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

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

The Unnamable) (Grove Press.Trilogy (Calder Publishers. Nina Power is currently studying for a PhD in philosophy at Middlesex University. III Seen III Said. 1 970) WG . 1991) W W (Calder Publishers. Nietzsche and Schelling. W orstward Ho) (Grove Press. I i Note on the Contributors I: . De1euze . . 1 997) MUS .Happy Days (Grove Press. 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. . i' i . 1 958) GSP The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989 (Grove Press.Murphy (Calder Publishers. London. Malone Dies. 1 984) T . for a variety of oft-discussed authorial and editorial reasons. 1988) ISIS .Three Novels (Molloy. 1 970) att W US W att (Grove Press. Any other comments made by the editors will appear in brackets.Collected Shorter Prose 1945-1980 (Calder Publishers.Nohow On (Company.W aiting/ Godot (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 . In order to allow the reader to navigate Badiou's essays and refer to the Beckett texts when necessary. The abbreviations used throughout the ' texts for the British and American editions are as follows: . 1 996) SP Collected Shorter Plays (Grove Press. 1 986) E Endgame (Grove Press.How It Is (Calder Publishers. Ethics and the Badiou's reading of Beckett. 1 983) - Andrew Gibson is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Royal Holloway and is the author of Postmodernity. 1 996) HII US How It Is (Grove Press. 1 990) CSP .Company (Calder Publishers. He is currently preparing a book on ! Alberto Toscano teaches at Goldsmiths College and is the author of several articles on Badiou. I. Page references are to the editions currently in print by each publisher. 1 994) TN . 1 997) M .The Complete Dramatic W orks (Faber and Faber. 1954) or WH . 1995) HD . He is the translator of Badiou's forthcoming Handbook ofInaesthetics and The Century.III Seen III Said (Calder Publishers. 1 970) NO . Novel: From Leavis to Levinas. I . the endnotes. C . 1 983) HII.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. we have endeavoured to render the references in On Beckett as practicable as possible. 1996) CDW .Worstward Ho (Calder Publishers. .Murphy (Grove Press.

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

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

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.both personally and as a writer. as Badiou puts it.both for his reading of Beckett and for his thinking as a whole . We will then move on. to assess the consequences . Whence.I . between Sartre and Blanchot. While the so-called 'Trilogy' (Molloy. we must now refer to the key concept that sustains this view ofthe later Beckett: the event or encounter. 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. 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. in some sense. to understand Badiou's seemingly indefensible claim regarding the affirmation and hope present in Beckett's work. Badiou argues that the incessant repetitions in Beckett's early works. but is rather the product of a philosophical or ' inaesthetic' capture of a literary work which does not leave philosophical doctrine untouched. 'Saying' had. 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'. however. all that remained to be said is that there was nothing more to be said. 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). 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. reached its absolutely maximal degree of purification. SUbjectivity and ' aporetics'.s That by the early 1960s he had. fissuring and displacing the solipsistic internment of the cogito. and the identification of a chronological break (corresponding to a real crisis in Beckett's thought) before and after this text. " 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'. above all. therefore. rather. what he refers to as an oscillation between the cogito and the 'grey black'. How It Is (published as Comment c 'est by Minuit in 1 96 1 . the text occupies an absolutely crucial role in Beckett's oeuvre.' In this respect. for Beckett. the constellation of concepts employed in these texts is neither (explicitly) Beckett's nor (entirely) Badiou's. beginning with How It Is (composed between 1 959 and 1 960). between vital existentialism and the metaphysics of the word. the growing importance ofthe event (which adds itself to the grey black of being) and of the voice of the other (which interrupts solipsism). 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. reached a ' last' state. 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. - -------' ------A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r--- l Alain Badiou On Beckett I . As we shall argue. .- . 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. 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. and W and Mur att phy are seized upon as anticipation oflater problematics and for their characteristic humour. . so that he could break with Cartesian terrorism. But this is not the end of the matter.of B adiou's concern with B eckett' s method and with the 'philosophical anthropology' that the latter implies. together with any intimation that we are here faced with the linguistic 'truth' ofhuman finitude or with an episode in the genealogy of nihilism. To do this. In order. Malone Dies. For Badiou. led to a crisis for Beckett . in section two. neither reducible to the place of being nor identical to the repetitions of the voice. Where then. I'II . The Unnamable) has received copious and exacting attention for its exploration of the vicissitudes of language. the category of alterity . 'worst understood' 1960s prose text How It Is. This will help us the better to discern the stakes of his approach and the challenge it poses to rival interpretations. indicating a decisive shift in both the themes and the style of his prose. In the kind of ad hominem argument that would scandalise any good Derridean. I . before and after How It Is is crucial to XIV XV . he intends to approach it as a problem that demands resolution from Beckett at the level of the writing itself.of the encounter and the figure of the Other. The aforementioned division of Beckett's oeuvre into two distinct periods. it was necessary to find some third terms. we should note that Badiou wishes to evacuate the defeatist pathos accorded to the impasse.

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

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

Rimbaud's poetry manifests the incapacity of assuming the hardships of subjectivation. The identification of the functions of the human on the basis of the torsion of the cogito onto the imperative of language. This is why Mallarme's method is concerned with the isolation of an event that is constitutively evanescent. an attempt to 'prepare' for an event that is only liminally introduced through the ligures of the Two and the Other. " " ' " . or coincide with. in the absence of any normal 'evidence'. Given over as it is to what Badiou regards as the 'mirage' of a complete possession of truth.or extra-ontological demand of the event's emergence. together with the cartography of the places and inscriptions of being. principally set out in L 'etre et I 'evenement. In brief. Ii I • :I . to the elaborate doctrinal apparatus. that it is the bearer of universal formulations regarding 'human nature' . writing in the late fifties and early sixties. which in the end denies the 'now' of an event that can itself never be identified with the situation . that being and the event can never enter into any sort of communion. or as the linguistic celebration of the appearance of the world. With Mallarme's method. ' Forcing our schematisation somewhat. sought to extract from the dramatic works a Beckett absolutely existentialist in his proclamations and scope. focussing throughout on how these notions determine a certain perspective on thinking humanity. or rather. that allows Badiou to isolate this method in the first place. conferring upon it its singular place as a reference for Badiou's work. 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 . as in Rimbaud) and prose lays out the ontological groundwork prior to an event (rather than thinking it in its disappearance. on humanity as a pure capacity to be affected by the irruption of novelty and to decide upon the event.thereby signalling both the denial of novelty and the defeat of language. consigning the subj ect to the infinite ordeal of solipsism. Lest this partition appear all too tidy. to resort to the operation ofinterruption. being as such neither present nor non-problematically individuated in the realm of appearances. and. on the basis of this wager (this dice-throw) deduce its consequences for the situation? Such is the axis of Mallarme's method. it is worth turning now to the peculiar and problematic effects that this preparatory or anticipatory character of Beckett's method has with regard. How. the event functions as an interruption of torture (rather than an interruption of joy in defeat. 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. we could say that if Rimbaud shows us the abdication oflanguage in the face ofthe present demands of the undecidable. we move instead to a writing that is entirely positioned 'after ' the event . whilst seemingly sharing the universalising impetus of Esslin's reading. xx XXI . and Mallarme as the protocol of fidelity in its subtractive 'relationship' to a disappearance and to the isolation of a pure multiple (' after '). all seem to indicate. 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. a syntactically driven investigation into the potentially determinate but inapparent effects of something that can never exactly be said to be. 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.before'). Exemplary of this position is Esslin who. as in Mallarme). We have grown accustomed to (and accustomed to criticising) claims that Beckett's work offers us a disquisition on the 'human condition'. we will now look at the role ofappearance.•• c __________________________________________ ______________________ _ Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----to. To emphasize this more conflictive dimension of Badiou's encounter with Beckett. and Mallarme the retrospective detection of the traces of a vanished novelty. to that l Alain Bad i o u On Beckett ( 'artesian torture which so preoccupies B adiou in these pages. that must be wagered upon in order then to register its traces and effects upon a situation. In it. the painstaking work of a truth that can never be immediately present as the truth of things. 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. that is. It could therefore be said that Beckett's method partly inverts the methods of the two other writers considered by Badiou. Hence the tendency of Rimbaud's poetry. in Badiou's reading. when faced with the non. can we affirm in a given situation that something has happened. '9 Badiou's take. sub jectivity and language in these essays on Beckett. as 'the thought of the pure event on the basis of its decided trace. In sum. Rimbaud as the defeatist decision against the undecidable of the event ('during'). we have Beckett as the courageous preparation for 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 . the situation that it affects.

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

to puncture speech and corrode its authority. Beckett's 'misuse' of language is in this respect initially aimed. The same impossibility of outright destruction. to the usage of certain tropes.to the operations undergone in Beckett by grammar. • I. . Moreover. This time. . Where does this leave the problem of language. in a qualified manner. and its incapacity to twist free ofthe equivocity that defines its triplicate composition. it is an inescapable and constitutive feature of the fictional set-up. it is the expression 'writhing in pain' that must be interpreted literally. What his rcconstruction of Beckett does not involve however. I· I' . and to the very extent that most of his work is driven by the wish to 'ill say'.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. if one will allow the expression. Beckett's Cartesian scenarios preclude any crypto­ I{omantic dissolution of human subjectivity into the One of language. it is not rare and dependent on chance. is any specific attention to the 'texture' oflanguage itself.-----therefore necessary that the subject literally twist itself towards its own utterance. coupled with the requirement to subtract and supplement. if we begin from existence. even and especially at their most ragged and risible. himself a novelist and playwrigh. which had initially attracted our young Sartrean cretin (as Badiou portrays his former self) to the - " I I I. . the subject appears as tom. in other words. at the stepwise elimination of this subjective excess. Beckett does demand from Badiou the recognition.w from indicating. which has been a chief preoccupation ofBadiou in recent years. 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). Existence. XXIV XXV . or 'grey black'). Whereas the first two of our essays find the counterpart of the cogito in an ontology oflocalisation (the theme ofthe 'place of being' . 1 . But l�qually. they forestall any thanatological abdications of the obstinate courage that so insistently marks his figures and voices. its anti-humanist drive amounting to an attempt to efface the torture of speech into the grey black of being. Unlike the subject of the event. or. . fertile grounds for discussions of style and technique). The purity of the void can only be attained in the intervals of appearance. and chiefly to the crisis which we've already seen is punctuated by and surpassed in How ItIs. that it names and configures in fiction. 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. .I . works of Beckett? l Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett Surely. it is nevertheless identified as an ineluctable and incliminable 'function' of the human. Thought: Prose and Concept' we are presented with a far more systematic distinction between being ('the void') and appearance ('the dim'). the torsion of this triple subject of language is transitive to the situation. The doctrine of appearance.is defined by the movement beyond the tormenting excess of a subject of language towards the futural fidelity of a subject of the event. though language is not itself an object of spcculation (whether structural or hermeneutic) or adulation (it is the very stuff of our earthly ordeals). It is this role oflanguage that Badiou is obliged to assume and. through f language (though this does not stop Badiou. " . I' . . In this respect. otherwise I(u'cign to his doctrine. to the place of being. . I . the Two. of course. 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. " ' . which will lead Beckett into the notorious impasses. • . what captivates Badiou when it comes to Beckett as a thinker is precisely what emerges from a subtraction o and. in 'Being. etc. Whilst the linguistic dimension is indeed ineliminable. finds one of its most elaborate accounts to date in the painstaking theoretical reconstruction of W orstward Ho. via the aforementioned operations. of an irreducibility proper to language or speech as a 'rcgion of existence' . on a number of occasions. i . " I It is the tension within this subject of language. rather. In this sense. it functions as its intrinsic supplement. 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. an essential component of that capacity /()r thought that determines the existence ofhumanity. through those operations that 'worsen' I . I. and not just double. affirm. to destroy even the voice) to a hazardous but ultimately productive one (the conversion of the subject by the event of alterity). 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. decision and fidelity. . that the linguistic and ontological ordeal ofthe subject oflanguage can be alleviated exts f Nothing or or interrupted. In this sense the subject of Beckett's art which according to Badiou s inaesthetics is not the author but the work. Once one perceives that the identity of the subject is triple. the Event).

