itings on Beckett do not refer to this criticism. I shall argue that. . Thomas Trezise.neither is the overall philosophical structure in which he locates them. The � Alai n Bad i o u. . in Beckett's work. contemporary I l cideggerians. Leslie Hill's emphasis on the ' emotional fervour ' and 'intellectual disarray ' to be found in Beckett's work (Hill.

Here the cardinal sentence appears on the first page of Tireless Desire: 'thought only subtracts itself from the spirit of its time by means of a constant and delicate labour' . . philosophy is a brcak with I. 27) .I I. Here the gap between that criticism. p. aporia . ' engulfment and indeterminacy. p. in Molloy. for example. quest is for 'the impossible difference' (Hill. he rather commits his art to opposition. Later prose texts like The Lost Ones fall prey to ' aporetic contradiction' or ' a powerful identificatory ambivalence' (Hill. paradoxically.and articulates it . Badiou asserts that. Joyce' and in his monograph on Proust (Hill. the deconstructive bent of recent criticism has made it wary of attributing to Beckett's art a rigorously negative power. oxymoron and chiasmus. Theatre allows Beckett to move even further away from dialectics (Hill. looks narrower than it may initially have appeared to be. by contrast. Vico . at once articulating and suspending a structure of opposition. he sees it . 34).partiCUlarly in the Trilogy . pp. there lies paradox. From now on. Logically enough. apathy and invisibility' (Hill. Thus in W Watt's att. indifference in Watt becomes an uncontrollable proliferation of difference: B eckett 'dramatises the threat of engulfment by indifference by multiplying all manner of differences. In effect. an unstoppable play of convergences and divergences. Beckett is concerned with ' what could be called indifference'. neither positive nor negative. distinctions in his own text' (Hill. He therefore understands a logic of circularity . Badiou does not read Beckett as engaged in a more or less deconstructive kind of work. understood as differentiation. He asserts quite rightly that Beckett's attitude of 'indifference' is also an 'abdication from the world's commercial round' (Hill. might make him finally seem closer to Sartre than to Derrida. This way of putting matters seems to me to be quite characteristic ofrecent Beckett criticism. it is not so much value as 'positions of meaning' that are at issue. that which is in-between positions of meaning. Of course. Where Beckett's concern was I()rmerly deemed to be an absence of sense ('absurdity'). It is subtraction. Badiou stresses historicity on the one hand and a principle of antagonism on the other. Beckett sees this before others. 9). has come asunder. I' i ' I I! I I . p. recent critics like Richard Begam have reminded us of and indeed done much to refine our sense ofthe extent to which Beckett's art works to undermine established codes of representation.as being what constitutes a modem literary text. I I� " . Beckett is committed to defending the autonomy of literary texts.is that it both describes and challenges the possibility of a 'moment of passage' (Hill. baldly confronting one another. a scrupulous but fiercely corrosive assault on contemporary orthodoxies. 6). By contrast. p. None the less. p. l' ' " . but instead encounters Knott. With a force and decisiveness that. 63). Not surprisingly. The key term in the sentence from Tireless Desire that I have just quotcd is subtraction. for example. The significance of that great Beckettian figure.---- -- -- --- - Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---architecture that once cemented them in place. ' since Plato. as we will shortly see. In contradistinction to contemporary Beckettians. Similarly. 2). constantly shifting and irreducible to subject or object' . and understands Beckett as labouring under the same oppression. that is. Badiou. too. p. I have borrowed the term from him. has no such qualms. 29) that will serve as anchor. the question of an already existent meaning is of cardinal importance. Indeed. that Badiou counterposes to t l1(. in the registering and diagnosis of a general structure of sense. I 122 123 . for Hill. foundation. !I . p. At the same time. Badiou has been much concerned to turn philosophy dccisively away from hermeneutics and towards an interest in the emergence of truths in their radical newness. the switchback afflicts the difference-indifference dyad itself. there is play within the system. Badiou's Beckett is not primarily engaged in an activity of constatation. after all. For he experiences the weight of doxa more oppressively than most current deconstructionists appear to. this interest also involves a reduction of experience to a finite set of minimal functions. So. Beckett 'makes holes' in knowledge. except that. " " . There is no dialectical union of opposites in Beckett's work. . these are established as beyond interpretation. binaries become 'both crucial and indeterminate. a figure of indifference. alternatively. His commitment leads him to define fiction ' as an activity of language in which. I n either instance. .with special penetration. 1 55 . security. the logic of reversal instigates a hollowing or emptying out of value. contrasts. says Hill. but rather a movement of constant displacement. 62). I I . one can hardly claim that this assault has gone unnoticed by previous or indeed by contemporary critics. however. self-inverting character of meaning itself' (Hill. interminably and indeterminably. the foundations of meaning are attacked by the uncontrollable. p. In Badiou's terms. Its joints have sprung loose. the 'peremptory and polemical' references to 'received opinion' in Beckett's essay 'Dante . p. 1 0) . Bruno. in effect. Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett and the existentialist and humanist criticism that preceded it.the 'purgatorial cycle' (Hill. particularly as they are couched in language. contradictory apposition and rhetorical inversion. . Hill notes. 1 57). . therefore. "I I . logic of reversal. I " . . Thus at the very heart ofMurphy. Leslie Hill in particular has meticulously traced the logic of reversal through a range ofBeckett's works. p. significant yet devoid of meaning' (Hill. If. 1 32). recent criticism now takes it to be the activity of sense-making.

. Beckett understands that.- ----___ __ AI a i n S a d i o u On Becke tt r-------------. In Badiou's philosophy. '. Badiou even suggests that Beckett's prose is itselfthe very movement of 'negligence' ofthe mundane. Beckettian art exposes the ' illusory priority of consciousness' and ' its pre-originary involvement in an economy of signification' that escapes it (Trezise. which is where these terms chiefly figure. the scientific and the artistic. "" A a i �-= d i :. 48). This is why he gives up on an art of 'the feasible' : he recognises that literature ' in its very secondarity belies the priority of that world that originates in the dis­ appearance of the sign' (Trezise. Truths do not destroy a previous knowledge. Badiou's account ofBeckett's development does not precisely correspond to his own very specific conception of slIbjectivation. for Badiou. however. True.Cantor would perhaps be the most obvious example ­ h i s Beckett never decisively moves beyond 'working with impotence. in his suspension o f all that is inessential. 3 1). i . that one finds a writer of Beckett's calibre so little exposed to the world and so little compromised by his relations with it. Malone Dies reverses the phenomenological pour-soi into the pour I 'autre of signification. . A truth is always distinct from the realm of what Badiou calls opinion. 97). In any event. p. For his part.:. It understands that they emerge in relation to the void (which is precisely what means that they are always possible) and therefore takes its bearings from a ' subtractive' conception of being. a shared commitment to subtraction.:.as opposed in particular to the restricted economy ofphenomenology . and exceeds it' as a ' strangeness constitutive of all familiarity' (Trezise. p.'produces the world . however originary it presents itself as being.:. unlike what we might term Badiou's paradigmatic subject .. in Trezise's book Into the Breach. the realm customarily occupied by the human animal going about its ordinary business and according to which this animal sustains itself in its social existence. In a fine phrase. writes Badiou. the romantic.. 6. found and condition ' its own genesis' (Trezise. for Badiou.: .- . By the same token.�I-=:. muddy complicities of daily life (for Badiou insists that we are bound to inhabit the world of opinion. and the 'non-self-coincidental voice' of the Unnamable ' thematizes literature itself as the ex-pression of a rilogy SUbjectivity beyond separation' (Trezise. I rI :. what is the thought that proceeds from or along with it? Badiou describes it as what.: kss _ _ _ ' '" . In this respect... Truths appear as subtractions from opinion. The personages in the T are powerless because they cannot escape an ironical knowledge that. It is clear that. opinion.. He would also partly assent to Trezise's case for an anti-phenomenological Beckett. .u On Becke tt l--. Truths appear in four domains. -v . the general economy is irreducible to its terms (Trezise. p. for Badiou. perhaps above all others. disciplined. they articulate themselves only on the basis of a more fundamental intersubjectivity that they cannot articulate.'1 'i. it does not exactly subtract. p. as we shall shortly see. But philosophy itself does not produce truths. But the inversion and break are finally less important than a fundamental allegiance. p. Since phenomenology conceives of subjectivity as a 'separation from exteriority '. 30). we cannot do otherwise). But if subtraction operates as a kind of clearing of the ground. pp. there are four spheres oflife in which subtraction can take place: the political. The shift is evident. Thus Molloy reverses the reversal by virtue of which closure or separation appears to precede. I .. In this manner. everything that is consensual is suspect' . as distinct from the incorrigible.. . - 1 24 those of selfuood than of the delusive cornucopia of extant knowledge.n S a-=_o �_______ . . 33). It is seldom. Badiou calls this process a reduction of the density of knowledge. But the structures that B eckettian self­ impoverishment itself is concerned so rigorously to undermine are arguably .. 1 1 1 any case. : . It dramatises the immemorial dispossession of subjectivity as ' an involvement with an outside' that is always 'already within' (Trezise. it would be crucial to register what Beckett once said about the active force of his own will to self-impoverishment (in speaking of ' my desire to make myself still poorer'). Beckett has long been exemplary. This concept may be pointedly contrasted with the shift in recent Beckett criticism away from a Beckett understood in terms of a restricted economy towards a Beckett whose work refers us to the general economy. vigilant elimination of doxa. Self-impoverishment would be an austere and necessary clearing of the ground for thought. as speaking subjects. 32). in Beckett's own famous phrase. following Mallarme.li I . Philosophy formalises truths and places them in relation to one another. With Lacan in mind. There is a sense in which. For Trezise. all separation is itself conditioned. Badiou partly shares the continuing emphasis in recent criticism on Beckett's quarrel with Descartes. '- ' . They appear as a subtraction from the particularity of what is currently known. . what he calls truths are not objects of knowledge but holes made in the orders of knowledge and representation and indiscernible to them. They rather traverse and fracture it. Beckett is concerned with subtraction as a patient. . i I I i' 125 I I . above all. I . in other words. . p. if ever. the principle of methodical ascesis to which Badiou is committed has no immediate implication for subj ectivity. ' '' '' I I . Beckett's work constitutes a primary instance of art as an activity of subtraction. 8). He sees Beckett as inverting the Husserlian epoche and breaking with 'Cartesian terrorism ' . For the philosopher. II I 'I . the general economy . ignorance '.I . he calls a mode of 'restricted action' (action restreinte).

:!ii "'1 � � � � � � � � .as having a right to exist. but sameness. Connor does not simply assert the power of repetition over that of newness in Beckett's work. humanism. 'is quite simply what there is' . Beckett tends to dissolve the difference between repetition and difference itself. But Connor's Beckett can imagine nothing beyond the ' self­ constraining movement' of his art. 'repetition enacts a : I. this does not mean that it is a philosophy of inexorable recurrence. The Beckettian project is rather a question of determination and therefore also a mode of action. I i I 1 ' I! i . 'what happens' . . disons. . 1 89 In its singularity. there is no rupture that is not a repetition. in Badiou's understanding of it: Beckett reduces experience to a set of significant minima. Here again. What emerges in this denial of objectivity is pure thought or the Mallarmean 'pure notion' . Indeed. mean something quite different by affirmation to what the existential humanists meant). Something like the reverse is true: Badiou is intent on sustaining a thought of the radical break . Nothing confirms the universe . the event and its nomination. mettons. for example. (We shall note a little later that this emphasis creates certain problems for Badiou). the subject. but rather that he sees alterity as banally self-evident. in Beckett. It is not an index of an essential paralysis. particularly with regard to what has tended to be its concern with repetition. �' ' . Theory and T ext. establishing its own internal samenesses or consistencies. his thinking takes a different tack to the new Beckett criticism.if within a set of rigorous conditions . at the very point at which the decision as to the being of the I hi ng in question is made. and therefore as without any great importance. It constitutes itself as a form of thought that is self-grounding or self-constituent. the Same and the Other. 1 26 proceeds to make it consistent on the basis of that decision. This 'determination' is neither an objective essence nor established in its right to existence.. all of Beckett's genius tends towards affirmation' . to certain questions about these functions (the place of being. Richard Begam. :"" ' . This means that that art is everywhere intrinsically ambivalent: in Murphy. and yet. as Badiou adamantly maintains. he suggests that Beckett's practice 'instances the powerful possibilities of reproduction over the sterile compulsions of replication' (Connor. Beckett's work is therefore not read as a diagnosis of its own condition. . on the basis of a soit. Nor does Connor read it as a centring or unifying force in Beckett's work. but rather suggests that they share a complex and problematic interrelationship. above all./ . p . It is worth reflecting here on what Badiou says about the poem � and. but rather with the 'restricted action' of what Badiou calls ' writing the generic'. If. --- Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett r-----_ ��������-���--��-�-�-��- Beckett calls to account 'the era in which the philosophy of separation has striven to totalize the very alterity that conditions and exceeds it' (Trezise. For Badiou's Beckett is not concerned with a concept of the general.constituted by and as the work . Connor 's concept of a Beckettian ' self-constraint' actually bears a certain resemblance to what Badiou means by 'restricted action ' . it aims rather to deny or depose the obj ect. p. love).. since. the existence of the pair). reads Beckett in terms of a Derridean scepticism according to which every attempt to move 'beyond' or 'outside' metaphysics. The work has no object or objectivity. In its self-constitution. for example.under the rubric of the event.. that it even activates a 'perverse dynamism of difference' (Connor. the Logos). which themselves participate in the anthropocentrism they are meant to transcend'. Like Rimbaud and Mallarme. 20 1). What matters crucially is not alterity or ' the infinite multiplicity of differences'. 65). But the most significant and influential study of repetition in Beckett has been Steven Connor's Samuel Beckett: Repetition. Beckett writes. Beckett decides a universe into existence. in doing so. 'to certain major functions or axiomatic terms' (Movement. p. or supposons que. It is thus that he produces what Badiou calls his axiomatics ofhumanity. according to Connor. The point is not exactly that Trezise's concept of alterity has no meaning for Badiou. says Badiou. He commits himself to a treatment of that which alone constitutes an ' essential determination' (see ' The Writing ofthe Generic' i n this volume). It proceeds axiomatically. This is generic work. anthropologism insistently returns to 'a set of ideas . .. in his Ethics. 'Infinite alterity. Yet his own account of Beckett takes a very different direction to Trezise's.' he writes. 1 3). He argues that repetition brings with it ' a principle of difference' . _i - t: "'. Repetition does not necessarily have a stymying effect on Beckett's world. and l Ala i n Bad i o� On Beckett u � � � � � � . I . the solipsistic torture of the subject. his is a philosophy of sameness rather than alterity. the work of art is pure affirmation (which is how Badiou can claim that 'in an almost aggressive way. In this respect. 2). " 'II . to certain responses to these questions (the grey-black of Being. For Begam's Beckett. 1 87 Badiou would certainly have no interest in mounting a defence specifically of phenomenology or phenomenological readings of Beckett. p. . 127 . it proffers not knowledge but thought. ' " . . Yet it is none the less the case that Beckett's work 'shows a self-constraining movement in which sameness always inhabits or inhibits what may initially present itself as novelty' (Connor. the Mallarmean poem � in 'Que pense Ie poeme?': the poem or work cannot be general or refer to any generality. as its own universe. understood as a feature not ofwhat exists already but of what 'comes to be' . Rest.-- ----. This is hardly surprising.

there must be a break based only on chan ce '. in effect. There is no exterior to this purgatory. the incident. p. 2 3) . in order for ther e to be something new. Badiou puts this familiar emphasis into reverse. asserting both the freedo m of the language from referentia l constraints and its internal emptines s and exhaustion' (Connor. ' sudden modifications of the give n '. For Badiou. Here. For Locatelli. This is evident in later work from The Lost Ones to Enough to III Seen III Said. stabilised in a trace. 'comic slippage' . It must therefore be named.l I l 1 l1nary of Beckett's trajectory. 'Every singular truth '. The event is an 'extra-b eing '. . LocatellI also describes 'designative suspension' as a process of ' subtraction' . however.26). ' irresolution' (Locatelli. 229). . no newness is absolutely new: the even t must compose with elements o f the si tuation as given. . j . So mething must happen. It arrives as a supplement to being. from T ts f Nothing onwards. I. there must be something which cann ot be calculated.it must hc held. . 'has its origin in an event. Beck�tt effects this. i . This means that it must be named. 228). as in other recent studies of Beckett. who have repeatedly in�isted on the instability of the name or what Carla Locatelli calls 'the realIty of semantic instability' (Locatelli. . . 6) which. the 'logocentric orientation that characterises Western thought' (pp. this is not the case . . wha t ist nguishes Badiou's account ofthe 'p urgatorial cycl e' . p. W stwar or d Ho even presents us with a kind of l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r-------) . 1 28 1 29 . As such. tracing the course of a long lahour that ends in an impasse. is decisively broken prccisely by an event. 1 11 Krapp s Last Tape.and this makes him quite remarkably distinct from many of his philosophical and theoretical contemporaries . 'that is inaccessible to the so-called total jurisdiction oflanguage'.). it closes p os sibilities down." ' -- -- . not least. The event is hors loi (outside the law) and a supplement to the situation at hand. however. I ! " . ix). ! " . " . It is al so ephemeral. 'pseudo-referents' (Locatelli. Thus. and is thus subtracted from any and every regime of sense. in this respect. In this respect. Even in our pers onal lives. 'There exists a realm of the thinkable'. 5 1 ). to have a secondary or subordinate function.--- _ _" Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett '. according to which ' every utterance can be taken up or enveloped by som e other occasion' (Connor. p . But the context for what she means by the term is not what Badiou sees as a given order of knowledge pertaining to a situation but. to return to an earlier point. with Watt's deliberations on the word ' pot' as a kind of locus classicus or textual crux. because the power of the relationships between repetition an d difference transcends time and history. Instead. repetition opens up possibilities. p. however.if it is to inaugurate what Badiou calls a truth procedure . Nonetheless. writes Badiou. contradiction. In fact. 58). This impasse. I '" - . in that the play also demonstra tes the Derridean principle of the graf t. the truth o f self-difference (Connor. he institutes a ' suspension of designation' (Locatelli. in that he recognises his ' ironic non-c oincidence with himself '. ' the rundamental dichotomy between words and things' is what powers the theoretical interrogation sustained by Beckett's art (Locatelli. . again.. ill Beckett's later work. predicted or managed . in that it both pertains to a given situation and yet is also outside and detached from the latter 's 'r ul es ' . Beckett moves steadily towards a 'literature of the unword' by means of a process of ' active and lucid "unwording'" (Locatelli. For Badiou.which he interprets . there must be an encounter. p. As Badiou affirms the sheer radicality of the event in its rarity. a reminder o f 'the de ath into writing of every living word' (ibid. and therefore precisely historical. . lacunae. If the event is not to sink back unnoticed into the grey-black of being. For Badiou . ' ---:-:-�-=--:-:-----------" A '-- doubleness .is that it ultimately presents Beckett with an impasse from which he gradually recognises that he must work his way free. he asserts. The effects of repetition thus also tend towards inertia. An event is a substanceles s fragment of pure fortuitousness . As Connor describes it. O f course. again. the ineluctabl e ambivalence of repetition in Beckett thus traps him. . as a seem ingly interminable oscillation betwee n the dim or grey-black ofbeing and the solipsistic torture of the cogito . it calls for a name. I .1 ) and other devices produces ' a type of verbal art that faces the problem of the visibility ofreali� by deconstructing the unity of saying' (Locatelli. Badio u does not so much oppose the very term s in which Begam and Connor construc t their B ecketts as alter the proportio ns o f those terms. On the other hand. III h IS own way. in the en dlessness of Hill 's 'purgatorial cycle' . 1 30 ). p . because there is always the possibility of an event. by abandoning the questIon of meaning. and this namc serves I . constraining us to decide on a new w ay of being which conservatism would decree to be impossible. � � . Beckett's ex or work begins to open itself up to the event: to chance. There cannot be. . it is irreducible to the terms of that situation.. even to the p ossibility of happiness and lov e. so too he also affirms its radically heterogeneous relation to the orders of language.there is at least one domain in which language must be deemed to 'come after'. . p. Ii( )wever . 1 28 ). as Krapp listens to hi mself. . Badiou seems at odds with recent critics. She pits Beckett unstintingly against naIve referential fallacies and logocentric closure. 225. the activity of naming becomes very important. by means of paradox. His art does not exactly repudiate the practice of naming. p. p . pp. 1 00. In Locatelli's account.

it becomes exts or a commitment to the possibility of the event. Fidelity is the 'process' of continuing within a situationf f point o view o the event that has come to supplement it. II ' I . I !. . rather than his fidelity. the imperative undergone in subjectivation is 'nepas ceder sur son desir' ('not to give up on one's desire'). . Beckett engages in them with what is.--------' Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r------ Ala i n Ba d io u On Beckett I rue to the shock of an event that came to me from beyond the terms of my knowledge? How am I to remain true to 'son desir'. an encounter with something that refuses to correspond to what one has taken for the law of one's being and is not representable in its terms. I' : I - - 132 133 . to relinquish the effort. it even ' induces' a subject. to remain . Mallarme can always return to the indeterminacy from which the poetic endeavour springs and will spring again. . After T f Nothing. again. The subjects of a truth remain faithful to the event that inaugurated the truth in rom the question. not only in his asc etic ism . Initially. . he is intrans igent.' : . to what lies outside the particularity ofwhat is currently known. For one thing. as I observed earlier. But neither commitment is precisely an instance of fidelity. my desire This way ofthinking Beckett in relation to subjectivity is quite foreign to Badiou.attentiveness. ' : ' as what I do not know about myself? How do I continue to will something that I could not have willed to start with.. Beckett is faithful to an exteriority. the Irish insomniac with the French faun. it is always possible to break from the poetic endeavour. As regards vigilance: attentiveness . Badiou's conception of the subject is very different from the one on which Katz depends. I. exactitude and courage. - I I • . he refuses to give up on a desire that has overtaken him. One might propose of course that . here. ' i' . But there is an oddity. Badiou's account of Beckettian fidelity does not exactly correspond to his larger account of the structure of subjectivation itself. to make it new. But. to which the subject then declares his or her fidelity.I i! . but in his injunction to watchfulnes s. The subj ect i s c onstructed in a process o f supplementation that makes the subject more and other than he or she has hitherto been. self-preservation. In other words. or. . a representation expressing a more or less habitual preference for certain features ofthe flux at the expense of others. and with no certain knowledge of where it is tending. in the austere operations of subtraction and the singularity of 'restricted action' . one s desire.� � - - . a kind of principled intransigence. It is the determination f to think a world according to the principle of what has come to change it. Beckett's art cannot be general or refer to any generality. . But this perseverance is the law of one's being only insofar as one knows oneself. Ordinarily. to suspend activities.� . that could only have come to me through an encounter? In Badiou's account of him. since there is a sense in which Beckett has nothing to which to be faithful. . . to the possibility of the most radical difference that is the event . he has given no indication that he sees Beckett in this way.is or becomes Beckett's very principle.I . The question is: how am I to continue to exceed my own being. . II!' ' I i . Here. and specific to them. . however. to cease to pose the poet's question. Beckett possesses two qualities that might seem to indicate fidelity. Subj ectivity is perseverance in what has broken one's perseverance in being. The question of subjectivation needs to be approached quite differently. It is thus that subjectivation begins. in all its singularity. it takes Beckett's ' characters' to be representative of the generalised conditions of subjectivity. Badiou has preferred to speak of Beckett's courage. like Mallann6's poems. SUbjectivation is fidelity to the interruption constituted by the event and therefore a continuing resistance to the law. who commit themselves to truths and insist upon them. . The first is intrinsic to Beckett's practices of subtraction and 'restricted action' . There is no universal or general subject whose deconstruction would now be imperative. Subjectivation begins with an event. Truths persist because of the allegiance of their subjects. I i. I . at least. But Beckett is not the subject of an event. The experience of the event and the 'process' of a truth do not fall under this law. this commitment appears only in negative form. i . I i I.is the consequence of an event. Indeed. II . Beckett decides a world into existence. . for Badiou. . Indeed. Identity is no more than a given state of this flux.in what we saw earlier is Badiou's sense of the term . His is a ' constant and delicate labour' undertaken without promises or guarantees. it is an indeterminate and heterogeneous flux. principally in relation to Beckett himself. for Badiou. The representation in question is what one customarily takes for the stable structure of a self. that is. it led Beckett precisely into crisis and impass e. Individual consciousness is indeed always already ' deconstructed' . In a phrase of Lacan's that Badiou returns to repeatedly. says Badiou. for Badiou. the pursuit of interests. Routine perseverance in being can be broken by an event. in Badiou's sense of the term : ascesis and vigilance. Subjects are subjects of events. His work has no place for a suspension of operations. which is a lesson in measure. better still. For Mallarme. Rather. Badiou finally contrasts a vigilant Beckett with Mallarme . . A concept of fidelity is therefore crucial to Badiou's thought. the human animal comports itself in terms of Spinoza's 'perseverance in being'. As I suggested earlier. . . A truth . - - " " ! . But it is also at the very heart of the Beckettian lesson. There is no possibility of any relaxation in Beckett. . .