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

has already come. worsening.begins to seep through. Beckett's characteristic ascesis.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. the very same that Beckett later dismissed as ' German bilge' : [ . As we cannot eliminate language all at once. in considerable detail. when language is most efficiently used when it is most efficiently misused. In brief. . 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 . how literature has nothing to envy philosophy in matters of complex thought. '. 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. rather than producing them.in its wish to purge language of i tsclf. but it is also an attempt to think through and beyond the limitations imposed by the linguistic set-up and . is also an attempt to show. This effort toward purification. but to wallow in the apparent purity of the concept. as he does elsewhere with regard to that great French dialectician. . universalising desideratum. Whilst these are both valid pursuits. Indeed. Badiou. be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the No I . something other than fiction. avows that in the case of Beckett the practice of inaesthetic demarcation might find itself stretched. .that Beckett's thought remains impure . whilst obviously indebted to much of the work undertaken by Badiou in L 'etre et l 'evenement and the forthcoming Logiques des mondes. in a manner both transversal to the multiplicity of disciplines and anterior to the irruption of any event. nor to do without its speculative. we should at least leave nothing undone that might contribute to its falling into disrepute.to attain something other than language. Whilst Badiou is explicit in his affirmation of the multiplicity of cognitive disciplines and generic procedures. W witness. until what lurks. subtraction . ] more and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must . • . 14 i: 'I: . and specifically around the capacity for thinking through the radical consequences of cncounters and events that defines the very being of thinking humanity. So that Beckett's work is indeed a specifically artistic or literary confrontation with the resources of language and the power of fiction. I cannot imagine a higher goal for a writer todayY . This consists in seeing Beckett's or writing as centred around the notion of a capacityf thought. I • '. Following Jacques Ranciere. And therefore: To register truths. however corroded by comedy it may be. or the capacity thereof. ] loved to gnaw at the edges ofthat peril which all high ."ngness) behind it. This is what Badiou writes in the Petit manuel by way of introduction to his formally exacting reconstruction of Worstward Ho: Samuel Beckett [ . 'i' • " " • . that even a doctrine for which every subject hinges on the incalculable upsurge of a novelty and the systematic deduction . • L • I . It is thus in its very drive to purity . If only that. since the dim can never go .16 and wary of any over­ determination ofthought either by philosophy or by any one of its conditions. ..since appearance or inscription is ineluctable .never able or willing to fully abandon the injunction and the constraints of utterance. neither the empty capture of evental truths nor their production in a generic procedure). r: • XXVIII XXIX . and the questions raised by Badiou's Beckett are perhaps not ultimately capable of doctrinal resolution. To philosophise. ] Let us hope that time will come. 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. Mallarme. 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. thank God that m �ain circles it . To bore one hole after another in it. .I' . literature exposes itself to: No longer to produce unheard-of impurities. in light of the very themes raised in these essays there is perhaps another avenue worth considering. his own encounter with Beckett seems to push us towards the recognition that there is a place for thinking thought itself. Of orstward Ho remains the most accomplished this wandering at the edges. This at least seems to be the 'programme' laid out in the famous letter to Axel Kaun of 1937.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. as Badiou is adamant to point out. behind it ­ be it something or nothing .that reciprocal parasitism of philosophy and its conditions which periodically announces the weakening or abdication of thinking. in short. .in operations ofleastening.

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

vol.together with its Cartesian and Husserlian echoes . 1 ' \ islence. 1 991 ). . in appearance) and that any straightforward subjectivation is eminently operational in character.). that is. from Conditions. pp. many of which are drawn from the domain ofmathematical thought. 8 See Conditions (Paris: Seuil. 348. 1 5 Disjecta. operations such asf orcing. a trait clearly attested to by Badiou's recurrent references to the production (rather than intuition) of truths. pp. In 'Trying to Understand Endgame' (1958). 244) and the 'pathogenesis ofthe false life' (p. combinatory 'reduction' of language in Beckett's television plays (. .--. Adorno and Giles Deleuze. " " kpendence of the theory ofthe event on a philosophy ofthe name has been the object r a self-criticism on the part of Badiou . I ' ' I Arguably the irreducibility of the 'functions' allows Beckett. 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?'. 243). Adorno ultimately retains the category of the absurd as the key to Beckett's worrk. In Adorno's estimation.' I' . as revealing 'an existence that is shut up in itself like a mollusk. 1 (New York: Colombia. for whom Beckett's reductions lead to a becoming-imperceptible. expressing a sort of minimal and ideal mobility. I I I I i s worth noting that the problem of the name.. no longer capable of universality'.. Critical and Clinical [London: Verso. This is explained by the fact that the . . . 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). 1 992). p. 7. and specifically of the naming of Thought: Prose and Concept' . 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. Maximal speed is a state of jecta (London: John Calder. Deleuze's study of the stepwise. 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. subtraction. 7 Badiou's own philosophy is itself articulated in terms of such' operations.-. 1 l IIove beyond this identity of contraries. Adorno reads Beckett's method of subtraction against 'modem ontology' and the 'poverty of philosophy' . Beckett's 'metaphysical negation no longer permits an aesthetic form that would itself produce metaphysical I %X). . also in Essays Critical and Clinical). The Theatre o the Absurd (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. 1997]. inDis work. XXXIII . despite his somber acumen and eloquence. " " ' I 2 See her fine essay on the novel. but the minima h the maxima in the succession of transformations. I ('sl . thereby ignoring the seriousness of Beckett's impasses. .. . p. pp. 1998). Nevertheless. 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. the maxima with the maxima. 1 6 See Conditions. p. strictly 'anti­ philosophical' .1 72.It'S 111 0ndes). 66. pp 1 3 Petit manuel d 'inesthetique. and is impervious.. 11< " l Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett l) f Ma r l i n Esslin (ed. the forthcoming Angelaki interview with Bruno Bosteels and Peter Hallward . 2000). and the forthcoming maj or work by Badiou himself.The Exhausted'. in Essays I. Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett . to the aesthetic relevance of concepts of eternal novelty or generic humanity (see 'Trying to Understand Endgame' .1 74) bears far greater affinity . 246). 1983). Needless to say. intervention. The very process of evental . . 247). In this respect. 1 52.• -- . 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. is far more prominent in the first two essays in this collection than in 'Being. Ih" �vent. as well as their singular resolution. ' I kyond Formalisation' . Adorno explicitly argues for Beckett's opposition to the 'abstraction' of existentialist ontology in favour of 'an avowed process of subtraction' (p.on the basis both of Lyotard's doubts about . Logiques . when movement becomes nothing • " II affirmation' . steeped as it is in the condemnation of 'the irrationality of bourgeois in its late phase' (p. his 'anti-art' culls 'aesthetic meaning from the radical negation of metaphysical meaning' (Aesthetic Theory [Minnesota: University of Minnesota. " " " " ' with Badiou's depiction of Beckett as a rigorous thinker of formalising procedures. connection . to a spiritual and cosmic experience of Life (as he concludes in 'The Greatest Irish Fihn Ever Made'. ' See 'Dante . 1 7 1 . .----Theodor W. -" )-62. 1 4 1 . However. avoidance. . . 146. 246) that reduces it to a single category: 'bare existence' (p. 1 4 Petit manuel d 'inesthetique. to use Badiou's terminology. Vico. 271). 1997]. ' ' .has no counterpart in Deleuze's reading.. Bruno . p. . . . in Notes to Literature.e. I I I"'� than a differential of rest. 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. Adoorno's reading of Beckett is. In this light.. p. Badiou's preoccupation with the place of 'thinking humanity' in Beckett's work . 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' . 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. Joyce'. in his later IV i I . in Badiou's terms. ' [N]ot only do l i lt' Illinima coincide with the minima.

. I II I' I . led to irony and suspension. . . is an entirely ' ! �nglish' writer. Bruno . It inscribed into verdicts and conclusions what. surviving. . 1\. . in I hc English. . Whence Badiou's Beckettian programme.the language of Descartes. as formulated in 'What Happens' : 'To relegate the divine and its curse to the periphery of saying. " I . [ . . . . without either hope or hopelessness. of an immobile power that keeps the excessive precision of the English language at bay. I . " I . French . more detached.'I alone am man and all the rest divine' . from a 'nihilistic' substrate of corporeality and animality . For we can say that Beckett. . . . The French language changed the paradoxes of the given into metaphysical problems. • . I. I. from a French perspective. A u thor's Prefa ce • " :1 " . more empiricist. more mobile. . ! !ere then is what I have tried to say about Beckett in French brought back i l l i o English. .from the classically humanist pronouncement from 'Dante .whence the emblematic nature of Pozzo's exhortation: 'Think. . moving contrariwise to my French capture of this immense writer of the English language. as rare but Immortal subject ofthe event. Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r----- L Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett 1 8 In this respect. I .' I " I '. to consider how the capacity for thought which sustains Badiou's Beckettian venture into philosophical anthropology also signals a caesura within man separating him. it would be of interest . and 'blessed' with immortality only through the arduous fidelity to a vanishing event. ! I .' At the antipodes ofthe divine. relentless. Beckett's great philosophical referent .• . Vico. . and consigned to the excessive language of his desire. . p. Beckett's French XXXIV " • . ] Humanity is divine jecta. .changed picaresque characters into the witnesses of the reflexive Subject. Joyce' : 'Humanity is its work itself. which amount to something quite different than translations. W ho can fail to see that in English any of Beckett's fables simply do not sound the same? They are more sarcastic. into victims of the cogito. " • " . . ' I . It also permitted the invention of a colder poetics. 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. pig ! ' . In short. . . 22). He is so even in the translations made on the basis of his ( I Wn French. . : . 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. and to declare man naked. • I • • J \ .:r . it would be interesting to measure and interrogate the gap that separates the dictum from The Unnamable of which Badiou is so fond .