They are partly concerned with the conditions ruptured by truths. T. IC 134 135 .<' c . as well as the one that interests Badiou? Might he not be much concerned. with or what Bennington has called 'writing the event? ' Might Badiou's understanding of the Beckettian event need to be supplemented from elsewhere. The trouble is that the second narrative does not conform to the first. a version or. . narratable dimension. c I i I I i ' . announces and displays them.the generalised conditions within which meaning or truth is produced. both are principally later instances of a practice of 'restricted action' which offer no more obvious hope of liberation than did the Trilogy. notably in 'Art and Philosophy'. tentatively. but rather grasps. As I have argued elsewhere.. both immanent and singular. both in terms of period (with the exception of W Beckett att. without waverings and demurrals. Murphy is an ironic account of the problematics of subtraction understood. from the Petit manuel d 'inesthetique. p. heterogeneous and uneven. Is there no sense of events in the Trilogy? If not. we find a Beckett concerned to tum away from the agonistics of the cogito and towards the other. the narrative of Beckett's career will hold good only if modified to the point where it hardly looks like a plausible narrative at all. too. Furthermore. or upon which truths supervene. The very rift between Badiou's philosophical system and his version of Beckett's art helps to preserve an aesthetic practice in its specificity. in Beckett's work as a whole. perhaps. . if universal in their trajectory in so far as they are available to all. irregular oscillation between them that cannot be reduced to logical or chronological order? So. 1 2 1 ). The early Beckett does not commit himself to subtraction. at least. But the postmodern or post-structuralist Beckettian's attention to the conditions of truth necessarily problematises truth itself.� . are interested in sets of conditions for truths. This is indicative: Badiou appears reluctant to countenance the possibility that there might be a paradoxical or problematic aspect to his twin insistence on the self-founding character of Beckettian thought on the one hand and Beckett's desire to open his art up to the event or encounter on the other.. that philosophy does not produce truths. by contrast. "' . notably. c . that its relation to a n artistic truth will therefore always be in some sense secondary. after 1 960) and modality (the event happens.seem to me to offer an important new framework for understanding Beckett. Leslie Hill has stressed the danger of taking 'a misleading teleological approach to Beckett's literary project' (Hill. the event. truths are added on to their conditions. This would be consistent with Badiou's assertion. as a procedure whose truth is sui generis. I would suggest that his narrative of Beckett needs to be worked over in an awareness of the very principle of disunity and complicating incoherence in Beckett's work to which the new Beckett criticism has so effectively successfully alerted us.subtraction. however reworked and redistributed. a kind of sporadic. Beckett's art is founded on a fierce resistance to doxa. 'restricted action'. His accounts of the progress of a truth or the process of subjectivation and of Beckett's career both take the form of orderly. They are historically inexistent or 'indiscernible' before their emergence. do not wholly dispose of the problem. . Is the relationship between these two principles not partly contradictory? Is there not. for example. For all Badiou's claims that. They are also much preoccupied with the formal criteria for the appearance of truths.-- . better. In Badiou's own specific sense. he and Beckett. Badiou's account of the place of the event in Beckett seems unduly confining. in T exts f Nothing. fitfully. it seems to me that Badiou has not been altogether successful in avoiding this trap. and is named).::: .---- --------- - ----. c . in How It Is and The Lost Ones. For all his own distrust ofteleological assumptions. however. sequential narrative. That said. . naming-as-missaying and fidelity or courage . and thus with other kinds of event. . In fact. In this respect. In Badiou. This framework is ethical. contradictorily. from Lyotard? Beckett's treatment of the event is arguably multifarious. to the world. as founding the progress ofa truth? Does not Badiou's theory of the event actually also require L Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett a theory of a play in being. the two critical dispositions should not be placed in polar opposition. Recent Beckett criticism has found in Beckett a writer concerned to elucidate or to deconstruct . Badiou's terms of reference . i" 'I . an equivalent of Heideggerian Ereignis? Might not Beckett be concerned with this play. as a principle central to modernism. At the very least.1 - -L . Whilst failure never ceases to haunt this project.- -- --- - --- - . too. Badiou has a quite unBeckettian attachment to the clarity of narrative sequence. for instance. as in the case of the Beckettian concern with the reduction of experience to a set ofmajor functions.. it shrinks truth's scope. and cannot be encapsulated in narrative form.' . 1 90 Such arguments. ' eventfulness'. is that just the case because Badiou can only understand the event in one particular. This conviction categorically determines Badiou's reading of Beckett.- -�- Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---the very extent to which Badiou's version of Beckett departs or differs from the terms of his own philosophy actually makes him look less open than the new Beckett criticism to the charge of using Beckett as an exemplification of a prior set of decisions. in this instance. as art does.to diagnose . It opens up a space for a different construction ofthe world through an axiomatic procedure whose mode is hypothesis. This is the case because truths are singular not general.

. 1 991). Samuel Beckett and the End ofModernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. . Richard. : . I . . " I . NJ: Princeton University Press. Saying 'J' No More: Sub jectivity and Consciousness in the f Prose o Samuel Beckett (Evanston.] 2 [Mirlitonnade is a Beckettian neologism used as the title for a set ofpoems written for the most part between 1 976 and 1 978. This is also a faith in transformation whose token is the transformation of language itself. As Badiou's writings help us see. 1 999) LOCATELLI. which Beckett himself described as 'gloomy French doggerel' (quoted in James Knowlson. Leslie. Unwording the W orld: Samuel Beckett 's Prose W orks After the Noble Prize (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. . since this lecture was given. an ethical one. Steven. 329-366.a project whose ultimate bearing is surely on the legacy of a century of disaster. Samuel Beckett has died.�- . in the highest degree. B i b l i o g ra p h y BEGAM. 1 990) TREZISE. 1 . 1 990) N otes 1 ['L'ecriture du generique: Samuel Beckett'. Thomas. in Conditions (Paris. in the context of the Conferences du Perroquet (a series of lectures set up by I 'Or ganisation politique in Paris). It was published as a conference pamphlet and has long been out of print. under the title Cap au pire (Paris: Editions de Minuit. pp. that 'man exists only in flashes' . 1 990) KATZ.. 136 . Beckett 's Fiction: In Diff University Press. . one might think of Badiou's Beckett as granting at least a kind of minimal credibility to the assertion. Illinois: Northwestern University Press. one of what Beckett calls 'the times of the great massacres' . Carla. Damned to Fame: The Lif o e /Samuel . Into the Breach: Samuel Beckett and the Ends of Literature (Princeton. this project is. Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r----- L Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett and by a variety of different means. Editions du Seuil: 1 992).I . I I!: " .could only be undertaken with the extraordinary and selfless courage that has long been attributed to Beckett. Samuel Beckett: Repetition. Theory and T (Oxford: ext Blackwell. Such a project . . Daniel. Beckett edges towards a faith in possibility. And that W orstward Ho has been admirably translated into French by Edith Fournier. To return to the Sartre with whose project Badiou partly identifies his own. I. in the Critique of Dialectical Reason. This text was read out in 1 989. 1 988) erent W ords (Cambridge: Cambridge HILL. It will be noted that. 1 996) CONNOR.

Mister Knotted . 8 1). . 1 988). . dans un delai plus ou moins long. . by Jacques-Alain Miller. . ait 25 Fut-il jamais un temps ou plus question de questions? Mort-nees jusqu 'a la derniere. V oila la reponse (p. ] qui divague ainsi. the Limits ofLove and Knowledge. entrer encore vivant dans Ie silence [ .] 3 1 [By adding in the French '(Monsieur Noeud.! . peu commun de croulement. I 140 141 I. . que depasse un certain degre de terreur (p.] 27 [On the relationship between the concepts ofgeneric and indiscernible. see Manif soustraction' in Conditions. impliquait cette meme presence a tout instant [ . 26 [For a meta-ontological presentation ofBadiou's theory of orientations in thought. et que cet un nef que rien. Norton. f . /Un temps. et avec plus ou moins de mal.- -- -- Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--- Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett scxuation. meme si l 'on ne pouvait dire de quoi. 37 [The 'out-of-place' [horlieu]. 3 1 1-3 1 5. originating in his mathemes of (feminine) 33 [ . . aut 24 [ . Du coup Ie nom commun ut. . . See The Archaeology o Knowledge (London: Routledge. et de quoi. 1989) p. Avant. V oila unjoU trio. . trans. 2 1 3). [This can be translated literally as 'Ungrateful earth but not entirely. Pendant que I 'evenement palit. . .] f 20 [ . Meditations 33 and 34. and L 'etre et l 'evenement. ' . Non. sous tous les rapports essentiels. 1 9 [We are here following Beckett's usage for the translations of (monce and enoneiation. 75). et tantot une signification degagee. loin de tous [ . . signifier quelque chose? / Clov: Signifier? Nous. . ] ilf continuer. il ne vaut rien (p. f 1 867].'1 1" 1' Ii . sans comprendre. et tantot une signification tout autre que la signification originale. May 14. rien soustrait. . signifier! (Rire brei) Ah elle est bonne! (p. 2 1 Ma pensee s 'estpensee et [ . et un qui entend. ] (pp. De ne Ie pouvoir. l 07. '' i: . de l 'originale absence de signification (p. ] brillants de clartef ormelle et au contenu impenetrable (p. 46). Par la grace de ces modestes debuts (p . 1 06). "" : II I I. et telle elle resterait jusqu 'a la fin. . "I I" . att. . ] (p. / Hamm: Clov! / Clov (agace): Qu 'est-ce que c 'est? / Hamm: On n 'est pas en train de . je ne peux pas continuer.Badiou is alluding to the link between the concept of structure and the theory of knots in late Lacan. 135136). 35). Sitot con9ues. ] on est ce qu 'on est. 1972-1973. 1 83). ] a la maison de Monsieur Knott rien ne pouvait etre a joute. ' Conference sur la or feature of Badiou's philosophy. . Loin de l 'oeil tout a sa torture tou d'espoir. together with the 'space of placements' [esplace]. . following a suggestion by Anne Banfield. II '' II . et quel rien. ] . 29 T erre ingrate mais pas totalement (p.'] 30 [For Lacan's concept of the 'Not-All ' . 199). ] un qui parle en disant. De ne pouvoir ne pas vouloir savoir.f I I " " - ' ! - i I' i ' . . et iei tout presence etait significative. ! 23 [ . Un reve. Badiou's discussion here echoes Michel Foucault's distinction (itself originating with Benveuiste) between an 'enunciating subject' [su del 'enoneiation] and a ' subject of the statement' [sujet de jet I 'enonce] .] .. provides the conceptual matrix for Badiou's attempt to re-found dialectics as a theory of political subjectivation in his Theorie du sujet (Paris: Seuil. et cela parce qu 'ici a chaque instant toute presence significative. tout en parlant. i . en partie tout au moins (p. 1 998).] 28 [ . . De ne Ie pouvoir. Quel qu 'il f Mais voila qu 'a la rescousse soudain il se renouvelle. Faisant sans que celle-la s 'interrompe que I 'esprit se reveille. Monsieur Noue) ' . ] . .w. . de . 80).] 32 [ . a crucial esto f Philosophy. Deux. . telle elle avait ete au commencement. . . . . ff pier qu 'on 22 Moije ne pense. by Bruce Fink ( London: w. ed. et dire que tout 9a nef ait qu 'un. Seminar XX: On Feminine Sexuality. ] la signification attribuee a cet ordre d 'incidents par W dans ses relations. muet.]je croyaispar moments que ce serait la ma recompense d 'avoir si vaillamment parte. 49) 36 Pendant l 'inspection soudain un bruit. see Jacques Lacan. ]je suis par aitement mort [letter to Cazalis. si c 'est la cet a olement vertigineux comme d 'un gue en ume. Et cet autre [ . . Avant. etait tantot la signification originaleperdue etpuis recouvree. 1982). pp. je vais continuer (p. Comme l 'expliquer? Et sans allerjusque-la comment Ie dire? Loin en arrit'!re de I '(Ril la quete s 'engage." " . ' I :I . .. . 34 [ . mais que telle elle etait alors. .literally Mister Knot. 70). . Id j' I! I I. . . 35 Hamm: Qu 'est-ce qui se passe? / Clov: Quelque chose suit son cours. a coups de moi a pourvoir et de lui depourvus [ . OU plus question de repondre. Quiparle. f ffaibli par I 'inusuel languide. Ren orcepeu apres sinon a jours une lueur Un croulement languide. Jamais. see Meditation 27 ofL 'etre et l 'evenement (Paris : Seuil.

. . ..] 53 T es sur Ie dos au pied d 'un tremble. doucement. Nous nous re ugiions dans I 'arithmetique. . by fixing it into a 'constellation' that we can possess. pp. . Elle etail couchee sur les planches duf ond. . qu 'ilsfirent entrevoir a Macmann ce que signijiait l 'ex pression etre deux (p. �8 [In the lines that follow. de haut en bas. 24-26) 49 II causait rarement geodesie. .apres quelques instants elle I 'a f mais les yeux comme desf entes a cause du solei!. -- ����� _ _ _ - Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r------------_ ----- J -----------­ . et nous remuait. M'ont laisse entrer. if not altogether deflationary.Ie haut du lac. En cueuillant des groseilles a maquereau./ . ] dans Ie cylindre Iepeu possible la ou it n 'estpas n 'est seulementplus et dans Ie moindre moins Ie rien tout en tier si cette notion est maintenue (p. . m a. ] en tout cas on est dans lajusticeje n 'aijamais entendu dire le contraire (p. Quand Ie temps auraitf son oeuvre (pp. 1 998). les mains sous la tete et les yeux f ermes. avec la barque. . as well as the earlier f 'Est-il exact que toute pensee emet un coup de des' . 1 44). pp. nage pres de la rive. Je me suispenche sur ellepour qu 'i!s soient dans I 'ombre et i!s se sont ouverts. 1 08-129. 41 [The notion of a mi-dire is discussed by Lacan in Seminar XXIII. Je I 'ail s 'ecriait-i! en parlant de la Lyre ou du Cygne. Jamais entendu . 7). au brin de brise. Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett barque s 'est coincee. - . ] se rencontrer comme moi je l 'entends. avec un soupir. ] que de marivaudages.(pp. A I 'amour de la terre et des milles parf ums et teintes desfleurs. 1 -20. 1 92) fi 48 . 1 59). . 'Philosophie du faune'.] 52 [The theme of the Constellation is one that Badiou draws from the thinking of Stephane Mallarme. 42). Soleil flamboyant.-elle repondu. dont il importe seulement de retenir ceci. ] la vie dans I 'amour stoique [ . I 'eau un peu clapoteuse comme je I 'aime. in Conditions. Je lui ai demande de me regarder et ait. sans remuer. EUe couchee a u • • • !. cela depasse tout ce que peut le sentiment. Les con erences du perroquet 5 (January 1986). . apres quelques instants . . ] la voix etant ainsifaiteje cite que de notre vie totale eUe ne dit que les trois quarts (p. . / Passe minuit. T f ant bien que mal se gravant au f et a mesure dans sa memoire les cubes s 'accumulaient. Nous restions lii. 47 soit en clairje cite ou bien je suis seul etplus de probleme ou bien nous sommes en nombre in ni et plus de probleme non plus (p. see 'La methode de Mallarme: soustraction et isolement' . 5 1 [Badiou's statement resonates far more with the last line in the French version (Et souvent i! a joutait que le ciel n 'avail rien) than with the far more ambivalent. i " - . . 28). Dans son ombre tremblante. Mais. Ou plus betement a des imperatifs d 'ordre anatomique. .. Perhaps this shift in emphasis could be summarised by saying that in the English version the sky is indifferent to the event of love. . sous nous. pp. Nous derivions parmi les roseaux et la . Et souvent it ajoutait que Ie ciel n 'avait rien (p. Par ois sous une pluie dituvienne. En vue de ur I 'operation inverse a un stade ulterieur.] 42 [ . L 'ayant voitee de son sou ffle et ensuite f rottee contre son mollet il y cherchait les constellations. . J'ai dit encore que c. mon visage dans ses seins et ma main sur elle. 1 89-2 1 5. ] (p. / Pour pouvoir de temps a autre jouir du ciel il se servait d 'une petite glace ronde. 202) 43 [ . J'ai remarque une egratignure sur sa cuisse et lui ai de ande comment elle se l 'etait f aite. tout remuait. si puissant soil-it. . ] 39 Se jour ou des cor vont cherchant chacun son depeupleur (p. - . et d 'un cote a l 'autre.. . et tout ce que sait Ie corps. Que de calculs mentaux f e ectues de concert plies en deux! Nous elevions ainsi a la troisieme puissance des fJ nombres ternaires entiers. ait 38-39). Whilst the English could be said to retain the ultimate indifference of being (the sky) to the event of love ('the sky has nothing'. ps 40 [ . Badiou plays on the French title ofthe text Le De peupleur. couches.: : 142 143 . queUe qu 'en soit la science (p. .:a me semblait sans espoir etpas la peine de ait continuer et elle a f oui sans ouvrir les yeux. . Mais nous avons du parcourir plusieurs f ois l 'equivalent de l 'equateur terrestre. 97) 45 [ . de f rayeurs et de f arouches attouchements. 50 Par une rampe de cinquante pour cent sa tete f rolait Ie sol. whilst in the French text love allows us to become indifferent to the indifference of being. tone of 'the sky seemed much the same' in the English. Il n 'ajamais souleve la question. a Le sommet atteint helas it f Uait redescendre. . puis pousse la barque au large et laisse aller a la derive. . lIterally. For Badiou's thinking on Mallarme. ' The Depopulator' . in Petit Manuel d'Inesthetique (Paris: Seuil.. . devant la proue! Je me suis coule sur elle. Je ne sais pas a quoi it devait ce gout. Comme its se pliaient. 'the sky seemed much the same') it seems to offer a less confrontational and heroic figure of the Two. A raison d 'environ cinq kilometres par jour et nuit en moyenne. 46 [ . 1 93 ) 44 [ . .

et avec plus ou moins de mal. ff 83 Moije ne pense. dans Ie silence.a puis ne cede plusje nef pasje m 'exile (p. ou rever encore. je crois que tout ce qui estf aux se laisse davantage reduire. . . Oris cendre a la ronde ps terre ciel con ondus lointains sans fin (p. As many of the quotations presented here demonstrate. . finances. . 57)[See note 8 on the title of this text].' " I' . ] (pp. ] brillants de clartef ormelle et au contenu impenetrable (p. . je vais continuer (p. ] c 'est un reve. . etait tant6t la signification originaleperdue etpuis recouvree. Plus de pluies. 82 [ . dans un delai plus ou moins long. 60) I I I . Plus de f mamelons. . 74 [See notes 2 and 3. Elle en veut alors au principe de toute vie. et un qui entend. 72 soit en clairje cite ou bien je suis seul et plus de probleme ou bien nous sommes en nombre in fini et plus de probleme non plus (p. art et nature. ] qui divague ainsi. aut . . 39). . . T au plus Ie minime minimum (p. tout en parlant. . un silence de reve [ . in the English works there is some variation in Beckett's designation of this 'place' . rever un silence. et quel rien. Sau dis de tout (p. 80). i i . 89 [ . 7). troisieme patrie. in Pas. amille. ] (p. A Venus. . . . et telle elle resterait jusqu 'a lafin. Encore. je vais me reveiller. .a m 'etonnerait. '' ' . 88 [ . ] ilf continuer.Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----ecoutez les f euilles. I. See the translators' introduction for further discussion of the concept of place in light of Badiou's recent theory of appearance. 85 [Badiou's theory of the count-as-one [compte-pour-un] constitutes one of the foundational moments in his ontology. ff 70 Je m 'en vais maintenant tout e acer sau les fleurs. Dans leur ombre tremblante (p. . 1 0). Et cet autre [ . a coups de moi a pourvoir et de lui depourvus [ . Rien que nous deux nous trafnant dans les fleurs. 2 1 2). 1 1 0). et que cet un nef que rien. De sa couche par temps clair elle voit se lever Venus suivie du solei!. sans comprendre. . .. distinctes de toutes les autres notions (p. T ce qu 'ilf savoirpour dire est su (Pourfinir encore et autres ' aut out f Oirades. en notions claires et distinctes. . 8 1 Je Ie crois. f or interieur. 47). Assez mes vieux seins sentent sa vieille main (p. . ce sera moi. . neplus m 'endormir. .a nef ait ait qu 'un.tre II. 1 06). . ] un quiparle en disant. . as can be seen in Meditation 1 ofL 'etre et I 'evenement. c 'est peut-etre un reve. 22). 65-66). c. . sante. ') " " ' . muet.. . de l 'originale absence de signification (p. je ne peux pas continuer. :: l Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett 79 Penombre obscure sourcepas suo Savoir Ie minimum. ]. . et tant6t une signification tout autre que la signification originale. . 75). p. ] la signification attribuee a cet ordre d 'incidents par W dans ses relations. 69 De sa couche elle voit se lever Venus. Devant I 'autre f Assise raide sur sa vieille chaise elle guette la radieuse (p. . Serait trop beau. Quiparle. loin de tous [ . i • 87 [ . 76 Ciel gris sans nuage pas un bruit rien qui bouge terre sable gris cendre. f esses. . V oila unjoti trio. mais que telle elle etait alors. p. 1 99). . et de quoi.II : ' 1 46 147 I . 70). que de passe un certain degre de terreur (p.1 36). et tant6t une signification degagee. autant de desastres (Fragment de thM. 84 [ . il ne vaut rien (p. ]. . histoires de f 7 1 Travail. 32). Encore. oui. 1 92) jections non elles sont moi mais je les aime les vieilles boftes mal videes 73 les de mollement McMes non plus autre chose la boue engloutit tout moi seul elle me porte uis mes vingt kilos trente kilos elle cede un peu sous c. si c 'est la cet a olement vertigineux comme d 'un guepier qu 'on enf ume. Le soir par temps clair elle jouit de sa revanche. et dire que tout c. Petit cor meme gris que la terre Ie ciel les ruines seul debout. where the name of the place of being is quite consistentlypenombre. logement. Alors disparition 80 Disparition du vide ne se peut. out f parition de la penombre.] 78 Ce qui f rappe d 'abord dans cette penombre est la sensation de jaune qu 'elle f donne pour ne pas dire de sou re a cause des associations (p. . telle elle avait ete au commencement. . enetre. ] a la maison de Monsieur Knott rien ne pouvait etre a joute. Dieu et les hommes. . f 77 [It is far easier to identify this 'conceptual ' consistency in Beckett's French work. sous tous les rapports essentiels [ .] 86 [ . 135. 2 1 3).] 75 Endroit clos. Ne rien savoir non. rien soustrait.I f' att.