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

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

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

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

" I II' . I . I . . 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. but perhaps. and which is reflection as slIch. 1 1 3)Y . If there were only the fictional set-up of the grey black. or how it went. II. no doubt always will. movement and rest. 9 . it dates far back in Beckett's work. � . that presence entails no meaning whatsoever. but not with the existence I ascribe to them (eSp. This name is the beam lfleau] in I lIe I I eraclitean balance. is itself not an I 1 I I Is i on.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. ' I. the movement that goes from the void to the cogito. " . p. said and missaid. . 45).1 5 what did not exist. the cogito. " . p. Rather. . that presence without. " " . p. :: . that presence between. that presence within. Such an idea could not exist because what remains of it for us is p l l rcly a proper name: 'void' or 'nothing' . The reference to the cogito is explicit in many texts. The clearest statement about this question is perhaps to be found in Watt. and. which is precisely its unsayable " . . .I" .I. But I I l erc is something that comes before this localisation of being. of things that never existed. ' • . GSP. thirdly. t h a i i t is impossible to say more about it than that it is a subtraction from l'\islence. ' . p. ' I . 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. Existence is that of which it is possible to speak. And.. 1 veritable being which is not an illusion. NO. p. . Following an ontological tradition that Beckett takes up in his own way. . above all.i ll.' I " " . . we already find the following: But I have always spoken. ' • . as long as it lasted. " " " " " . subtracted as it is from every degree. that it is distributed both within and without. we know that Beckett was raised on Descartes. 3 5). 1 1 6. . but that its prl'il:rred place is no doubt rather the 'between'. II I " '" . " . we can call being 'Presence' inasmuch as it 'inexists' for language. ' " " . .W US. • • " :. which maintains an undecidable distinction between existence and the being of existence. but it also proposes a non-being. p. whose virtues we h ave exhausted..16 .. ' . s i l lee it refers to the inexistence of being. 1 1 6). from 1 945. I k s i des.--------� Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----� ---------� l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett \\' I wle existence 'indistinguishes' itself. " . which is a gift of I w i l lg [donation d 'etre] from what is not in a position to exist. That being qua being is subtracted from language is something that Beckett says in a great many ways. 10. this impossibility is also a prohibition. " I II ' II : I. and 'inexists' for language. and the third one. the place of the grey black. Secondly. : 1 : . l i ne i s what Beckett has to say in this regard: So I shall merely state.I : . despite the anti-Cartesian statements that I quoted above (concerning the cri tcrion of evidence). . 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). ' .. 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. that i ll my opinion it was not an illusion. that presence. In First Love. p. no doubt always shall. a point that is often made about Beckett. 43. though I'll be buggered if I can understand how it could have been anything else (W. '" . we would be forced to agree that we are very close to the vmious negative theologies. is itself very Cartesian. I . . This equivalence does not amount to an opposition between well saying and ill saying. If being presents itself at the grey black place 8 This text tells us three things. " . 42. . without enquiring how it came. More generally. p. whereas the being of existence remains subtracted from the network of meanings.. . something I hat cannot be reduced to the being of the inexistent. but rather a certainty without concept.1 4 The main effect of this conviction is to split being and existence asunder. In a certain sense. . by means of the always possible equivalence between dit and mal dit. it presents the missaid as the essence of language. the interval. . Indeed. Beneath its absence of sense. This delicate separation between the thing that does not exist and the same thing which . . it effectively proposes . .inasmuch as it is seized by speech . speech [la parole] or logos.. I ii . or that existed if you insist. it states that being inexists in language and that consequently. as Molloy says: ' all language was an excess of language' (T. :: I : . consequently. TN. 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). we can call 'Presence' that aspect of being which remains unpresented in the existent. ' . But it is precisely being's subtraction from language that arranges it between its first two categories. Firstly. I · · I . .

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

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

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

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

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

Two. . [Pause. 79). .A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----:. and the poetics of its name.to meanings. and now a meaning evolved. or else propose an entirely different one. E. mean something? ( '[)W. in which one is supposed to bring the incident. . What time the event recedes. In W there certainly is a chance that something may happen. but what-comes-to-pass . and with greater or less pains.�. only this third hypothesis. mean something ! [Brie I I A M M: We're not beginning to . Knott's house). Forthwith the uncommon common noun collapsion. The interpreter creates nothing but an agreement between the incident and that from which he separated himself at the beginning . by means of a well-conducted interpretation.1 y title ofthe text.with an entirely different l Ia l i l i ng '11\ Tat i on. Beckett dissociates what-comes­ to-pass from any allegiance .'nsc of the term). if this is all there is. captive to a problematic of meaning. into agreement with the established universe of meanings. . other.' . in his relations.] ( ' 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. or hermeneut.OV: Mean something ! You and I. 'Ill seen ill said' designates the possible agreement between that are attached to the monotony of the place. p. 32-33)35 Ultimately.even an invented one . on t hI. Of course. Here is the passage that lays out the hierarchy of possibilities that are open to Watt as the interpreter. And what does 'ill said' mean? · I I I C well-said is precisely the order of established meanings. starting with the \. . that ofnaming. However. Indeed.after a delay of varying length'). after a delay of varying length. Beckett replaces his initial hermeneutics . Reinforced a little later if not enfeebled by the infrequent slumberous. because the well-seen [bien-vu] is always framed by the The poetics of naming is central to III Seen III Said.Icy black of being. When suddenly to the rescue it comes again.the established universe ::urprise that belongs to the event-incident. W l lat truly happens cannot be properly seen [bien vu] (including in the moral " . awakens thought in a lasting manner (. pp. 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. We are therefore dealing with the agrcement between an event.does not preserve its character as a supplement or a breach.34 The hermeneut has three possibilities: if he supposes that there is a meaning to the incident he can retrieve it. 'I" att of meanings. Interpretation is /1 \ I hc incident. Confronted with a chance supplementation ofbeing. Beginning with the play Endgame. W US.] Ah ( ' I . Mr. but instead proposes to draw an I l i vented name out of the very void of what takes place.then this name cannot remain prisoner of the meanings " I ' the ill said. . 76. by Watt. then we remain prisoners of meaning as law and imperative. of the incidents: y. on the one hand. if the interpreter is the giver of t I t ! p i n the event to the network of meanings ..] I IA MM: Clov! '. How explain it? And without going so far how say it? Far behind the eye the quest begins. A slumberous collapsion. Here is a decisive passage concerning this point: During the inspection a sudden sound. Knott's house. and that which is . 1 07-1 08. " sense. which posits that the incident is entirely devoid of meaning and that it is therefore really separate from the closed universe of sense (Mr.l I hlracted from meaning (the 'ill said'). Then far from the still agonizing eye a gleam of hope. and thus cannot possess the capacity for isolation and "' � :"1 } • I . I hncby supplanted by a poetics of naming that has no other purpose than to >I ::. to preserve within language a trace ofthe incident's separation.which attempts [ . was now the initial meaning that had been lost and then recovered. 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. By the grace ofthese modest beginnings 20 21 .once it is captured and reduced by the hermeneut . he can generate one.the l I a m c ofthe ill seen . ] the meaning attributed to this particular type of incident. from the initial absence of meaning (W p. . pp. and now a meaning quite distinct from the initial meaning. . But if we do I l i anage to produce the name of what happens inasmuch as it happens . and demands its labour ('with greater or less pains ') . Startling without consequence for the gaze the mind awake. to . It thus belongs to the register t hai which is subtracted from the visible (the 'ill seen'). If instead he supposes that there is no meaning. We are still within the confines of an attempt ofthe hermeneutic type. . does not seek any meaning at all.\. l .