. I 'eau un peu clapoteuse comme je l 'aime. .. queUe qu 'en sentiment. et tout ce que sait Ie corps. As Beckett wryly noted upon being presented with the error (which had emerged on the occasion of a stage adaptation of The Lost Ones): 'After all.- " --Ala i n Ba d io u On Beckett r---. . 23). 38). signifier? Ah elle est bonne! (p.(p.E. . Gontarski (p. J'ai remarque une egratignure sur sa cuisse et lui ai demande comment elle se I 'etailf aite. 104 [Le dur desir de durer is the title ofa collection ofpoetry by Paul Eluard. 8 and 9.----. Deux. 94 Nous nous re ugiions dans l 'arithmetique. .. Que de calculs mentaux e ectues de f ff concert plies en deux! (p. 28 ). A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett plus et dans dre Ie peu possible la ou it n 'estpas n 'est seulement 99 [ . les mains sous la tete et les yeux f ermes. . un peu solennelle. 96 [In this respect. 282). 1 03 Nous nous etions scindes si c 'est cela qu 'it desirait (p. discussed in the 'Notes on the Texts' of the Grove Press edition of the Complete Short Prose. 70). Solei! flamboyant. ] (pp. see especially Meditations 1 . l3). . ] Ie temps beni du bleu [ .000 square centimeters. manif estement celle de Krapp a une epoque tres anterieure (p. avec la barque. Loin de I 'ceil tout a sa torture tou d 'espoir. m 'a t­ elle repondu.Ie haut du lac. [ . 70). ] (p.] 93 Pendant [ 'inspection soudain un bruit. . . . eu _ 97 Se jour ou des cor vont cherchant chacun son depeupleur (p. . def rayeurs et def arouches attouchements. Je lui ai demande de me regarder et a ait pres quelques instants . 144). nage pres de la rive. 1 02 [ . s on est dans lajusticeje n 'aijamais entendu dire Ie 1 00 [ . ] ' 193) I . apres quelques instants elle l 'a f ail. dont if importe seulement de retenir ceci. published in 1 946. ] de marivaudages.. Deuxiemement ceux qui s 'arretent quelque ois. ps 98 Vus sous un certain angle ces cor sont de quatre sortes. 49). si puiss (p. ] se renco soit la science ant soit-il.----. . Comment l 'ex pliquer? Et sans aUer jusque-Ia comment Ie dire? Loin en arriere de I 'adl la quete s 'engage. ] (Sans.-- ------ --. J'ai dit encore que 9a me semblait sans espoir etpas la peine de continuer et elle a f oui sans ouvrir les yeux. edited by S. ' cela depasse tout 1 0 1 [ . I 1 09 Krapp debranche impatiemment I 'appareil [ .. 49). Troisiemement f ceux qui a moins d 'en etre chasses ne quittentjamais la place qu 'its ont conquise et chasses se jettent sur la premiere de fibre pour s y immobiliser de nouveau. . ] dans Ie cyfin rien tout entier si cette notion est maintenue (p. . Pendant que I 'evenementpalit. 92 [Badiou fonnulates the distinction between presentation and representation in L 'etre et [ 'evenement. Par la grace de ces modestes debuts (p. Et souvent if a joutait que Ie ciel n 'avait rien (p. 38) 95 [ . 1 59).] 1 05 Pourpouvoir de temps a autrejouir du ciel if se servait d 'unepetite glace ronde. Mais voila qu 'a la rescousse soudain il se renouvelle. En cueillant des groseilles a maquereau. it is interesting to note the 'philological' debate over the exact dimensions of the cylinder. p. Ie moindre moins Ie contraire (p. Elle etait couchee sur les planches duf ond.000. Ren orce peu apres sinon a aiblipar I 'inusuel languide. Premierement ceux qui ps circulent sans arret.. qu 'ils firent entrevoir a Macmann ce que signifiait l 'expression etre deux (p. I I I I ce que peut Ie ntrer comme moi je I 'entends. . . 148 149 . . i " .. you can't play fast and loose withpi. Du coup Ie nom commun peu commun de croulement. puis pousse la barque au large et laisse aller a la derive. . Faisant sans que celle-fa s 'interrompe que I 'esprit se reveille. 108 indestructible association jusqu 'au dernier soupir de la tempete et de la nuit avec la lumiere de l 'entendement et lef . 23). .' :. 1 1 0 . 7). 12-13). f ff jours une lueur Un croulement languide. un brin de brise.. whilst the correct figure (given a height of 1 6 meters and a circumference of 50) should be of approximately 12. Je I 'ail s 'ecriait-il en parlant de la Lyre ou du C ygne. The original French text mistakenly gives the dimensions as 80. ] Quatriemement ceux qui ne cherchent pas ou non-chercheurs assis pour la plupart contre Ie mur [ . L 'ayant voilee de son sou jJle et ensuite f rottee contre son mollet iI y cherchait les constellations. Quel qu 'ilfot. mais les yeux comme des .000 square centimeters. 9 1 Signifier? Nous. . 1 06 [See note 50] I I 1 07 voix f orte. 42). ] en tout ca 90 Quelque chose suit son cours (p.

1 1 6 Une voix parvient a quelqu 'un dans Ie noir (p. tu pues la pute. La lumiere meurt. 79) 1 1 5 moi rien seulement dis ceci dis cela ta vie la-haut T VIE un temps ma vie LAA MIERE un temps lumiere sa vie laHA UT un temps long la-haut DANS LA dans la L U haut dans la lumiere octosyllabe presque a toutprendre un hasard (p. une seule chose est claire: nous attendons f que Godot vienne. .. J'aurais pu m 'en douter. Tes yeux s 'ils venaient a s 'ouvrir verraient d 'abord au loin dans les derniers rayons les pans de ton manteau et les tiges de tes brodequins en onces dans la sable. je Ie vois arriver. aisons-nous ici. Nous derivions parmi les roseaux et la barque s 'est coincee. 150 151 . 120 Les mots vous ldchent. il est des moments ou meme eux vous ldchent. un jourje suis devenu aveugle. . 13-14). Willie? Pas vrai.passer aux aveux (pp. J (p. f Ensuite et elle seule Ie temps qu 'elle disparaisse I 'ombre du baton sur la sable. Willie. 27).u (p. / F1. Comme ils sepliaient. Nulle bientot elle ne mourra plus. couches. Ie meme instant.a ne vous su pas. Nous sommes au rendez-vous. Tu es debout Ie dos a la mer. au milieu des solitudes (p. 1 5). et nous remuait. 123 V ffit Quand! Quand! Un jour. voila ce qu 'ilf se demander. . Gris plutot que blanc.1 1 7). Le soir. [ . 1 1 1 Viens d 'ecouter ce pauvre petit cretin pour qui je me prenais il y a trente ans. tout remuait. J a nouveau seuls. Je me suis penche sur elle pour qu 'ils soient dans I 'ombre et ils se sont ouverts. mon visage dans ses seins et ma main sur elle. sous un certain eclairage. un jour pareil aux autres it est devenu muet. Elle t 'a empeste. Nous ne sommes pas de saints. Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett disparaisse a ta vue. 55) 122 [ . Juges done de mon e arement lorsqu 'un fJ beau matin. . c. que meme les mots vous ldchent. Non.? C 'est msense. 1 1 3 ) . . et d'un cote a I 'autre (pp.. . tomber a genoux devant moi. Rien de tel alors que nulle lumiere. I 'oreille basse. J la barbe lesflammes les pleurs les pierres si bleues si calmes helas la tete la tete la tiile la tete en Normandie malgre Ie tennis les labeurs abandonnes inacheves fje reprends helas helas abandonnes inacheves la tete la plus grave les pierres bre tete en Normandie malgre Ie tennis la tete helas les pierres Conard Conard. 1 1 8 Une greve. enf ouir son visage dans mon giron et . 5758) . Tou jours plusf aible a mesure que tout doucement elle s 'etoigne. Je la pris done dans mes bras et luijurai queje nepourrais vivre sans elle. 33). 1 05). us 1 1 7 Tu vis Iejour dans la chambre ou vraisemblablement tu f conc. un jour nous deviendrons sourds.------------ --. avec un soupir. un point c 'est tout. Oui. --. Elle ne me repoussa pas. . sous nous. (pp. Elle nef pas convaincue. 1 1 6.. 74-75). Pas moyen de re pondre a c. disait­ ut elle tou jours. Elle allait mourantjusqu 'a l 'aube et ne mourait jamais. dijJicile de croire quej 'aiejamais be con a ce point lao 9a au moins c 'estjini.a ne vous suffit pas? Elles accouchent a cheval sur une tombe. m 'bant enf ermee avec mon chagrin dans mes appartements. " j. quoique nullement invisible. sans remuer. - 1 14 c 'bait de bons moments bons pour moi on parle de moi pour lui aussi on parle de lui aussi heureux [ .. par moments? Qu 'est-ce aire alors. jusqu 'a ce qu 'ils reviennent? (p. Qu 'elle 1 26 H. Combien de gens peuvent en dire autant? (pp. M'ont laisse entrer. Si tes yeux venaient a s 'ouvrir Ie noir s 'eclaircirait (pp. 1 1 3 cette vie qu 'il aurait eue inventee rememoree un peu de chaque comment savoir aisais mienne ce qui me chantait les ciels cette chose la-haut il me la donnaitje la f surtout les chemins surtout ou il se glissait comme ils changeaient suivant Ie ciel et ou on allait dans I 'atlantique Ie soir l 'ocean suivant qu 'on allait aux lies ou en revenait jours les memes j 'en prenais I 'humeur du moment pas tellement les gens tres peu tou j 'en laissais de bons moments il n 'en reste rien (pp. 30) qu 'on peut bienf 1 2 1 Pense. gris blanc (p. Seul bruit Ie sien..----. 1 12 Krapp demeure immobile.a.--- Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-------'f entes a cause du solei!. Oui. La bande continue a se derouler en silence (p.. J Ou que la nuit tombe. 1 03-104) 125 [ . c. 1 1 9 Bleme. dans cette immense con usion. Ie meme jour. Nous restons la. un jour nous sommes nes. Mais. . mais nous sommes au rendez-vous. 24-26). . Nuit sans lune ni boiles. 7). Tes mains reposent sur Ie pommeau et sur elles ta tete. 1 13-1 14) .j 'en suis persuade. devant la proue! Je me suis coule sur elle. 'I · ous n 'avezpasjini de m 'empoissoner avec vos histoires de temps. de haut en bas. 14). Je Iepensais du reste.---- -- - .. Nous avons la chance de Ie aut 124 Quef savoir. . . un jour nous mourrons. pore! (p. Donne Ie bon eclairage. puis c 'est la nuit a nouveau (pp. Pas vrai. Dieu merci (p. doucement. Jusqu 'au moment OU tout doucement elle revient. • � I . Tu t 'appuies sur un long baton. regardant dans Ie vide devant lui. Iejour brille un instant. .