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

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

' . " " 7 . are extremely ns her I h. exists before the encounter. we must examine scx uat that Beckett's 'termina l' thought on its own terms . . God wilIling. In this set-up there is no particular hierarchy. " Iel ltor. immobile in the dark. " " .this schema of sexuation. . 135. and to explain this fact God is the simplest hypothesis.is in no sense either empirical or ical. tive and pa ssive positions. nothing to indicate that this or that one among the four figures is to be desired. I " . these figures are only the generic avatars ofexistence. It is this fourth position that the voice is not able to say. I " .43 Of course.called 'the tormentor's ' . the justice evoked here. .. This is the thought eSl ablishes the power of the Two as truth. precisely fortably to a structural and permanent Two. What we should note I wil l 1 l l 1ediately is that this doctrine of the sexes. l let you reflect upon these theorems. 2) To encounter someone in the active position. " . as a judgment about collective being. " " . something falsely pathetic in these conventional denominations. . " :. " . . Indeed. . 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 .l lI . The sack is very important. The joumey is that of a victim who abando ent I". Tw o . there are always fewer and fewer tins about. only solitude obtains. HII US. I I I : :' I" i i . '. dea r that the se figures are sexuated. 3) To be abandoned. ' 1II II Ieys and immobilities. No Two. 1 24). or distributed differently than the others. except by the chance crossing of two trajectories . I . Besides.ct us note that. the journey and immobility or.are bound together through 'stoic love' en a mortal crawling in the dark encounters another mortal crawling h. ! . the Two of duality. . Moreover. In sum. ' . . which Beckett tries to list. I . "I . .. " ' " " . . " . The figures of the Two are the tormentor and the victim. 4) To be encountered by someone in a passive position (someone pounces on you while you are immobile in the dark). .as long as we don't stop crawling. Prior to I his meeting.first theorem: only a woman travels. 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. and are tied to one another by the extorsion of speech. . In order to shed more light upon the matter.. of their t i l l I hc chance of the encounter. on the basis of an encounter hio log passive one I I I wh ich the active position . preferred. by the one encountered. I n fi n i ty Whilst Beckett's fables are subject to a number ofvariations. as figures of solitude. " . Beckett is careful to warn us that there is something exaggerated. which is neither destined nor predestined. 1" '" ' . . These are the four figural postures of the subject in How It Is: 1) To wander in the dark with a sack. but one day another sac w i l l be found . Becke because they refer 1 . .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 . _ •• >:1 . '/ 'pen wh food. "' " I . Love a n d its N u m e r ica l i ty : O n e . with his or her sack full of tins of k ('ourse . The words 'tormentor ' and 'victim' should not mislead us in this regard.1 pro nounce the words 'man' and 'woman'. Sexual difference is unthinkable except from the point ofview ofthe encounter. "" ' p l icated. p. It is very important to note that these figures are egalitarian ones. . Of I I I the dark. . in brief. I ". as it unfolds within the process oflove. These are the generic figures which cover everything that can happen to a member of humanity. Within this typology. are not the last word on Ac ion.I' I . The sexes cal led 'the victim 's' . one feature remains unchanged: love begins in a pure encounter. on the other. I " I I . . These postures are the consequence of a chance encounter in the dark. like everyone else. does not refer to any kind of finality. 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. " . " " " . 1 I . . This is the so-called 'tormentor 's' position. . we can nevertheless group the figures of solitude. on the one hand. It concerns only the intrinsic ontological equality of the figures of the subject. HII US. is not the realisation of any pre-existing I I n fact. . There 26 27 . " " " " . This is ' life in stoic love' (HII. . second theorem: whoever is immobile in the dark is a man. 62). r • • t . and the figures of the Two. . by the violent demand of a story. pouncing on them in ' the dark. tt does I I I:. and in particular no sexual duality. we will see that the positions of the victim and the tormentor designate everything that can exist by way of happiness in life. whose evidence is plo . however.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. . res ults of a separation. p. . ii . This is the position of the so-called 'victim'. all the other hypotheses. . The sexes are distributed as a result. the figures of solitude are sexuated in accordance with two tted out by How It Is: I " ('al exi stential theorems . they are equivalent to one another. p. I . " .and the . " . thus leading to the axiom of the three quarters concerning the relationship between truth and speech. Depending as it does 1 1 1 1 1 00 com victim and tormentor. . . whilst immobility in the dark applies to the abandoned torm are I . 69. but in a latent manner. p.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such is the case with movement: not only must wandering be detached. l a l es three l i e down).----- . a sort of differential of w hich we could say . in other words. the helpless . and even lose . 'I: . The destitution ofBeckett's characters . to speak unrepentantly of the stony ingratitude of the Earth. I . a mouth. In this separating function. I a nd the impotent. In Malone Dies. J . being (what there is. memories and words.72 Rectification. or Husserl's epoch!!. it is necessary to reduce humanity to its indestructible functions. and perceptible surfaces of mobility.. Declension. A ' character' is never anything but the assemblage . .JI 44 45 . . or indeed their wandering without any perceptible finality. It is this beauty that tells us what it is that Beckett wishes to save. the the paralytic.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. language (the imperative of saying. I ._--. is to separate. as well as vacillation of any identity whatsoever). I I " good part of his body. Innumerable in Beckett's prose are the blind. the appearances. which it both restores and obliterates. p. tends to set out the loss of everything I. �. in the end.I ' at one and the same time. the 'character' reaches a pure i mmobility. their strange fixity. moment in which movement becomes externally indiscernible from i( H f. the principal operations through which Beckett's writing attempts. HII US. __ __ __ 'il situation or of a problem to be enveloped in a unified prosodic movement 1. It is indispensable to take Beckett at his word: the word of beauty. ' l a me. p. But here again. ' ' injure himself. but since it is a matter of presenting by little.--------� -. those bodies that are reduced. the old who have lost their walking sticks. everything that has so often been taken as an allegory of the infinite miseries of the human condition . it is first of all necessary to suspend everything that is either inessential or doubtful. as a strange mix of the deceleration of prose and the acceleration of its dispersal . so that the point of immobility is constantly deferred.so exhausted is the prose . or the work on the isolation of terms. a demolition of that which delays the moment of immobility. or the phrased embodiment of variants. .'I I I ". no longer know where he is. In this dispossession. and to isolate. the word declares what we must disregard in order to face up to what may be of worth. Fiction.--_I a i __ i u ______ tt l A __n B a d_o_ On Becke_ __ __ 'il" . Interruption. --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. as an aleatory montage. their illnesses. and a cruel chatter. Declaration. or to collapse. 1 24).their poverty. which reduces the evidence of the world to that of the intentional fluxes of consciousness. If movement is undone. These are.that it is brought back to a point of movement. "I . Asce s i s a s M e t h o d In his own way. and in particular of the beauty that Beckett aims at.�-'-- - ---_. testified only by a minute tension. 1 3 5 . Expansion.111.--------� Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r-. Beckett's methodical ascesis functions: movement and rest (to go and to stall.. from the universal core of experience. or the maxims of comedy. rom all apparent sense. This is because movement is no longer anything but its own ideal mobility. This is why we must begin with the beauty in the prose.. or the tender cadence of disaster. The ' character' (Molloy. f I he essence of movement . which is always presented mbitrary. 1 ' . - '''. little by words for ill saying. or Moran) will I l l i siay his bicycle. it does not allow itself to be constructed otherwise than as the unattainable limit of an increasingly diminishing network of movements.- - -- - --- -- . rest itself is presented as the integral of movement and language. so as to be no more than a difference of rest. This is because the destiny of beauty.- . an identity. I I I a journey. Immobility would thereby find its complete metaphor in the corpse: ' dying' is the conversion of all possible movement into permanent rest. B eckett rediscovers an inspiration belonging to Descartes and Husserl: if you wish to conduct a serious enquiry into 'thinking humanity' [l 'humanite pensante] .the movement in movement . I . the irreducibility of the functions means that 'dying' is never death. To separate appearance. w i l l bring with it the destruction of all the means. or the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . When Beckett wishes to concentrate his attention on one of thc I i I tie. " I . ' .. ------ ---. .Beckett's advance !tlile I poetic incision of memory. or the function of emergence ofprose. a skull with two holes to ill see and an oozing of . . . in my opinion. that which exceeds it. according to its proper density. Beckett's poetics is thus constituted by a progressive alleviation of constraints. and. to a head. w h ich is not reducible to these three functions and to demonstrate that these I I l l1ctions are what cannot be abolished. a .. 1 1 1[' 1 1 1[' lI:: In the first part of his French oeuvre. " . impossibility of silence).' I I 3 . Elongation. the places. one sees how movement and language ultimately infect both being and immobility. outside supports.

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

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

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

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

II

II
I,

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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

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

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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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,

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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:

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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

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

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

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

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

ap that is attributed to a scission in being rather than to temporality . ' l � I��n B.[Pause. 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. I said again how I thought it was hopeless and no good going on and she agreed.e . 1 1 1 But the remainder of the play shows that the insistence of the fragment is not damaged by this abstract protest. This is especially the case when the tape's prose appears to rise to the level of philosophical formulation. SP.. . 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 . This interior aIterity refers to fact that an existence has no unity.in line with the favourite occupation of the inhabitants of the grey-black of being . 220 .. will be pl l. We lay there without moving. by way of fables and tender beauties. she said. . in an improbable and distance place. [Pause. Picking gooseberries. p.=. Krapp's commentaries are for the most part not very affable. bit of a breeze.1 08 Krapp s Last T ape ( 1 959) presents a ' character' . composed of both percep 111111 verbal elements that are completely foreign to Krapp' s real situation.:. without opening her eyes.. whose origin is by no means to be found in childhood or youth. functioning here like a kind of bill iding an indirect or diagonal safety).. p.I Ii' I " .. Ii . " III T ' that he was.it is beyond doubt that he must die interminably..:. I I .:. 220. and from side to side (CDW. a stratification ofthe subject itself.:..:: a: d i =-=-:. " I to various stories and reflections recorded onto magnetic tapes. p.1 09 ' I 'hen 'Krapp curses louder. before the stem! [Pause. and moved us.. 2 1 7.:. p. comments upon them and records these commentaries. gently.� a i . 1 . by the prose. but the eyes just slits.:. She lay stretched out on the floorboards with her hands under her head and her eyes closed.Krapp . Several pieces of this fragment.. SP.1 07 Krapp listens to fragments from these old tapes. up and down. Low.] Let me in. The other life radiates beneath thc 68 69 . saved by iard cushio�. 221 . listening to the fragment in complete absorption .��__ tt __ _ �II� I . SP. what a real encounter allows one to hear. 61). from the mouth of an other. indeed several variations. . SP. like in the following: .who listens after a few moments she did.uo At first.unshatterable association until my dissolution of storm and night with the light ofthe understanding and the fire .ented in the play.. .] We drifted in among the flags and stuck.. 57).] _ ):1 . that it is composed of heterogeneous sediments. rather pompous.wh l end up letting I : : t h i s 'other life ' borne by each and every one. 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. This is a voice that only appears to be his. hard to believe I was ever as bad as that. 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 - I " I' -upper lake.:. p.o u On Be cke_ -= . The voice that reaches us is thus in general a 'Strong voice. I I Il' tape (i.] I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. water nice and lively. Thank God that's all done with anyway (CDW. p. Krapp struggles to annul nostalgia by recourse to pure distance: Just been listening to that stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago... 62). which instead constitutes the subject's interior aIterity..::. because of the glare. and thereby proving to him the irreducible mu tible I I I I q"o [Ie Mo il This is a sublime fragment. 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.] I asked her to look at me and after a few moments . sighing.. .. We are dealing with another world. 222.::. I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened.(CDW. it authorises Krapp to evaluate III I II ()v at iI " . Whether they are gestural or practical.. But under us all moved.. switches off' (CDW. I"I presented situation (the place of being) could harbour in terms of truth 01' eternity.. with the punt. 60). to a colourful and sentimental universe. SP. The way they went down.. [Pause. . [Pause. then pushed out into the stream and drifted.. p. l ' I('ll lents such that no passage can be conceived between them and Krapp.I. clearly Krapp s at a much earlier time' (CDW. p. one at a time. bathed off the bank. being that of ltiplicity of . it thus lends greater consistency to the thesis concerning the impossibility of a cogito that would be capable of counting the subject as One. These three uses of nostalgia are systematically set out. Sun blazing down. 60) . p. Krapp wil and nostalgia: 1 I I 1 I lseif go. with the hypothesis whereby the grey-black of being is juxtaposed. in three of Beckett's works. p. but throughout the fragment remains intact.- I" ' Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r----- " �'I' ------. I noticed a scratch on her thigh and asked her how she came by it.