as well as the way in which Beckett's own terminology is progressively appropriated into Badiou's prose. sections of which will appear in English in Alain Badiou. Aux limites du vide illimite (p. T mal que pis encore (p. . quej 'osais considerer Ie travail a executer (p. definalite sans fin. 1 45 Ce que c 'est que les mots qu 'il secrete disent. Many of the themes anticipated in these writings on Beckett find their logical and mathematical formalisation in this work. Soudain assez. We shall try to deal with specific issues as they appear. 2003). • . :'if . Soudain tout loin. 7). Lapaire comme un seul s 'en allant tant mal que mal. 1 998).� � • I · . often forcing us to test the resources of the English language in order to maintain the closeness of Badiou's reading. 1 07). 137-187. Tout moindre. Comme desormais trois pour la tete (p.ant dans cette atmosphere. trois. the first page number refers to the Calder edition. Et c 'est alors qu 'un petit air d'exaucement ranime les VIEUX morts et qu 'un murmure nait dans l 'univers muet. dans fa nuit (pp. Nul mouvement et soudain tout loin. ] (p. 1 40 Soit dit plus meche encore (p. pensee: prose et concept'. 45). 62). A des vastitudes de distance. ] considere comme une sorte d'agglutinant mortel [ . I .- r---_. 146 [Badiou is currently developing a systematic approach to the relation between being and appearance. 22). vous reprochant a ectueusement de vous etre desespere trop tard(p. 45). 148). . 134 [ . . 92-93). en ce moment. celle qui ne sollicite rien.however._------' ------- Al a i n Badiou On Beckett Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett 1 27 Puis parler. comment dire. . pour etre ensemble. 1 3 1 Ie bleu qu 'on voyait dans la poussiere blanche [ .a nous plaise ou non (p. 1 72). 1 1 0). which Badiou has in turn read as an erratum. Hopefully. L 'ainsi dite penombre. la vraie priere enfin. I 141 Disparition du vide ne sepeut.] I . 144 Desormais unpour I 'agenouille. Quoi l 'ainsi dit vide. Non pas a vrai dire qu 'on ait ff pYlkisement besoin de nous. c 'est plutot a l 'humanite tout entit�re qu 'il s 'adresse. 1 3 5 C 'hait seulement en Ie deplac. Un trou d 'epingle. et parler ensemble. vite. sinon mieux. Trois epingles. ] Ie voyage Ie couple I 'abandon ou tout se raconte Ie bourreau qu 'on aurait eu puis perdu Ie voyage qu 'on auraitf la victime qu 'on aurait eue puis perdue les ait images Ie sac les petites histo ires de la-haut petites scenes un peu de bleu inf ernaux ernaux hommes. Comme desormais deuxpour lapaire. 2004). ff 1 72). ant deux. Sau disparition de lapenombre. Dire encore. edited and translated by Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum. Les ainsi dites ombres. to be presented in his forthcomingLogiques des Mondes (Paris: Seuil. 130 Les yeux uses d 'o enses s 'attardent vils sur tout ce qu 'ils ont si longuement ff prie. Dans l 'obscurissime penombre. ] (p. 38). 1 99) [In Badiou's quotation the sentence reads inf infernal' . Theoretical Writings. . 62). it seems that Beckett has here. 132 [ . Alors disparition f de tout (p. the second to the Grove edition. i'. 129 Nous sommes des hommes (p.] 1 3 8 [It ahnost goes without saying that by inverting the direction of Badiou's operation our own translation has had to confront a number of serious challenges. 1 37 [Molloy was in part translated in collaboration with Patrick Bowles.] . I i 1 43 Ont suinte de la substance molle qui s 'ammolit les mots d'unef emme (p. 1 03). des mots. rather enigmatically. left the English 'homes' in the French text. inPetit manuel d 'inesthhique (Paris: Editions du Seuil. comme I 'enf solitaire qui se met en plusieurs. Soit dit encore. 'men homes (p. In the body ofthe text. . . the singular distance provided by passing through Fournier's translation will prove illuminating even when the discussion of the text is restored to the English language and the principal quotations are from Beckett's original. 152 153 . pourquoi pas. I 'humanite c 'est nous. que c. in the notes. 'The Expelled' and 'The End' were translated in collaboration with Richard Seaver. 136 [Originally published as 'Etre. D 'autresf eraient aussi bien I 'a aire.] ant 1 39 Encore. 24). Mais a cet endroit. pp. L 'ainsi dit siege et germe de tout (p. L 'appef que nous venons d 'entendre. . 142 Rien qui prouve que celui d 'unef emme et pourtant d 'unef emme (p. 1 28 Ce n 'estpas tous lesjours qu 'on a besoin de nous.] 1 3 3 Assez. Unless otherwise noted all references in this essay are to W orstward Ho. existence. . dans la derniere. and the two brief texts 'The Image' and 'The Cliff' were translated by Edith Fournier.

Et prendre courage (pp. Non pas que tel quel ce ne soit pas rate. 26-27). Ajouter? Jamais. T empirent. Comme c 'est peu s 'en f aut non inepte.:a suintent. Alors disparition de D 'elle disparition ne se peut. f out Jusqu 'a penombre reapparue. Avec les mots qui pupille. Avec des f mots qui reduisent dire Ie moindre meilleur pire. Le vide n 'en est-if pas d'autant plus grand encore ? Non. Ratees les nulles mains. f 1 56 Ainsi cap au moindre encore. Jamais de puis que d'abord dit jamais dedit jamais plus mal dit jamais sans que ne devore I 'envie qu 'a ait dis paru. Le vide aussi. Rater encore. Minimement rate. Neant Ie meilleur. 42-43). Disparition du vide ne se peut. 1 52 Puis deux. Hors ecarquilles. Plus ant out out clos. 43). A partir du minimement rate.Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett r------ Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett 154 Les mots aussi de qui qu 'ils soient. Pas mains que moins mieuxplus malpeut etre plus. Qu 'a soit courbe plus bas. Blanc? Non. 1 6 1 La tete. Tete chapeautee disparue. Blanc obscur. D 'abord plus mal. Hors vide. Les bottines. "' . Plus pas concevable. 56). Gauche droite gauche droite encore. 1 57 Le vide. Neant pas Ie meilleur pire. 34-35). L 'ultime penombre. 4 1 ). Vide outes ombres au maximum lorsquepresque. Pire a de aut d 'un meilleur moindre.:a tellement mains alors? Mains pire alors ? Assez. T rous nair obscur. De rate a empirer. 28-29) . T comme. Pas Ie meilleurpire. T blanc etpupille. Alors disparition de tout. Dire I 'en ant disparu (pp. Non. Dire desormais pour soit mal dit(p. V ois pour de bon. Inannulable moindre. Si donepas tellementplus que c. Aupire lorsquepresque. 8). Mieux que rien a ce point ameliores au pire (pp. 20) II . 7). Encore plus mal encore. Beance qui ne vacille. Penombre ant inobscurcie. Jusqu 'a etre degoute pour de bon. Rate nul visage. Non. l II 1 5 8 T sau out fle vide. Rater mieux encore. Mal dit. Dire non. Sau dis f parition de la penombre. En attendant pis encore (pp. Le moindre jamais ne peut etre neant. 1 60 Encore retour pour dedire disparition du vide. T ant6t les deux gauches. Rien que les dos courbe. T ant6t les deux droits. Inaugmentable imminimisable inempirable sempiternel presque vide (p. T pas a jamais disparu. Le f meilleur moindre. En attendant pis encore. Mieux plus mal ainsi. 49). La vieille f out disparue. Soient ainsi dUs. A I 'obscurcissime penombre. Le nul -. Meme rien. Ou obscurcie a plus obscur encore. alons nus. 55-56). Sau disparition de la penombre. Disparition du vide ne se peut. Mieuxplus mal quai? Le dire? Le aut dit? Meme chose. Mieux plus mal sans bottines. '. Que de place laissee au plus mal! Comme par ois as presque sonnent presque vrai! Comme l 'ineptie leur f def f ait aut! Dire la nuit estjeune helas etprendre courage. Ajouter -. T que la penombre perdure encore. f ant 1 5 9 Dire I 'enf disparu. Rater omir plus mal encore. 1 49 Retour dedire mieuxplus malpluspas concevable. Le meilleurpire. Non. Car alors dans I 'ultime penombre finir par de-pro erer Ie moindrissime tout (p. Place au plus mal. Non. Ajouter? Jamais. 1 5 5 Quels motspour quai alors? Comme as presque sonnent encore. Partirpour de bon. Au plus bas. Ajouter un -. Ne pas demander si disparition se peut. Peste soil du vide. Minimement plus mal. Essayer d'empirer. D 'abord essayer de mieux rater un. Alors tout reapparu.. A de aut du bien pis que pire. f parition de la penombre. Dire ce meilleur pire. Un petit peu mieux plus mal que rien ainsi (pp. Nair obscur. 1 47 Dire pour soit dit. Un reste de derniere veille a venir. Peste soit du rate. Siplus obscur mains lumineux alors mieux plus mal plus obscur. Desormais ainsi. 1 53 Les yeux. T pas deja disparu. 150 Pire moindre. T mal que pis essayer d 'empirer. Mieuxplus mal ainsi. [The US edition has 'then' instead of 'than' in the line 'ifthen not that much more than that much less then? '] . Pire inempirable (pp. Tout comme. Le courber plus bas. Une bonnef pour toutes pour de bon (p. . En attendant pis encore. 148 Essayer encore. Moindre alors? T tout comme disparues. Sau dis 1 54 155 . Rien du bassin jusqu 'en bas. Inempirable vide.:a en c. Le mains. Jamais augmente. Alors dis parition de tout (p. " " ! ii . Hors c. T andis que tant mal que pis hors de quelque substance moUe de I 'esprit as suintent. Jamais au neant ne peut etre ramene. Dis parition des deux se peut. Longpardessus coupe plus haut. Quelque chose la qui ne cloche pas assez mal. Sur genoux invisibles. Dans la penombre vide. Ou mieux plus mal. 1 5 1 D 'abord un. out Dis parition de I 'une se peut. T Pieds nus s 'en vont etjamais ne s 'en eloignent. Jusqu 'au dernier imminimisable moindre comme on rechigne a reduire.(p. Comment essayer dire? Comment essayer rater? Nul essai rien de rate. Assez. Dire ecarquilles ouverts. Trone vu de dos sans haut sans base. Le moindrissime dans I 'ultime penombre. Jamais moindre. Meme peu s 'en f rien (p. Dire seulement. :. Sans demander non. Ou mieuxplus mal dire une nuit veille encore helas a venir. Dedit done mieux plus mal plus pas concevable. Le moindrissime dans l 'obscurissime penombre. Mains meilleur pire. Le vide alors emme n 'en est-il pas d'autant plus grand? Dire Ie vieil homme disparu. 25-26). 22). La au ni I 'un ni I 'autre pour de bon. T emps d 'essayer d'empirer. Jamais par Ie neant annule. L 'imminimisable moindre meilleur pire (p. Le mains meilleur pire.