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

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

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

this is B eckett 's forem os t demarr. to IC 1 1 1 ission is to shelter these po mts of exceptIO .:: �o in How It Is.. Sudden all far. 140. pp. p. . p. . . -� �� --- For it was only by transferring it to this atmosphere. He - � I I I I. ] 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 .. " I . :=:. Three pins. reproaching you despaired too late (T. Existence is not dlsso ' . in the last analysis. TN. HII US. I. 128)132 1 1 . . p. And it is vvith hav ing Enough.A l a i n Ba d i o u On Be ckett r-----" "''''' 76 . . p . At the end of the methodical ascesls. .13 1 but there is also: _ • [ . like for Mallarme. L ik e . 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. . W G . as the following remark amusingly testi fies: ' think.. 'lsm. the o ne that asks then a little breath of fulfillment revives the bes eec h. 278 . Ived III the anonymlty o[the dlnI. p. n firom wh' h truth proceeds . Love. . Art' s It happens that something happens. sort The element of beauty is necessary. II I. :ack the little fables of above littIe scenes a little blue infernal homes. the true prayer at last. ntempt . ' a disappears . it is false that o ' . l I l ing (and why would hfe have a meamng? ls lt such a godsend. p. p. p. a contr0lied necesSI l aten t poem of prose.. out I . how shall I say. TN.129 . 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. 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 . Vasts apart. ss. p. y beauty thiS acceptable m atenaI 0[ a I'De with I �ut when it is seized b . 277) . 264. is born in the silent world. . meanIng?) . It 'at Bear at the end of Mallanne s Coup de des: . One pinhole.the pm and courage come to us.. ----- A l a i n B a d i ou On Beckett We are men (CDW. 78. 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. 'I · . I • I I I . f or noth . Sudden enough.II . II I' . wbo also Without doubt this is because . A g a i n Despair. makes up each and every exi ste nc e: on th e one � and. t e t within words. you say? I am rem ind ed of this Illagnific C:. the half-light where everything is pla ye d out" but which i ts e lf doe s not pla y a role. the slow constructi th . 46-47. 262). All least. which is entirely comp arable to the emergence of ( .<:::::�-:: llt pa ss ag e f rom Malone Dies. through tfis hole trU see . HII US. II . on the other. o set out the poem of the tireless deslre t Beckett fulfilled his task. I II I ' I! . like stars in anonymous place s. there is always 'the blu e there was then the whit: · � dust ' (HII..130 dead longings a=-:3d a munnur af fectionately :od so long. 1ll wh'ICh the weakne " I I . a subterranean lighting that I have named of diffuse ligh ty m C lew rare coIours. he was lIke Moran mMo/lo).. 70). I ws of desire ' ' - But if it is best to de spair at the right m om en t.. . of 77 I' . . 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. No move and sudden all far. 1 1 1 . b ecommg nothOmg more man l I ' pt'l i tion and obstmacy of hfe. 76 . . the events that sudde1: e ly p opulate th e stage ofb eing. a o on of a world fashioned so as to allow one t the images. as a This is a painstaking task. 133 e nothing wlll take plac For Beckett. th m of being. hoIe th at saves us. " •• '. N h i l i the place ' . p.. .�� ----. NO. 1 1 ( )wing happens. .. I ' I I . These patiences are no t in themselves de serving of our .I . Beauty. o us.I· · ! • . o in the reconstituted fabnc of ur m ake them shine and retain the m stellar patience. k i nd of lethal glue' (T. ( 1 1 1 1 .134 . In dimmost dim.. p.in a far-away point . in ing .-->= �. ' . • I I " . to that 0f gaIaXles.. . ] Th e beauty of his prose com es from this motivation.. At bouuosof boundless void (WH. the ellpty l stage of being. 1 1 6). . is to be 'regarded I . I i l lS a super-existence comparable . .. That somethmg happens t . needed the element of beauty. B e a u ty. 54) . hol e s in the d __ stant canvas o f the theatre of the world. and. 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 . A rhythm. whose Kantian definition Moran IS w e l l aware of.. which as Malone says. e I II I I l i t of light in the di the I .

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

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

' i ll this operatio t segments are generally extremely brief: just a few words). I!i!I " . under the supposition of a commencement that itself never commenced. thereby reducing Beckett's work to its fundamental hypothetical system. I he pulsation within the language which is altogether unique. but on its philosophical tone.a recapitulatory text. But in truth. We could thus say that as a text it tends to offer up the rhythm of thought rather _ This is configuration. upon closer inspection.like III Seen III Said. there are significant differences between the French and English 'variants' . it is entirely . ' 80 81 . that is.. The imperative of saying is the prescription of the 'again'. even if. There is a kind of humorous pragmatism in the English text that is not exactly present in the French. Beckett always called the passage from one language to another a 'translation'. Nevertheless. What we will rI Iw l work of thought n . the opposite is true. "I .I' " . the II '. Somehow on (p. that it functions as a sort of filter through which the multiplicity of Beckett's writings is made to pass. ' I II I.. !'IIi . Al a i n Ba d i o u On ---Becke tt r-------- c"... in En 1 ' 0 .- ---- .. Since in this essay we will study the French version of the text. pOSSIble to take W orstward Ho as a short philosophical treatise. The French text we are dealing with. 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. 1 40 . ! . and refined . is not exactly by Samuel Beckett. � .into paragraphs. the problem oftranslation is complex.like in all the later I lL:ckett . which is altogether remarkable. Say on. it is entirely apposite to treat this text as if it were. organised . II nderstood as the incipit of the written text. rk. Having said this. with no French variant. It is not a text that penetrates into the singularity and power of comparison that belong to language . we can also sunnnarise W orstward Ho by the passage from 'Be said on' to ' Said nohow on'. W orstward Ho is tied to the English language in such a singular manner that its linguistic migration proves particularly arduous." - I!!II'I I.41' Ala i n B a d i o u On 1111111 \\ Beckett . if we compound these two difficulties. b ) S ay i n g . abov I I " l et L's wo or a shorthand of the question of being. for example. The question of knowing which text translates which is an almost undecidable one. 89). The first theme is the imperative of saying. II . This is a very old Beckettian I hcme. l l Ioe it allow e all. tha ( I I . especially in the English original. ! . as well as of returns to their theoretical hypotheses to be re­ examined.in an absolutely conscious fashion .what 1 called the 'rhythm' . In W orstward Ho. 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 : . The negation ('nohow') attests to the fact that there is no more 'on'. we have an absolutely English text. moreover.I I --- -- On. The text presents the possibility ofthe 'nohow on' as a fundamental alteration ofthe 'on'. it is not governed by a sort oflatent poem. Unlike the earlier texts. Therefore. Hence the obligation of finding support for our argument in the meaning rather than the letter.) cannot consider it in terms of its literal poetics. whilst. WI. Nothing commences which is not already under the prescription of the again or ofre­ commencing. We cannot immediately approach the signification of this text by way of its letter. by an extreme attention to rhythm."I 111 " I I. i I.. one takes stock of the whole of Samuel Beckett's intellectual enterprise. In Beckett.is the figure of scansion I"" . and there is a conceptual sincerity to the French text which is softened and sometimes. since he himself was situated at the interval of two languages. ' . p. It begins by: . B e i n g .and. and determining it as a continuation. on the one hand. We can thus say that the text is circumscribed by the imperative o f saying. � .. as a treatment in shorthand ofthe question ofbeing. the most recognisable but in certain regards also the most unrecognised o r his themes. p. It maintains a very deliberate and abstract dryness. 1 1 1. possibly contradicted or modified. To study it thoroughly it would be necessary to show how it is woven out of a dense network of allusions to prior texts. on the other. which is offset. Be said on.-. and a translation in the usual sense. II belongs in part to Edith Fournier. 7. . A second difficulty derives from the fact that this text is .139 And ends by: Said nohow on (p. in my view.' l i nguistic glish. just a bit watered down in the English. is stenographic figure belonging to the text and which. " 'I Ii' I I . for III Seen III Sa id. 1 1 6). for it really is a translation. given the 'be said'. 47. l lc hed by a kind of lis I. the translator.i . differences bearing not only on the poetics oflanguage.. 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'). 1 3 8 In Beckett's case. to commence is always to 'continue '.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. which says that absolute disappearance is the disappearance of the dim. seized as pure name and subtracted from every principle ofvariability. one makes a shade disappear. something which is nevertheless impossible. . 42-43. and therefore as the disappearance of the dim. The unworsenable void cannot disappear. leastmost dimmost. Then all go (p. If one asks: What can disappear absolutely? The response is: The dim.i . Unworsenable void.. But one must not forget 100 101 . 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.which is impossible in its regard . for example. Less then? All shades as good as gone. Void cannot go. in a manner resembling the functioning of drives. 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. ' ' Ii:. . there is no metaphor for the void. Here then is the great passage on the void: All save void_ No. Void most when almost. . within it.-------­ ------=�. the other. Till dim back.!. 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. Void too. the desire that the void be exposed as such. ilill __ l A _=�n B--=--=---=-�o u On Becke____. Never less. p. A pox on void. . 1 8. ] (p. the disappearance of the void is subordinated to the disappearance of the dim. 1 7.1:. Never more. upon the void 'in itself'. The one can go. but that this desire for disappearance is without object. fails. which is that in it the 'maximum' and the ' almost' are the same thing. .159 The experiment. 160 'Say child gone': Beckett attempts to approach the question at an angle. Say child gone [ . The void is subtracted from that which suggests an art within language: the logic of worsening.I i Ii' . From the void. . The void qua pure nomination remains radically unworsenable and thus unsayable. ----- AI a i n B a d i o u On Becke tt r-'---_" ""_". Void then not that much more again? No. Save dim go. Never since first said never unsaid never worse said never not gnawing to be gone. so that the two names of being do not function in the same way. which is the one-woman. Dim can go. Say only. being but a name. How try say? How try fail? No try no fail. Save dim go. In the subjective register. which is the old man/child-two. Let us note that this is not the case with the dim. The dim can be dimmost. p.(p. the name of the void sets off a desire for disappearance. M ov e m e nt . the same.. All not already gone. Then all back. the 'maximum' and the ' almost' coincide absolutely. . p. Worst when almost. As good as gone. The void cannot but be said. I I ) A p p e a ri n g a n d D i sa p pe a ri n g . The void. the void cannot. but if. All not still gone.a d i -=-�______ tt -o r language. [As I've already said. When you say 'the void' you have said all that can be said. The void will always counter any process of disappearance with the fact that it is effectively subtracted from worsening. As good as gone. only arouses the desire for its disappearance. perhaps a greater void will ensue. this subtraction results from a property of the void. If then not that much more than that much less then? Less worse then? Enough.-AB] Void cannot go. As soon as one touches upon a void that is not an interval. From the stare. the argument tied to the void summons all of the Platonic supreme ideas. and you possess no process that could elicit the metamorphosis of this saying.but the absolute impatience of this pure name.158 113). which is the void and the dim. The question is that of knowing what becomes of movement and rest. For example: On back to unsay void can go [disparition du vide]. annihilated. as one can see. i 97). . That the void is subtracted from ill saying means that there is no art of the void. Void then not that much more? Say old man gone. since one is dealing with a shade-infested void. 96Y57 __ I' " . It is this experiment that the continuation of the text describes: Say child gone. Old woman gone. the last two categories in the five primordial genera of The Sophist. It will also be remarked that. I: . In the skull the void arouses not the process of worsening . In other words. 1 1 3). because. Unmoreable unlessable unworseable evermost almost void (pp. p. Then all go. I " I f 1 Together with the supposed movements of appearance and disappearance. the void. . The twain can go. 42. for there is here nothing but a name.:I' ��I a i -. and therefore of metaphor or metamorphosis. We have being. I .

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

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

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

But. . the hypothesis of the real end of the imperative of saying. together with a te seals the process of worsening as interminab le. which is like its absolute retreat into the inte rio of this state to a limit positio in hing that had been said. Finally. The hypothesis of a seeing without words will be forwarded. independently of any thesis concerning the world. . No ooze for seen undimmed. of variations . bem�.1 7 l beyond sa ion . an imperative of sa in conditions will be modified in and by the event its own cessation. " ..e. Because from this point onwards. Such last state. the same and the other . 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."""'" consciousness is retracted in order to try to apprehend the conscious structure that governs these operations. All so seen unsaid. together with a hypothesis of a dIsappearance of words.leastened' ) to the statement of or expose. Worse in vain. in partIcular because for itself it is always 'not gone' . Ultimately. there is an entire doctrine of time.. In W . .1 shall not develop these experiments any further. A name commands a saying..:i I' . the skull or subject cannot really be subtracted from seeing and �aymg. . All gnawing to be naught. 40. A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett orstward Ho.pace. 46 .I I I . Latest state.A I a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---. I ---. . Let me simply indicate the essent required in order to get points. It is at this point that we witnes s the that links being. Never to be naught (p . said and outlined in the text. 109 " . A hypothesis of .II' i".' . Same vasts apart. but an experience is an ill saying and not a saymg proper. this is a pure abstract hypothesis. by being able to be sa id of language. .in a moment introduced by ' sudden' .170 ------_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . When nohow on. This means that there is no experience of being. . we remain within the parameters of the minimal se Until page 45 and thought. . 172 � ' Here is what is exposed.. i Here it would be necessary to explain the text in greater detail. the last just described: it things.are worsenable (from the point of view of the skull) and are therefore objects of experience of . existence the strict sense . We are dealin� with a protocol of seeing that remains undimmed when the hypothesis of a dIsappearance of words is made. No ooze then. All undimmed that words dim. 'I :.. once the recapitulation is complete th Its maxim is: 'Worse stanc in g . And it will be noted that there is then a better seen [du mieux vu] . First of all.. I. Then all seen as only then. Like Husserl 's epoche. as well as an untenable hypothesis. an event prepared production of an event in e have a last state. . 1 1 5) . " " . only a name of .1 1j' ' I . of ho st of other things . 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. And thus we shall maximal degree of purification.1 1'1 q ) T h e Eve nt t-up . Till . sudden imperative of language. 1 12). No ooze for when ooze gone (p. . I. 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' . which remains a hypothesis annihilat arrange. .I . In this hypothesis. In it ooze again. For when nohow on. ofwhose trajectory we shall have to say more . the shades . gins with the recapitulation of the last state : Everything be I .a sort of di brusquely occurs r n. S �con ly. some light is shed on being. from ill seeing. we could go on forever. whose compl ial to the bottom of it.'. something til page 45 ( 1 1 5) . At least un exity is such that long analyses would still be ds e happens. p. This state is seized by the impo ssibility of the saying of the state of ying. Dimmed.. the void is unworsenable once it is caught in the exposition of the dim. Same stoop for all. No trace on soft when from it ooze again.:ords without seeing will also be made. Ooze alone for seen as seen with ooze. It can only be subtracted in formal experiments [experiences]. one that is actually impracticable. As if everyt l11 th e ly found itself at an infinitesimal distance fro its last state.I I' .i. p.' save dim go ' . 'I " I. Here is one of the protocols ofthis experiment: Blanks for when words gone. .will The event ying reduced (. 1 . The last or latest sta cre in vain' .'I I . What will re have a saying that has reached an absolutely be said. if we recapItulate our argument about the question of disappearance we can obtain three propositions. I I I somehow less in vain. "I" .a discontinuity. 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. artIstIc exposItion.I " . ll this movement is absolutely parallel to the i rru pt io It must be noted that 108 . Undimmed.

in the crossing out of its name and date of existence. doubling the scene that was primordially established. the figure i s given from the moment that the shades become the symbol of being of an ex istel1cc. " " . One pinhole. Vasts apart. This sounds very close to 'on high perhaps. you also have the migration of the place: what was dim. .it is as though a kind of addition took place. a scene in which a metamorphosis of exposition is presented . From the point of view of the poetics ofthe text. etc. this figural preparation.. or unnameable place.I . .:�-=-. .a closely related metaphor. in a passage whose imagery of discontinuity should alert us. or a 'siderealisation' [sideration].. For thought.. literally becomes a gravestone." '.I . and takes place on a scene situated at a remove from the one at hand. consists in the altogether unpredictable metamorphosis of the one-woman into the gravestone. It could be said that it is on the background of these ' graves of none' . ... Immediately prior to this passage. Ii " I" . as far as place can fuse with the beyond . In our text. I call this a figural preparation.:.I " " .. Likewise. . we would need to demonstrate that this evental configuration . an exercise in worsening. p. we can say that every event admits of a figural preparation. :1 . we find the following: Nothing and yet a woman. to the purity of its possible cessation. In this moment when there is nothing more to say but 'behold the state ofthings. p. Just as in Mallarme the question of the dice-throw results in the appearance of the Great Bear. . and when you have the grave. At bounds of boundless void' . the Constellation is prepared by the figure of the master.a sidereal metamorphosis. . evental character of this limit-disposition is marked by the fact that the ' sudden' is devoid of movement: ' Sudden all far. This addition is sudden. Sudden all far. Best worse no farther. Nohow naught.:.:. \'.is acsthetically or poetically prepared by a specific figure.- Alai - -____""_1 . .we shall see why. No move and sudden all far. becomes a graveyard. On unseen knees. I . . 111 !I . which deserves to be admired. or leastened. Nohow less. 1 1 5). of the Constellation at the end of Mallarme's Coup de des. ' Enough' : Enough. It is not a question of the disappearance of the dim. " This passage is absolutely singular and paradoxical in relation to what we have argued hitherto. "I . the anonymous tomb opens onto the astral pin. the old woman herself has become a grave. because it makes a metaphor emerge with regard to the shades. . but a separation. the configuration of possible-saying is no longer a state of ar. 1 10 . Not an 'on' ordained or prescribed to the shades. but of a retreat ofbeing to its very limit.. It is an event. on this new stoop. n Bad =----. In that old graveyard.1". it is another scene.." ' I would simply like to insist upon a few points. The intratextual. the things ofbeing' (which Mallarme says in the form: 'Nothing has taken place but the place') . Nohow on. In Mallarme. an overall configuration in which one will be able to say 'nohow on'. they are in fact the same thing: at the moment in which there is nothing more to say but the stable figure of being. there emerges.. we have a grave. Names gone and when to when. ' !. the subject is now given only in the erasure of its name. }. . . void. in a suddenness that amounts to a grace without concept. Secondly .. but simply 'nohow on' . 1 73 . call1ing forth the vessel's captain.there is the passage: 'Vasts apart. 1 1 6). :. the stoop of the one-woman. -:' . Old and yet old. that this maxim represents the last word on what the imperative of saying is capable of.this ' sudden' . a constellation. a page before the event at the limits. ' 1 74 I am absolutely convinced that Beckett's three pins and Mallarme's seven stars are the same thing. . . ---- . In Beckett. it is because the element of the place has managed to metamorphose into something other than itselfthat the evental rupture ofthe constellation is possible. abrupt.:. And on the stoop ofthis gravestone.. the analogy is a conscious one .Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--. In dimmost dim. First of all. 45. It is an heing. In my view. . i o u On Beckett . likewise what was counted in the dim will here be fixed in pinholes . Therefore it is not a change. . Stooped as loving memory some old gravestones stoop. No move and sudden all far' . The one-woman. In Worstward Ho. that the 'enough' indicates the possibility of the event.making me think that the Mallarmean configuration is conscious . . a one-grave.::. " . At bounds of boundless void.when one thinks that the text will stop there. I ." i '. Here is the passage introduced by the clause of rupture. 46-47.1 75 .!i " . Said nohow on (pp. However.. creating an af i ncalculable distancing. drowning himself on the surface of the sea. Three pins. The stoop opens onto the sudden.the 'on' of saying reduced. I . In Coup de des. II! I I' " .I. . " .' 'I Ii 1 '1 . in Mallarme 's poem we have the foam becoming vessel and. " . in so doing. In effect. in rupture. All least. Sudden enough. Stoop mute over the graves ofnone (p.i . that it always possesses a pre-eventalfigure. Whence no farther. . We have a transmigration of the identity of the shade into the figure ofthe gravc. .. Nohow worse.

by a mutation internal to saying.I i . _ ' III! " :I 1 ' . on which we find the name. That is all. The first forbids sleep.like Godot. the proper mode of the good within saying . existence attains a symbolism of being. one must fall asleep a little. an event must go beyond the last state of being. A�d . the imperative of saying as such. • .that is.? A . To sustain it without naming it. floating above its own ruin and on the basis of which all can begin again. and sleep between attempts.I . W hat Hap p e n s 1 78 I I. Then and only then can I and must I continue. like Molloy in search of his mother. An altered ontological scene doubles the last state. there is also repetition.. Translated by Alberto Toscano Revised by Nina Power " Yes.. with thIS fIgure 0 1 suddenness that seizes the prose. • i! • I. through the saving interruption. This ineluctable recommencement can be called the unnameable of saying.:. . all can and must recommence.through the suspension of the question. I approve of his being a French faun. if not the gravestone.:.. Having been figurally prepared.. there is in Beckett what does not happen. in a simulacrum of the void. of which Rimbaud was the foundmg poet . in order to recreate the conditions for obeying this imperative. such that the nature of what one will be able to pronounce with regard to being changes drastically. 177 .1 I'!. Ultimately. rather than an Irish insomniac. And what will remain in the end? Well. In this regard. which proves to be not the last. To sustain the ' on' and to sustain it at the extreme. incandescent point at which its sole apparent content is: 'nohow on' .1 76 And the good .. of course.:. . the time necessary to conjoin.i I .is to sustain the 'on'.: '-- - What is the symbol of being of an existence. This is because Mallarme. the dim half-light of being and the intoxication of the event. But in order for this to be. But why not begin instead with what happens. like he forbids death. what insists on not happening .precisely the one that constitutes itself all of a sudden.I' l _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ AI a i n Bad i a u On Beckett r------" """ - ' L" Al ai n Ba d i a u On Beckett ��::::���:. after the work of poetry one can also return to the shade . -----! Ii . having posited. once and for all. but graveyard. its ' on'. but only the latest. One must remain awake. can rest content with 'tries in view of better' [d 'essais en vue du mieux]. that a Book is possible.0- 112 . an event is what happens so that the latest state of being will not be the last. like in the discouragement that afflIcts the bodIes busy looking for their lost one in the cylinder of the world. Perhaps the entire difference between Beckett and Mallarme lies here.. I!' • " i . this saying is the terminus of a sort of astral language. 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'. ofthe 'nohow on'. 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. For the second. There is a state supernumerary to the last state . a saying on a background [f ond] ofnothing or ofnight: the saying of the 'on'. Unless. i i. as well as the dates of birth and death.:. I. The grave presents the moment when.I.

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

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

as the negative to the unrel en t i n g positivity of its own discourse.!I I" i I. 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 . 1 "1 --Ifl .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' . For it has invariably adopted the point o f . . 111 I. Badiou argues that the tradition has too often made of Beckett an absurdist or existentialist. 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.1 . ! II ' rI " '1 . a nihilist or tragic pessimist. Badiou . it has effectively always contemplated Beckett as its own opposite.'. In doing so.

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

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

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

love). . 2). For Begam's Beckett. but rather suggests that they share a complex and problematic interrelationship. Like Rimbaud and Mallarme. Beckett decides a universe into existence. This 'determination' is neither an objective essence nor established in its right to existence. 127 . Yet his own account of Beckett takes a very different direction to Trezise's. This is hardly surprising. 'Infinite alterity. Here again. says Badiou. the Same and the Other. 1 3). Beckett writes. the subject. Connor 's concept of a Beckettian ' self-constraint' actually bears a certain resemblance to what Badiou means by 'restricted action ' . p. .constituted by and as the work . 'repetition enacts a : I. but rather with the 'restricted action' of what Badiou calls ' writing the generic'. 'to certain major functions or axiomatic terms' (Movement. Connor does not simply assert the power of repetition over that of newness in Beckett's work. establishing its own internal samenesses or consistencies. Beckett tends to dissolve the difference between repetition and difference itself. his is a philosophy of sameness rather than alterity. the Mallarmean poem � in 'Que pense Ie poeme?': the poem or work cannot be general or refer to any generality. He argues that repetition brings with it ' a principle of difference' . Nor does Connor read it as a centring or unifying force in Beckett's work. But the most significant and influential study of repetition in Beckett has been Steven Connor's Samuel Beckett: Repetition.:!ii "'1 � � � � � � � � . anthropologism insistently returns to 'a set of ideas . It proceeds axiomatically. since. p . disons. at the very point at which the decision as to the being of the I hi ng in question is made. there is no rupture that is not a repetition. and therefore as without any great importance. for example. as its own universe. 1 87 Badiou would certainly have no interest in mounting a defence specifically of phenomenology or phenomenological readings of Beckett. . " 'II . This means that that art is everywhere intrinsically ambivalent: in Murphy. What matters crucially is not alterity or ' the infinite multiplicity of differences'. 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.. and l Ala i n Bad i o� On Beckett u � � � � � � . p.under the rubric of the event. �' ' . 'what happens' . according to Connor. In its self-constitution. Beckett's work is therefore not read as a diagnosis of its own condition. . 20 1). The Beckettian project is rather a question of determination and therefore also a mode of action. . :"" ' . For Badiou's Beckett is not concerned with a concept of the general. this does not mean that it is a philosophy of inexorable recurrence. but sameness. Nothing confirms the universe . --- 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. it proffers not knowledge but thought. Something like the reverse is true: Badiou is intent on sustaining a thought of the radical break . in his Ethics. to certain responses to these questions (the grey-black of Being. in Beckett. Richard Begam. 1 26 proceeds to make it consistent on the basis of that decision. Indeed. p. particularly with regard to what has tended to be its concern with repetition. The point is not exactly that Trezise's concept of alterity has no meaning for Badiou.-- ----. Theory and T ext. (We shall note a little later that this emphasis creates certain problems for Badiou).as having a right to exist. I i I 1 ' I! i . If. on the basis of a soit. The work has no object or objectivity. the Logos). but rather that he sees alterity as banally self-evident.. . 1 89 In its singularity. 65).' he writes.. understood as a feature not ofwhat exists already but of what 'comes to be' . which themselves participate in the anthropocentrism they are meant to transcend'. It constitutes itself as a form of thought that is self-grounding or self-constituent. the solipsistic torture of the subject. he suggests that Beckett's practice 'instances the powerful possibilities of reproduction over the sterile compulsions of replication' (Connor. Rest. reads Beckett in terms of a Derridean scepticism according to which every attempt to move 'beyond' or 'outside' metaphysics. to certain questions about these functions (the place of being. ' " . In this respect.. I . mean something quite different by affirmation to what the existential humanists meant). What emerges in this denial of objectivity is pure thought or the Mallarmean 'pure notion' . But Connor's Beckett can imagine nothing beyond the ' self­ constraining movement' of his art. all of Beckett's genius tends towards affirmation' . It is thus that he produces what Badiou calls his axiomatics ofhumanity. This is generic work. and yet.if within a set of rigorous conditions . that it even activates a 'perverse dynamism of difference' (Connor. his thinking takes a different tack to the new Beckett criticism. it aims rather to deny or depose the obj ect. above all. mettons. the event and its nomination. humanism. in doing so./ . as Badiou adamantly maintains. in Badiou's understanding of it: Beckett reduces experience to a set of significant minima. for example. It is worth reflecting here on what Badiou says about the poem � and. the work of art is pure affirmation (which is how Badiou can claim that 'in an almost aggressive way. It is not an index of an essential paralysis. _i - t: "'. Repetition does not necessarily have a stymying effect on Beckett's world. or supposons que. 'is quite simply what there is' . He commits himself to a treatment of that which alone constitutes an ' essential determination' (see ' The Writing ofthe Generic' i n this volume). the existence of the pair).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lapaire comme un seul s 'en allant tant mal que mal. left the English 'homes' in the French text. trois. Un trou d 'epingle. the second to the Grove edition. celle qui ne sollicite rien. pour etre ensemble. Soudain tout loin. I 'humanite c 'est nous. ] (p. 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. en ce moment. in the notes. L 'ainsi dite penombre. . Alors disparition f de tout (p. 1 03). comme I 'enf solitaire qui se met en plusieurs. definalite sans fin. 1 37 [Molloy was in part translated in collaboration with Patrick Bowles. to be presented in his forthcomingLogiques des Mondes (Paris: Seuil. 62). Sau disparition de lapenombre.a nous plaise ou non (p. 1 99) [In Badiou's quotation the sentence reads inf infernal' . ] considere comme une sorte d'agglutinant mortel [ .however. it seems that Beckett has here. 1 1 0). I . . 92-93). 24).- r---_. 1 72). 1 40 Soit dit plus meche encore (p. which Badiou has in turn read as an erratum. .] . existence. 7). vous reprochant a ectueusement de vous etre desespere trop tard(p. 130 Les yeux uses d 'o enses s 'attardent vils sur tout ce qu 'ils ont si longuement ff prie. . Comme desormais deuxpour lapaire. 1 45 Ce que c 'est que les mots qu 'il secrete disent. 45).] ant 1 39 Encore. inPetit manuel d 'inesthhique (Paris: Editions du Seuil. Aux limites du vide illimite (p. Comme desormais trois pour la tete (p. ff 1 72). 'The Expelled' and 'The End' were translated in collaboration with Richard Seaver. D 'autresf eraient aussi bien I 'a aire. 2003). Tout moindre.] 1 3 3 Assez. la vraie priere enfin. . the first page number refers to the Calder edition. sections of which will appear in English in Alain Badiou. Nul mouvement et soudain tout loin. Hopefully. 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. . 1 3 5 C 'hait seulement en Ie deplac. dans fa nuit (pp. dans la derniere. 146 [Badiou is currently developing a systematic approach to the relation between being and appearance. comment dire. 22). 136 [Originally published as 'Etre. and the two brief texts 'The Image' and 'The Cliff' were translated by Edith Fournier. . L 'appef que nous venons d 'entendre. Dans l 'obscurissime penombre.] 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. Quoi l 'ainsi dit vide. i'. 129 Nous sommes des hommes (p. ] (p. 62). 142 Rien qui prouve que celui d 'unef emme et pourtant d 'unef emme (p. We shall try to deal with specific issues as they appear. A des vastitudes de distance. 2004). des mots. as well as the way in which Beckett's own terminology is progressively appropriated into Badiou's prose. pp. 152 153 . Unless otherwise noted all references in this essay are to W orstward Ho. que c. rather enigmatically. T mal que pis encore (p. 45). 1 07). 'men homes (p. . 1 998). edited and translated by Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum.� � • I · . Dire encore. 148). c 'est plutot a l 'humanite tout entit�re qu 'il s 'adresse. vite._------' ------- Al a i n Badiou On Beckett Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett 1 27 Puis parler. 38). Many of the themes anticipated in these writings on Beckett find their logical and mathematical formalisation in this work. pensee: prose et concept'. 144 Desormais unpour I 'agenouille. 1 28 Ce n 'estpas tous lesjours qu 'on a besoin de nous. Theoretical Writings.ant dans cette atmosphere. • . Mais a cet endroit. Non pas a vrai dire qu 'on ait ff pYlkisement besoin de nous. I i 1 43 Ont suinte de la substance molle qui s 'ammolit les mots d'unef emme (p. et parler ensemble. :'if . 137-187. Et c 'est alors qu 'un petit air d'exaucement ranime les VIEUX morts et qu 'un murmure nait dans l 'univers muet. 134 [ . ant deux.] I . quej 'osais considerer Ie travail a executer (p. Soudain assez. Soit dit encore. 1 3 1 Ie bleu qu 'on voyait dans la poussiere blanche [ . . I 141 Disparition du vide ne sepeut. pourquoi pas. Les ainsi dites ombres. 132 [ . L 'ainsi dit siege et germe de tout (p. sinon mieux. often forcing us to test the resources of the English language in order to maintain the closeness of Badiou's reading.

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

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'.]

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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 [ . . . ]

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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].
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(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).
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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).

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' 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

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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

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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

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En 1 73. 40. 85. 48. 83. 1 09. 30. 3 1 . 66. J-P. 1 3 3 despair 4. 44-47. xxx. xvii. 54. 34. 44. 25. 1 8. 9. 1 7. 64 Kafka. 82. 40. En84 couple. En 1 75 nihilism xii. 1 9. 68. 55. 1 07. 1 14. 46. 1 7. 1 0. 3 1 . xxiv. xxii. 38. 88. 7. 75 Husserl. xxxii. 129. 72. En50 Mallarme. 4 1 . 5 1 . 2 1 . 1 14. 1 7. 1 2 9. passim ch. 66. 26-33. 1 24. 133 Lacan. 1 20. 1 07. xxvi. 132. 60. 1 23 repetition xiv. 48. 7 1 . 67. 12. 4 1 . 2. 23. xxx. 44. 22.1 26. 37. 9. 1 26. 22. 38. xxv. 7. 7. 77 event passim intro. 76 courage xii. 7. 67. 3 0. 1 1 0. 77. 6 1 . 74. 1 1 5 figures xv. 4 1 . 4. 33. En 1 3 7 localisation xxiii. 30. 50. En 1 70 exhaustion 1 1 . 3 1 . 1 7. 45. 1 1 5. 1 8. xv. 1 14 count. 1 1 7. xxv. 1 33. 1 32 freedom 1 8. 1 27. xxxii. 3 0. 50. 6 1 . 26. 1 06. 54. 1 26 Sartre. 64. 5 1 .1 5 . xviii. 23. 28. 28. 14. 66. xx. 8. 53 encounter passim intro. 135 memory xvi. 96 optimism 24. 1 2 3 . 9. 1 26. 1 1 1 . 77. M . 80. 3. 73 open. En76 Plato xxii. 26. 63. 45. 1 1 0. 52. 1 3 1 . 1 28. 106. 8 8 jokes xix. 54. I I. xxv. 98. 29. 1 07. 1 1 5 Dante xiv. the xxiii. 88. 56. 35. 70. 35. 67. 1 5. 128 Descartes. 1 20. 5. 90. 56 cogito xiv-xxxii. . 16. 68. 1 16. 22. 1 1 1 . 76. xxxii.' . 98. 62. xxxi. 4 1 . 1 26. 47. 1 0 1 . 77. 4. 66. 3 1 . 1 3 5. M. . A. 28. 1 23 dark. 77. S. 53. 66. passim ch. 1 03. 1 0. 72. 5 1 . 55. 1 03 impasse. 32. 5 1 . xxii. 55. 1 30. 1 00. 55. 1 23. 75. 1 1 5 Ba d i o u On Beckett . xxi. 48. 14. 97. xxx. 38. xxvi. 1 32. 1 3 1 . xvii. 35. xxxii 2. 9. xxvii. 5. 6. 5 1 nostalgia 38. 52. iI . 1 12. xxvii. 4. 55-59. 74. 1 04. 28. xv. 66. xxxii. 39. 1 29. the. 55. 57 infinity xvi. 1 26. 9. 123. 1 32. 52. 42. 76 justice 26. 75. 3 1 .--------'. 88.. 74. 48 hope xii. xx. 32. 4 1 . xxi. 54. 52. ' . 47. 26. 1261 30. 1 24 desire xix.' 'I' . 86. 28. . 90 finitude xiv. radio 74 poem xxvi. 1 8. 39 non-being 2.1 2. 44. 4. 1 34. En5 1 . 74. 5 8. 4 1 . 29. 1 09. 8. . 1 09. 1 1 5. 60. xxiv. " . 132. 1 30. xxxi. 1 22. 128. 1 12. 37. 94. 33. 1 26. 12. . 2 1 . 34. 1 26. 1 1 . 50. 64. 56 procedures xvii. 57. 5. 1 2 1 . 5 1 . En30. 61 . xxiv. 1 8. the 14. 1 30. 122. 67. 1 06. 54. En 1 76 politics 33 predestination xv. 47. 8. 33. L Ala i n incidents 19. 65. 48. 62-65. 32. 44. 16. 2 1 . 46. 1 14. 23. 38. xxxiii. xxi. 60. 33. 63. 32. 1 27. xxix. 58. 8. 128 existence xvi. 9. 1 23. 88. 1 1 7. 3. 23. 1 091 1 1.1 03. 28. 1 34. 59. 1 7. 2 1 . 1 6. 47. xviii. xxxii. 6. xviii. 58. cinema 40. 1 8. I' . 65. 63-66. 1 3 1 . 1 30. 1 1 3. 20. 7. xvii. 1 3 1 . the 6. 1 8. 20. 2. 76. xx. xxxi. 3 1 . 40. 67. 45. 93. 128. I. 9. 1 26. 59. 76. 121. 44. 12. 2 1 . 60. xxiii. xxx. 16. 1 9. passim 40-77. 42 closed. 5 1 . 20. 7 1 . 40. xx. 1 03. 40. 28. 60. 77. 5 1 . 39. 24. 64. 3 1 . xxvi. 86. 77. 4. 64-67. 133 . 1 14. 70. 64. 47. xvi. 3 1 -34. 9 1 . 47. 1 3 . 33. 52. xxx. 55. 89-9 1 . 1 32. 33. xvi. 1 14. 6 1 . xvi. 2. 47. 32. xxiii. 85. 1 5 . 1 23. xxi. 63.2. 2 1 . 98. xxii. En4 other. 57. 19. 26. 53. 89. 6. 24. 4. En 1 76 mathematics xxiii. 54 place xv. 1 1 7. 1 3 1 multiple. 40 flux 1 . 1 3 6. 1 20. xxiv. 22. 46. 62. 23. 53. 1 02. 1 0. 22. 60. xxvi. passim 4-32. 40. 84. xxxi. 30. 1 2 1 . 128 Rimbaud. xxix-xxxi.3. 40. 29. 91. 52. 68. 44-47. A l a i n B a d i o u On Beckett) . 54. 63. 30. En50. 5. xxx. 38. 67. 32. 134 passivity 13. 93. passim 45-77.. 1 22. 1 0 1 . 1 1 5. 5 1 .1 3 1 . 88. 45. En 1 70 dying 1 2. xxx. 70 mobility xxxii. 7. 5 1 . 3 1 . 66. 54. 97. . 98 death 7. . 128. 75. 46. 39. 1 3 . 1 25. 1 32. 50. 1 1 . 22. 66. xxiv. the xxi. xxv. 1 08.' I 162 163 . xv. humanity. 1 14. 50. 14. 74. 33 Proust. 45. F. 54. En40 language passim intro. 54. 27. 6. 1 7. 33. xvi. 95. 60. xxiii. xxvii. xxi. 1 0. 1 3 . 30. 128 Heidegger. 88. 2 1 . 45. 103 love xvi. 20. 56. xx. the xvi. 39 Kant. 1 26 humour xiv. xxix. xix. 95. 49. 1 2 1 dialectic xxvii. 64. 73. 34. 1 22. 24. 1 29. 29. 25. 47. 56. 1 3 5 going 2. 1 1 1 . 65 movement xxii. 1 7. 72. 40. 67-7 1 . xxvi. 135 Heraclitus 1. xxvii. 1 0 1 . xxii. 124. En36. 3. 57-60.1 35. generic xiii. 90-95. 62 oscillation xiv. 1 3 5 existentialism xiv. 127 functions xiii. 1 1 4. 1 09-1 1 2. 3. xviii. (alterity) xv. 56. 49. 70. 6. 25-29. 60. 76. xxi. 123 plays. 1 9. 1 34 9 1 . 43 journey 6. R. 1 32. 40. 1 7. xxix. 55. 26. 1 32 . the 5. 3 1 . 47. 1 07 naming xxiii. 77. 56. 1 7. 4 1 . xxiii. xviii. 69. 1 2 1 . 20. 64. 22. 108. J.1 34 eternity 6 1 . xxiv. 33. xvi.En36 dim xxiii. 1 1 . 34. 1 22. 3. 12. . 1 28. 75. . E. 49. 2. 4 1 . 5 1 . 5. xxxi. 86. xxiii. xxx. xix.En29. 1 5 . in Beckett's work xiv. 1 08-1 12. 128. 1 1 3. 1 1 7. 127. 1 1 2. En2. xiv. 30. xxii. 79-8 1 . 128. xviii. 1 1 7. : music 4 1 . 7. 23. 50. 57. 49. 126. 1 07. 60 meaning 8. 39. 1 5 . 1 06. 1 20. 2. 1 24 immobility xxiii. 1 34 comedy xviii. 56. 77 knowledge 6. 24.1 00. 3 1 . 124. 1 03 happiness xvi. 50. 1 30. 1 27. 96. 97. 55. 1 05. 84. 19. xxi. 16.1 04. 1 5. 62. 77. 62. 5. 25-29. 6. xx. xxvi. 6. 50. 49. 3 1 . 1 1 7. 40 failure xvii.

ofbeing xxiii. 3 1 . 6. 1 20. 95. xxix. ­ A l a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----- 136 saying xiv. 5. 1 1 . 33. 2. 1 29. 58. 54-56.1 34. 77. 9. 1 0 1 . 1 07. 1 08. 65. xviii. 1 14. 66. 38. 19. 1 9. xxxii. 8. xxv. 1 7. 59. 1 6. 57. xxiii. 40. 73. 1 00. 1 3 1 solipsism xv. 129. 86.1 26. 72. 1 09. 47. 33.1 4. 7. 57. 75. 1 30 sexuation xvi. 66. 65. xxiv. 55. 77 Sophist. 48. 50. 1 25. 64. 52-55. 95. xviii. xix. 4. 13. 2 1 . 22. 1 6. xxiv. 2. 55. 123-125. 2 1 . 1 1 5. En25 torture xiv. 135 truth xi. xxiii. 74. 1 6. 66. 5257. xxviii. xxiv. 38. xvi. 1 30. 27. 1 29. 1 24. 59. xx. 1 23. 1 24. 74. 25. 66. 64. xxxi. 1 2. 22-26. 66. 23. 44. 33. xvii. • • • • • • • xxxiii. 1 3 5 terror xv. 89. 45. xviii. xxii. 12. xxxi. 1 0 1 . L. 52. 40. xxi. 32. xvi.1 03. 96. the passim intro. 3. 94. 8 . 69. En36 subtraction xxv. 1 0 1 . 1 3 1 . xxv. 22. 93 youth 37-40. 120. 75. 1 6. 60. 46. XXXi. 26. 59. 45. 22.. 1 1 6. 28.1 22. 1 7. 4. 59. 130 silence xi. 20.- I . The xxii. 3. 1 14. 1 4. 1 02. 42. 58. 1 29. 1 1 7. 1 28. 4. 1 28-1 30.1 3 1 . 35. 68 1 64 . En6 sense 3. 1 0. 5. the 40. passim 80-90. 5 1 . 2 1 . xxx. 1 1 7. 1 22 thought xviii. 1 05. 1 29. the xvi. 9 1 . 1 2 1 subject. 1 35. 1 28. 1 3 3 . 9 1 . 53. 34. 59. 55.1 1 6. xx. 7. XXVi. 1 4. 1 0. 1 26. 1 8 . 2 1 . 77. 4. xxx. 27. 4. 1 05. 60. 1 8 . xx. xxviii. 3 1 . 1 1 51 1 7. 1 1 1 . 46. 34. 1 9. 1 8. 96. 1 23. 33. 68. 29. 88. 67. xxvi. 1 20. 60.3. xix. 52. XXVll. 87. 1 5. xiii. 68. xxvii. 47. 1 2. 3. XXiX. 7 . 45. 22. 76. xix. 1 20. 53. 64.1 3 5 supplement. 93. xxv. 96. xxxii. 57. 5 1 .1 34. En 1 70 Wittgenstein. 1 1 0. 4. 20. 80. 40. 33. xix. 27. 1 3. 1 20. En50 void xix. XXXll. 84. 39. 98. 1 3 5 . 60.1 0. 1 00. 5 1 . 86. 3 . 64. 72. 55. 5. 1 32. 92. xx. xxix. 1 01 8. En 1 75 Two. 128 trajectory 2. En29 signification 55. 84. 56.1 26. passim ch. 22. 1 32. 9 1 . 76. 1 24. 25-29.1 6. passim ch. 49.. 7 1 . 58. 75.3. 4 1 . xvii. 9. xxv. 1 3. 1 24 theatre. 5 1 -55. 1 34. 3 1 34. 28.. 20.

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