Al a i n Ba d i o u

On

tout. Disparais penombre! Disparais pour de bon. T t po ou ur de bon. Une bonnef ois pour toutes pour de bon (p. 26). 1 62 T mal que mal s 'en vont etjamais ne s 'eloignent (p. 1 5). ant 163 Nul fieu que I 'unique (p. 1 3). 1 64 Main dans la main its vont tant mal que mal d 'un pas egal. Dans les mains fibres ous deux dos courbe vus de dos ils von! tant mal que - non. Vides les mains fibres. T mal d 'un pas ega!. Levee la main de I 'en ant pour atteindre la main qui etreint. f ant Etreindre la vieille main qui etreint. Etreindre et etre etreint. T mal que mal s 'en vont et jamais ne s 'eloign en!. Lentement sans pause tant mal que mal s 'en vont et jamais ne s 'eloignent. Vus de dos. Tous deux courbees. Unis par les mains etreintes etreignant. Tant mal que mal s 'en vont comme un seul. Une seule ombre. Une autre ombre (pp. 14- 1 5). 165 Lentement ils disparaissent. T antOt I 'un. T antOt les deux. Lentement antOt lapaire. T reapparaissent. Tantot l 'un. TantOt la paire. TantOt les deux. Lentement? Non. Disparition soudaine. Reapparition soudaine. T antOt I 'un. T antOt la paire. T antOt les deux. / Inchanges? Soudain reapparus inchanges? Oui. Dire oui. Chaque f ois inchanges. Tant mal que pis inchanges. Jusqu 'a non. Jusqu 'a dire non. Soudain reapparus changes. T mal que pis changes. Chaquef tant mal que pis changes ois ant (p. 1 6). out? Disparition de tout ne se peut. Jusqu 'a 1 66 Dans Ie crane tout disparu. T disparition de la penombre. Dire alors seuls di�parus les deux. Dans Ie crane un et deux disparus. Hors du vide. Hors des yeux. Dans Ie crane tout disparu sau fle crane. Les ecarquitles. Seuls dans la penombre vide. Seuls a etre vus. Obscurement vus. Dans Ie crane Ie crane seul a etre vu. Les yeux ecarquilles. Obscurement vus. Par les yeux ecarquilles (p. 32). 1 67 II voudrait I 'ainsi dit esprit qui depuis si longtemps a perdu tout vouloir. L 'ainsi orce de long vouloir tout vouloir envole. Long mal dit. Pour I 'instant ainsi mal dit. Af vouloir en vain. Et voudrait encore. V aguement voudrait encore. Vaguement vainement voudrait encore. Que plus vague encore. Que Ie plus vague. V aguement vainement voudrait que Ie vouloir soit Ie moindre. Imminimisable minimum de vouloir. Ina paisable oudrait que tout disparaisse. Disparaisse la vain minimum de vouloir encore. / V penombre. Disparaisse Ie vide. Disparaisse Ie vouloir. Disparaisse Ie vain vouloir que Ie vain vouloir disparaisse (pp. 47-48). [The US edition has 'last' not ' least' in the line 'Unstillable vain, least of longing'.]

Beckett r----

A l a i n Ba d i o u

On

Becke tt

1 68 Il est debout. Quoi? Oui. Le dire debout. Force d la jin a se mettre et tenir debout. Dire des os. Nul os mais dire des os. Dire un sol. Nul sol mais dire un sol. Pourpovoir dire douleur. Nul esprit et douleur? Dire oui pour que les os puissent tant ant lui douloir que plus qu 'd se mettre debout. T mal que pis se mettre et tenir debout. Ou mieux plus mal des restes. Dire des restes d 'esprit OU nul auxjins de la douleur. Douleur des os telle queplus qu 'a se mettre debout. T mal que pis s 'y mettre. T ant ant mal que pis y tenir. Restes d 'esprit ou nul auxjins de la douleur. Iei des os. D 'autres exemples au besoin. De douleur. De comment soulagee. De comment variee (pp. 91 0). ant prit done encore. Assez encore. T mal a qui tant mal ou tant mal 1 69 Restes d 'es quepis assez encore. Pas d'esprit et des mots? Meme de tels mots. Done assez encore. jouir. Re jouir! Juste assez encore pour se re jouir que seulement Juste assezpour se re eux. Seulement! (pp. 37-38) 1 70 Hiatuspour lorsque les mots disparus. Lorsqueplus meche. Alors tout vu comme alors seulement. Desobscurci. Desobscurci tout ce que les mots obscurcissent. T out ainsi vu non dit. Pas de suintement alors. Pas trace sur la substance moUe lorsque d 'eUe suinte encore. En elle suinte encore. Suintement seulement pour vu tel que vu avec suintement. Obscurci. Pas de suintement pour vu desobscurci. Pour lorsque plus meche. Pas de suintement pour lorsque suintement disparu (p. 53). 1 7 1 [Badiou's doctrine ofthe state of a situation as a re-presentation of being is laid out in Meditations 8 and 9 ofL 'etre et l 'evenement. The crux of this doctrine is that events always take place despite the state and at a distance from it, whilst at the same time measuring the excess of re-presentation over presentation, of the state over the situation (or in Beckettian terms, of the dim over the void).] 1 72 Meme inclinaison pour tous. Memes vastitudes de distance. Meme hat dernier. Dernier en date. Jusqu 'a tant mal que pis moindre en vain. Pire en vain. Devore tout I 'envie d'etre neant. Neantjamais ne se peut etre (p. 61). 1 73 Assez. Soudain assez. Soudain tout loin. Nul mouvement et soudain tout loin. T moindre. Trois e out pingles. Un trou d'epingle. Dans l 'obscurissime penombre. A des vastitudes de distance. Aux limites du vide illimite. D 'oupasplus loin. Mieuxplus malpas plus loin. Plus meche moins. Plus mechepire. Plus meche neant. Plus meche encore. / Soit dit plus meche encore (p. 62). 1 74 [ . . . ] d I 'altitude peut-etre aussi loin qu 'un endroitf usionne avec au-dela [ . . . ]

I

I

I

, ii
,

156

157

A l a i n B a d i o u On

Beckett

A l a i n B a d i o u On
r-----

Beckett

une constellation [A Throw o the Dice/Un coup de des, in Stephane Mallarme, f Collected Poems, translated and with a commentary by Henry Weinfield (Berkeley: University of Califomia Press, 1 994), p. 144].
, ,

(p. 77). us pas un bruit rien qui bouge f con ond ir. Lointains sans fin terre del souven
douceur u temps de ma vie il hait d 'une aU. Mais d Je ne sais plus Ie temps qu 'ilf 1 85 44). t endormie au point vernal (p. ai hernelle. Comme si la terre s ' h mme ils oivent etre au paradis, bons co qu 'ils d . A h mon pere et ma mere, dire 1 86 m dlre e demande, et la ont nuer a I S : ce quej f ient. Aller en en er, c 'est la gra l 'eta pourrazt lUI couper a c Ique a dent, �a m e voient de la-haut et m 'enten . et eux qu 'ils monte, et ra u erzes u Ia vi'e fi tur:e y me re s con el f icite. Oui, je crois toutes leur leur . pas de neant qUI tlenne (p. 1 9) n pour du malheur comme Ie mie

175 Rien et pourtant une f emme. Vieille et pourtant vieille. Sur genoux invisibles. Inclinee comme de vieillespierres tombales tendre memoire s 'inclinent. Dans ce vieux cimetiere. Noms e aces et de quand a quand. Inclinees muettes sur les tombes de nuls ff etres (pp. 60-6 1).
,

� �

� :� �

1 76 [On the unnameable as a concept defining the ethic of truths, see 'La verite: fon,:age et innomable' in Conditions (pp. 1 96-2 1 2) and Ethics (pp. 80-87). It is worth noting that lately Badiou has abandoned this doctrine, thinking it too compromised with a diffuse culpabilisation ofphilosophy, and also much reconfigured his theory of naming. See his forthcoming interview with Bruno Bosteels and Peter Hallward in Angelaki, 'Beyond Formalisation' .] 1 77 [In the collection from which this article is taken it is followed by a piece entitled 'Philosophy of the Faun', a reading of Mallarme's poemL 'Apres-midi d 'unf aune.] 1 78 [Originally published as ' Ce qui arrive', in Regis Salgado and Evelyne Grossman, eds, Samuel Beckett, l 'ecriture et la scene (Paris: SEDES, 1 998), pp. 9-12.] 1 79 Assez. Soudain assez. Soudain tout loin. Nul mouvement et soudain tout loin. T out moindre. Trois epingles. Un trau d 'epingle. Dans I 'obscurissime penombre. A des vastitudes de distance. Aux limites du vide illimite (p. 62). 1 80 Du coup Ie nom commun peu commun de craulement. Renf orce peu apres sinon a aibli par I 'inusuel languide. Un croulement languide (p. 70). ff 1 8 1 [ . . . ] d 'espoir. Par la grace de ces modestes debuts (p. 70).

,

��

,

' nulle part sans autre b tjusqu menant tel suivant en mortel suivant ne 1 87 de mor r Ie nommer Ie dress r e co vr er contre que Ie mortel suivant me coll plus ample e a e ses f bles nous unzr pour a vi e gaver d ju ng de m a scules romaines m J'usqu 'au sa reng gai et un peu plus (p. 97) dernier ha ans I 'amour stoi"quejusqu 'au d

t

,

i:

: trans. by Peter Hallward (London f g o Evil, s: An Essay on the Understandin 1 8 8 Ethic Verso, 200 1) , pp. 2 5 and 2 7 .
. d .) ,L 'A rt est-II une connazssance Droit (e pense Ie poeme? ', in Roger-Pol 1 8 9 'Que 4 24 . (Paris : Le Monde, 19 9 3) , pp. 2 1
-

.

.

?

9. it manuel d 'inesthhique, pp. 9 -2 1 90 Pet

I

Ii

,

"I

1 82 Dire ce meilleurpire. Avec des mots qui rMuisent dire Ie moindre meilleurpire. A de aut du bien pis que pire. L 'imminimisable moindre meilleur pire (p. 41). f 1 83 Commepaif ilspresque sonnentpresque vrai! Comme I 'ineptie leurf def ait aut! ois Dire la nuit estjeune helas et prendre courage (p. 25). 1 84 Terre del conf ondus in fini sans relie petit cor seul debout. Encore un pas un f ps seul tout seul dans les sables sans prise il lef era. Gris cendre petit cor seul debout ps ace uge blancheur rasef aces sans trace aucun cceur battantf aux lointains. Lumiere ref

,

1 58

159
, ,

'

1--·----- ----

---

-

-

-----

- -,

I

A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett

r---

A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett

In d ex

,
'

"

, :

'

i,'J

,.

.

abstraction 6, 40 absurd, the xxii, 3, 38, 1 1 9, 1 33 activity 47, 63, 1 22- 1 24, 1 29, 1 30 affirmation xii, xv, xix, xxix, 4 1 , 90, 9 1 , 93, 1 26 All, the 7, 1 0, 1 8, 77, 1 00, 1 0 1 , 1 02, 1 05, 1 08- 1 1 0, 1 14, En29 ascesis xxviii, 45, 46, 47, 59, 60, 65, 77, 1 1 5, 1 24, 1 33 beauty xvi, xxvi, 29; 4 1 , 42, 44, 46, 66, 67, 7 1 , 73, 75, 76, 77, 1 14,

1 1 5, 1 1 7, En50, En76, En 1 4 5 , En 1 70 being passim intro. , passim ch. 1 , passim ch.2, passim ch.3, 1 1 4, 1 1 5, 1 20, 1 24- 130, 1 32, 1 34 Bergson, H. 1 2 1 Blanchot, M. xi, xii, xiv, 1 1 categories xiii, xiv, xv, xxv, 8, 1 5 , 16, 23, 6 1 , 88, 90, 1 0 1 chance xvi, xxiv, 1 7, 20, 2 1 , 26, 27, 28, 3 1 , 55, 128

I

I
,

"

.

'

, ,1,
, "

I iI
,
,

i

54. 91. 1 24. 30. 3 1 . xx. 128. 77. 49. 1 28. A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett) . 39. xxv. 26. 44. 52. the 5. 86. 77 knowledge 6. 47. 19. 5. 38. 84. 65 movement xxii. 64. 90. 16. passim 40-77. 74. 1 0. 64 Kafka. 1 1 7.1 5 . En4 other. 9. 53. radio 74 poem xxvi. 1 1 5. 1 03 happiness xvi. 33. 86. 72. 4 1 .En29. xxx. passim ch. 62. 44-47. 46.1 04. xxix. the 6. 5. xvii. 2. 54 place xv. 7. 1 0. 2 1 . 45. 49. En2. 86. A. 35. 55. 75. 2. 28. 1 8. 26. 1 1 0. 58. En50 Mallarme. 32. 3. xxiii. 1 7. 1 3 . 3 1 . 28. xxx. 2 1 . 1 7. 5. 133 . 1 22. 121. 48. 60. 35. 1 30. 47. 4 1 . 98. 4 1 . 14. 1 06. 55-59. 37. 1 26. 68. 32. xv. 1 1 5. 1 30. 1 05. 40 failure xvii. 93. S. xxiv. 50. 20. 6. 6. 1 3 . xxix. 40. 3 1 . xxvi. 1 09. 50. 1 32. J-P. 80. 64. 4. xviii. 40. 60. En 1 76 mathematics xxiii. 1 0 1 . 6 1 . 24. the xxiii. 123. the xvi. " . 40. 42 closed. xvi. xvi. . 1 32. 1 08-1 12. 84. 33. 1 20. 1 30. 50. 25-29. 64. 1 1 0. xix. 1 26. xxiii. 55. 79-8 1 . 52. 27. 24. 63. 6 1 . 1 34. 16. 4. 88. 1 3 5 going 2. 6 1 . the xxi. xxxii. 132. 3. 1 26. 1 2 3 . 29. 72. 1 20. 23. 1 7. 1 1 7. 5 8. xxiii. 4 1 . M. 4. 45. 14. 3 1 . 68. 122. 22. 49. 1 8. En40 language passim intro. 53 encounter passim intro. xxii. 1 06. 1 06. 26. 57. xxx.1 03. 97. 1 29. 57. 47. 1 27. 50. 1 28. 23. 7. 55. 25-29. 123 plays. 59. 1 23. 55. 20. 33. 40. xvi. 9. En 1 76 politics 33 predestination xv. 96. xxii. generic xiii. 2 1 . xxii. xviii. 5 1 . 28. 1 1 7. En 1 3 7 localisation xxiii. 63. iI . xxx. 1 07 naming xxiii. R. 77. . I I. xxvi. 67. 3. 76.1 34 eternity 6 1 . 1 5 . xvii. xvi. 5 1 . xx. 1 09. 1 1 1 . 64. 47. 43 journey 6. 1 3 6. 52. 40. 60. 70 mobility xxxii. 62-65. 1 23 dark. 77. 67. 88. xiv. 38. xxx. 73. 62. 5. 39 non-being 2. 1 3 1 multiple. 1 7. 1 8. xxiv. xxi. 5 1 . En50. 33. 63. 1 5 . 7. . M . xv. 56. 1 03 impasse. 6. 1 32. 8. xxvii. 54. 28. 67. xviii. xxvi. 22. 1 16. . 60. xxiv. 95. 1 1 7. 1 14. 7. 64. xxi. 1 20. 1 26. 12. 7. 68. 1 091 1 1. xx. xxvii. 56. 4 1 . 2 1 . 29. 50. 23. 98. 88. . 75 Husserl.. 5 1 nostalgia 38. 1 09-1 1 2. 75. 24. 58. 1 24 desire xix. 29. 97. 52. xxvi. 1 14. xxvii. 1 23. 128 existence xvi. 34. the. 1 5. xxxii. in Beckett's work xiv. 60.1 26. 28. 1 26. 73 open. 46. xxvi. 54. xvii. cinema 40.1 00. 77. 1 3 5. 53. 2 1 . En30. 1 14. 5 1 .2. 24. 5. 4. 57 infinity xvi. 1 29. 3 1 . 1 23. 1 04. 126. xxiv. 38. 20. 16. En 1 73. 1 20.' I 162 163 . xx. 23. humanity. 1 22. 32. 1 12. 1 07. . 66. 5 1 . 88. 1 1 5 Ba d i o u On Beckett . 45. 124. xxi. 75. 4 1 . xxi. 4. 30. 1 1 1 . 1 03. 134 passivity 13. 48. the 14. 3 1 . passim 4-32. 98. 135 memory xvi. passim 45-77. 76 courage xii. 1 1 . 16. 47. 1 07. 127 functions xiii. 60. 7 1 . 56. J. 1 26 Sartre. 128. 30. 7. 65. xxxii. 12. xxiv. xxii. 54. 55. 128. xxxi.' . 77. 1 3 1 . 53. 44. 1 22. 40 flux 1 . 76 justice 26. xxxii. 5 1 . xxxi.' 'I' . 1 2 1 . 1 3 . 6. 74. 3 0. 47. 63-66. 7. 1 1 5. 45. xix. 1 14 count. 1 1 3. 9. 1 14. 1 1 3. 1 07. 30. L Ala i n incidents 19. 1 30. 67. 22. 3. xxxi. 12. 1 9. 1 12. 128 Descartes. xxiv. 34. En76 Plato xxii. 63. 90 finitude xiv. 26. 66. 77. 65. 82. 9. 33. 44. 62. xx. 45. 1 34. 88. 44.1 2. 94. 1 24 immobility xxiii. . 1 32 freedom 1 8. En 1 75 nihilism xii. 39. 95. 3 1 . 1 2 9. 77 event passim intro. .En36 dim xxiii. xxx. 1 1 5 figures xv. 3 1 . 1 8. 1 8. 62 oscillation xiv. xviii. 67-7 1 . 52. 1 07. 54. 3 1 -34. En5 1 . 85. 5 1 . xxi. 74. 1 27. 12. 5 1 . xxiii. 26-33. 1 2 1 . 25. 66. 93. 1 1 5 Dante xiv. 67. 67. 48. 50. 28. 56 procedures xvii. 76. 9. 1 26. 124. En 1 70 exhaustion 1 1 . 9 1 . 46. 44-47. 3 1 . 7 1 . 128 Heidegger. 60 meaning 8. 23. 1 32. 1 8. 1 3 1 . 33. 103 love xvi. 133 Lacan. 6. xxxii 2. . 1 34 9 1 . 1 26 humour xiv. 1 08. (alterity) xv. 22. 76. 22. 57. 129. 40. 69. 34. 76. 48 hope xii. 127. 40. 1 1 1 . 30. xviii. 96 optimism 24.. 9. 59. 1 7. xxvi. 5. 33. 56 cogito xiv-xxxii. 20. 54. 1 25. 22. 1 7. 32. 5 1 . 49. 1 1 . 19. 56. 89-9 1 . 40. 128. 64. 1 32 . 66.--------'. 8. 62. 75. 33 Proust. 50. 72. 46. 29. 50. 8. 40. 66. 3 1 . 83. En36. 1 26. En84 couple. xv. 4 1 . 1 32. 1 14. F. 39. 70. 44.3. 54. 85. 38. 6. 8 8 jokes xix. passim ch. 1 0 1 . 4. 3 1 . xxi. 135 Heraclitus 1. 2. xxv. 37. xx. 128. xxix. 74. 56. 1 3 1 . 2 1 . xvi. 90-95. 55. 52. 1 9. 1 3 5 existentialism xiv. xxix-xxxi. 55. 54. 1 02. 66. 66. 98 death 7. 32. 1 14. 1 0 1 . xxiii. xxv. 2. 1 1 7. 38. 47. xxx. 1 9. 5 1 . : music 4 1 . xxxi. 48. 108. 57-60. 34.1 3 1 . 47. ' . 49. xxxi. 106. 1 2 1 dialectic xxvii. 8. 128 Rimbaud. 1 7. 45. 70. 9. 28. 3. 66. 1 5 . 47. xxii. 2. 70. xxxii. 20. 2 1 . 1 6. 54. 55.1 35. 1 3 1 . 1 1 7. xviii. xxv. 32. 60. E. 6. 77. xxx. 30. 1 33. 22. 42. 25. 97. 35. 1 34 comedy xviii. 23. En 1 70 dying 1 2. 26. 3 0. 132. 56. 1 1 . xxxiii. 1 00. 1 0. 39 Kant. 88. 1 0. 39. 1 2 1 . I' . 89. 1 09. 1 7. 1 22. 1 3 3 despair 4. 4 1 . 61 . 14. 1 1 4. 1 7. xxvii. 1 30. 1 23 repetition xiv. 1 03. 77. 1 1 2. 60. 64-67. 74. 1261 30. 33. 1 5. 1 27. I. xxi.

77 Sophist. xvi. 1 3 1 . 1 1 0. 93 youth 37-40. 2. ofbeing xxiii. 72. 1 3. XXXll. 1 25. 1 3 5 . 1 14. 1 20. 1 8 . 1 08. 1 28-1 30. 74. 28. XXVi. 55. 1 1 6. 66. xviii. xvi. 1 2. the xvi. 35.. 58. 58.. 135 truth xi. 3 1 . 19. 87. 22. 96.1 26. 76. 66. 92. 13.1 1 6. 9 1 . 60. 2 1 . 1 0 1 . 33. xxxii. 1 00. 1 2. 1 05. 59. 95. 7. xxv. xxi.1 4. XXiX. 9. 4. 47. 60.1 3 5 supplement. En50 void xix. 77. 123-125. the passim intro.. xxix.1 03.1 3 1 . 48. En 1 70 Wittgenstein. 88. 1 9. 22. 84. 1 1 7. 7 . 1 9. 38. 69. 52. 22. 8. 34. 47. 65. 120. 2. 59. 59. 46. 1 23. 1 24. 52-55. 1 34. 6. 1 24 theatre. 7. xxvii. 80. 20. 3 1 . 33. 64. 77. 5. 39. 68 1 64 . 59. 96. 4.1 0. 1 29. 94. 33. 40. xxxii. 64. 1 30. 1 3 1 solipsism xv. 1 23. xxv. xxiv. xxxi. xxx. 1 02. 9 1 . 53. 67. 44. 3 1 34. 1 29. 45. 1 8. 4.1 34.1 6. xxv. 57. 1 7. 86. 1 07. 25. xxiii. 12.1 22. 1 0. xxix. 45. 55. passim 80-90. 40. 66. xx. 4. 60. xxviii. xxviii. xix. 1 14. 1 20. 55. passim ch. 57. 128 trajectory 2. En29 signification 55. 96. 129. 66. xiii. 2 1 . passim ch. 40. 1 6. 1 05. 9 1 . xxx. 1 3 5 terror xv. 46. 1 20. 64. 1 1 5. xx. 7 1 . 53. 1 32. 95. 5 1 . 45. 33. xx. 1 24. 93. 5. 5257. the 40. 1 2 1 subject.3. 29. 1 3 3 . 73. 76. 89. 56. 4. 1 1 51 1 7. 3. 1 5. 1 1 .1 34. 20. 1 09. 1 6. 34. 1 0. 75. 1 7. 42. 5 1 . xxxi. 1 28. 60. En 1 75 Two. 2 1 . 38. 64. 22-26. xxiv. 1 01 8. xxv. 5 1 . 1 1 7. xx.- I . 130 silence xi. xviii. 28. 1 6. L. 27. En6 sense 3. ­ A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----- 136 saying xiv. 22. 66. • • • • • • • xxxiii. 1 4. 49. 1 29. 1 1 1 . 98. 27. 54-56. xviii. The xxii. 65. xxiv. 4. 1 32. 3. 68. xvii. 5. 86. xxiii. 75. 2 1 .1 26. 1 28. 26. 1 6. 55. 32. 33. 52. 50. En36 subtraction xxv. 3. xix. xvii.3. xix. xix. 1 26. 1 3. 1 30 sexuation xvi. 72. 84. 3 . 74. 1 22 thought xviii. 1 24. 22. 4 1 . 68. 59. xxii. 23. xxvi. XXVll. 8 . XXXi. 1 0 1 . 1 29. 27. 25-29. 1 35. 5 1 -55. En25 torture xiv. 75. 1 8 . 1 4. 20. 1 20. 9. 57. 58. 1 0 1 . 1 00.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful