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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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Contents
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Notes on References Note on the Contributors Acknowledgements Editors' Introduction - 'Think, pig!' Author's Preface

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2 Tireless Desire 3 Being, Existence, Thought: Prose and Concept 4 What Happens 5 Postface - Badiou, Beckett and Contemporary Criticism Andrew Gibson
Notes Index

I The Writing of the Generic

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Note on the References
The situation regarding Beckett translations is without doubt a complicated one, for a variety of oft-discussed authorial and editorial reasons. In order to allow the reader to navigate Badiou's essays and refer to the Beckett texts when necessary, we have endeavoured to render the references in On Beckett as practicable as possible, 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. 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
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Note on the Contributors

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the endnotes. Any other comments made by the editors will appear in brackets. Page references are to the editions currently in print by each publisher. The abbreviations used throughout the
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texts for the British and American editions are as follows:

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C - Company (Calder Publishers, 1996) CDW - The Complete Dramatic W orks (Faber and Faber, 1 990) CSP - Collected Shorter Prose 1945-1980 (Calder Publishers, 1 986) E Endgame (Grove Press, 1 958) GSP The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989 (Grove Press, 1995) HD - Happy Days (Grove Press, 1 983) HII- How It Is (Calder Publishers, 1 996) HII US How It Is (Grove Press, 1988) ISIS - III Seen III Said (Calder Publishers, 1 997) M - Murphy (Calder Publishers, 1 997) MUS - Murphy (Grove Press, 1 970) NO - Nohow On (Company, III Seen III Said, W orstward Ho) (Grove Press, 1 996) SP Collected Shorter Plays (Grove Press, 1 984) T - Trilogy (Calder Publishers, 1 994) TN - Three Novels (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable) (Grove Press, 1991) W W (Calder Publishers, 1 970) att W US W att (Grove Press, 1 970) WG - W aiting/ Godot (Grove Press, 1954) or WH - Worstward Ho (Calder Publishers, 1 983)
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Andrew Gibson is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at

Royal Holloway and is the author of Postmodernity, Ethics and the Badiou's reading of Beckett. Nina Power is currently studying for a PhD in philosophy at Middlesex University, London.

Novel: From Leavis to Levinas. He is currently preparing a book on

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Alberto Toscano teaches at Goldsmiths College and is the author of several articles on Badiou, De1euze , Nietzsche and Schelling. He is the translator of Badiou's forthcoming Handbook ofInaesthetics and The Century.

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Acknowledgements

'Think, pig!'

An Introduction to Badiou's Beckett

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The editors wish to thank Leslie Hill for his insightful comments and advice on the original manuscript, Bill Ross at Clinamen for his patience, amiability and useful interventions, Peter Hallward and Ray Brassier for their vital insights into Badiou's thought, Dr Julian Garforth at the Beckett archive University of Reading, for his assistance and generosity and Bruno Bosteels for kindly providing us with his original translation of 'The Writing of the Generic' . Above all, our thanks go to Alain Badiou for his unflagging support of this proje ct.
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These writings on Samuel Beckett by Alain Badiou, assembled here for the first time, comprise ten years of work by one of France's leading thinkers on one of the 20th century's most innovative and vital writers. This volume brings together translations of 'Samuel Beckett: L'ecriture du generique' (the concluding chapter of the collection Conditions ( 1 992)); a short monograph entitled Beckett. L 'increvable desir ( 1 995); a long chapter on W orstward Ho from the more recent Petit manuel d 'inesthetique ( 1 998); and finally 'Ce qui arrive' , a brief conference intervention, also from 1 998.1 Viewed as distinct moments in a prolonged intellectual encounter, these texts reveal a complex and rigorous reading of Beckett, but a Beckett quite distinct from those of other French thinkers such as Deleuze, Bataille, Blanchot or Derrida (to note some of the most obvious of Badiou's 'rivals' in this enterprise), as well as from the majority ofAnglo-American Beckett scholarship.2 This introduction will seek to develop two basic theses: Firstly, that Badiou's reading ofBeckett, whilst in part a response to other currently more celebrated French interpretations, and, indeed, indebted to some of their key insights (such as, for example, Blanchot's insistence on the relationship between writing and

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silence, or Bataille's account of Beckett's impersonal ontology) is ultim ately different in kind to them, in its general aims as well as in the detail of its argument s. Secondly, that, 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 - event, subject, truth, being, appearanc e, the generic - they are by no means a mere 'application' of Badiou's doctrin e to a figure writing (ostensibly) in another discipline. Rather, we shall arg ue that the encounter with Beckett forces Badiou to introduce concepts and ope rations which, if not entirely new to his thinking, nevertheless constitute considera ble, and po ssibly problematic, additions to, or variations upon, the fundam ental tenets of his enterprise. Taken together, 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, as it comes to be defined by Badio u's recent doctrine of 'inaesthetics' .

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III (:oll1mentary about Beckett, that it is seemingly impossible to assert assertion already becomes its negative within Beckett's work itself, so that

IlllpiclcJy has this edict of 'timidity' subtended the 'post-humanist' rules

:lllything at all about Beckett; all one can do is acknowledge that every possible allY criticism begins already from a position of inherent weakness, prefigured

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In order to indicate in what sense these texts present a unique exposition of Be ckett's thinking, it is worth beginning with one of Badiou's dec isive formulas: 'the lesson of Be ckett is a lesson in measure, exactitud e and courage' . From the outset, we can of course note the polemical nat ure of such an affirmation, 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. In his exploration of Beckett's writings, Badiou outlines a vision of a pareddown, philosophically amenable, and ultimately (and, prima f e, surpri aci singly) resourceful literary and intellectual projec t. In stark contrast to pre valent readings of Be ckett's work by either Anglo-American or (the major ity of) other European commentators, Badiou conceives of Be ckett's oeuvre as, in toto, more hopeful than hopeless, more optimistic than nihilistic. Ho w, in the first pla ce, is this affirmative, courageous - thoug h atheological and non-redemptive - Beckett possible? The Beckett we know from Blanchot, from Bataille, from Ricks on the British side, and from numerous others, necessarily and constitutively cannot be this strong ' ethical' writer; Badiou's reading must therefore surely betray what Derrida, above all, points to as the 'impossibility' ofwriting defmitively about Beckett. Ind eed,

hy thc wry 'admission' that Beckett has stranded his critics in the position of having nothing left to do. 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. Badiou will thus engage in none ofthe rhetoric, so often manifested in thc scholarship, that finds in Beckett so many hypostases ofthe 'paralysing' i mperative of language and silence, the opacity of the signifier, the end of 1l10dernity, etc. In fact, Badiou fails to even discuss the vast bulk of contemporary Anglo-American Beckett scholarship, as well as refusing any protracted engagement with any of his French predecessors. Indeed, he has been explicitly criticised for failing to engage with either of these two strands of Beckett study.3 Certainly this lack of dialogue is revealing, 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. It is, above all, Badiou's desire to read Beckett 'at his word' or 'to the letter' that indicates that what we are dealing with, quite simply, is Beckett's texts themselves, and not their critical reception. We are also a long way here from Derrida's half-humble, half-arrogant declaration: 'Beckett, whom I have always "avoided" as though I had always already read him and understood him too well. '4 In the first place, Badiou seems to say, we cannot 'avoid' Beckett, however much he seems to pre­ empt us - the singularity and intellectual weight of his work is such as to demand an explicitly philosophical response and articulation (without, of course, over-determining its 'literary' qualities; as we shall see below, this distinction is precisely at stake in Badiou's notion of 'inaesthetics'). Moreover, the complexity ofthe categories and operations deployed in Beckett's work, as well as their transformations, is such that, without a stringent and systematic investigation, it is entirely fatuous to think that we have (always) already understood Beckett. Indeed, as with all thinking worthy of the name, Beckett's writing draws its force and urgency precisely from the way that it subtracts itself from our impressions and intuitions; in other words, from the manner

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in which it excavates our muddled and spontaneous phenomenologies to reveal a sparse but essential set of invariant functions that determine our 'generic humanity'. Where then, 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, 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, as Badiou puts it, 'worst understood' 1960s prose text How It Is, and the identification of a chronological break (corresponding to a real crisis in Beckett's thought) before and after this text. This will help us the better to discern the stakes of his approach and the challenge it poses to rival interpretations. We will then move on, in section two, to assess the consequences - both for his reading of Beckett and for his thinking as a whole - of B adiou's concern with B eckett' s method and with the 'philosophical anthropology' that the latter implies. While the so-called 'Trilogy' (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable) has received copious and exacting attention for its exploration of the vicissitudes of language, SUbjectivity and ' aporetics', and W and Mur att phy are seized upon as anticipation oflater problematics and for their characteristic humour, How It Is (published as Comment c 'est by Minuit in 1 96 1 , 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). For Badiou, however, the text occupies an absolutely crucial role in Beckett's oeuvre, indicating a decisive shift in both the themes and the style of his prose. 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. But this is not the end of the matter, 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, between vital existentialism and the metaphysics of the word, between Sartre and Blanchot.' In this respect, we should note that Badiou wishes to evacuate the defeatist pathos accorded to the impasse, together with any intimation that we are here faced with the linguistic 'truth' ofhuman finitude or with an episode in the genealogy of nihilism; rather, he intends to approach it as a problem that demands resolution from Beckett at the level of

the writing itself. In the kind of ad hominem argument that would scandalise any good Derridean, Badiou argues that the incessant repetitions in Beckett's early works, what he refers to as an oscillation between the cogito and the 'grey black', led to a crisis for Beckett - both personally and as a writer.s That by the early 1960s he had, in some sense, reached a ' last' state; all that remained to be said is that there was nothing more to be said. 'Saying' had, for Beckett, reached its absolutely maximal degree of purification. As Badiou puts it:
It was necessary to have done with the alternation of neutral being and vain reflection so that Beckett could escape the crisis, so that he could break with Cartesian terrorism. To do this, it was necessary to find some third terms, neither reducible to the place of being nor identical to the repetitions of the voice. 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. Whence, beginning with How It Is (composed between 1 959 and 1 960), the growing importance ofthe event (which adds itself to the grey black of being) and of the voice of the other (which interrupts solipsism).

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'. In order, therefore, to understand Badiou's seemingly indefensible claim regarding the affirmation and hope present in Beckett's work, 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, above all, the category of alterity - of the encounter and the figure of the Other, fissuring and displacing the solipsistic internment of the cogito. 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. As we shall argue, the constellation of concepts employed in these texts is neither (explicitly) Beckett's nor (entirely) Badiou's, but is rather the product of a philosophical or ' inaesthetic' capture of a literary work which does not leave philosophical doctrine untouched. The aforementioned division of Beckett's oeuvre into two distinct periods, before and after How It Is is crucial to

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understanding the role of the 'event', both for Badiou's reading of Beckett, and indeed, for Badiou's own work as a whole. Bearing in mind this 'shift', the notion of an unforeseen event or encounter that constitutes subjectivity in the meeting of an other, radically separates Badiou's 'affirmative' reading from any interpretations centred on the notion of a human condition, as in Martin Esslin's work on the absurd, for example. This is partly because there is nothing inevitable about the event, only that ' something happens to us' , and partly because what follows from the event is absolutely singular, though (crucially) universalisable. The encounter, if it happens at all, is absolutely not pre-determined. Encounters in Beckett always arise by chance: Prior to a meeting there is only solitude. One consequence of this state of solitude is the lack of any essential or substantial sexual difference. It is true that Beckett's characters often seem without sex or androgynous. It is only as a consequence, therefore, as an effect of the encounter, that sexuation becomes possible. As Badiou writes: 'In the figure of love ... the Two occurs, together with the Two of the sexes or sexualised figures. ' The numericality of this newly arisen pair is crucial. Prior to the encounter, the solipsistic One has no resources to escape its One-ness. The encounter, the absolute novelty of the event of love, from whence arises the Two, does not lead back to a new One, the love which would be denigrated as 'fusion' in the Freudian sense, or even in a banal, romantic, popular-cultural sense, but to infinity. One, Two, infinity: For the voice ofHow ItIs, there is: 'before Pim with Pim after Pim' . This 'exponential curve' to infinity derives from the fact that the Two of love, of the pure encounter is apassage. But to what? Badiou replies: to 'the infinity of beings, and experience' . The Two oflove introduces a new opening onto the sensible world, away from the endless circuits of language. Love permits 'beauty, nuance, colour' . It also permits - in fact, it is the only event to do so happiness. Perhaps we are now in a better position to see where the 'hope' and potential in Beckett's work ultimately lies for Badiou - not, as a reading that would wish to re-inscribe him into the long wave of humanism, in the commonality of human properties, but, on the contrary, in the absolute' singularity of an unforeseen encounter. What How It Is indicates, then, is a movement beyond the impasse in the prose itself, and the revelation that, indeed, 'the narrative model is not enough', that something else can happen, within the prose, that is not itself limited to it (here we are obliged to bracket the - always ironic - question:

what else is there 'besides' the prose?). What does this 'lack of limitation' mean? Simply that, amidst the Dante-esque crawling and drowning in the mud ofHow It Is, the violent tussles involving can-openers and bashed skulls, the darkness and silence, there is possibility of an existence that is wholly other, wholly new, not only in the life of memory and images, but in the present, with and through another: 'two strangers uniting in the interests of torment'. The encounter, however temporary, however sadistic, smashes apart the solipsistic linguistic oscillation, 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' . What the temporary, non-fusional, conjunction of the Two allows is an opening onto infinity, onto universality; '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. '

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If anything marks out Badiou's approach to the literary and stage works of Samuel Beckett, it is the steadfast conviction that in order to really think through their uniqueness, a thorough and unapologetic operation of ormalisation is in order, one demonstrating the ultimately unequivocal f character of Beckett's thought, even (or especially) in what concerns its oscillations and aporias. This position, which can be expediently summarised as a concern with method- and which does not exclude careful considerations of both the methods of failure and the failures of method - 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. 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. Indeed, it is only by confronting this question that we can come to terms with what constitutes, for better or worse, the uniqueness of Badiou's reading, and what sets it apart drastically from the interpretations of most, if not all, his contemporaries when it comes to the writings of Beckett.6

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In this respect, to focus on analogous identifications of recurrent Beckettian 'themes' that Badiou may share with other writers, 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 Badiou, 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. In 'Tireless Desire' these are enumerated as follows:
Rectification, or the work on the isolation of tenns. Expansion, or the poetic incision of memory. Declaration, or the function of emergence of prose. Declension, or the tender cadence of disaster. Interruption, or the maxims of comedy. Elongation, or the phrased embodiment of variants.

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It could not be any clearer that what captivates Badiou is not the equivocity or impotence claimed for Beckett's writing, but rather the relentlessness and precision that mark its fundamental moves, those formal aesthetic inventions which are both technical discoveries and new postures for thinking.7 This is, after all, the crux of the problem: What is thought in Beckett's work? This question needs to be understood in both senses. Firstly, what do Beckett's many texts allow us to think which was previously unthought, whether in literature or philosophy? Secondly, what place does thought (la pensee, an insistent presence in these pages) have in Beckett's work? Rather than, more or less explicitly, according to writing the dubious privileges of expressive imprecision and fleeting affect, B adiou's uncompromising penchant for formalisation is designed to affirm the rigour ofwriting as a discipline ofthought, a rigour that the seriousness of Beckett's impasses (especially the one sealed by T exts f Nothing) bears witness to. or The comparisons with Kant and Husserl, as well as the more sustained consideration of Beckett's Cartesianism, should therefore be taken at their word. Leaving aside for the moment the vexed question of the demarcation of the literary (or aesthetic) from the philosophical, it is worth spending a brief moment to elucidate this method of Beckett's, and to do so through the problematic, absolutely central to Badiou's approach, of 'thinking humanity'. The first approach to the question of method is couched in explicitly philosophical parameters. Tracing a lineage from Descartes to Husserl in terms of a postulate of suspension, Badiou argues that Beckett's method of

suhtractive paring-down- or 'leastening' in the vocabulary of W orstwardHo is akin to Husserl's epoch?! 'turned upside down'. By this Badiou means tha t rather than 'bracketing' or suspending the world in order to examine the purciy formal conditions of that world in and for consciousness, Beckett ject in order to see what then happens to being per se. This slIsfiends the sub is an intriguing reversal, and links back to Badiou's initial formulation for the condition of possibility for the encounter, for the Two. Before this event, there is only the solipsistic 'torture' of the cogito. In other words, we have a tormented subject oflanguage, on the one hand, and a non-intentional analysis of the 'landscape' of being, on the other. Badiou, via Beckett, links the circularity of the cogito to the 'nothing' beyond it - this is the noir gris, the 'grey black' ofbeing. It is in this space that the language ofthe cogito attempts to approach its Qwn origin, but necessarily always falls short of its object. The grey black of being is precisely 'nothing', but as Molloy points out, following the Atomists: 'Nothing is more real than nothing'. The 'torture' of the cogito is precisely the imperative or 'pensum', as Hugh Kenner would argue, to commence again, to say again. Because ofthe necessary interiority of the cogito, its self-supporting persistence, ' It is necessary that the subject literally twist itself towards its own enunciation'. We are thus left only with a voice that oscillates, struggling relentlessly between temporary self-affirmation and the 'beyond' of being, which is precisely void. For the cogito, all saying is precisely 'ill saying' because it can never come close to touching the void from out of which language speaks. The desire for silence cannot, therefore, succeed, for the imperative to repeat, to begin again, cannot be matched by the desire for cessation. In this reading ofthe 'void' and the impossibility of silence, we can see an implicit criticism of those commentators who stay with the aporia, who see in Beckett only the problem of language and its impossible constraint. Beckett himself, as if realising the temptation of following the 'pathless path ', begins The Unnamable with an aporetic joke: 'I should mention before going any further, that I say aporia without knowing what it means. ' As a second approximation to this delicate question of method, let us contrast it with the explicit discussion of method through which Badiou elsewhere approaches the works of Rimbaud and Mallarme.8 For Badiou, Rimbaud's work, despite its formidable inventive capacity and unmatched vigour, is ultimately incapable of accepting the conditions imposed by the undecidable character ofthe event, the fact that the latter can never be transitive

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Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----to, or coincide with, the situation that it affects. In brief, that being and the event can never enter into any sort of communion. Hence the tendency of Rimbaud's poetry, when faced with the non- or extra-ontological demand of the event's emergence, to resort to the operation ofinterruption, which in the end denies the 'now' of an event that can itself never be identified with the situation - thereby signalling both the denial of novelty and the defeat of language. Given over as it is to what Badiou regards as the 'mirage' of a complete possession of truth, Rimbaud's poetry manifests the incapacity of assuming the hardships of subjectivation, the painstaking work of a truth that can never be immediately present as the truth of things, or as the linguistic celebration of the appearance of the world. With Mallarme's method, we move instead to a writing that is entirely positioned 'after ' the event , or rather, 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. This is why Mallarme's method is concerned with the isolation of an event that is constitutively evanescent, that must be wagered upon in order then to register its traces and effects upon a situation. 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, being as such neither present nor non-problematically individuated in the realm of appearances. Mallarme's method thus establishes something like an intrigue of the event 's disappearance, a syntactically driven investigation into the potentially determinate but inapparent effects of something that can never exactly be said to be. How, in the absence of any normal 'evidence', can we affirm in a given situation that something has happened, and, on the basis of this wager (this dice-throw) deduce its consequences for the situation? Such is the axis of Mallarme's method, conferring upon it its singular place as a reference for Badiou's work, as 'the thought of the pure event on the basis of its decided trace. ' Forcing our schematisation somewhat, we could say that if Rimbaud shows us the abdication oflanguage in the face ofthe present demands of the undecidable, and Mallarme the retrospective detection of the traces of a vanished novelty, 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 - including those conditions of a cognitive or linguistic order that threaten to forestall any such emergence, consigning the subj ect to the infinite ordeal of solipsism, to that

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( 'artesian torture which so preoccupies B adiou in these pages. The identification of the functions of the human on the basis of the torsion of the cogito onto the imperative of language, together with the cartography of the places and inscriptions of being, all seem to indicate, in Badiou's reading, an attempt to 'prepare' for an event that is only liminally introduced through the ligures of the Two and the Other. It could therefore be said that Beckett's method partly inverts the methods of the two other writers considered by Badiou. In it, the event functions as an interruption of torture (rather than an interruption of joy in defeat, as in Rimbaud) and prose lays out the ontological groundwork prior to an event (rather than thinking it in its disappearance, as in Mallarme). In sum, we have Beckett as the courageous preparation for the event (,before'), Rimbaud as the defeatist decision against the undecidable of the event ('during'), and Mallarme as the protocol of fidelity in its subtractive 'relationship' to a disappearance and to the isolation of a pure multiple (' after '). Lest this partition appear all too tidy, it is worth turning now to the peculiar and problematic effects that this preparatory or anticipatory character of Beckett's method has with regard. to the elaborate doctrinal apparatus, principally set out in L 'etre et I 'evenement, that allows Badiou to isolate this method in the first place. To emphasize this more conflictive dimension of Badiou's encounter with Beckett, we will now look at the role ofappearance, sub jectivity and language in these essays on Beckett, focussing throughout on how these notions determine a certain perspective on thinking humanity, that is, on humanity as a pure capacity to be affected by the irruption of novelty and to decide upon the event. We have grown accustomed to (and accustomed to criticising) claims that Beckett's work offers us a disquisition on the 'human condition', that it is the bearer of universal formulations regarding 'human nature' . Exemplary of this position is Esslin who, writing in the late fifties and early sixties, sought to extract from the dramatic works a Beckett absolutely existentialist in his proclamations and scope. 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. '9 Badiou's take, whilst seemingly sharing the universalising impetus of Esslin's reading, 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

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

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Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett ,-----therefore necessary that the subject literally twist itself towards its own utterance. 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.
works of Beckett?

l Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett
Surely, Beckett's Cartesian scenarios preclude any crypto­ I{omantic dissolution of human subjectivity into the One of language. But l�qually, they forestall any thanatological abdications of the obstinate courage that so insistently marks his figures and voices, even and especially at their most ragged and risible. In this respect, and to the very extent that most of his work is driven by the wish to 'ill say', to puncture speech and corrode its authority, Beckett does demand from Badiou the recognition, otherwise I(u'cign to his doctrine, of an irreducibility proper to language or speech as a 'rcgion of existence' . Moreover, 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 nevertheless identified as an ineluctable and incliminable 'function' of the human, an essential component of that capacity /()r thought that determines the existence ofhumanity. It is this role oflanguage that Badiou is obliged to assume and, in a qualified manner, affirm. What his rcconstruction of Beckett does not involve however, is any specific attention to the 'texture' oflanguage itself- to the operations undergone in Beckett by grammar, to the usage of certain tropes, etc. Whilst the linguistic dimension is indeed ineliminable, what captivates Badiou when it comes to Beckett as a thinker is precisely what emerges from a subtraction o and, of course, through f language (though this does not stop Badiou, himself a novelist and playwrigh.w from indicating, on a number of occasions, fertile grounds for discussions of style and technique). The same impossibility of outright destruction, coupled with the requirement to subtract and supplement, marks that category which is not simply a 'dimension' but the defining name for existence (as opposed to being) in Badiou: appearance. The doctrine of appearance, which has been a chief preoccupation ofBadiou in recent years, finds one of its most elaborate accounts to date in the painstaking theoretical reconstruction of W orstward Ho. Whereas the first two of our essays find the counterpart of the cogito in an ontology oflocalisation (the theme ofthe 'place of being' , or 'grey black'), in 'Being, Existence, Thought: Prose and Concept' we are presented with a far more systematic distinction between being ('the void') and appearance ('the dim'). 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, in other words, if we begin from existence. The purity of the void can only be attained in the intervals of appearance, through those operations that 'worsen'

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It is the tension within this subject of language, and its incapacity to twist free ofthe equivocity that defines its triplicate composition, which will lead Beckett into the notorious impasses, and chiefly to the crisis which we've already seen is punctuated by and surpassed in How ItIs. 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. Unlike the subject of the event, the torsion of this triple subject of language is transitive to the situation, to the place of being, that it names and configures in fiction. In this sense, it is not rare and dependent on chance, decision and fidelity; rather, it is an inescapable and constitutive feature of the fictional set-up, or, if one will allow the expression, it functions as its intrinsic supplement. Beckett's 'misuse' of language is in this respect initially aimed, via the aforementioned operations, at the stepwise elimination of this subjective excess; its anti-humanist drive amounting to an attempt to efface the torture of speech into the grey black of being. 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, the Two, the Event), 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), that the linguistic and ontological ordeal ofthe subject oflanguage can be alleviated exts f Nothing or or interrupted. 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, to destroy even the voice) to a hazardous but ultimately productive one (the conversion of the subject by the event of alterity). In this sense the subject of Beckett's art which according to Badiou s inaesthetics is not the author but the work- is defined by the movement beyond the tormenting excess of a subject of language towards the futural fidelity of a subject of the event. Where does this leave the problem of language, which had initially attracted our young Sartrean cretin (as Badiou portrays his former self) to the
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J'()l11 antic schema (the key figure here is Heidegger, though neither Nietzsche hefore him, nor Nancy after, for example, are exempt from the appellation) art alone is capable of truth, and particularly in the form of the poem. In this schema, philosophy has been ' sutured' to one of its conditions, and no longer possesses the ability to operate as the formal (and empty) mediator between one specific condition and the others, as well as between each condition and the abstract indifferent discourse which is set-theoretical ontology. Conversely, Hadiou's schematic presentation ofthe so-called classical view of art indicates that, for classical thought, art is 'innocent' of all truth. For such a classical stance, whose primary impetus is didactic, art cannot do the work that philosophy does, and there are thus no meaningful parallels to be drawn between what philosophy says about 'being', for example, and what art says about 'being'. Badiou takes a somewhat different tack. For him, art is not ' innocent' of truth; there are truths specific to art, and they are always immanent and singular. Art is not blind to its own truth-content, rather, it is 'the thinking of the thought that it is', though this thought of thought is p redicated upon the production of works (otherwise, art w'J:ld be surreptitiously sutured to philosophy as an ultimately speculative or reflexive pursuit). Philosophy as the ' go-between' is thus duty-bound to make the truths of art apparent and consistent with the abstract discourse of ontology, but not to assimilate them to itself and claim them as its own 'property' (after all, philosophy itself strictly speaking possesses no truths of its own). It is this 'relation' b etween philosophy and art that Badiou has b aptised as ' inaesthetics' , defining it as ' a relation ofphilosophy to art which, maintaining that art is itself a producer of truths, makes no claim to tum it into an object for philosophy. Against aesthetic speculation, inaesthetics describes the strictly intra-philosophical effects produced by the independent existence of some works of art. ' 13 How then are we to square this inaesthetic protocol of demarcation and vigilant commerce between philosophy and art (literature) with what appear as the invasively philosophical claims made for Beckett's thought, not to mention the concepts that his writing seems to suggest or add to Badiou's own approach? After all, there is nothing in the least ironic about the methodological parallels drawn with Plato, Descartes and Husserl - if nothing else, these essays wish to convince us that there is as much rigour and as much thought in How It Is as in the Meditations, in The Un namable as in the orce which generates the systematic Parmenides. The formalising tour de f

existence, divesting it of (almost) all order and ornament. Ultimately, however, the simplification that defines Beckett's confrontation with appearances with the ' shades', with 'visible humanity', with all that Badiou classes under the rubric of 'phenomenology' - needs to be supplemented by the only thing which, in Badiou's eyes, can truly announce an upsurge of the void that would not be founded on the pure and simple annihilation oflanguage and existence: the event. It is with the event that for Badiou we attain the maximal purification (but not destruction) of language, the 'last state' of saying, when we can rejoice at the poverty of words. It is also with the event - with beauty, love and the Other - that a novelty beyond the ordeal of speech can make itself known.

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III.
The fact that Badiou's reading of Beckett does not result in any straightforward illustration or ventriloquist application of the former 's philosophical doctrines, 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), opens the question of how such an encounter may reconfigure the relationship between philosophy and literature as separate, if interacting, disciplines of thought. Badiou's 'official' position, whilst not the object of a thoroughgoing deduction, is clear enough. Against any deconstructionist or postmodernist penchant for disciplinary hybridisation, or worse, for the abdication of speculative rationalism at the altar of some supposed literary intuition, Badiou has been proposing for some time a steadfast distinction between the thinking of philosophy and the thinking of art. This proposal is driven by his identification of the four intellectual disciplines (or generic procedures, in the technical vocabulary) that serve as the 'conditions' of philosophy: art, science, politics and love. It is these conditions, and not philosophy, 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). This is why Badiou provocatively describes philosophy as the ' go­ between' or 'procuress' in our encounters with truth. Philosophy itself therefore has no ' truths' of its own, and art, for one, remains ent i rely irreducible to philosophy. Under what Badiou calls the

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reading of W orstward Ho as a distilled ontology, whilst obviously indebted to much of the work undertaken by Badiou in L 'etre et l 'evenement and the forthcoming Logiques des mondes, is also an attempt to show, in considerable detail, how literature has nothing to envy philosophy in matters of complex thought. Indeed, Badiou, as he does elsewhere with regard to that great French dialectician, Mallarme, avows that in the case of Beckett the practice of inaesthetic demarcation might find itself stretched, 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 - that reciprocal parasitism of philosophy and its conditions which periodically announces the weakening or abdication of thinking. This is what Badiou writes in the Petit manuel by way of introduction to his formally exacting reconstruction of Worstward Ho:
Samuel Beckett [ . ] loved to gnaw at the edges ofthat peril which all high
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be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the No

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."ngness) behind it.

has already come, when language is most efficiently used when it is most

efficiently misused. As we cannot eliminate language all at once, we should at least leave nothing undone that might contribute to its falling into disrepute. To bore one hole after another in it, until what lurks, behind it ­ be it something or nothing - begins to seep through, I cannot imagine a higher goal for a writer todayY

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literature exposes itself to: No longer to produce unheard-of impurities, but to wallow in the apparent purity of the concept. To philosophise, in short. And therefore: To register truths, rather than producing them. Of
orstward Ho remains the most accomplished this wandering at the edges, W witness. 14

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This effort toward purification, Beckett's characteristic ascesis, 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; neither the empty capture of evental truths nor their production in a generic procedure). So that Beckett's work is indeed a specifically artistic or literary confrontation with the resources of language and the power of fiction, but it is also an attempt to think through and beyond the limitations imposed by the linguistic set-up and - in operations ofleastening, worsening, subtraction - to attain something other than language, something other than fiction. This at least seems to be the 'programme' laid out in the famous letter to Axel Kaun of 1937, the very same that Beckett later dismissed as ' German bilge' :
[ . . ] more and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must
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If only that, as Badiou is adamant to point out, since the dim can never go - since appearance or inscription is ineluctable - 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. It is thus in its very drive to purity - in its wish to purge language of i tsclf- that Beckett's thought remains impure - never able or willing to fully abandon the injunction and the constraints of utterance, nor to do without its speculative, universalising desideratum, however corroded by comedy it may be. Following Jacques Ranciere, 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. 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. Whilst these are both valid pursuits, and the questions raised by Badiou's Beckett are perhaps not ultimately capable of doctrinal resolution, in light of the very themes raised in these essays there is perhaps another avenue worth considering. This consists in seeing Beckett's or writing as centred around the notion of a capacityf thought, and specifically around the capacity for thinking through the radical consequences of cncounters and events that defines the very being of thinking humanity. Whilst Badiou is explicit in his affirmation of the multiplicity of cognitive disciplines and generic procedures,16 and wary of any over­ determination ofthought either by philosophy or by any one of its conditions, his own encounter with Beckett seems to push us towards the recognition that there is a place for thinking thought itself, or the capacity thereof, in a manner both transversal to the multiplicity of disciplines and anterior to the irruption of any event. In brief, that even a doctrine for which every subject hinges on the incalculable upsurge of a novelty and the systematic deduction

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of its consequences has a place for something like a philosophical anthropology, a thinking of generic humanity that pivots around the capacity for thinking and which, whilst never reducible to its linguistic inscription, moves through a resolute confrontation between subj ects and their enunciations. 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.

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':l I l l 1l�how remain entirely faithful to the anti-humanist legacy of Althusser i 1 l 1 d hllicault, among others
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I I l Iguistic and cognitive determinants of humanity on its own cannot but lead
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t o do. 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, into the wretched

\ I i I t i I ism of annihilation or (worse) the pieties of humanism, 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, moving beyond the 'on' of I I I I i losophical determination, even if this means moving beyond the boundaries

IV.
We have seen, briefly, how Badiou can argue that Beckett is a writer of hope, but a hope based on nothing. 'Nothing', because the event or encounter

spL'cL'h to the invention of operations capable of affirming new beginnings.

i I ' wc must remain ' tirelessly' faithful to the event, it is because of its potcntiality for thought, and not only for thought, but for action . Nina Power and Alberto Toscano

I I I t h is light, if we must 'shelter and retain' the truth that arises from an event,

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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. 'Nothing' , because the ultimate resource from which generic humanity draws its cognitive and practical capacity for novelty, as well as its courage to confront the torture of the cogito and the indifference of the dim, is the void, and the way its pure inconsistency can burst through the partitions of apparent order, to reveal the
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SL'uil, 1998) is forthcoming. See Alain Badiou, Handbook o Inaesthetics, translated f hy Alberto Toscano (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).
I() that of recent Anglo-American commentators. 2 See Andrew Gibson's postface for a critical comparison ofBadiou's work on Beckett :l Again, 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, and most generic, equality. In this regard, 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' . Badiou is clear: We cannot simply rest content with an exploration of Beckett's work that colludes with the sophistical obsession with language. The major shift in potential that Badiou sees with the encounter fromHow it Is onwards, provides Beckett's characters with the only 'way out' of the perpetual linguistic oscillation between the solitary cogito and the grey-black of being . Ultimately, it is this incalculable encounter that frees generic humanity from the relentless and aporetic contortions of language and subjectivity. Though Beckett allows Badiou to consider the ' figural preparation' of this event, or even the quasi­ anthropological invariants required for its irruption, it is the event which in the last instance permits us to think the figure of ' thinking humanity'. Perhaps this is the real challenge posed by the conceptual configuration that has arisen between Badiou and Beckett: To think the entanglement and reciprocal determination of a thinking of the human as pure capacity, on the one hand, and a thinking of the incalculable novelty of the event, on the

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with other critics and commentators. See also Dominique Rabate's stimulating essay . Continuer- Beckett' in a recent collection of essays on Badiou entitledAlain Badiou:
J>enser Ie multiple, ed. by Charles Ramond (Paris: L'Harmattan, 2002), pp. 407-420.

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4 Jacques Derrida, Acts o Literature, ed. by Derek Attridge (London: Routledge, f 1 991), p. 60. interesting to note that Beckett has so many words in English for this 'nothing' among them 'half-light', 'dim' (W orstward Ho) and ' gloom' (The Lost Ones) whereas
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S Regarding this question of the 'grey black' lying beyond the solitary subject, it is

in French, he tends to use penombre across the texts. The French term perhaps better to wish to convey - it is neither light nor dark, neither one colour nor another. It is, in effect, a term to designate being ' in its localisation, empty of any event'. 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, colourless, topography that Beckett seems

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Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett ,----Theodor W. Adorno and Giles Deleuze. In 'Trying to Understand Endgame' (1958), in Notes to Literature, vol. 1 (New York: Colombia, 1 991 ), Adorno explicitly argues for Beckett's opposition to the 'abstraction' of existentialist ontology in favour of 'an avowed process of subtraction' (p. 246) that reduces it to a single category: 'bare existence' (p. 243). However, steeped as it is in the condemnation of 'the irrationality of bourgeois in its late phase' (p. 244) and the 'pathogenesis ofthe false life' (p. 247), Adoorno's reading of Beckett is, to use Badiou's terminology, strictly 'anti­ philosophical' ; Adorno refuses to see in Beckett any concession to the speculative drive and also discounts a priori any reading of him as an affirmative or hopeful thinker (Adorno concludes that in Endgame ' [h]ope skulks out ofthe world' [po 275] back to death and indifference). In Adorno's estimation, Beckett's 'metaphysical negation no longer permits an aesthetic form that would itself produce metaphysical
I %X), p. 66.
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f Ma r l i n Esslin (ed.), The Theatre o the Absurd (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,

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. ' [N]ot only do l i lt' Illinima coincide with the minima, the maxima with the maxima, but the minima h the maxima in the succession of transformations. Maximal speed is a state of jecta (London: John Calder, 1983), I ('sl . ' See 'Dante . . . Vico. Bruno . . . Joyce', inDis work, I ' ' I Arguably the irreducibility of the 'functions' allows Beckett, in his later
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I I I"'� than a differential of rest, expressing a sort of minimal and ideal mobility. 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' , that is, when movement becomes nothing

" II

affirmation' , his 'anti-art' culls 'aesthetic meaning from the radical negation of metaphysical meaning' (Aesthetic Theory [Minnesota: University of Minnesota, 1997], pp. 348, 271). In this light, Adorno reads Beckett's method of subtraction against 'modem ontology' and the 'poverty of philosophy' , as revealing 'an existence that is shut up in itself like a mollusk, no longer capable of universality'; despite his somber acumen and eloquence, Adorno ultimately retains the category of the absurd as the key to Beckett's worrk, and is impervious, in Badiou's terms, to the aesthetic relevance of concepts of eternal novelty or generic humanity (see 'Trying to Understand Endgame' , p. 246). In this respect, Deleuze's study of the stepwise, combinatory 'reduction' of language in Beckett's television plays (,The Exhausted', in Essays

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Ih" �vent, is far more prominent in the first two essays in this collection than in 'Being,
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l IIove beyond this identity of contraries. I I I I i s worth noting that the problem of the name, and specifically of the naming of Thought: Prose and Concept' . This is explained by the fact that the
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kpendence of the theory ofthe event on a philosophy ofthe name has been the object
r a self-criticism on the part of Badiou - on the basis both of Lyotard's doubts about

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Ihe theory ofthe two names of the event inL 'etre et l 'eVl?nement and ofthe immanent

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Ikillands of Badiou's own thinking of subjectivity, especially as it has come to i l lcorporate a thinking of appearance (see the preface to the English edition of the
Fillies, the forthcoming Angelaki interview with Bruno Bosteels and Peter Hallward .It'S 111 0ndes). -" )-62. ' I kyond Formalisation' , and the forthcoming maj or work by Badiou himself, Logiques

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Critical and Clinical [London: Verso, 1997], pp. 1 52- 1 74) bears far greater affinity

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with Badiou's depiction of Beckett as a rigorous thinker of formalising procedures. Nevertheless, Badiou's preoccupation with the place of 'thinking humanity' in Beckett's work - together with its Cartesian and Husserlian echoes - has no counterpart in Deleuze's reading, for whom Beckett's reductions lead to a becoming-imperceptible, to a spiritual and cosmic experience of Life (as he concludes in 'The Greatest Irish Fihn Ever Made', also in Essays Critical and Clinical). Needless to say, 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, 2000). 7 Badiou's own philosophy is itself articulated in terms of such' operations, many of which are drawn from the domain ofmathematical thought, operations such asf orcing,
intervention, avoidance, subtraction, connection . The very process of evental

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' I 2 See her fine essay on the novel, L 'ecrivain pensif (Lagrasse: Verdier, 1998), pp
1 3 Petit manuel d 'inesthetique, p. 7.

1 4 Petit manuel d 'inesthetique, p. 146. 1 5 Disjecta, pp. 1 7 1 - 1 72. 1 6 See Conditions, p. 1 4 1 . 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?', from Conditions. 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.e. in appearance) and that any straightforward

subjectivation is eminently operational in character, a trait clearly attested to by Badiou's recurrent references to the production (rather than intuition) of truths. 8 See Conditions (Paris: Seuil, 1 992).
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, thereby ignoring the seriousness of Beckett's impasses, as well as their singular resolution.
XXXIII

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Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett

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L Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett

1 8 In this respect, it would be interesting to measure and interrogate the gap that separates the dictum from The Unnamable of which Badiou is so fond - 'I alone am man and all the rest divine' - from the classically humanist pronouncement from 'Dante . . . Vico. Bruno . . . Joyce' : 'Humanity is its work itself. [ . . . ] Humanity is divine
jecta, p. 22). 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, and 'blessed' with immortality only through the arduous fidelity to a vanishing event. Whence Badiou's Beckettian programme, as formulated in 'What Happens' : 'To relegate the divine and its curse to the periphery of saying, and to declare man naked, without either hope or hopelessness, relentless, surviving, and consigned to the excessive language of his desire.' At the antipodes ofthe divine, it would be of interest
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to consider how the capacity for thought which sustains Badiou's Beckettian venture into philosophical anthropology also signals a caesura within man separating him, as rare but Immortal subject ofthe event, from a 'nihilistic' substrate of corporeality and animality - whence the emblematic nature of Pozzo's exhortation: 'Think, pig ! ' .

A u thor's Prefa ce
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! !ere then is what I have tried to say about Beckett in French brought back i l l i o English, moving contrariwise to my French capture of this immense writer of the English language. For we can say that Beckett, from a French perspective, is an entirely ' ! �nglish' writer. He is so even in the translations made on the basis of his ( I Wn French, 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, more detached, more mobile. In short, more empiricist. 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. The French language changed the paradoxes of the given into metaphysical problems. It inscribed into verdicts and conclusions what, in I hc English, led to irony and suspension. French - the language of Descartes, Beckett's great philosophical referent - changed picaresque characters into the witnesses of the reflexive Subject, into victims of the cogito. It also permitted the invention of a colder poetics, of an immobile power that keeps the excessive precision of the English language at bay. Beckett's French
XXXIV

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l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett

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substitutes a rigid rhetoric that spontaneously lays itself out between ornament and abstraction for the descriptive and allusive finesse of English. There is something of the 'grand style' in Beckett's French. However, radical as his inventions are - like the asyntactic continuum of How It Is - in Beckett's prose we glimpse the elevation of Bossuet, the musical grasp of Rousseau, the finery of Chateaubriand, far more in fact than the taut 'modem style' which is characteristic of Proust. This is because, like Conrad in English, the language that serves Beckett as a model is a language learned in its classical form, 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. It is thus that Beckett's French is 'too' French, just as Conrad's English is a much 'too' mannered sort of English. So that when Beckett returns to English, he must undo this 'too much', this excess, and thereby attain a strange 'not enough' - a kind of subtracted English, an English of pure cadence. He abandons himself to speed and its variations. His English is a French laid bare. And what of me, placed in this in-between of languages? This is for the reader to say. It must be noted, nevertheless, that what I have described is Beckett in French, even when this language did not exist for him (such is the orstward Ho, translated into French by Edith Fournier). You will case of W read a French philosopher speaking of a French writer. Who is 'English'. And of whom I am here speaking of in English. Speaking of what? Of his English? Of his French, reconfigured here into English? It is impossible to find our bearings here. But thought, in the end, speaks no language. Plato claims that philosophy 'starts from things, not from words' . But Beckett too starts from things ! So let us simply say that these essays, between Beckett and me, speak the Anglo-French of things.

The Writing of the G eneric1


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1 . 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, a mirlitonnade written by Beckett around 1 976.2 It is quite singular, in that it brings Mirliton together w ith Heraclitus the Obscure:

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flux cause que toute chose tout en etant toute chose donc celle-la meme celle-la tout en etant n est pas parlons-en
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flux causes that every thing while being every thing hence that one even that one while being is not speak on3

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XXXVI

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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. By ' generic' desire I understand the reduction of the

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To speak will always remain an imperative for Beckett, but an imperative for the sake of the oscillation or the undecidability of every thing. The thing is not withdrawn, it can be shown, it is this thing, and yet, once determined, it oscillates according to its flux between being and non-being. We might then say that writing - the ' speak on' - holds itself at the place of a decision as to the being of the thing. It is clear, if only because the doggerel form is suited to it, that this decision will never be sublated by a dialectic. The image of the flux conveys the fact that the thing can stand simultaneously at the place where it is and at the place where it is not. But this flux is never the synthesis of being and non-being, and is not to be confused with Hegelian Becoming. Writing installs itself at the point where the thing, on the verge of disappearing, summoned by the non-being of its flux, is exposed to the undecidable question of its own stability. This is precisely why writing never destined by what is immobilised in its being - presents itself, with respect to the uncertainty of the thing, in the guise of an imperative. In quite general terms, what this interminable imperative must contend with is the curse of the oscillation rfleau d 'oscillation] between being and non-being - of the balancing and weighing of the thing - but this curse is also transformed into a number of questions.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, caught up in an ironic analogy that characterises his relationship to philosophy. These three questions are clearly stated in T exts f Nothing. or Here is one variant:
Where would I go, if! could go, who would I be, if! could be, what would I say, if ! had a voice [ . . . J? (CSP, p. 82; GSP, p. 1 14)5

" 'lllplcxity of experience to a few principal functions, the treatment in writing " I I hat which alone constitutes an essential determination. For Beckett, writing I : : a l l act governed by a severe principle of economy. It is necessary to subtract I l lorc and more � everything that figures as circumstantial ornament, all I 'lTiphcral distraction, in order to exhibit or to detach those rare functions to which writing can and should restrict itself, if its destiny is to say generic h IIl1lanity. Initially, at the beginning ofthis prodigious enquiry into humanity I ha I Bcckett' s art constitutes, these functions are three in number: going, being, a l id saying. In Beckett's 'novels' , this subtraction of ornaments has an inner I l l daphor: the characters, who realise the fiction of generic writing, lose their i lll;sscntial attributes in the course of the text: clothing, objects, possessions, hody parts and fragments of language. Beckett often lists what must be lost so that the generic functions may emerge. He does not miss an opportunity to (';Ist unpleasant epithets upon these pointless ornaments and possessions; 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. Consider, lill' i nstance, one of these lists in Rough f Theatre II: or
Work, family, third fatherland, cunt, finances, art and nature, heart and conscience, health, housing conditions, God and man, so many disasters (CDW, p. 238; SP, p. 78).1

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The three-fold interrogation bears on going, being, and saying.6 Such is the triple instance of an 'I' that is transversal to the questions themselves, of a subject captured in the interval of the going, the being, and the saying. U ntil 1 960, and perhaps a little after, in what constitutes the best-known part of Beckett's work, the 'character' will be - always and everywhere � the man of a trajectory (going), the man of an immobility (being), and the man of a monologue (saying). I laving grasped this triplet of elementary situations of the subject, we

The subtraction of 'disaster s' gives rise within Beckett's prose to a fictional set-up of destitution [dispositij de denuement] . I think it is very i mportant to relate this set-up to the function that it has for thought, because i 1 has far too often been interpreted - taking what is simply a figuration too Ii Icrally - as a sign that for Beckett humanity is a tragic devastation, an absurd a bandonment. Allow me to say that this is the point of view of an owner, for whom possessions are the only proof ofbeing and sense! In fact, when Beckett presents us with a subject who is at the extreme point of destitution, we are dealing precisely with one who has succeeded - volens nolens - in losing, amidst the vicissitudes of experience, all the disastrous ornamentations of circumstance. We must repudiate those interpretations of Beckett that are filtered
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l Alain Bad i o u On Beckett
I , , ' IllIi advient] . How is the event as a supplement to immobile being to be I hollght? For Beckett, this problem is closely related to that of the capacities , " lallguage. Is it possible to name what happens or what takes place, inasmuch , IS i I lakes place? 4) That of the existence of the Two, or of the virtuality of the Other. T h i s is the question that ultimately ties together all of Beckett's work. Is an , . 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.

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

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This is exactly the set-up of fiction with regard to the question of the
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Alain Bad i o u On Beckett r-----place of being, when this set-up is that of closure: a strict reversibility of vision and diction in the register of knowledge. This requires an especially ascetic type of localisation. But there is also a completely different set-up: an open, geographical space, a space of transit which includes a variety of trajectories. We encounter it, for example, in the countryside - planes, hills and forests - where Molloy undertakes the search for his mother, and Moran his search for Molloy. Or in the city and the streets of The Expelled, and, even, though it tends towards a uniform abstraction, in the expanse of black mud on which the larvae of essential humanity crawl in How It Is. Or in the beautiful Scottish or Irish mounds, covered with flowers, where the old couple ofEnough wander around in happiness. Both in the spaces of wandering and in the closed places, Beckett tends to suppress all descriptive ornamentation. This results in a filtered image of the earth and sky: a place of wandering, for sure, but a place that is itself akin to a motionless simplicity. In the text called Lessness, we find the ultimate purification of the place of crossing, or ofthe possible space of all movement:
Grey sky no cloud no sound no stir earth ash grey sand. Little body same grey as the earth sky ruins only upright. Ash grey all sides earth sky as one all sides endlessness (eSp, p. 1 53; GSP, pp. 197-1 98).10

l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett
; 1 1 \' I w o major figures of generip humanity. However, these two figures are in
I I Il'iaphors oflocalisation,

1 1 1 1:; slIpl:rimposition is achieved in How It Is, where the journey and fixity

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split between Molloy, the novel ofthe journey, and A '"/0111' Dies, which is the place of saying fixed at its point of death. This final and unique place, the anti-dialectical grey black, cannot fall I I l 1dn thc regime of clear and distinct ideas. The question of being, grasped I I I l i s IOl:alisation, does not allow itselfto be distinguished or separated by an I t ka l articulation. In Molloy, we find this peremptory anti-Cartesian utterance:
I I hink so, yes, I think that all that is false may more readily be reduced, to

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('I', p. 82; TN, p. 82),u

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At the end of its fictive purification, 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] . This might suffice. What is the grey black? It is a black such that no light can be inferred to contrast with it, an 'uncontrasted' black. This black is sufficiently grey for no light to be opposed to it as its Other. In an abstract sense, the place of being is fictionalised as a black that is grey enough to be anti-dialectical, separated from all contradiction with light. The grey black is a black that must be grasped in its own arrangement arid which does not form a pair with anything else. In this grey black that localises the thought of being, there operates a progressive fusion of closure and of open (or errant) space. Little by little, Beckett's poetics will fuse the closed and the open into the grey black, making it impossible to know whether this grey black is destined for movement or immobility. This is one of the conquests of his prose. The figure that goes and the one remaining at rest will become superimposed at the place of being.
6

I[ere the Cartesian criterion of evidence is reversed, and we can see w h y : if the grey black localises being, reaching the truth of being requires I hat onc think the in-separate, the in-distinct. By contrast, what separates and d l st ing uishes - what separates dark from light, for example - constitutes the p l acc nf non-being and of falsehood. The localisation by the grey black ultimately entails that the being of i w i ng cannot be said as an isolatable singularity, but only as void. When the I ll'I ion that fuses the darkness of wandering and the darkness of immobility ( Iperatcs, we notice that what this place presents as the form of being can oilly be named ' the nothing', or 'the void', and has no other name. This maxim, which from the localisation of being in the grey black ' I ITivl:s at the void as the name of what is located, is basically established as ('arty as Malone Dies. Malone's voice begins by warning us that we are dealing w i t h a terrible phrase, one of those little phrases that 'pollute the whole of :;pcl:ch' . This phrase is: 'Nothing is more real than nothing' (T, p. 1 93 ; TN, p. This cardinal statement about being pollutes the entirety of language w i t h its inconceivable truth. Many variants will follow, but the most accomplished is to be found in Worstward Ho. In this text, we find the li)II()wing:
All save void. No. Void too. Unworsenable void. Never less. Never more. Never since first said never unsaid never worse said never not gnawing to
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l Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett
\\' I wle existence 'indistinguishes' itself, 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), but rather a certainty without concept. l i ne i s what Beckett has to say in this regard:
So I shall merely state, without enquiring how it came, or how it went, that i ll my opinion it was not an illusion, as long as it lasted, that presence of

be gone (WH, p. 42; NO, p. 1 1 3)Y

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This is the ultimate point that the fictionalisation of the place of being allows us to attest: being as void 'inexists' for language, subtracted as it is from every degree. But it is precisely being's subtraction from language that arranges it between its first two categories, movement and rest, and the third one, speech [la parole] or logos. That being qua being is subtracted from language is something that Beckett says in a great many ways, but perhaps, above all, by means of the always possible equivalence between dit and mal dit, said and missaid. This equivalence does not amount to an opposition between well saying and ill saying. Rather, it presents the missaid as the essence of language; it states that being inexists in language and that consequently, as Molloy says: ' all language was an excess of language' (T, p. 1 1 6; TN, p. 1 1 6).1 4 The main effect of this conviction is to split being and existence asunder. Existence is that of which it is possible to speak, whereas the being of existence remains subtracted from the network of meanings, and 'inexists' for language. Even though it is only in the later works that this split between being and existence with respect to language unfolds according to its true fictional operator (the grey black), it dates far back in Beckett's work. In First Love, from 1 945, we already find the following:
But I have always spoken, no doubt always shall, of things that never existed, or that existed if you insist, no doubt always will, but not with the existence I ascribe to them (eSp, p. 10; GSP, p. 3 5).1 5

what did not exist, that presence without, that presence within, that presence

between, though I'll be buggered if I can understand how it could have been anything else (W, p. 43;W US, p. 45).16

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This delicate separation between the thing that does not exist and the same thing which - inasmuch as it is seized by speech - always exists with an other kind of existence brings us back to the oscillation of the Heraclitean doggerel: the ' speak on' must operate at the place of being, the place of the grey black, which maintains an undecidable distinction between existence and the being of existence. The clearest statement about this question is perhaps to be found in Watt. Following an ontological tradition that Beckett takes up in his own way, we can call being 'Presence' inasmuch as it 'inexists' for language. More generally, we can call 'Presence' that aspect of being which remains unpresented in the existent. If being presents itself at the grey black place
8

This text tells us three things. Firstly, that presence, which is a gift of I w i l lg [donation d 'etre] from what is not in a position to exist, is itself not an I 1 I I Is i on. Secondly, that it is distributed both within and without, but that its prl'il:rred place is no doubt rather the 'between', the interval. And, thirdly, t h a i i t is impossible to say more about it than that it is a subtraction from l'\islence, and, consequently, that presence entails no meaning whatsoever. I k s i des, this impossibility is also a prohibition, 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. Such an idea could not exist because what remains of it for us is p l l rcly a proper name: 'void' or 'nothing' . This name is the beam lfleau] in I lIe I I eraclitean balance. Beneath its absence of sense, it effectively proposes ; 1 veritable being which is not an illusion, but it also proposes a non-being, s i l lee it refers to the inexistence of being, which is precisely its unsayable " ,i ll. If there were only the fictional set-up of the grey black, whose virtues we h ave exhausted, we would be forced to agree that we are very close to the vmious negative theologies, a point that is often made about Beckett. But I I l erc is something that comes before this localisation of being, something I hat cannot be reduced to the being of the inexistent, and which is reflection as slIch, the cogito. 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. In a certain sense, the movement that goes from the void to the cogito, despite the anti-Cartesian statements that I quoted above (concerning the cri tcrion of evidence), is itself very Cartesian. Indeed, we know that Beckett was raised on Descartes. The reference to the cogito is explicit in many texts,

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, d ' I I I I ',hkrhouse. This 'I' is doubly closed: in the fixity of the body and in the 1 ,, ' I : ; l s l l'llee of a voice with neither answer nor echo, it endlessly persists in I I V i l l I ', 1 0 find the path of its own identification. What does it mean for this repetitious voice of the cogito to identify

Film is indeed a film, a film whose only character is played by Buster
Keaton. It concerns a man - an object 0, says Beckett - who flees because he is pursued by an eye, named E . The and it is not until the end that one is meant to grasp the identity of the pursuer and the pursued, of the eye and the man. When Beckett published the script, he introduced it with a text called Esse following:

film is the story of the pursuit of 0 by E,

1 1.';el l? It means - with the help of a vast array of enouncements, fables, fictional
1 I I I I Ia i i v es and concepts - producing the pure and silent point of enunciation ,I:; :;l Ich. Of course, this pure point of enunciation, this 'I', is always antecedent " l I l l l l l leements possible. It is the voice's place of being and as such is itself

est percipi,

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. The relentless aim of the solipsistic voice - or

All extraneous perception suppressed, animal, human, divine, self­
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perception maintains in being. Search of non-being in flight from extraneous perception breaking down in inescapability of self-perception (CDW, p. 323; SP, p. 1 63). 1 8
This is the argument of the

(l)lIsl i tuted by its enunciation, and which is the SUbjective condition of all 1·1 l0U IlCements. In order to identify oneself, it is necessary to enter this silence

I he voice of the cogito - is to attain this originary silence, whose being is

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derives from the fact that the search for truth is replaced by the search for non-being, and, moreover, that by an inversion of values, 'the inescapability of self-perception' - which for Descartes is one of the first victories of certainty - appears here as a failure. The failure of what, exactly? Of the extension to the All

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spoken so long and so valiantly, to enter living into silence [ . . . J (T, p. 400; TN, p. 396).20

[ . J there were moments I thought that would be my reward for having

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This entry into silence, holding death at a distance ('living'), has been described perfectly by Maurice Blanchot as an ' endless recapitulation'

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[Ie Tout] - subject included - of the general form of being, which is the void. The cogito undermines this extension. There is an existent whose being cannot inexist: the subject of the cogito.
We are now appproaching our second question, after the one concerning

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of writing which simultaneously effectuates its point of

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the place of being: namely, the question of the subject as it is caught up in the closure of the cogito, which is also the question of enunciation [I 'enonciation], tortured by the imperative of the enouncement

si l ent being of all speech - is inaccessible to any enouncement whatsoever. It
paradox: the necessity that the ontological condition of all naming be itself I I llnameable. The figure of the impossible, or the unnameable, is trickier than

would be too simple to believe that this inaccessibility is the result of a formal

[I 'enonce]. 1 9

3 . 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. This is the set-up of the motionless voice - a voiceput under house arrest by a body [qu 'un

i l lsistence without hope.

I h at it fuses together two determinations that Beckett's prose consigns to an
,

The first determination is that the conditions of this operation - the conditions of the cogito considered through the sole resort of its capture by a li xed voice - are, in a very precise sense, with anxiety and mortal exhaustion. Under the second determination it becomes evident, upon closer inspection, that the

unbearable,

charged as they are

cor ps

being no more than the fixed localisation of the voice. It is in chains, tied to a hospital bed, or stuck in a jar that advertises a restaurant opposite the

assigne a residence] .

This body is mutilated and held captive, reduced to

cogito is a situation far more complex than simple self-

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reflection. Indeed, the cogito involves not two but three tel1lls . The schema of Film the eye and the objec t - is insufficient. As for the conditions of the cogito, or of a thinking of think ing [une pensee de la pensee], they are terribly restrictive. This is beca use speech is never relentlessly repetitive or mobile enough and, at the sam e time, it is never insistent or immobile enough. It would be necessary to find a vocal regime that could simultaneously reach the apex of veheme nce and of the vociferating multiple and, in its restraint, be the almost-nothi ng, on the edge of breathing. The voice cannot maintain this tenuous equilibr ium, and what escapes it is the unnameable, which could be said to be locate d exactly at the point of caesura between the two opposing regimes. This is because in order to reach this point an inner violence is necessary, a superegoic perseverence capable of literally submitting the subject of the cogito to the question, to torture. The cogito's confession of silence would need to be extorted from it. Beckett underscores the fact tha t if the '1 think ' wishes to mark its own thinking-being - if thought wishes to grasp itself as the thinking of thinking - the reign of terror will commence . This resonates with the famous letter in which Mallal1lle , in a paroxysm of anxiety and crisis, declares : 'My thought has thought itself, and I am pe rfectly dead ' .21 Be ckett, on his part, points to the suffering rather than to de ath itself. In the words of the hero of The Unnamable:
I only think, if that is the name for this vertiginous panic as of hornets smoked out oftheir nest, once a certain degree of terror has bee n exceeded (T, p. 3 5 3 ; TN, p. 3 50).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. 1 1 1 I 1 I1 1 I , ho l i l the Unnamable, tears stream down the face of the speaker. � ; l Ich heroism on the part of the cogito designates an impasse. Following 1 I 1 1 I 1 1I·. ! I : l t Icy upon The Unnamable we have T or extsf Nothing, which occupy 1 1 1 1 1 t:;.-iy I he place of dying, where the temptation to abandon the imperative I I I IV t l l l l l g . . to rest from the torture of the cogito - imposes itself. 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. ' I ' he T extsf Nothing proceed in a more theoretical way, since they are or j. " l I gaged in the terrifying fictional set-ups of the solipsistic subject. The I l Ii l l l l d iscovery that these texts bear witness to is that the cogito, besides its 1 1 I 1 1 I H' l I t ing and unbearable conditions, is ultimately without finality, because I t k i l l I lieation is impossible. The injunction that the 'I' addresses to itself "lu'l"\'IIing the naming of its own founding silence is object-less: in effect, I I I l ' ( 'ogito is not a reflection, a Two (the couple of enouncement and " l l l I l Ic iation), rather, it sketches out a three-fold configuration. 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, of the dissipation of all subjectivity. The crucial text in this regard is the twelfth 'text for nothing' , one of I I I\' densest and most purely theoretical texts written by Beckett. Here is a p: l :,sagc that undertakes the analytical decomposition of the cogito:
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and one who hears, mute, uncomprehending, far from all [ . . . ] . And this There's a pretty three in one, and what a one, what a no one (eSp, p. 112; GSP, p. 1 50).24

I . . ] one who speaks saying, without ceasing to speak, Who's speaking?,
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other now [ . . . ] with his babble of homeless mes and untenanted hims [ . . . ] .

The 'I think' presupposes terror, which alone compels the vo ice to over­ extend itself towards itself, in order to fold back, as much as it is able to, towards its own point of enunciation. Like all terror, this on e is also given as an imperative without concept, and it imposes an obstina cy that gives no quarter and allows no escape. This imperative, indifferent to all po ssibility this terroristic commandment to sustain the unsustainable - concludes The Unnamable:
_

[ . . . ] you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on (T, p. 4 1 8 ; TN, p. 4 14).23

Sin ce what is ne ed ed is pr ec ise ly that which is impo ssi bl e, the

How is this infernal trio distributed? 1) First, there is the 'one who speaks ' [Qui parle], the supposedly 1l" llexive subject of enunciation, or the one capable of also asking 'Who's . speaking? ' [Qui parle], of enouncing the question concerning itself. It is this s l Ibject whom the hero of The Unnamable seeks to identify beneath the terror. 2) Then there is the subj ect of passivity, who hears without understanding, who is 'far away' in the sense of being the underside, the obscure matter of the one who is speaking. This is the passive being of the subject of enunciation. 3) Finally, there is the subject who functions as the support of the

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makes the question of what he is insist, and who, in order to do so, submits himself to torture. The subject is thus tom between the subject of enunciation, the subject of passivity, and the questioning subject. The third of these subjects is ultimately the one for whom the relation between the other two is at issue , the relation, that is, between enunciation and passivity. Enunciation, passive reception, question: this is the 'pretty three' of Beckett's subject. And, if we wish to join them together, to count all three of them as One, we find only the void of being, a nothing that is worth nothing. Why is it worth nothing? Because the void of being does not itself claim to be the question of its own being. In the case of the subject, instead, we have
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this terrifying rambling of the question which, were it to issue into the void pure and simple, would turn the torture of identification into bitter buffoonery. Every question implies a scale of values (what is the answer worth?), and if, in the end, we find only what was there be ore every question - that is, being f as the grey black - then the value of the answer is zero. Of course, one might think that the only solution is to abandon all questions. Would rest, serenity and the end of the tormenting question of identity not reside in a pure and simple coincidence with the place of being, with the unquestionable grey black? Why wish for the silence of the point of enunciation rather than for the silence as it is, as it has always been, in the anti-dialectical identity of being? Can the subject not rejoin the place from which all questions are absent, can it not desert and deconsecrate the dead end of its own identity? Well, the answer is no, it cannot do this. The question, because it is one ofthe instances ofthe subj ective triplet, insists without appeal. Beckett, inIll

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grey black; 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 '. 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. The cogito is We are co vitable. The solipsism that is given over to the I I I I I w ; l I ah l e but it is also ine in n is interminable and pointless, it can no longer susta 1 11 1 1l 1'�;S of identificatio Beckett's er can the place of being welcome us . This is why II 1 1 1 1 l 1 g, but neith lucidity, they or is period are textsf nothing. With extraordinary I . .� I :, i'rom th ss of the attempt in progress . 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), l I ' n l isa l ion , not that truth of a ing more to show for itself. 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 , that of Be ckett at . It is impossible to go on alternating, without any l l i a l p o i nt can 't go on ing and ver, between the neutrality of the grey black of be I I ll'd iation whatsoe ger sustain rture of the solipsistic cogito . Writing can no lon I I Il' en dless to I I :w l r by means of this alternation. of did go on. Unless we imagine that it was a matter And yet, Beckett e vacuity , 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, we d inced that it happened through a real artistic an r a l l l e to pass. I am conv ge in the rmation, and more precisely through a chan I I lte llectual transfo
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4 . 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. It is also utterly wrong to maintain, as

Seen III Said, expressly says that it is impossible to reach a place, or a time,
where the question has been abolished: Was it ever over and done with questions? Dead the whole brood no sooner hatched. Long before. In the egg. Long before. Over and done with answering. With not being able. With not being able not to want to know. With not being able. No. Never. A dream. Question answered

much critical opinion would have it, that his work drove itself ever deeper into 'despair', 'nihilism' , or the defeat of meaning. Beckett treats a set ofproblems in the medium of prose; his work is in no way the expression of a spontaneous metaphysics. 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, Beckett displaces, transforms and even destroys

(ISIS, p. 37; NO, p. 70).25

, this set-up and its corresponding fictions. This is, without a doubt, what happens at the end of the fifties, after the

The idea of disarticulating the subjective trio by suppressing the questioning instance cannot be put into practice. One cannot rejoin the

T f Nothing. We can take How It Is - ultimately a little known book - as exts or
the mark of a major transformation in the way that Beckett fictionalises his

14

15

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

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contributes in part to curing Beckett of the secret schema of predestination, evident in the work between W and How It Is. att Of course, in the earliest of Beckett's works we can already find traces of this break with the schema of predestination, 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]. These traces are linked to the muffled exposition of the schema itself. I am thinking, for instance, of the moment when Molloy declares: ' one is what one is, partly at least' (T, p. 54; TN, p. 54).18 This 'partly' concedes a point to the non-identity of the self, which is where the risk of a possible freedom lies. This concession prepares the judgment ofEnough: ' Stony ground but not entirely' (CSP, p. 1 40; GSP, p. 1 87).29 There is here a breach of being, a subtraction from the indifferent ingratitude of the grey black. Or, to borrow a concept from Lacan, there is the not-all, both in that coincidence of self with self that speech exhausts itself in situating, and in the earth's stony ingratitude.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, of 'what-comes-to-pass ' . It is no longer a matter of asking the question 'What of being such as it is? ', or ' Can a subject who is prey to language rejoin its silent identity?' Instead, one asks: 'Does something happen?' And, more precisely: 'Is there a name for the surging up, for an incalculable advent that de-totalises being and tears the subject away from the predestination of its own identity?'

lino calls 'incidents', which are themselves quite real. /Vlltt provides the allegorical arrangement of a structural place: the h"I I:;I' of Mr. Knott.31 This place is both immemorial and invariable, it is \ "' 1 1 1 , ), a s All and as Law:
I

I II W att, on the other hand, we encounter the crucial problem of what

J nothing could be added to Mr. Knott's establishment, and from it 1 I(llhing taken away, but that as it was now, so it had been in the beginning,
. . .

alld so it would remain to the end, in all essential respects, any significant

presence, at any time, and here all presence was significant, even though ( W, p. 1 29; W US, p. 1 3 1).32
it was impossible to say of what, proving that presence at all times [ . . . ]

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5 . Event, Mea n i n g , 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, texts. It is central to W which dates from the forties. But, to a considerable extent, it was obliterated by the works that brought Beckett fame. In addition to W aiting f Godot, this means essentially the trilogy of Molloy, Malone or Dies, and The Unnamable. What common opinion retained from these works was precisely that in the end nothing happened, nothing but the wait for an event. Godot will not come; Godot is nothing but the promise of his coming. In this sense, the role of the event is akin to that of woman in Claudel: a promise that cannot be kept.
18

Mr. Knott's house binds presence and meaning so closely that no breach I I I i t s being is thinkable, whether by supplement or by subtraction. All that ( Il l e can do is to reflect the Law of invariance that governs the place ofbeing. I l ow does the house function over time? Where is Mr. Knott, at any given I I IOlllent? In the garden, or on the first floor? These are questions that relate to pure knowledge, to the science of place; they are the rationalisations of :;( li llcthing like a 'waiting for Mr. Knott'. But besides the law of place and its uncertain science there is the problem of incidents. This is what will arouse Watt's passion as a thinker. Speaking of these incidents, Beckett will say - in a formula of major l i llportance - that they are 'of great formal brilliance and indeterminable purport' (W, p. 7 1 ; W US, p. 74).33 What are these incidents? Among the 1I10st remarkable ones, let us cite the visit of a piano tuner and his son, or the pulting out of Mr. Knott's dish for the dog in front of the door, a dog whose origin is itself an 'impenetrable' question. What provokes thought is the contradiction between, on the one hand, I he formal brilliance of the incident (its isolation, its status as exception), and, on the other, the opaqueness of its content. Watt takes great pains in 'formulating hypotheses about this content. It is here that his thought is really awakened. What is at issue is not a cogito under the torturing compulsion of I he voice, but rather calculations and suppositions designed to raise the content ofthe incidents up to the level of their formal brilliance. att, In W however, there is a limit to this investigation, a limit that Beckett will not cross until much later: the hypotheses about the incidents remain

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captive to a problematic of meaning. We are still within the confines of an attempt ofthe hermeneutic type, in which one is supposed to bring the incident, by means of a well-conducted interpretation, into agreement with the established universe of meanings. Here is the passage that lays out the hierarchy of possibilities that are open to Watt as the interpreter, or hermeneut, of the incidents:
y.] ( ' 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

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/laugh.] Ah ( ' I ,OV: Mean something ! You and I, mean something ! [Brie

I I A M M: We're not beginning to . . . to . . . mean something?

( '[)W, pp. 1 07-1 08; E, pp. 32-33)35 Ultimately, Beckett replaces his initial hermeneutics - which attempts

[ . . . ] 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).34 The hermeneut has three possibilities: if he supposes that there is a meaning to the incident he can retrieve it, or else propose an entirely different one. If instead he supposes that there is no meaning, he can generate one. Of course, only this third hypothesis, which posits that the incident is entirely devoid of meaning and that it is therefore really separate from the closed universe of sense (Mr. Knott's house), awakens thought in a lasting manner (,after a delay of varying length'), and demands its labour ('with greater or less pains ') . However, if this is all there is, if the interpreter is the giver of

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'11\ Tat i on, that ofnaming. Confronted with a chance supplementation ofbeing,

does not seek any meaning at all, but instead proposes to draw an

I l i vented name out of the very void of what takes place. Interpretation is
/1 \ I hc incident, to preserve within language a trace ofthe incident's separation. I hncby supplanted by a poetics of naming that has no other purpose than to
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The poetics of naming is central to III Seen III Said, starting with the \,\,1 y title ofthe text. Indeed, 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. W l lat truly happens cannot be properly seen [bien vu] (including in the moral
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sense, then we remain prisoners of meaning as law and imperative. The
interpreter creates nothing but an agreement between the incident and that from which he separated himself at the beginning - the established universe

::urprise that belongs to the event-incident. And what does 'ill said' mean? · I I I C well-said is precisely the order of established meanings. But if we do I l i anage to produce the name of what happens inasmuch as it happens - the l I a m c ofthe ill seen - then this name cannot remain prisoner of the meanings
" I ' the ill said. 'Ill seen ill said' designates the possible agreement between that are attached to the monotony of the place. It thus belongs to the register t hai which is subtracted from the visible (the 'ill seen'), and that which is

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att of meanings, Mr. Knott's house. In W there certainly is a chance that
something may happen, but what-comes-to-pass - once it is captured and reduced by the hermeneut - does not preserve its character as a supplement or a breach. Beginning with the play Endgame, Beckett dissociates what-comes­ to-pass from any allegiance - even an invented one - to meanings. 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.
[Pause.]
I IA MM: Clov!

';l I hlracted from meaning (the 'ill said'). We are therefore dealing with the agrcement between an event, on the one hand, and the poetics of its name, on
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other, Here is a decisive passage concerning this point: 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 of hope. By the grace ofthese modest beginnings

20

21

Al a i n Ba d i o u On Beckett ,----The text, in the end, speaks about itself. ' The inspection' accords with visibility; it is the well-seen, which is moreover presented here as a torture. During the torment of the submission to the law of place, in the classical abruptness of the supplementation by an event, there is a noise. This noise is out-of-place [hors-lieu], isolated in its formal clarity, in-visible, ill seen?7 The entire problem is to invent a name for it. In passing, Beckett rejects the hypothesis - which might appear as more ambitious but actually exhibits a lesser freedom - of an explanation that would 'well say' about the ill seen. The name of the noise-event is a poetic invention. This is what Beckett signals by the paradoxical alliance of 'collapsion' and 'slumberous ' , one 'uncommon' and the other 'infrequent' . This naming emerges from the void of language, like an ill saying adequate to the ill seen of the noise. Even more important is the fact that once ' slumberous collapsion' is uttered - as what names the suddenness of the noise as a poetic wager on the ill seen - then and only then is there 'a gleam of hope' . What kind of hope are we dealing with here? The hope of a truth. A truth that will be interpolated into the grey black, a truth dependent on the naming of an event which will itself be eclipsed. The moment of grace, the 'grace of these modest beginnings' . There exists no other beginning for a truth than the one that accords a poetic name - a name without meaning - to a separable supplement which, however obscure, however ill seen it is said to be, is nevertheless, once subtracted from the grey black of being, 'of great formal brilliance'. What is thus opened up is the domain of truth. In its separable origin, this is the domain of alterity. The naming guards a trace of an Other-than­ being, which is also an Other-than-self. This is the source of the subject's dis-closure, whereby it incurs the risk of the Other, of its figures and occurrences. It does so under the sign of the hope opened up by ontological alterity - the breach in being which is crystallised both by the suddenness of the event and by the brilliance of the ill seen.
(ISIS, p. 55; NO, p. 83).36

l A la i n Ba d i o u On Beckett
in ts after 1 96 0. The most significant set-ups [montages] I \ ' , L ( ' I I in his tex ucturalist' one of The Lost Ones, published in I I I I ' , Il' Spcct are the very ' str I " /0, :llI d the one of How It Is. tion lays out an abstract place that does not imply any I II both cases, fic sts, or ure of the sensible. The place is no longer that of the fore , :,Ia hli shed fig ing, or of the closure of a room in an asylum . The " I I I Il' Ilowers of wander and regulated, subj ected to strict parameters that one ',p :I(' l� is homogeneous e as the object of an exact science. Such coded places evok ',(, I I�;CS could serve ern also recall Dante 's Inf o. Their bareness allows ,I I II Ickct cosmolo gy, but they . tion to focus upon the figural dispositions of the subject , t i l a l len es, the place in question is a giant rubber cylinder in In The Lost On und, and temperature are regulated by rigorous wl lic h the variations of light, so rically observable and yet conceptually unknown. law s. These laws are empi os, purified and reduced to a complex of closure and Tl iis is a simple cosm gle it, a ' little pe op le ' busies itself with obeying a sin I " ! ',a l i ty. Within t ones.38 This obstinate imperative is no longer 1 l l lpcrative: to look for their los in The Unnamable. It is no longer a question of 1 1 t : 1 1 of identification, as e or of rej oining oneself at the pure point of silence. Th ::p ca king one's self ch one look for the other, or, to be more precise, 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. Here is ching for its lost one' (eSp, p. 1 59 ; GSP, p. 20 2) .39 i >nd ics roam each sear you, e is the one who, by being your lost one, 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 . 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. r is both constant and varied. People run around The quest for the othe der - for example climbing the ladders to see if the l�vcrywhere in the cylin s e niches installed at various heights. 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, m inutiae. In the end we ca ures of the subj ect, four possible positions for ' each an d therefore four fig on e' who searches for its lost one. ere are two criteria for setting up this typology of Roughly speaking, th ligures. up contrasts those who search and those who have given The first one live in accordance with the single imperative on the search; those who still

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6 . 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

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Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r-------------.....
and those who have given up on this imperative - which is the same as giving up on one's desire, since there exists no other desire than that of finding one's lost one. Beckett calls these defeated searchers the vanquished. To be vanquished, let us note, is never to be vanquished by the other, but rather entails that one has renounced the other. The second criterion has its origin in the Platonic categories ofmovem ent " and rest, whose importance for Beckett's thought I have already indicated. There are searchers who circulate without stopping, there are oth ers who sometimes stop, and then there are those who stop often - and eve n some who no longer move at all. We thus end up with four types of subject: 1 ) The searchers who circulate nonstop, whom we might call the 'nomads ' , and who are the 'initial' living beings - the infants, for example. The infants never stop circulating, on their mothers' backs to be sure, but without ever coming to a halt. The mothers also belong to this category; they cannot be immobile, not even for an instant. 2) The searchers who sometimes stop, who 'rest' . 3) The searchers who are definitively motionless, or immobile for a very long time, but who - and this is very important - continue to search with their eyes for their lost one. Nothing in them moves, excep t the eyes, ceaselessly turning in all directions. 4) The non-searchers, the vanquished. Those who are immobile, either constantly or for a long time, are cal led the sedentary. By combining the criteria of the imperative (to sea rch) and of movement, we can fundamentally distinguish two ' extremal' po sitions: the absolute nomadic living beings, on the one hand, and the vanquis hed, on the other. Between these two figures lie partial and total sedentarity. The principl e underlying this distribution of figures is the fol lowing : since the law of desire is the search for the other, this search can never be interrupted, except in that approximation ofdeath constituted by irr eversibility. The moment when one gives up on the imperative is a point ofno return. The one who stops circulating becomes sedentary, thereby entering int o the figure of the vanquished. This is if we view things from the side of life, from the side of the imperative ofthe lost one. But, from the other point of view, that of sedentarity, there exist a variety of possibilities - one can circulate between partial and total immobility. There is even the possibility of the following mi racle, which
1 0 . 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, , 1 1 1 1 I t ,sl n e ver takes place, but there are cases . . . ) of a vanquished one to the , I I " 1 1 : 1 o r the search. Here the set-up involves a certain torsion: giving up on I i i,' l i l lperative is irreversible, but the result of (or the punishment for) this . I , k :l l , which is apathetic immobility, is not irreversible . Or again: I l l l 'vlTsibility is a law of choice, a law of the moment; it does not govern a ' : I : i I (' of affairs. Grasped in all its consequences and figures, and not in its I 'l l n' moment, irreversibility is not irreversible. The subject's maxims are therefore as follows: to give up is irreversible, 1 ," 1 1111 possibilities exist even where nothing attests to them, in the midst of I I ll' ligures of sedentarity. Beckett says as much in an extraordinarily succinct 1 ':lssage, 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:
[ . . . J in the cylinder what little is possible is not so it is merely no longer so

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and in the least less the all of nothing if this notion is maintained (eSp, p. 1 67; GSP, pp. 2 1 1 -2 1 2).40
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The slightest failure is total (because less nothing) but no possibility I �; annihilated (because not-possible provisionally no longer possible). The ethics of the cylinder knows no eternal damnation, but neither docs it know any compromise regarding the imperative of the Other. What distributes this ethics into its two sides is a figure of the subject. In How It Is, the description ofthe subject's figures takes place in another rictional montage, bringing us closer to the crucial problem of the Two. Of course, Beckett maintains that there are four main figures. There arc always four figures, we cannot escape this number, the problem is knowing which of them are nameable. A passing remark: you are probably acquainted with Lacan's thesis about what can be said of truth. For Lacan, a truth can never be entirely said, i t can only be half-said.40 When it comes to the truth of subjective figures, I he proportion that Beckett proposes is somewhat different. Of the four figures, only three can be named, so that in this case speech can reach three quarters of the truth:
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[ . . . J the voice being so ordered I quote that of our total life it states only three quarters (HI!, p. 142; HI! US, p. 130)42

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These are the four figural postures of the subject in How It Is: 1) To wander in the dark with a sack. 2) To encounter someone in the active position, pouncing on them in ' the dark. This is the so-called 'tormentor 's' position. 3) To be abandoned, immobile in the dark, by the one encountered. 4) To be encountered by someone in a passive position (someone pounces on you while you are immobile in the dark). This is the position of the so-called 'victim'. It is this fourth position that the voice is not able to say, thus leading to the axiom of the three quarters concerning the relationship between truth and speech. These are the generic figures which cover everything that can happen to a member of humanity. It is very important to note that these figures are egalitarian ones. In this set-up there is no particular hierarchy, nothing to indicate that this or that one among the four figures is to be desired, preferred, or distributed differently than the others. The words 'tormentor ' and 'victim' should not mislead us in this regard. Besides, Beckett is careful to warn us that there is something exaggerated, something falsely pathetic in these conventional denominations. Moreover, we will see that the positions of the victim and the tormentor designate everything that can exist by way of happiness in life. In sum, these figures are only the generic avatars ofexistence; they are equivalent to one another, 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, p. 135; HII US, p. 1 24).43 Of course, the justice evoked here, as a judgment about collective being, does not refer to any kind of finality. It concerns only the intrinsic ontological equality of the figures of the subject. Within this typology, we can nevertheless group the figures of solitude, on the one hand, and the figures of the Two, on the other. The figures of the Two are the tormentor and the victim. These postures are the consequence of a chance encounter in the dark, and are tied to one another by the extorsion of speech, by the violent demand of a story. This is ' life in stoic love' (HII, p. 69; HII US, p. 62).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. The sack is very important. Indeed, 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 to explain this fact God is the simplest hypothesis; all the other hypotheses, which Beckett tries to list, are extremely

ns her I h, res ults of a separation. The joumey is that of a victim who abando ent I", " Iel ltor, whilst immobility in the dark applies to the abandoned torm

are I ,ct us note that, as figures of solitude, the journey and immobility

or. tt does I I I:; dea r that the se figures are sexuated, but in a latent manner. Becke because they refer 1 , , ,1 pro nounce the words 'man' and 'woman', precisely fortably to a structural and permanent Two. Depending as it does 1 1 1 1 1 00 com victim and tormentor, of their t i l l I hc chance of the encounter, the Two of duality. ' 1II II Ieys and immobilities, is not the realisation of any pre-existing I I n fact, the figures of solitude are sexuated in accordance with two tted out by How It Is: I " ('al exi stential theorems , whose evidence is plo - first theorem: only a woman travels; second theorem: whoever is immobile in the dark is a man. l let you reflect upon these theorems. What we should note I wil l 1 l l 1ediately is that this doctrine of the sexes, 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 - this schema of sexuation, in brief- is in no sense either empirical or ical. The sexes are distributed as a result, on the basis of an encounter hio log passive one I I I wh ich the active position - called 'the tormentor's ' - and the . The sexes cal led 'the victim 's' - are bound together through 'stoic love' en a mortal crawling in the dark encounters another mortal crawling h, '/ 'pen wh food. Of I I I the dark, like everyone else, with his or her sack full of tins of k ('ourse , there are always fewer and fewer tins about, but one day another sac w i l l be found - as long as we don't stop crawling, God wilIling. tive and pa ssive positions, however, are not the last word on Ac ion. In order to shed more light upon the matter, we must examine scx uat that Beckett's 'termina l' thought on its own terms . This is the thought eSl ablishes the power of the Two as truth.
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7 . Love a n d its N u m e r ica l i ty : O n e , Tw o , I n fi n i ty
Whilst Beckett's fables are subject to a number ofvariations, one feature remains unchanged: love begins in a pure encounter, which is neither destined nor predestined, except by the chance crossing of two trajectories . Prior to I his meeting, only solitude obtains. No Two, and in particular no sexual duality, exists before the encounter. Sexual difference is unthinkable except from the point ofview ofthe encounter, as it unfolds within the process oflove. There

26

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Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett

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is no originary or prior difference that conditions or orientates this encounter. The encounter is the originary power ofthe Two, and therefore of love itself. This power, which within its own domain is not preceded by anything, is practically without measure. In particular, it is incommensurable with the power of feeling and with the sexual and desiring power of the body. It is in ' the thirties, in Murphy, that Beckett asserts this excess without measure of ·. . .. . the encounter:
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Ihat the Two of love elicits the advent of the sensible. The truth of I I , , · ' I WI) gives rise to a sensible inflection ofthe world, where before only the , ' I . V hlack of being had taken place. Now, the sensible and the infinite are I I h l l l i c a l , because the infinity of the world is, together with the One of the . , , : II, Ihe other coherent thesis. Between these two presentational positions, 1 1 11 Two of love functions both as break and as a constitution. ( )ne of the axioms of How It Is is that the One and the Infinite are the 1 \\ 1 ' coherent ontological theses. The hero, crawling in the dark, asserts the
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And to meet [ ...] in my sense exceeds the power of feeling, however tender, and of bodily motions, however expert (M, p. 1 24; M US, p. 222).44

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Beckett never reduces love to the amalgam of sentimentality and sexuality endorsed by common opinion. Love as a matter oftruth (and not of , opinion) depends upon a pure event: an encounter whose strength radically exceeds both sentimentality and sexuality. The encounter is the founding instance ofthe Two as such. In the figure oflove - such as it originates in the encounter - the Two arises. This includes the Two of the sexes or of the sexualized figures. In no way does love tum a pre-existing Two into a One; this is the romantic version of love that Beckett never ceases to deride. Love is never either fusion or effusion. Rather, it is the often painstaking condition required for the Two to exist as Two. An example is provided in Malone Dies by the fictitious encounter that Malone engineers between Macmann and his guardian, Moll. The love that is admirably recounted here, like the love ofthe aging or the dying, takes on an extraordinary lyrical intensity. Malone comments on the truth-effects ofthis love as follows:
But on the long road to this what flutterings, alarms and bashful fumblings, of which only this, that they gave Macmann some insight into the meaning of the expression, Two is company (T, p. 2 6 1 ; TN, p. 260).46

problem or else we are innumerable and no further problem either ( l 1 lI, p. 1 3 5 ; HII US, p. 1 24f7

in other words in simple words I quote on either I am alone and no further

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The Two, which is inaugurated by the encounter and whose truth results from love, does not remain closed in upon itself. Rather, it is a passage, a pivotal point, the first numericality. This Two constitutes a passage, or authorises the pass, from the One of solipsism (which is the first datum) to the infinity of beings and of experience. The Two of love is a hazardous and chance-laden mediation for alterity in general. It elicits a rupture or a severance of the cogito's One; by virtue of this very fact, however, it can hardly stand on its own, opening instead onto the limitless multiple of Being. We might

The Two of love deploys the sensible version of this abstract axiom, w h i c h jointly validates the thesis of the One and the thesis of the Infinite. I l I ve offers beauty, nuance, colour. It presents what one might call the other I II .-;e c ond nocturne - not the grey black of being, but the rustling night, the 1 1 1 1 ',1 1 1 ofleaves and plants, of stars and water. Under the very strict conditions I " )�;ed by the encounter and the ensuing toil, the Two of love operates the :.I i ssion of the dark into the grey black of being, on the one hand, and the I I I Ii 11 itely varied darkness of the sensible world, on the other. This explains why in Beckett's prose one often chances upon these : ; w l den poems where, under the sign of the inaugural figure of the Two, ';Ililicthing unfolds within the night of presentation. This something is the I l l I d tiple as such. Love is, above all, an authorisation granted to the multiple, I I lade under the ever-present threat of the grey black in which the original ( )lIe undergoes the torture of its own identification. I would now like to quote three such poems that are latent within the plOse, so that another Beckett may be heard - a Beckett who gives voice to I I Ie gift and the happiness of being. The first poem is taken from Krapp s Last Tape, at the moment in which I he hero of the play, 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 .'; ( agcs of his life), retrieves the crucial moment when the Two of love had re­ I )pcned the multiple:
-upper lake, with the punt, bathed off the bank, then pushed out into the

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Al a i n B a d i o u On Beckett r----stream and drifted. She lay stretched out on the floorboards with her hands under her head and her eyes closed. Sun blazing down, bit of a breeze, water nice and lively. I noticed a scratch on her thigh and asked how she came by it. Picking gooseberries, she said. I said again I thought it was hopeless and no good going on and she agreed, without opening her eyes.
[Pause.] I asked her to look at me and after a few moments
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a gradient Of one in one his head swept the ground. To what this taste

was due I cannot say. To love of the earth and the flowers' thousand scents
:lI1d hues. Or to cruder imperatives of an anatomical order. He never raised
I he question. The crest once reached alas the going down again. I n order from time to time to enjoy the sky he resorted to a little round

[Pause.]

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Illirror. Having misted it with his breath and polished it on his calf he

after a few moments she did, but the eyes just slits, because of the glare. I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. [Pause. Low.] Let me in. [Pause.] We drifted in among the flags and stuck. The way they went down, sighing, before the stem! [Pause.] I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. We lay there without moving.
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looked in it for the constellations. I have it! he exclaimed referring to the Lyre or the Swan. And often he added that the sky seemed much the same (CSP, p. 142; GSP, p. 190).50
I , IVC is when we can say that we have the sky, and that the sky has nothing.51

But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side. [Pause.] Past midnight. Never knew ­ (CDW, p. 221 ; SP, p. 6 1 )48

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As you can see, this is the poem ofthe opening ofthe waters, the multiple of the absolute moment, when love, even if it is in the statement of its own end, brings forth the infinity of the sensible world. The second quote comes from Enough, a short text entirely devoted to love. This text establishes precise connections between love and infinite lmowledge. The two walking lovers, broken in two, in a world of hills in bloom, are never closer to one another than when they discuss mathematics or astronomy:
His talk was seldom of geodesy. But we must have covered several times the equivalent of the terrestrial equator. At an average speed of roughly three miles per day and night. We took flight in arithmetic. 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. Graving themselves in his memory as best they could the ensuing cubes accumulated. In view ofthe converse operation at a later stage. When time would have done its work (CSP, p. 1 4 1 ; GSP, p. 1 88) .49

Two . 52 The last poem is taken from Company, 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. In its trembling shade. She at right angles propped on her elbows head between her hands. Your eyes opened and closed have looked in hers looking in yours. In your dark you look in them again. Still. You feel on your face the fringe of her long black hair stirring in the still air. Within the tent of hair your faces are hidden from view. She murmurs, Listen to the leaves. Eyes in each other's eyes you listen to the leaves. In their trembling shade (C, pp. 66-67; NO, p. 35).53

I I i s then that the multiple of Constellations is held in the opening of the

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Here is another very beautiful passage, once again fromEnough, 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 as the nocturnal fissure of the grey black of being. But there is also a conspiring of the Two - an insistence that takes the ligure of fidelity. This fidelity organises four functions in Beckett, which are a lso four figures of the subject within love. It is my conviction (for which I a m unable here to adduce proof) that these functions have a general value, in I he sense that they are the organising functions of any generic process. They relate to the duration of love, of course, but also to scientific accumulation, artistic innovation, and political tenacity. The first of these functions is wandering [l 'errance] or the journey, with or without the benefit of a sack: a journey in the dark, which presents
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Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett

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, I, . I H lthing that bears witness to this love, but only to retain, motionless in I I " d : 1 I1 , love's powerful abstract conviction. Thc feminine polarity combines wandering and narrative. It does not i l l t . rd with the fixity of the name, but with the infinity of its unfolding in the \\ l Il ld, the narrative of its unending glory. It does not stick to the sole 1 ' 1 ',<;niption without proof, but organises the constant inquiry, the verification I I I : 1 capacity. To be a 'woman', in the context of love, is to move about in i l l t 'ordance with a custody of meaning, rather than of names. This custody I I l 1 pl ies the errant chance of inquiries, as well as the perpetual depositing of 1 1 1 1,'; chance into a story. Love exists as the determination of this polarity, supporting the four I l I l Ictions and providing them with a singular distribution. This is why love il lolle calls for the observation that there is indeed 'man' (immobility of the I I l 1perative, the custody of the name) and 'woman' (wandering of a truth, t ( ) l Isequences of the name within speech). Without love, nothing would bear w i l iless to the Two of the sexes. Instead there would be One, and One again, hili not Two. There would not be man and woman. These reflections open onto an important doctrine that concerns all 1 ',l'lleric procedures, which is that of their numericality. In love, there is first the One of solipsism, which is the confrontation or duel between the cogito and the grey black of being in the infinite I l'capitulation of speech. Next comes the Two, which arises in the event of an " I ICllUnter and in the incalculable poem of its designation by a name. Lastly, I here is the Infinity of the sensible world that the Two traverses and unfolds, where, little by little, it deciphers a truth about the Two itself. This numericality ( one, two, infinity) is specific to the procedure oflove. We could demonstrate I hat the other truth procedures - science, art, and politics - have different I l limericalities, and that each numericality singularises the type of procedure i I I question, all the while illuminating how truths belong to totally I lderogeneous registers. The numericality of love - one, two, infinity - is the setting for what I kckett quite rightly calls happiness. Happiness also singularises love as a l ruth procedure, for happiness can only exist in love. Such is the reward proper to this type of truth. In art there is pleasure, in science joy, in politics enthusiasm, but in love there is happiness. Joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and happiness all concern the advent, within I he world, of the void of being, as it is gathered within a subject. In the case of happiness this void is an interval; it is captured in the between [l 'entre, t

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the infinite chance of the faithful journey of love; the endless crossing of a world henceforth exposed to the effects of the encounter. This function of wandering, whose abstract variant we encountered in How It Is, is also exhibited in the incessant walking of the lovers of Enough among the hills and flowers. It establishes the duration of the Two and grounds time under the injunction of chance. The second function is exactly the opposite, that is, immobility, which watches over, guards or maintains the fixed point of the first naming, the naming of the event-encounter. We saw that this naming pins the ' incident' to its lack of meaning, and permanently fixes that which is supernumerary into a name. This is the senseless 'I love you', 'We're in love', or whatever might come in its stead, and which in each of its occurrences is always pronounced for the first time. This immobility is that ofthe second nocturne, of the small craft caught in the flags, of gazes absorbed by the eyes of the other. The third function is that of the imperative: always to go on, even in separation; to decree that separation itself is a mode of continuity. The ou imperative of the Two relays that of the soliloquy (Y must go on . . . I 'll go on), but it subtracts the element ofpointless torture from it, thereby imposing the strict law of happiness, whether one is a victim or a tormentor. The fourth function is that of the story, which, from the standpoint of the Two, offers up the latent infinity of the world and recounts its unlikely unfolding, inscribing, step by step - like an archive that accompanies wandering - everything that one may discover in what Beckett calls 'the blessed days of blue' (eSp, p. 153; GSP, p. 1 97).54 Love (but also any other generic procedure, albeit in the regime that is its own) weaves within its singular duration these four functions: wandering, immobility, the imperative, and the story. Beckett constructs the Idea of the sexes, of the two sexes, by combining these four functions, under the assumption that the event of love has taken place. He thus establishes the masculine and feminine polarities of the Two independently of any empirical or biological determination of the sexes. The functions combined within the masculine polarity are those of immobility and the imperative. To be a 'man' is to remain motionless in love by retaining the founding name and by prescribing the law of continuation. Yet, because the narrative function is missing, this prescriptive immobility remains mute. In the case of love, a 'man' is the name's silent custodian. And because the function of wandering is missing, to be a man within love is also


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Ala i n B a d i o u On Beckett
Deux], in that which constitutes the effective character of the Two. This is its separation, that is, the difference of the sexes as such. Happiness is not in the least associated with the One, with the myth of fusion. Rather, it is the subjective indicator of a truth of difference, of sexual difference, a truth that love alone makes effective. At this point, at the very heart of happiness, once more we come up against sexuation, which is both the site and the stakes of happiness. In happiness, 'man' is the blind custodian of separation, of the between. The heroine of Enough will say: 'We were severed if that is what he desired' (eSp, p. 1 4 1 ; GSP, p. 1 88).55 In fact, the masculine polarity supports a desire for scission. This is not at all a longing to return to solipsism, but rather the desire for the manifestation of the Two in the divided between. There is a Two only ifthere is this between where the void is located as the ontological principle [principe d 'etre] of the Two. The desire of 'man' is assigned to or by this void. We might say that man desires the nothing of the Two, whereas the feminine polarity desires nothing but the Two, that is, the infinite tenacity whereby the Two endures as such. This instance of the 'woman' is magnificently proclaimed at the very end ofEnough. It is there that a woman argues for persistence, against the nothing of the Two, against the void that affects the Two from within and which is symbolised by the man's leaving in order to die. This woman is the one who insists on the 'nothing but the Two', even if it is only in its simple mnemonic outline, within the constantly reworked narrative of wandering:
This notion of calm comes from him. Without him I would not have had it. Now I'll wipe out everything but the flowers. No more rain. No more mounds. Nothing but the two of us dragging through the flowers. Enough my oid breasts feel his old hand (eSp, p. 144; GSP, p. 192).56
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nocturne (ci limbo between life and death), at the end there arises a kind " I l ra nsparent void, which is laid out in the second nocturne. What more is I l ine to do than to listen to what is happening? What follows is the opening passage - in my view one of the most I wa lltiful texts in the French language - which captures the brilliance of I I I is fortune:
From where she lies she sees Venus rise. On. From where she lies when the skies are clear she sees Venus rise followed by the sun. Then she rails at the source of all life. On. At evening when the skies are clear she savours its star's revenge. At the other window. Rigid upright on her old chair she watches for the radiant one. Her old deal spindlebacked kitchen chair. It emerges from out the last rays and sinking ever brighter is engulfed in its turn. On. She sits on erect and rigid in the deepening gloom. Such helplessness to move she cannot help. Heading on foot for a particular point often she freezes on the way. Unable till long after to move on not knowing whither or for what purpose. Down on her knees especially she finds it hard not to remain so forever. Hand resting on hand on some convenient support. Such as the foot of her bed. And on them her head. , There then she sits as though turned to stone face to the night. Save for the white of her hair and faintly bluish white of face and hands all is black. For an eye having no need oflight to see. All this in the present as had she the misfortune to be still of this world (ISIS, pp. 7-8; NO, pp. 49-50).57

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And now the end, 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. No but slowly dispelled a little very little like the wisps of day when the curtain closes. Of itself by slow millimetres or drawn by a phantom hand. Farewell to farewell. Then in that perfect dark foreknell darling sound pip for end begun. First last moment. Grant only enough remain to devour all. Moment by glutton moment. Sky earth the whole kit and boodle. Not another crumb of carrion left. Lick chops and basta. No. One moment more. One last. Grace to breathe that void. Know happiness (ISIS, p. 59; NO, p. 86).59

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Happiness is indistinguishably 'man' and 'woman'; it is, at one and the same time, a separating void and the conjunction that reveals this void. As happiness, as the outline of happiness, it is the nothing of the Two and the nothing but the Two. Such is its inseparable sexuation: immobility and wandering, imperative and story. This happiness is basically all that takes place between the beginning and the end of III Seen III Said. The entire beginning revolves around the word 'misfortune', while the end leans towards the word 'happiness'. If at the outset we have the reign of the visible and the rigidity of seeing in the

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

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Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r----the thesis 'nothing is, nothing is valuable' is both false and oppressive. But youth is also that fragment of existence when one easily imagines oneself to be quite singular, when really what one is thinking or doing is what will later be retained as the typical trait of a generation. Being young is a source of power, a time of decisive encounters, but these are strained by their all too easy capture by repetition and imitation. Thought only subtracts itself from the spirit of the age by means of a constant and delicate labour. It is easy to want to change the world - in youth this seems the least that one could do. 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. This is why all youth, as stirring as its promise may be, is always also the youth of a 'young cretin'. Bearing this in mind, in later years, keeps us from nostalgia. When I discovered Beckett, some years after the beginning ofhis French oeuvre (that is, around 1 956), I was a complete and total Sartrean, though I was possessed by a question whose importance I thought I had personally discovered to have been underestimated by Sartre. I had yet to realise that it was already, and was going to be for a long while, the abiding obsession of my generation and of the ones to follow: the question of language. From such a makeshift observatory, I could only see in Beckett what everybody else did. A writer of the absurd, of despair, of empty skies, of incommunicability and of eternal solitude - in sum, an existentialist. But also a 'modem' writer, in that the destiny of writing, the relationship between the endless recapitulation of speech and the original silence - the simultaneously sublime and derisory function ofwords - was entirely captured by the prose at a distant remove from any realist or representational intention. In such 'modem' writing, fiction is both the appearance of a story and the reality of a reflection on the work of the writer, on its misery and its grandeur. I used to delight myselfwith the most sinister aphorisms - youth having a fatal tendency to believe that ' our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought' . Into sundry notebooks I copied things like:
And when it comes to neglecting fundamentals, I think I have nothing to learn, and indeed I confuse them with accidentals (T, p. 80; TN, p. 80).61

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No matter, any old remains of flesh and spirit do, there is no sense in stalking people. So long as it is what is called a living being you can't go wrong, you have the guilty one (T, p. 260; TN, p. 259).62
:;Iyle brings to the commonplace (and sub-Kafkaesque) thesis of universal
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I d i dn't pay enough attention to the denial that this affirmative, almost violent,

In my eyes all of this remained the literary allegory of a conclusive :;Iatement pronounced by Sartre, the famous 'man is a useless passion'. It didn't have the same flavour as the maxims on language, which I used in (lrder to support my conviction that the decisive philosophical task, which I considered my own, was to complete the Sartrean theory of freedom by means ( 1 I" a careful investigation into the opacities of the signifier. This is why The { fnnamable was my favourite book. For several months (in youth, this is, to speak like Beckett, a 'vast time'), 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'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. But I'll fix their gibberish for them. I never understood a word of it in any case, not a word of the stories it spews, like gobbets in a vomit (T, p. 327; TN, pp. 324-325).63 I should have liked to go silent first, there were moments I thought that would be my reward for having spoken so long and so valiantly, to enter living into silence, so as to be able to enjoy it, no, I don't know why, so as to feel myself silent [ . . . J (T, p. 400; TN, p. 396).64

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I should have concentrated my attention on the irony that charges this nihilistic verdict with a bizarre energy. All the same, when I delighted in reading (from Malone Dies):

Without doubt I should have pondered this 'valiance' inherent to all speech, as well as what exactly is designated by these ' stories ' spewed forth by the breed. Above all, it would have demonstrated more lucidity on my part to have understood that for Beckett The Unnamable was really an impasse, one that would take him ten years to get out of. But the (ultimately inconsistent) alliance between nihilism and the imperative of language, between vital existentialism and the metaphysics ofthe word, between Sartre and Blanchot, rather suited the young cretin that I was at the time. Basically, my stupidity lay in unquestioningly upholding the caricature

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which was then - and still is - widespread: a pitiless awareness of the nothingness of sense, extended by the resources of art to cover the nothingness of writing, a nothingness that would be materialised, as it were, by means of increasingly tight and increasingly dense prose pieces that abandoned all narrative principle. The caricature of a Beckett meditating upon death and finitude, the dereliction of sick bodies, the waiting in vain for the divine and the derision of any enterprise directed towards others. A Beckett convinced that beyond the obstinacy of words there is nothing but darkness and void. It took me many years to rid myself of this stereotype and at last to take Beckett at his word. No, what Beckett offers to thought through his art, theatre, prose, poetry, cinema, radio, television, and criticism, is not this gloomy c orporeal immers ion into an abandoned existence, into hopeless . relinquishment. Neither is it the contrary, as some have tried to argue: farce, derision, a concrete flavour, a ' thin Rabelais' . Neither existentialism nor a modem baroque. The lesson of Beckett is a lesson in measure, exactitude and courage. That is what I would like to establish in these few pages. And since it was on reading The Unnamable that my forty-year passion for this author was born, rather than in the statements on language that enchanted my youth, I would like to hold onto this aphorism which still astounds me today, when the 'unnameable' speaker, through his tears and in the certainty that he will never give up, declares:
I alone am man and all the rest divine CT, p. 302; TN, p. 300).65
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loy ; I I \'d ing of impasse and impotence. He comes out of this impasse with
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The work of Beckett, which is often presented as a block or as a linear movement - becoming increasingly nihilistic in content and increasingly concise in fOlm - is really a complex trajectory employing a great variety of literary means. 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 latter describes a kind of picture through the incessant repetition ofthe same groups ofwords, and through minute variations which, little by little, displace the meaning ofthe text (a technique pushed to its extreme in Lessness). We can also identify two major periods within Beckett's work. After

in the conduct of the prose. The effect of this oscillation and this caesura is that no single literary " . 1 1 1(' can command the comprehension of Beckett's enterprise. The novel 1 1 11 1 1 1 is still perceptible in Molloy, but in The Unnamable it is exhausted, ' 1 l l IlIgh it is not possible to say that the poem prevails - even if the cadence, 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'. In truth, the scraps of fiction or spectacle that Beckett employs attempt ' I I ,'x pose some critical questions (in Kant's sense) to the test of beauty. These qllestions are very few in number. To Kant's famous 'What can I know? W hat should I do? What may I hope? ', comes the threefold response from or " " Is / Nothing: 'Where would I go, if I could go? Who would I be if I t Olild be? What would I say, if! had a voice? ' After 1 960, one can add: 'Who , / 11/ I. if the other exists?' The work of Beckett is nothing but the treatment of I hesc four questions within the flesh of language. We could say that we are dealing with an enterprise of meditative thought - half-conquered by the p()cm - which attempts to seize in beauty the non-prescriptible fragments of t·xistence. We should also refrain from the belief that Beckett sinks into an I I ltcrrogation that is sufficient unto itself, solving none of the problems that it has posed. On the contrary, 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. In a manner that is almost aggressive, all of Beckett's genius Il:nds towards affirmation. He is no stranger to the maxim, which always carries with it a principle of relentlessness and advancement. Let us take just one maxim amongst many others, a conclusion: ' Stony ground but not entirely. '66 Ah! One really should speak of the stoniness, of t he ingratitude ofthe Earth! But only as a last resort, so that the 'not entirely' may come to shine within the prose, this prose that we know is destined to ' ring clear' and to keep courage alive within us. Like many other writers since Flaubert, Beckett often remarked that only music mattered to him, that he was an inventor of rhythms and punctuations. When asked - 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 - why he wrote, he telegraphed back:
as

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right angles propped on her elbows head between her hands. Your eyes opened and closed have looked in hers looking in yours. In your dark you look in them again. Still. You feel on your face the fringe of her long black hair stirring in the still air. Within the tent of hair your faces are hidden from view. She murmurs, Listen to the leaves. Eyes in each other's eyes you listen to the leaves. In their trembling shade (e, pp. 66-67; NO, p. 35).68

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' That's all I'm good for ' [Bon qu 'd 9a] . Not completely, Beckett, not completely! That's all, but not completely! There was the complicated relationship with Joyce, who, all things considered, was Beckett's immediate master. Against the Nazis, on French territory, there was the immediate and very dangerous commitment to the resistance. There was the long marriage with Suzanne, which, without engaging in vulgar 'biographism', we can clearly see as a central reference for all the couples who traverse Beckett's work. There was the wish to work in the theatre, not only as an author, but also as a punctilious and demanding director. There was the constant preoccupation with the use of new techniques : radio (Beckett is a master of the radio play), cinema, television. There were the relations with painters, and the activity of literary criticism (on Proust and Joyce). And many other people, many other things. I have never deemed it necessary to take entirely seriously the declarations of artists regarding their absolute vocation, the imperial ordeal of phrases and the mysticism of the page. All the same, it is true that to find a writer of this calibre so little exposed to the world, so little compromised, one would need to look far and wide. Beckett truly was a constant and attentive servant of beauty, which is why, at a distance from himself (at a distance from nature, from a 'natural' language, and at a distance from the mother, from the mother-tongue), he called upon the services of a secondary and learnt idiom, a 'foreign' language: French. Little by little, this language conferred upon him an unheard of timbre. In particular, this took place by a sort of intimate rupture which isolates words in order to rectify their precision within the phrase, adding epithets or repentances. Thus we read, in III Seen III Said:
Was it ever over and done with questions? Dead the whole brood no sooner hatched. Long before. In the egg. Long before. Over and done with answering. With not being able. With not being able not to want to know. With not being able. No. Never. A dream. Question answered (ISIS, p. 37; NO, p. 70).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, as in III Seen III Said:
From where she lies she sees Venus rise. On. From where she lies when the skies are clear she sees Venus rise followed by the sun. Then she rails at the source of all life. On. At evening when the skies are clear she savours its star's revenge. At the other window. Rigid upright on her old chair she watches for the radiant one (ISIS, p. 7; NO, p. 49).69

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And also by way of falls and halts in the action that indicate, in the prose of Enough, a tenderness which until that point had been restrained, 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. No more rain. No more mounds. Nothing but the two of us dragging through the flowers. Enough my oid breasts feel his old hand (eSp, p. 144; GSP, p. 1 92).10
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or And also by the jokes (here from Rough f Theatre II), which annul any loftiness in the tone of the prose:
Work, family, third fatherland, cunt, finances,
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conscience, health, housing conditions, God and man, so many disasters (eDW, p. 238; SP, p. 78).71

But it also occurred by means of sudden lyrical expansions, in which the calculus of sound appeases the tension of the spirit, filling the air with the nocturne of reminiscence. From Company:
You are on your back at the foot of an aspen. In its trembling shade. She at

And finally - against the grain of the brevities and caesurae that elsewhere dominate - by means of length, that extreme flexibility which permits the withdrawal ofpunctuations, when Beckett wants all the data of a

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Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r-.. --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, p. 1 3 5 ; HII US, p. 1 24).72 Rectification, or the work on the isolation of terms. Expansion, or the

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situation or of a problem to be enveloped in a unified prosodic movement 1.111, 1 1 1[' 1 1 1['
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the first part of his French oeuvre, Beckett's methodical ascesis functions: movement and rest (to go and to stall, or to collapse,

1 ' . I . l a l es three

l i e down); being (what there is, the places, the appearances, as well as

vacillation of any identity whatsoever); language (the imperative of saying, impossibility of silence). A ' character' is never anything but the assemblage
,

I I I a journey, an identity, and a cruel chatter. Fiction, which is always presented

mbitrary, as an aleatory montage, tends to set out the loss of everything

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w h ich is not reducible to these three functions and to demonstrate that these I I l l1ctions are what cannot be abolished. Such is the case with movement: not only must wandering be detached, rom all apparent sense, but since it is a matter of presenting by little, f I he essence of movement - the movement in movement - Beckett's advance
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poetic incision of memory. Declaration, or the function of emergence ofprose. Declension, or the tender cadence of disaster. Interruption, or the maxims of comedy. Elongation, or the phrased embodiment of variants. These are, in my opinion, the principal operations through which Beckett's writing attempts,
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at one and the same time, to speak unrepentantly of the stony ingratitude of the Earth, and to isolate, according to its proper density, that which exceeds it. This is why we must begin with the beauty in the prose. It is this beauty that tells us what it is that Beckett wishes to save. This is because the destiny of beauty, and in particular of the beauty that Beckett aims at, is to separate. To separate appearance, which it both restores and obliterates, from the universal core of experience. It is indispensable to take Beckett at his word: the word of beauty. In this separating function, the word declares what we must disregard in order to face up to what may be of worth.

w i l l bring with it the destruction of all the means, outside supports, and perceptible surfaces of mobility. The ' character' (Molloy, or Moran) will
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injure himself, no longer know where he is, and even lose

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good part of his body. Innumerable in Beckett's prose are the blind, the the paralytic, the old who have lost their walking sticks, the helpless
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a nd the impotent, and, in the end, those bodies that are reduced, little by words for ill saying. In this dispossession, the 'character' reaches a pure i mmobility. This is because movement is no longer anything but its own ideal mobility, testified only by a minute tension, a sort of differential of w hich we could say - so exhausted is the prose - that it is brought back to a point of movement. , Immobility would thereby find its complete metaphor in the corpse: ' dying' is the conversion of all possible movement into permanent rest. But here again, the irreducibility of the functions means that 'dying' is never death. In Malone Dies, one sees how movement and language ultimately infect both being and immobility, so that the point of immobility is constantly deferred; it does not allow itself to be constructed otherwise than as the unattainable limit of an increasingly diminishing network of movements, memories and words. Beckett's poetics is thus constituted by a progressive alleviation of constraints, a demolition of that which delays the moment of immobility. If movement is undone, so as to be no more than a difference of rest, rest itself is presented as the integral of movement and language, as a strange mix of the deceleration of prose and the acceleration of its dispersal . When Beckett wishes to concentrate his attention on one of thc
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3 . Asce s i s a s M e t h o d
In his own way, B eckett rediscovers an inspiration belonging to Descartes and Husserl: if you wish to conduct a serious enquiry into 'thinking humanity' [l 'humanite pensante] , it is first of all necessary to suspend everything that is either inessential or doubtful; it is necessary to reduce humanity to its indestructible functions. The destitution ofBeckett's characters - their poverty, their illnesses, their strange fixity, or indeed their wandering without any perceptible finality, in other words, everything that has so often been taken as an allegory of the infinite miseries of the human condition - 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, or Husserl's epoch!!, which reduces the evidence of the world to that of the intentional fluxes of consciousness.

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In How It Is, the Other is assigned to movement and to rest: sometimes,
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than the imperative to speak. This is not a tragic image. In fact, if we consider what requires thinking in the beauty of prose, we will say that this ' character' , whose proper name is effaced or undecided and who is utterly destitute, has actually succeeded in losing all the secondary ornaments, all the dubious possessions that would have diverted him from what it is his destiny to experiment, and which concerns generic humanity, whose essential functions are: going, being and saying. One can never emphasise enough the degree to which the confusion between this methodical ascesis - staged with a tender and voluble humour ­
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( ) I her encounters an immobile entity; sometimes it is encountered in tum, in

I I I Ihe black night - where, like everyone else, it crawls with its sack - the

lis immobility, by the reptations of a subject. This accounts for the derived f U llctions of activity (the one who falls on the other: the tOlmentor) and of

passivity (the one on whom the other falls: the victim). The existence of the
( ) 1 her is not in doubt, but its construction and identity refer back to an evasive

circularity; it is possible to occupy successively the position of the tormentor, a itcrity.

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1 I H.;n that of the victim, and nothing besides these positions can serve to specity

In Company, the problem is inverted, since this time the Other is assigned to the third function, language. It presents itself as a voice reaching ()ut to someone in the dark. The singularity of this voice is not in doubt; it relates childhood stories of a rare poetic intensity. But since no real movement
()r corporeal encounter bears witness to it, its existence remains suspended: it

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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. Beckett says, 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, p. 43; HII US, p. 39)13 We cannot understand the text ifwe immediately see it as a concentration camp [concentrationnaire] allegory of the dirty and diseased human animal. On the contrary - admitting that we are indeed animals lodged upon an earth which is insignificant and brimming over with excrement - it is a matter of establishing that which subsists in the register of the question, of thought, of the creative capacity (in this case, the will to movement, as opposed to flight). Thus reduced to a few functions, humanity is only more admirable, more energetic, more immortal. From the sixties onwards, a fourth function takes on a more and more determining role: that of the Other, ofthe companion, of the external voice. 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', 'with Pim' and 'after Pim'; or that a later text is called Company. The 'with the other' is decisive. But here too, it is necessary to isolate the essential nature of this 'with the other' by means of a montage that eradicates all psychology, all evidence, and all empirical exteriority. The Other is itself a knot tying together the

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could be the case that there is nothing but ' [t]he fable of one fabling of one with you in the dark' (C, 89; NO, 46).

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Just as movement, purified by a methodical literary ascesis, is a difference of the immobile, and the immobility of being, or death, is never anything but the inaccessible limit of movement and of language, so the other, reduced to its primitive functions, is caught in the following tourniquet:
i f he exists, he is like me, he is indiscernible from me. And if he is clearly

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identifiable, his existence is uncertain.

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In all these cases we can see that the ascesis - metaphorically enacted as loss, destitution, poverty, a relentlessness based on almost nothing - leads to a conceptual economy of an ancient or Platonic type. If we disregard (and Beckett's prose is the movement of this disregard, of this abandon) what is inessential, what distracts us (in Pascal's sense), we see that generic humanity can be reduced to the complex of movement, of rest (of dying), of language (as imperative without respite) and of the paradoxes of the Same and the Other. We are very close to what Plato, in The Sophist, names as the five supreme genera: Being, Sameness, Movement, Rest, and Other. If Plato the philosopher uses these to determine the general conditions for all thinking, then Beckett the writer intends, through the ascetic movement of prose, to present in fiction the atemporal determinants of humanity. This humanity, which has been called 'larval' or 'clownish', and which in W orstward Ho in fact comprises nothing but skulls oozing words, must be

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thought of as constituting a sort of purified axiomatic, allowing us to go straight to the only questions that matter. And, first of all, to the question that makes writing itself possible, 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, it is a fact that we are constrained to speak, but of what does speech speak? Of what can it speak?

4 . Be i n g a n d La n g u a g e
If it is indeed necessary to speak, this is not simply because we are prey to language. It is also, 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. This means that the work of naming must always be taken up again. On this point, Beckett is a disciple of Heraclitus: being is nothing other than its own becoming-nothingness. This is what is summed up in one of the mirlitonnades from Poemes:
flux cause que toute chose tout en etant
,

i tl 'l'kett devotes many of his inventions to the following task: to name the I h i io nal place of being. There are two places of being in Beckett's first fictions, according to . 1 1 1 opposition that we could refer to as Bergsonian, to the extent that it d l sl i nguishes the closed and the open. The closed place forbids flight - it blocks the always menacing identity I I I heing and nothingness - because the set of its components is denumerable ; 1 1 11 1 the components themselves can be named exactly. The aim of the fictions I I I closure is that the seen be coextensive with the said. Beckett fixes this I Ihjective in a short text, Fizzle 5: Closed S pace:
Closed place. All needed to be known for say is known (CSP, p. 199; GSP, p. 236).75

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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, how can the imperative to speak, which governs in particular the imperative of the writer - and above all of the one who is 'good for' nothing else - 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, what good is the imperative that we should speak on? For the artist - who differs from the philosopher in this regard - the operator of thought is the fiction within prose. That being ceases to flee in order to convert itself into nothingness entails that language must determine the place of being within a fiction, that it must assign being to its place.

This same tendency is exemplified by the room where the two protagonists of Endgame are enclosed, by the room where Malone dies (or rat her moves indefinitely towards his death), and by the house of Mr. Knott III W att, as well as by the cylinder where the entities of The Lost Ones bustle ahout. In all these cases, the set-up of the fiction [Ie dispositij de fiction] ('stablishes a strict control upon place, constructing a universe sufficiently till ite so that when the prose wishes to seize being its escape can be temporarily hl ocked. The open place instead exposes the aleatory character ofpaths; it extends I he dissipation and tries to maintain itself as close as possible to the flight of a ppearances. What is in question is a wholly other equality between language and being: the flexibility of the first matches the versatility of the second. This equality tries to anticipate the metamorphoses. This is the case with the I rish countryside - plane, hills, gloomy forests - where Molloy looks for his mother, and where Moran looks for Molloy. We also find it in the town and t he labyrinth of streets of The Expelled, and it is even present in the corridor o f black mud where the torturers and the victims ofHow It Is crawl, since, as we will later learn, this corridor is infinite. In these open places the arrangement of the fiction seeks to capture in language the 'conversion times' of being into nothingness. Therefore, it is not by controlling its elements that prose adheres to being, but rather because it flees as fast - or even faster - than being. Little by little, nevertheless, Beckett will fuse together these two prosodic figures of the place of being. Whether it is a question of the closed

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dim, a 'grey-black'. A black grey enough so that it will not enter 1 1 1 1 " (,( lI1tradiction with the light; a black which is not the opposite of anything, fil l i l n l i-dialectical black. It is here that the closed and the open become II I,hsl i nguishable, and that voyage and fixity become the reversible metaphors " I I l la l aspect of being which is exposed to language. Of course, the grey-black itself does not let itself be spoken of in a .I ar and distinct manner. This is why literary writing is required here. It is 1 1" ,', �ssary to reverse the Cartesian equivalence between the true and the clear­ illid d istinct. Thus in Molloy:
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space or of wandering, the suppression of any descriptive particularity ends up with a uniform image of the earth and the sky, in which any movement is equivalent to a transparent immobility. The text Sans (for which Beckett created the word ' lessness' in English) - a pure description that slowly repeats or modifies its components - 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. Little body same grey as the earth sky ruins only upright. Ash grey all sides earth sky as one all sides endlessness (CSP, p . 1 53 ; GSP, pp. 1 97-1 98).76
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In this kind of passage, it is a question for Beckett of fixing the scene ofbeing, of determining its lighting, which - precisely because we are 'before' the taking place of something - must be grasped in the neutrality of that which is neither the night nor the light. Which is the most appropriate colour for the empty place that constitutes the ground [f ond] of all existence? Beckett replies: dark grey, or light black, or black marked by an uncertain colour. This metaphor designates being in its localisation, which is empty of any event. Often Beckett typifies this with the names gloom, half-light, or dim.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, p. 1 69; GSP, p. 2 1 3).78

notions clear and distinct, distinct from all other notions (T, p. 82; TN, p. 82). 8 1

[ think so, yes, I think that all that is false may more readily be reduced, to

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In Worstward Ho, the question ofthe prosodic construction of the place of being, of what there is prior to all knowledge, or rather of the minimum of knowledge to which language can cling, is explicit, and it takes the name of 'dim' :
Dim light source unknown. Know minimum. Know nothing no. Too much to hope. At most mere minimum (WH, p. 9; NO, p . 91 ).79

Beckett notes with great precision that this 'mere minimum' is the being of an empty place awaiting bodies, language, and events:
Void cannot go. Save dim go. Then all go (WH, p. 1 8 ; NO, p . 97).80

I l lhe grey-black, which does not separate the dark and the light, is the place " Iheing, then artistic prose is required, since it alone carries a possible thought " I I he in-separable, of the indistinct. Prose alone can reach the exact point where being, far from letting itself be thought in a dialectical opposition to l Ioll-being, stands towards it in a relation of unclear equivalence. This is the point where, as Malone says (not without warning us that one could thus ' pollute the whole of speech'): 'Nothing is more real than nothing (T, p. I In; TN, p. 1 92). It is far from being the case that employing the resources of the latent pocm allows Beckett to surmount all the obstacles before him. This is because I IlCre is not just the place; or, as Mallarme said, it is not true that 'nothing will lake place but the place' [rien n 'aura lieu que Ie lieu]. In effect, all fiction, as I levoted as it may be to establishing the place of being - in closure, openness or the grey-black - presupposes or connects to a subject. This subject in tum excludes itself from the place simply by the act of naming it, whilst at the same time holding itself at a distance from this name. The one for whom Ihere is the grey-black does not cease to reflect and recommence the poetic work oflocalisation. In so doing, the subject advenes as an incomprehensible supplement of being; it is borne by a prose whose entire energy, inasmuch as it seeks to make the real and the nothing equivalent, is expended in trying to Icave no room for any supplement whatsoever. Whence the torture of the cogito.

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At the end of this fictive simplification, one could call the place of
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5 . T h e S o l ita ry S u bject
Let us then suppose that the subj ect, in its link to language, is the thought of thought, or the thought of that which thinks itself in speech. In what then consists the effort of fiction to seize, to reduce, to stop this haunting exception to the pure grey-black of being? Writing, this place of experimentation, will " , annul the other primitive functions of humanity: movement and the relation to an other. Everything will be reduced to the voice. Stuck in a jar, or pinned to a hospital bed, the body - captive, mutilated, dying - is nothing more than the vanishing support of a word. How can such a repetitious and interminable speech identify or reflect itself? As Blanchot, analysing Beckett, has rightly said, it can only do so by returning to the silence that can be supposed at the origin of all speech. The role of the voice is to track down - by way of a great deal offables, narrative fictions, and concepts - the pure point of enunciation, the fact that what is said belongs to a singular faculty of saying. This faculty is not itself said; it exhausts itself in what is said but nevertheless always ' remains on this side of things, as a silence which is indefinitely productive of the din of words. To seize and annul itself the voice must enter into its own silence, it must produce its own silence. This is the fundamental hope of the 'hero' of The Unnamable:
[ . . . ] perhaps it's a dream, all a dream, that would surprise me, I'll wake, in
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, k::lroys not language but the subject and, on the other, a lack which in vain " p( )ses the subject to the throes of 'dying' , places the subject ofthe Beckettian ,, :i/() in a state of genuine terror. In the words of the hero of The Unnamable:
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smoked out oftheir nest, once a certain degree ofterror has been exceeded (T, p. 353; TN, p. 350).83

I only think, if that is the name for this vertiginous panic as of hornets

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But the objective is also inaccessible, since reflection, such as it is t i t pos ited in the voice, does not possess the simple structure that one may at I l lsl imagine (one who speaks and - the same - one who thinks speech so 1 1 1 : 1 1 it may tum into silence). In the T exts f Nothing, which coincided with a serious crisis in or I kckett's work - so that the title must be taken, as always, to the letter (these i t " ,� I s are written for nothing, nothing results from the artist's thought) - Beckett ::liows that the subject is not double (the thought and the thought ofthought), I li i t t riple, and that it is is absolutely impossible to try and reduce this triplicity exts f Nothing, we find the I t l t he unicity of silence is impossible. In T or I " I lowing decomposition of the cogito into three:
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[ . . . ] one who speaks saying, without ceasing to speak, Who's speaking?, and one who hears, mute, uncomprehending, far from all [ . . . J . And this other now [ . . . ] with his babble of homeless mes and untenanted hims [ . . . ] There's a pretty three in one, and what a one, what a no one (eSp, p. 1 1 2; GSP, p. 1 5 0).84

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the silence, and never sleep again, it will be I, or dream, dream again, dream of a silence, a dream silence [ . . . ] (T, p. 4 1 8 ; TN, p. 414).82

But the desired self-annulment reveals itself to be inaccessible. First of all, because the necessary conditions for obtaining this awakening of language to its first silence submit the subject of the voice to an intolerable torture. Sometimes this voice is exacerbated: it proliferates, invents a thousand fables, whimpers and takes flight. But this mobility is insufficient for the intended aim: to destroy language by excess and saturation, to obtain silence through the violence inflicted on words. Sometimes, on the contrary, the voice exhausts itself: it stammers, repeats itself, inventing nothing. But this sterility is still not enough if, from a tired and worn out language, an original silence is to suddenly emerge. This oscillation between, on the one hand, an excess so violent that it

Let us note carefully the components of this 'pretty three in one'. First of all, there is the subject who speaks, the subject of saying, who IS equally supposed to be capable of asking 'who speaks?' at the same time :IS he speaks. Let us call this the subject of enunciation. Then there is the passive subj ect, who hears without understanding, who is 'distant' because he constitutes the obscure matter of the one who ,� peaks, the support or the idiot body of all thinking subjectivity. Let us call I h i s the subject of passivity. Finally, there is the subject who asks himself what the other two are, I he subj ect who wants to identify the ' ego ' of speech, the subject who wants 1 0 know what is at stake in the being of the subject, and who, in order to :lttain this knowledge, subjects himself to torture. Let us call this the subject

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

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

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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.
55

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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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' old lovers, despite everything, share some mathematical ce rtainties with each other:
We took flight in arithmetic. What mental calculations bent double hand in hand! (eSp, p. 1 4 1 ; GSP, p. 1 88)94

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. The poem of improbable names makes it possible to imag ine an amorOUH mathematics.

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I' p i ural humanity, that prose establish an eternity of sorts, a separate 1 11 1 " ' 1 . I I my where the animals in question are atemporally observed. It is 1 1 1 1 1 It i l lable that these laboratories clearly resemble Dante's settings. As we erno, and of the fifth k , I I '1\ . I kckett undertook painstaking studies of The Inf , 1 1 1 1 " I I I particular.
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Even though Molloy, Malone and the Unnamable seek ou t and encounter other suppos ed subjects, they move towards their own so litude. The tone of The Unnamable could even be described as starkly solipsis tic. Without doubt it is in Beckett's theatre, with the couples of Vladimir and Estragon (W ing ait f Godot) or Hamm and Clov (Endgame), that something or which will not cease to be at the heart of Beckett's fictions comes to the for e: the couple, the Two, the voice of the other, and lastly, love. Both to de fer and to beckon death through distance, Malone recounts all the elem ents that this love contains:
[ . . . J what flutterings, alarms and bashful fumblings, of which only this, that they gave Macmann some insight into the meaning of the expression, Two is company (T, p. 26 1 ; TN, p. 260).95

I I I The Lost Ones ( 1 967-70) the place is a huge rubber cylinder whose I 'll \ : ; Il' a I parameters are subj ect to laws (light, temperature, sound, etc.) which Ill ' ,I:; strict and contingent as the laws of physical science.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. This is I h, ' vny start of the fable:
i\bode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. ( 'SP, p. 1 5 9 ; GSP, p. 202).97

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Nevertheless, being-two is inscribed into the many, int o the bizarre mUltiplicity of human animals. Always careful to bring the proliferation of details back to a few crucial traits, Beckett devotes some of his texts to arranging, on a background [f d] of anonymous being, on the bustle of plural humanity, so as to classify its postures and inventory its functions. 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, an enumeration which is declared to be exhaustive. But they are also divine comedies, because the will to produce the complete inventory of actions and situations (alwa ys, of course, under the rule of the methodical ascesis) presupposes the exist ence of a fixed place far from any empirical reality, a sort of 'no-man's land' between life and

On this simple basis, and through the meticulous description of the \ Il'issitudes ofthe search (one must run around in the cylinder, climb ladders, " ,plore the niches situated at different heights, etc.), Beckett succeeds in " , I racting a few criteria for the classification of plural humanity. The most important among these criteria distinguishes searching humans 110m those who have renounced the search. The latter have given up on their dcsire, since in the cylinder no other desire exists than that of finding one's lost one (i.e. no desire other than - in the words of Nietzsche, whom the VI )Lmg Beckett knew well - 'to become what one is ' ) . These broken searchers ; 1 rc called the vanquished. Note that to be vanquished is never to be vanquished by the other. On the contrary, here to be vanquished is to renounce the other. The second criterion brings us back to the primitive categories of l IIovement and rest. Some of the searchers ambulate ceaselessly, some stop and others no longer move. Beckett recapitulates as follows the human groups that can be described

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What is the ' lost one '? It is each one's own other, the one who " I III',ularises a given inhabitant, who wrenches the inhabitant away from ill I I l y mity. To find one's lost one is to come to oneself; to no longer be a r , l l l Iplc element of the small group of searchers. It is thus that Beckett ';l l l lIIounts the painful antinomies of the cogito: one's identity does not depend I IpOIl the verbal confrontation with oneself, but upon the discovery of one's
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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. Firstly those perpetually in motion. Secondly those who sometimes pause. 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. [ . . . J Fourthly those who do not search or non-searchers sitting for the most part against the wall [ . . . J (CSP, p. 1 6 1 ; GSP, pp. 204-205).98

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'no longer' l 't I',:: ihle. That means that the choice of renunciation destroys everything, I I lIt t l I e possibility that inheres in choice remains mysteriously indestructible, ;\ figure of plural humanity is always suspended between the i l l t'versibility of choice and the maintenance - which is to say the reversibility Ii possibles,
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The absolute nomadic living beings (first category) and the vanquished (fourth category) are extreme figures of human desire. Between the two we find those that Beckett names the ' sedentary' (the second and third figures). Notwithstanding these distinctions, all of Beckett' s paradoxical optimism is concentrated in one point: it can happen - very rarely, almost never, but not quite never - that a vanquished searcher returns to the arena of the search. This is what we could call the Beckettian conception of freedom. Of course we can be vanquished, that is, defeated in the desire that constitutes us. But even then, all possibilities still exist, including the possibility that this defeat, irreversible in its essence (for how could the one whose desire is dead even desire for his desire to return?), may become miraculously reversible. Every sedentary figure is a possible nomad. Even the one who gives up on his desire can suddenly desire to desire (we are then dealing, in a strong sense, with an event) . There is no eternal damnation, and hell - for one who dwells within it - can be revealed as nothing but a purgatory. This indestructibility of possibles, which takes place precisely at the point at which one has renounced them, is affirmed by B eckett in an extraordinarily dense passage. This passage is a perfect example of what above I called the 'elongation' of the phrase, the non-punctuated style that unifies all the ramifications of the idea:
[ . . . 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, p. 1 67; GSP, pp. 2 1 1 -2 1 2).99

This statement is elucidated as follows. On the one hand, every lapse in the desire to search for one's other is absolute. For though this desire diminishes ('the least less '), it is also as if it had annulled itself (in the least

In How It Is - without doubt the greatest of Beckett's prose works, n i t I l i g with Enough and III Seen III Said- the distribution ofthe figures obeys 1\ t I i f'icrent principle. The human animals crawl along through a sort of black mud, each one t i l :Igging a sack of food. This imperative to travel harbours four possiqilities: 1) To continue crawling alone in the dark. 2) To encounter someone in an active position, pouncing upon them in I I Il' dark. This is the figure that Beckett calls the 'tormentor ' , Note that the prillcipal activity ofthe tormentor is to extort from his victim - if needs be by plallting in his arse the sharpened top of a tin can - stories, fables from another 1 1 1l:, memories. This proves that the tormentor also wants to find his lost one, It I hc wrested away from solitude and subtracted from the darkness of infinite nawling by the one he encounters. 3) To be abandoned by the one encountered. At this point, all that 1 l' l lIains is to make oneself immobile in the dark. 4) Being encountered by someone, this time in a passive position: he pounces on you while you are immobile in the dark, and it is you who will Ilave to give him his due of fables. This is the position that Beckett calls the ' victim' . The enumeration of the generic figures of humanity operates once again hy combining the movement/rest couple and the self/other couple. One can I ravel alone and one can be immobile alone; one can be either a tormentor or a victim. These figures are sustained by a rigorous principle of equality: none is sliperior to the others. The use of the words 'tormentor' and 'victim' must not Icad us astray. It does not imply any sort of pathos or ethics - besides the ethics of prose, that is. And even the latter, as Beckett warns, could easily be exaggerated, since words always 'ring' too much for them to maintain the :ll1onymity and the equality of the figures that the human animal can take. I t

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is this equality of the figures that justifies this very profound statement:
[ . . .] in any case we have our being injustice I have never heard anything to the contrary (RII, p. 1 35 ; RII US, p. 1 24)100

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The justice mentioned here is entirely unrelated to any kind of norm or finality. It concerns the ontological equality of the figures taken by the generic human subject. Speaking of the moments in which one is either tormentor or victim and thereby concerned with the extortion of a word or a story - Beckett declares that they relate to ' life in stoic love' . 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. Having traversed - thanks to the fictional set-up of the encounter with an other - the terrorising limits ofthe solipsistic cogito, we discover both the potentiality of love and the resources of nostalgia.

8 . Love

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The event in which love originates is the encounter. From the thirties onwards - in Murphy - Beckett emphasises that the power of the encounter is such that nothing, either in feeling or in the desiring body, can measure up to it:
And to meet [ . . . ] in my sense exceeds the power of feeling, however tender, and of bodily motions, however expert (M, p. 1 24; M US, p. 222).101

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If the question of the existence and difference ofthe other is so charged, it is because the very possibility of the encounter is played out within it. 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, whose last word is 'alone ') or to hold the positive hypothesis (as inEnough and Happy Days, in which the figure of the couple is indisputable and gives rise to a strange and powerful form of happiness). The encounter brings forth the Two; it fractures solipsistic seclusion. 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,

which the dilapidation of the elderly is regarded with tenderness and l i pn�scnted with j oy. Rather, we are trying to see if love and the encounter I " I I V idc us with sexuated figures. 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 - or homo-sexual - in 1 I 1l' positions of the partners. I think this is entirely mistaken. Of course, I kckctt generally does not start out from the empirical evidence that divides 1 I I I I I1an animals into men and women. The methodical ascesis forbids him 1 1 1 1111 doing so; often, he makes careful use ofthe pronouns and articles so as 1 11 .1 10 permit a decision regarding the sex of the speaker or ' character ' . But f llC effect of the encounter truly does fix two absolutely dissimilar positions. ( IIIC can therefore say that for Beckett the sexes do not pre-exist the amorous " I I counter, being instead its result, What does this dissimilarity consist in? We have seen that in How It Is, ; I licr a human animal has pounced upon another, there is the figure of the I , 'Imentor and that ofthe victim. 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). We must insist that this distinction is entirely unrelated to any ,' ;lIpposed 'identity' of the subjects. For all that, under the condition of an ellcounter in which ' she ' would pounce on an other, a victim could become a l ur mentor. But from within a given amorous situation (let us call ' love' what proceeds from an encounter) there necessarily are these two figures. However, these figures are far from being reducible to the opposition hetween the active and the passive. Here we must keep the complexity of l lcckett's construction firmly in mind. For example, after an indeterminate time, it is the victim who goes away, leaving the tormentor 'immobile in the dark'. Therefore, we must I I ll derstand that whoever is travelling with his or her sack is on the side ofthe ' Ieminine' , or at least coming from the feminine. Conversely, someone who i s abandoned immobile in the dark is on the side of the 'masculine' , or at least can be said to stagnate in this position. We can therefore oppose the l I10bility that defines the feminine to a tendency within the male to morose i mmobility. Likewise, it is certain that the figure of the tormentor is that of the commandment, of the imperative. But what is the content of this figure? It is 1 0 be found in the extraction from the victim of stories and reminiscences, scraps of everything that may touch on what Beckett magnificently names 'the blessed days of blue ' (CSP, p. 1 53 ; GSP, p. 1 97).102 We are therefore

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justified in saying that if on the masculine side we rediscover the (half-joyous and half-torturous) imperative to ' go on', it is on the female side that the power of the story, the archives of wandering, and the memory of beauty are set out. Ultimately, every encounter prescribes four main functions: the force of wandering, the pain of immobility, the enjoyment [jouissance] of the imperative, and the invention of the story. It is on the basis of these four functions that the encounter determines the emergence of sexuated positions. The combination of the imperative and immobility will be called ' masculine' ; the combination of wandering and the story will be called ' feminine' .
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emerges upon the mirror of thought - is 'masculine', and as such it is Il l ved by the woman. Thus we read in Enough:
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l l i ls ligure of free knowledge [savoir], of the encyclopaedia - in which the

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In order from time to time to enjoy the sky he resorted to a little round mirror. Having misted it with his breath and polished it on his calf he looked in it for the constellations. I have it! he exclaimed referring to the Lyre or the Swan. And often he added that the sky seemed much the same (CSP, p. 1 42; GSP, p. 1 90).105

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In Enough, we find an even deeper determination of the duality of the sexes, as elicited by love. Here, the masculine position is specified by a constant desire for separation. 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, p. 1 4 1 ; GSP, p. 1 88).103

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In Happy Days, it is evidently Willie who keeps himself aloof, invisible and absent, whilst it is Winnie who proclaims the eternity - day after day - of the couple, and declares its legitimacy. In effect, the masculine position fosters the desire for a break. It is not a question of returning to solipsism, but rather of the Two being experienced and re-experienced [eprouve re-prouve] in the between [entre-Deux] , in what distinguishes the two terms of the couple. Masculine desire is affected here infected by the void that separates the sexuated positions in the very unity of the amorous process. The 'man' desires the nothing of the Two, whilst the 'woman' - the wandering guardian and narrator of original unity, of the pure point of the encounter - desires nothing but the Two, that is, the infinite tenacity of a lasting Two. She is 'the lasting desire to last' ,1 04 whilst the masculine is the perpetual temptation to inquire about the exact location of the void that passes between One and One. But the most admirable part ofthe text is the examination of the relation between love and knowledge [connaissance], between the happiness of love and the joy ofknowledge. We have already cited the passage where the couple sustain each other in their walk by means of vast arithmetical reflections.

Love is this interval in which a sort of inquiry about the world is pursued I ' l i nfinity. Because in love knowledge [savoir] is experienced and transmitted I let ween two irreducible poles of experience, it is subtracted from the tedium o r objectivity and charged with desire. Knowledge is the most intimate and 1 1 1()st vital thing that we possess. In love, we are not seized by what the world I�; . it is not the world that holds us captive. On the contrary, love is the paradoxical circulation - between 'man' and 'woman' - of a wondrous k nowledge that makes the universe ours. Love then is when we can say that we have the sky, and that the sky has lIothing. 106

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9 . N o sta l g i a
Because Beckett wrote a brilliant essay on Proust in 1 93 1 , it has often heen deemed possible to conclude that there is some analogy between the two writers in what concerns the treatment of memory. This conviction is reinforced when one notes that in Beckett the emergence ofthe past presents itself in blocks, episodes ofprosodic isolation, and that childhood is privileged with regard both to places (Ireland) and to characters (Mother and Father). I believe that this analogy is misleading. This is because the function of involuntary memory, which in Proust is bound up with a metaphysics of time, in Beckett - besides the fact that one should instead speak of a 'voluntarism of remembrance' - constitutes an experimentation of alterity. It follows that the fragments of childhood - or the amorous memories , are always signalled by an abrupt change in the tone of the prose (a calm beauty made up of rhythmic fluidity, assonance, and an elemental certainty: the night, the stars, the water, the meadows . . . ), and never reflect what the

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presented situation (the place of being) could harbour in terms of truth 01' eternity. We are dealing with another world, with the hypothesis whereby the grey-black of being is juxtaposed, in an improbable and distance place, to a colourful and sentimental universe. 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'). 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. 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; what a real encounter allows one to hear, by way of fables and tender beauties, from the mouth of an other; a stratification ofthe subject itself, whose origin is by no means to be found in childhood or youth, which instead constitutes the subject's interior aIterity. This interior aIterity refers to fact that an existence has no unity, that it is composed of heterogeneous sediments; 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, one at a time, in three of Beckett's works.

p. 60) .1 09 ' I 'hen 'Krapp curses louder, switches off' (CDW, p. 220 ; SP, 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. This is a voice that only appears to be his, being that of ltiplicity of , " III T ' that he was, and thereby proving to him the irreducible mu tible I I I I q"o [Ie Mo il This is a sublime fragment, composed of both percep 111111 verbal elements that are completely foreign to Krapp' s real situation. l ' I('ll lents such that no passage can be conceived between them and Krapp. Several pieces of this fragment, indeed several variations, will be pl l.:;ented in the play, but throughout the fragment remains intact, saved by iard cushio�, I I Il' tape (i.e . by the prose, functioning here like a kind of bill iding an indirect or diagonal safety); it authorises Krapp to evaluate III I II ()v at iI " ,ap that is attributed to a scission in being rather than to temporality - wh l end up letting I : : t h i s 'other life ' borne by each and every one. Krapp wil and nostalgia: 1 I I 1 I lseif go, listening to the fragment in complete absorption
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-upper lake, with the punt, bathed off the bank, then pushed out into the stream and drifted. She lay stretched out on the floorboards with her hands under her head and her eyes closed. Sun blazing down, bit of a breeze, water nice and lively. I noticed a scratch on her thigh and asked her how she came by it. Picking gooseberries, she said. I said again how I thought it was hopeless and no good going on and she agreed, without opening her eyes. [Pause.] I asked her to look at me and after a few moments - [Pause.]
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to various stories and reflections recorded onto magnetic tapes. The voice that reaches us is thus in general a 'Strong voice, rather pompous, clearly Krapp s at a much earlier time' (CDW, p. 2 1 7; SP, p. 57).1 07 Krapp listens to fragments from these old tapes, comments upon them and records these commentaries. 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 - in line with the favourite occupation of the inhabitants of the grey-black of being - it is beyond doubt that he must die interminably. Whether they are gestural or practical, Krapp's commentaries are for the most part not very affable. This is especially the case when the tape's prose appears to rise to the level of philosophical formulation, like in the following:
- unshatterable association until my dissolution of storm and night with the light ofthe understanding and the fire - (CDW, p. 220; SP, p. 60).1 08

Krapp s Last T ape ( 1 959) presents a ' character' - Krapp - who listens

after a few moments she did, but the eyes just slits, because of the glare.

I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. [Pause. Low.] Let me in. [Pause.] We drifted in among the flags and stuck. The way they went down, sighing, before the stem! [Pause.] I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. We lay there without moving. But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side (CDW, p. 221 ; SP, p. 61),uo

At first, Krapp struggles to annul nostalgia by recourse to pure distance:
Just been listening to that stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago, hard to believe I was ever as bad as that. Thank God that's all done with anyway (CDW, p. 222; SP, p. 62). 1 1 1

But the remainder of the play shows that the insistence of the fragment is not damaged by this abstract protest. The other life radiates beneath thc

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ill l i rst in a parodic way, as in the paragraph that starts: 'You first saw the \ ) I I " These are limpid storie s, whos e biographical dimension is underlined

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insult. Certainly, 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. f The tape runs on in silence', CDW, p. 223; SP, p. 63).112 No true link is established between nostalgia and the course of things. Memory is not a saving function. But, once it is captured in a story, memory is simply what attests to the immanent power of the Other.

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11 were conceived in' (C, p. 1 5 ; NO, p. 7). 7 I I I , h t in the room you most likely l i l l i e by little, however, the nostalgic tonality takes hold of the prose . I ', TSliaded by the latent poem, this tonality will attempt to overcome the danger I h a t fabulation may tum out to be nothing but a fictional rearrangement of ,;( )Iit ude. And it is still this tonality that here demands we imagine an eternal
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In How It Is, this power of the story derives from a real Other - Pim,
the 'victim' - who gives the 'hero' his own life, whether real or invented it does not matter:
,,

A strand. Evening. Light dying. Soon none left to die. No. No such thing then as no light. Died on to dawn and never died. You stand with your back to the wash. No sound but its. Ever fainter as it slowly ebbs. Till it slowly flows again. You lean on a long staff. Your hands rest on the knob and on them your head. 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. Then and it alone till it vanishes the shadow ofthe staff on the sand. Vanishes from your sight. Moonless starless night. Were your eyes to open dark would lighten (C, pp. 75-76; NO, pp. 39- 40). 118
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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, p. 80; HII US, p. 72)1 13

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This time the story is a transmission of existence, the possibility of fabulating one's own life using the most intense fragments of the other's life as material. Nostalgia abides, because for those who crawl in the dark these fragments remain inaccessible, they are ' above' , like stigmata of light. But the possibility of demanding the story, 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, p. 57; RII US p. 5 1 )1 I4 guarantees for prose its function as a measure. This measure concerns the gap between the other life and the real, between the dark and the light, 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, p. 79 ; HU US p. 72)1 l4

Nostalgia gives rise in the prose to fragments of beauty, and, even if I he certainty always returns that the other life is separated, lost, a light from elsewhere, the force of nostalgia lies in giving us the power to suppose that one day (before, afterward, time is of no importance here) the eye will open and, under its astonished gaze, in the nuances of the grey-black of being, something will lighten.

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1 0 . T h e a t re
or aiting f Godot, is the source of Beckett's Theatre, and especially W fame. Today Godot is a classic, along with Endgame and Happy Days. Nevertheless, we cannot say that the exact nature of Beckett's theatre has been rendered entirely clear. Nor can this be said of the relation (or non­ relation) between the theatre and the movement of that prose which it constantly accompanied - given that a play like Catastrophe, for examplc, can be considered a late work ( 1 982). Of course, the major themes of Beckett's work can, without exception, be found in the theatre.
71

In Company, the construction of the text is carried out on the basis of
seventeen 'memorial' sequences, all of which are connected to the initial supposition, which is that 'A voice comes to one in the dark' (C, p. 7; NO, p.
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The assignation of the place of being, as in this characteristic passage

Faint, though by no means invisible, in a certa in light. [Pause.] Given the right light. [Pause .] Grey rather than white, a pale shade of grey (CDW, p. 402 ; SP, p. 242 )y9

the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more (CDW, p. 83; WG, p. 1 03). 1 23
( )11

is that not enough for you? [Calmer.] They give birth astride of a grave,

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The estimations of the importance of language, as in Happy Days:
Words fail, there are times when even they fail. [Turning a little towards WILLIE.] Is that not so, Willie? [Pause. Turning a little f urther.] Is not
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the other, that of Vladimir, who will never give up on the hypothesis of ( ,odot's arrival (the caesura of time and the constitution of a meaning), so t h a l the duty of humanity is to hold onto an uncertain, but imperative, Illjunction:
What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come [ . . . ] Or for night to fall. [Pause.] We have kept our appointment, and that's an end to that. We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much? (CDW, p. 74; WG, p. 9 1 )124

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that so, Willie, that even words fail, at times? [Pause. Backf ront,] What is one to do then, until they come again? (CDW, p. 1 47; HD, p. 24)120

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The torture of the cogito, prey to the uncontrolled imperative of saying, 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, pulling him by his leash, commands him: 'Think, pig ! ' ,1 21 CDW, p. 4 1 ; WG, p. 28):
[ O o .] the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on

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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,
final vocif erations] tennis . . . the stones . . . so calm . . . Cunard . . . unfinished . . .

(CDW, p. 43; WG, p. 47)1 22

The event is also central. It sets the framew ork for W tingf Godot, ai or . . ill which two distinct vision s are opposed to one another. On the one hand, that of Po zzo, for whom time does not exist, meaning . �hat ife can be dissolved in an incessantly repeated and ince ssantly self­ identical pure point:

Obviously, the question of others is incessantly brandished on stage, whether under the effect of an encounter (meeting Pozzo and Lucky, Vladimir and Estragon speak to them in order to evade being 'alone once more, in the midst of nothingness,'12s CDW, p. 75; WG, p. 52); or because the apparent ligure of the monologue, like in Happy Days, presupposes an interlocutor, someone whom the voice reaches and who might respond (,Oh he's coming to speak to me today, oh this is going to be another happy day! ' ) ; or because, as in Play in which the characters (two women and a man) are stuck up to their necks in urns - it is only a question of their links, which become the eternal material of these stereotypical stories that they ceaselessly lavish upon us; stories that are borrowed, even in their style, from the repertoire of gutter talk:
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M: She was not convinced. I might have known. I smell her off you, she kept saying. There was no answer to this. So I took her in my arms and swore I could not live without her. I meant it, what is more. Yes, I am sure I did. She did not repulse me. W I : Judge then of my astonishment when one fine morning, as I was sitting stricken in the morning room, he slunk in, fell on his knees before me, buried his face in my lap and . . . confessed (CDW, p. 309; SP, p. 149).126

Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day like any other day, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second,

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We have shown how nostalgia, which gives rise to calm blocks of beauty within the prose, haunts Krapp s Last T ape. But even a text as harsh and impenetrable as Endgame can sometimes open up to the metaphor of the inventions of childhood:
Then babble, babble, words, like the solitary child who turns himself into children, two, three, so as to be together, and whisper together, in the dark (CDW, p. 126; E, p. 70). 127
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the characters in persevering in their being, in maintaining 1I1 1t: hell or high water - a principle of desire, a vital power that circumstances .ITIIl to render illegitimate or impossible at each and every instant. The handicap is not a pathetic metaphor for the human condition. Comic I Ill'alre swarms with libidinous blind figures, with impotent old men I l·tt:ntlessly following their passions, with battered but triumphant maid-slaves, IV i I h imbecilic youths, with crippled megalomaniacs . . . It is in this '-;lI"Ilivalesque heritage that we must situate Winnie, buried up to her neck alld singing the praises of the happy day; Hamm - blind, paralytic and mean hi tterly playing out his uncertain part to the very end without faltering; or I lit: duo of Vladimir and Estragon, amused and revived by a mere nothing, l"!nnally capable as they are of keeping the 'appointment'. Beckett must be played with the most intense humour, taking advantage ()f" the enduring variety of inherited theatrical types. It is only then that the I rllc destination of the comical emerges: neither a symbol nor a metaphysics I I I disguise, and even less a derision, but rather a powerful love for human ( )bstinacy, for tireless desire, for humanity reduced to its stubbornne ss and malice. Beckett's characters are these anonymous figures of human toil which I hc comedy renders at once interchangeable and irreplaceable. This is indeed I hc meaning of Vladimir's exalted tirade:
1 1 I : l l l i tested by
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As for love, conceived as what a 'tormentor' and a 'victim' are capable of, it is the subject of most ofthe plays, and it must be noted that the couple, or the pair, forms its basic unit. Willie and Winnie in Happy Days, Hamm and Clov (flanked by Nagg and Nell) in Endgame, Vladimir and Estragon aitingf Godot. .. Even Krapp forms a or (flanked by Pozzo and Lucky) in W duo with his magnetic tape, pairing up with his own past. What's more, this is where the singularity of Beckett's theatre can perhaps be seen to reside. There is theatre only so long as there is dialogue, discord and discussion between two characters, and Beckett's ascetic method restricts theatre to the possible effects of the Two. The display ofthe unlimited resources of the couple - even when it is aged, monotonous and almost despicable - 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, it is precisely because in the circus one already ignores situations or intrigues, exposition or denouement; 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). This physical immediacy is very evident in Beckett's theatre, in which the stage directions that describe the postures and gestures of the characters occupy as much, if not more, space than the text itself. Besides, let us not forget that Beckett was always tempted by mime, as testified by Acts Without W ords ( 1 957). From this point of view, Beckett is indisputably the only serious writer of the last century to belong to a major tradition within comic theatre: contrasted duos, anachronistic costumes (falsely 'posh' outfits, bowler hats, etc.), sequences of skits rather than the development of an intrigue, trivialities, insults and scatology, parodies oflofty language (in particular philosophical language) indifferent to any verisimilitude, and above all the relentlessness
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It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not (CDW, p. 74; WG, p. 90).128

On the stage, embodied by couples acting out all the postures of visible humanity, two by two, for the laughter of all, 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] . Doubtless, we will never know 'who' Godot is, but it is enough that he is the emblem of everyone's obstinate desire for something to happen. However, when Pozzo asks: 'Who are you?' , one easily understands - in the lineage of Aristophanes and Plautus, of Moliere and Goldoni, but also of Chaplin - why Vladimir will respond in the following way (which, as Beckctt notes in the directions, provokes a silence):

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We are men (CDW, p.

W G , p . 54) .129

, :ack the little fables of above littIe scenes a little blue infernal homes.

( 1 1 1 1 , p. 140; HII US, p. 128)132

1 1 . B e a u ty, A g a i n
Despair, you say? I am rem ind ed of this Illagnific C:;<:::::�-:: llt pa ss ag e f rom Malone Dies, 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, the true prayer at last, the o ne that asks then a little breath of fulfillment revives
the bes eec h. f or noth

. . 1 1 1 , - ; l I l ing (and why would hfe have a meamng? ls lt such a godsend, meanIng?) . ss, . to that 0f gaIaXles, 1ll wh'ICh the weakne " I I . I i l lS a super-existence comparable . . . ' a disappears , b ecommg nothOmg more man l I ' pt'l i tion and obstmacy of hfe, . th m of being. At the end of the methodical ascesls, e I II I I l i t of light in the di the I , . 1 1 ( )wing happens, which is entirely comp arable to the emergence of ( ; It 'at Bear at the end of Mallanne s Coup de des: .
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. out I . y beauty thiS acceptable m atenaI 0[ a I'De with I �ut when it is seized b .

is born in the silent world, reproaching you despaired too late (T, p. 278 ; TN, p. 277) .130

dead longings a=-:3d a munnur
af fectionately

:od so long, in ing . And it is vvith hav ing

Enough. Sudden enough. Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far. All least. Three pins. One pinhole. In dimmost dim. Vasts apart. At bouuosof boundless void (WH, pp. 46-47; NO, p. 1 1 6). 133
e nothing wlll take plac For Beckett, like for Mallarme, it is false that o ' . Ived III the anonymlty o[the dlnI. N h i l i the place ' . Existence is not dlsso ' . 'lsm. 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. Love, which as Malone says, is to be 'regarded I ; I ws of desire
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But if it is best to de spair at the right m om en t, 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 , this is B eckett 's forem os t demarr.. ] Th e beauty of his prose com es from this motivation, 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, in the last analysis, makes up each and every exi ste nc e: on th e one � and, the ellpty l stage of being, the half-light where everything is pla ye d out" but which i ts e lf doe s not pla y a role; and, on the other, the events that sudde1: e ly p opulate th e stage ofb eing, like stars in anonymous place s, hol e s in the d __ stant canvas o f the theatre of the world. 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 , 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. These patiences are no t in themselves de serving of our ..;; :=:; ntempt . L ik e ;;:: �o in How It Is, there is always 'the blu e there was then the whit: · � dust ' (HII, p. 78; HII US, p. 70),13 1 but there is also:
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[ . . . ] the j ourney the couple the abandon when the

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, he was lIke Moran mMo/lo), wbo also Without doubt this is because . needed the element of beauty. Beauty, whose Kantian definition Moran IS w e l l aware of, as the following remark amusingly testi fies:
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k i nd of lethal glue' (T, p. 264; TN, p. 262).134 . o us. Art' s It happens that something happens. That somethmg happens t . . n firom wh' h truth proceeds , to IC 1 1 1 ission is to shelter these po mts of exceptIO . o in the reconstituted fabnc of ur m ake them shine and retain the m stellar patience. sort The element of beauty is necessary, as a This is a painstaking task. t e t within words, a subterranean lighting that I have named of diffuse ligh ty m C lew rare coIours, a contr0lied necesSI l aten t poem of prose. A rhythm, a o on of a world fashioned so as to allow one t the images, the slow constructi th . hoIe th at saves us.. through tfis hole trU see - in a far-away point - the pm and courage come to us. . o set out the poem of the tireless deslre t Beckett fulfilled his task. He
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We are men (CDW, p. 76; WG, p. 54). 129

�,ack the little fables of above little scenes a little blue infernal homes.

1 1 . B e a u ty, A g a i n
Despair, you say? I am reminded of this magnificent passage from Malone Dies, in which prose attains cadences that recall the writings of Bossuet:
The horror-worn eyes linger abject on all they have beseeched so long, in a last prayer, the true prayer at last, the one that asks for nothing. And it is then a little breath of fulfillment revives the dead longings and a murmur is born in the silent world, reproaching you affectionately with having despaired too late (T, p. 278; TN, p. 277).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, meaning?) 111 1 : 1 i liS a super-existence comparable to that of galaxies, in which the weakness, H ' pdition and obstinacy of life, disappears, becoming nothing more than a p i l i I I ! of light in the dim of being. At the end of the methodical ascesis, the I l l i l owing happens, which is entirely comparable to the emergence of the ( I reat Bear at the end of Mallarrn6's Coup de des:
Enough. Sudden enough. Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far. All least. Three pins. One pinhole. In dimmost dim. Vasts apart. At bounds of boundless void (WH, pp. 46-47; NO, p. 1 1 6).1 33

But if it is best to despair at the right moment, is it not because what grants our wishes relieves us for an instant from the tiring concern ofprayer? Never to ask for anything, this is Beckett's foremos t demand. The beauty of his prose comes from this motivation, that we no t ask anything from the prose itself other than to remain as close as possible to that which, in the last analysis , makes up each and every existence : on the one hand, the empty stage of being, the half-light where everything is play ed out, but which itself does not play a role; and, on the other, the events th at suddenly populate the stage of being, like stars in anonymous places, holes in the distant canvas of the theatre of the world. 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, both as the interruption of the half-light and as the conj oined finalities of existence and sayIng. These patiences are not in themselves deserving of our contempt. Like in How It Is, there is always 'the blue there was then the white dust' (HII, p. 78 ; HI I U S, p. 70 ), 1 3 1 but there is also:

For Beckett, like for Mallarrne, it is false that 'nothing will take place hut the place' . Existence is not dissolved in the anonymity of the dim. No I IlOre does it coincide with solipsism. And neither is it enslaved to the rciationship with others and to imprescriptible laws - be they the supposed laws of desire or of love. Love, which as Malone says, is to be 'regarded as a k i nd oflethal glue' (T, p. 264; TN, p. 262).134 It happens that something happens. That something happens to us. Art's Illission is to shelter these points of exception from which truth proceeds, to I llake them shine and retain them - stellar - in the reconstituted fabric of our patience. This is a painstaking task. The element of beauty is necessary, as a sort o f diffuse light within words, a subterranean lighting that I have named the latent poem of prose. A rhythm, a few rare colours, a controlled necessity in the images, the slow construction of a world fashioned so as to allow one to see - in a far-away point - the pinhole that saves us: through this hole truth and courage come to us. Beckett fulfilled his task. He set out the poem of the tireless desire to think. . Without doubt this is because he was like Moran in Molloy, who also needed the element of beauty. Beauty, whose Kantian definition Moran is well aware of, as the following remark amusingly testifies:
For it was only by transferring it to this atmosphere, how shall I say, of

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[ . . . ] the journey the couple the abandon when the whole tale is told the
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finality without end, why not, that I could venture to consider the work I had on hand [Ie travail a executer] (T, p. 1 12; TN, p. 1 1 1 ). 1 35

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Beckett, for us who hardly dare to, took this work into consideration. The slow and sudden execution of the Beautiful.

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Translated by Nina Power Revised by Alberto Toscano

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B e ing, Existence, Thought:
P rose a n d C o n ce p t1 36

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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, Georges, 'Le silence de Molloy', Critique 5 8 ( 1 95 1 ) ['Molloy's Silence', in Samuel Beckett 's Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, ed. by Harold Bloom (London: Chelsea House Publishers, 1 98 8), pp.

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BECKETT, Samuel Cahiers de I 'Herne (Paris: Livre de poche, 1 976). BLANCHOT, Maurice, 'OU maintenant? Qui maintenantT ,NR.F. 1 0 ( 1 953), reprinted in Le Livre a venir (Gallimard) [The Book to Come, trans. by Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002)]. DELEUZE, Gilles, 'L'Epuise', introduction to Quad (Paris: Minuit, 1 992) ['The Exhausted', inEssays Critical and Clinical, trans. by Daniel Smith (London: Verso, 1 997), pp. 1 52- 1 74]. MAURIAC, Claude, L 'Alitterature Contemporaine (Paris: Albin Michel, 1 969) [The New Literature, trans. by Samuel I. Stone (New York: George Braziller, 1 959), pp. 75-90] . MAYOUX, Jean-Jacques, ' Samuel Beckett et l'univers parodique' ,Les Lettres nouvelles 6 ( 1 960), reprinted in Vivantspiliers (Julliard, 1 960) [' Samuel Beckett and Universal Parody' , in Samuel Beckett: A Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1 965), pp. 77,

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Samuel Beckett wrote W orstward Ho in 1 982 and published it in 1 983. I t is together with Stirrings Still, a testamental text. 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. To my knowledge, all of his texts tten in French were translated by Beckett himself into English.137 There are mst� ad some texts written in English that he did not translate into French, and WhICh, for this exceptional artist of the French language, are akin �o t e remnants of . something more originary within English. Nevertheless, It IS Said that Samuel Beckett considered this text 'untranslatable ' . We can therefore say that

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SIMON, Alfred, Samuel Beckett (Paris: Belfond, 1 983).

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

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Therefore, we can also sunnnarise W orstward Ho by the passage from 'Be said on' to ' Said nohow on'. The text presents the possibility ofthe 'nohow on' as a fundamental alteration ofthe 'on'. The negation ('nohow') attests to the fact that there is no more 'on'. But in truth, given the 'be said', the

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. 'nohow on ' is a variant of the 'on ' and remains constraine d by the imperativll of saying. The second theme - the immediate and mandatory corre late of the firsl throughout Beckett's work - is that of pure being, of the 'there is' as such. The imperative of saying is immediately correlated to tha t about which there is something to say, in other words, the 'there is' itself. Besides the fact that there is the imperative of saying, there is the ' there is' . The 'there is' , or pure being, has two names and not ju st one: the void and the dim. This is a problem of considerable importa nce. Let us note at once that with respect to these two names - void and dim - we discern, or at least appear to discern, a subordination: the void is subord inated to the dim in ng:
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A a i ..:...-.::..: d i =-=---:__ ___ tt l....:.�I�:..:.n B a:..::.:..o u On Becke_. .: _ of what appears, as follows: a void infested by shades. This manner 1 1 1 ; 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. But let us not forget that this 1 I I I nvai amongst the shades is ultimately nothing but the dim, what returns I I : : I ( ) the dim as the archi-original exposition of being. We can also say that the inscribed in being - the shades - is what allows 1 1 ,;,. 1 1 " to be counted. The science of number - of the number of shades - is a 1 I I I HIamental theme in Beckett. What is not being as such, but is instead I II ' Iposed or inscribed in being, is what lets itself be counted, what pertai�s to p i mality, what is ofthe order of number. Number is obviously not an attnbute , 1 1 · 1 he void or the dim: void and dim do not let themselves be counted. Instead, I I is the inscribed in being that lets itself be counted. It lets itself be counted pri Illordially: 1 , 2, 3 . A last variant: the inscribed in being is what can worsen. 'Worsening' ; 1 1 1 essential theme in W orstward Ho, where worsening is one of the text's I adieal operations - means, amongst other things, but above all, to be iller :::Iid than said before [etre plus mal dit que de ditl ja Under this multiplicity of attributes - what is apparent in the dim, what n Hlstitutes an interval with respect to the void, what lets itself be counted, wllat is susceptible to worsening or to being iller said than said - there is the l',cneric name: 'the shades ' . We can say that the shades are what is exposed in IItc dim. The shades are the exposed plural of the 'there is' , which manifests it sclf here under the name of dim. In Worstward Ho, the presentation of shades will be minimal: the count will go up to three. We shall see why it can go no lower. Categorially, once .you count what lets itself be counted, you must at least count to three. The first shade is the standing shade, which counts as one. In truth, it is the one . The standing shade will also be found ' kneeling' - these metamorphoses should elicit no surprise - or 'bowed' . These are different Ilames. They are not so much states as names. Of this shade that counts as one, it is said - from page 34 ( 1 08) on - that it is an old woman:
. Nothmg to show a woman' s and yet a woman'S .1 42

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the exercise ofdisappearance, which constitutes the essen tial testing ground [plan d 'epreuve] of W stward Ho . The maxim is the follo or wi
Void cannot go [Disparition du vide ne se peut] . Save dim go. Then all go (p. 1 8 ; p. 9 7). 1 41

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Once it is obliged to prove itself through the crucial ordeal of disappearance, the void has no autonomy. It is dependent on the disappearance of the all, which is, as such, the disappearance ofthe dim. If the 'all go' - i.e the ' there is' thought as nothingness - is named by the dim, the void is necessarily a subordinate nomination. Ifwe accept that the 'there is' is what is there in the ordeal of its own nothingness, the fact that disappearance is subordinated to the disappearance of the dim makes 'dim' into the eminent name of being. The third theme is what could be referred to as ' the inscribed in being' . This is a question of what is proposed from the standpoint of being [du point de l'etre], or again, a question about what appears in the dim. The inscribed is what the dim as dim arranges within the order of appearance. Insofar as 'dim' is the eminent name of being, the inscribed is what appears in the dim. But one can also say that it is what is given in an interval of the void. This is because things will be pronounced upon according to the two possible names of the 'there is' . On the one hand, there is what appears in the dim, what the dim allows to appear as a shade - as a shade in the dim [I 'ombre dans la penombre] . On the other, there is what makes the void appear as an interval, in the gap of what appears, and consequently as a corruption of the void - if the void is determined as being nothing but difference or separation. This explains how Beckett could name the universe, that is, the

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...; 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. Then there is the pair, which counts as two. The pair is the sole shade that counts as two. Beckett will say: 'Two free and two as one' - one shade. nd once the pair is named, it is established that the shades which constitute It are an old man and a child. Let us remark that the one is not called woman until much later whilst the two is named 'old man and child' right away. What will be sai later instead, is tha� nothing has proven that we were indeed dealing with an ol man a�d a chlld. In all these instances - with regard to the question of the . etermmatlO�s 'man', 'woman', ' child' - nothing provides proof, and yet it IS the case. SImply put, the modality of saying is not the same for the one­ wo�a� and for the two-man-child. Of the one it is not said until much later that It IS an old wom�n, whilst the composition of the pair is immediately declared (old �a�-chtld); the crucial statement returns: nothing proves that, . and yet. ThIS mdlcates that the masculine sexuated position is evident and t at the impo ssibility of proving it is difficult to understand. On the con rary, . . sexuated position is not evident, the impossibility ofproving �1�ce the femmme It IS. In the pair it is obviously a question of the other, of 'the-one-and-the' other' . Th� other is here designated by its internal duplicity, by the fact that it . IS two. It IS a two that is the same. It is, let us say it again: 'Two free [shades] and two as one. ' But, a contrario, it is the one that turns into two: the old man and the chil . We must suppose that old man and child are the same man qua shade, that IS to say, human life qua shade in its extreme of infancy and its extr��e of old age; a life given in what splits it in two, in the unity of the pair that It IS qua alterity to itself. In the end, we can say that the inscribed in being is visible humanity: wo�an as one and as inclination, man as double in the unity of number. The pertment ages are the extreme ones, as is always the case in Beckett: infant and old �an. The adult is almost an ignored category, an insignificant category. Fmally, the fou�h theme i� thought - as is to be expected. In and by . th�ug t the configuratlOns of vIsIble humanity and the imperative of saying eXIst sImultaneously. T ought is the recollection of the first and third themes: there is the . Imperative of saying, there is the inscribed in being, and this is 'for' and ' in' thought. Let us note right away that Beckett's question is the following one:

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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) - what can thought say about h l l l ll: lI1 ity - that is, of the shades (third the question of being? This provides the 1 1 1 1 ' second theme, that is , 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, in which the t i ll' ' there is ' qua 'there is ' from th odification of the shades (i .e . the circulation I I l 1 perative of saying and the m sible humanity) are given simultaneously? "I vi ard Ho, thought is represented by a or In the figural register of W stw ' or of 'the skull ' . The head is repeatedly 1 1(' ad . One will speak of 'th e head e l.' If it is referred to in this way, it is becaus ( ai led the ' seat and germ of al the and the shades exist for the head, and it is in I H It h the imperative of saying lil�ad that the question of being takes place. of thought? If reduced to its absolutely What is the composition ch rding to the procedure of simplification whi pr imordial constituents - acco - there is the visible and there is the ('o nstitutes B eckett' s organic method seen ill said '. This is thought: 'il l seen ill i I Ilp erative of saying. There is ' ill e presentation of the head will be essentially sa id ' . It follows from this that th the e hand, and to its brain, oozing words, on reduced to its eyes, on the on her: two holes on a brain, this is thought. ot : that of the eyes and that of the oozing of Hence two recurrent themes e matter of the brain. This is the material figur words, whose source is the soft of spirit . Let us be more precise. are 'clenched staring' . The 'movement' of It will be said that the eyes his ard Ho. It designates seeing as such. T staring is es sential to Worstw pt juxtaposition - designates precisely 'clenched staring' - obviously an abru is always an ill seeing, and consequently the emblem of the ill seen. Seeing the eye of seeing is ' cl enched staring' . ill nd attribute of thought after seeing - one w As for words - the seco d they ooze ' . These two maxims, the say ' somehow from some soft min ' and the fact that words ' somehow from existence of 'clenched staring eyes e rmine the fourth theme, that is , thought in th some soft mind [ . . . ] ooze' , dete l. 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. The skull makes thre e, besi ways - of the old man and the child. Thought al other - in the guise of the pair
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Ala i n Ba d i o u On Beckett r--required is the possibility that something appear in its being. This possibility is not constituted by the void, which is instead the name of being qua being. The name of being qua possibility of appearance is ' dim' .146 The dim is being to the extent that a question can be formulated as to the being of being, that is, to the extent that being is exposed to the question qua reserve of being for appearance [ressource d 'etre de l 'apparaftre] . This is why there must be two names (void and dim) and not just one. For a question to be, being must have two names. Heidegger saw this too, in his concepts of Sein and Seiende. The second condition for a question is that there be thought. A skull­ thought, let us call it. Skull-thought is an ill seeing and an ill saying or a clenched staring eye and an oozing of names. But, and this point is essential, the skull-thought is itselfexposed. It is not subtracted from the exposition of being. It is not simply definable as that for which there is being - it participates in being as such, it is caught in its exposition. In Beckett's vocabulary one will say that the head (seat and terminus of all) or the skull are in the dim. Or ' that skull-thought is the third shade. Or, again, that the skull-thought lets itself be counted in the uncountable dim. Does this not leave us exposed to an infinite regress? If thought as such co-belongs with 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 - if one can hazard this expression - of a meta-head. One must count four, and then five, and so on to infinity. The protocol of closure is given by the cogito; it is necessary to admit that the head is counted by the head, or that the head sees itself as head. Or again, that it is for the clenched staring eye that there is a clenched staring eye. Here lies the Cartesian thread running through Beckett's thought. Beckett never denied this thread, which is present from the beginning of his work, 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. Finally, and still remaining within the register ofthe minimal conditions for a question, there must be - besides the 'there is' and the skull-thought ­ inscriptions of shade within the dim. Shades are ruled by three relations. First, that of the one or the two, or ofthe same and the other. In other terms, the relation of the kneeling one and the walking pair, taken, like Platonic categories, as figures of the same and the other. Second, that of the extremes of age, infancy and senescence, extremes which also make it so that the pair is one. Third, the relation of the

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A parenthesis: there is a point, only alluded to in W orstward Ho, which I : ; I levertheless crucial; it is that, as we have seen, the sexes are without proof. Morc specifically, they are the only thing to be without proof. The fact that I h is shade turns out to be old woman or old man, this is always without I 'roof, whilst nevertheless being certain. This means that, for Beckett, the d i I Terentiation of the sexes is, at one and the same time, absolutely certain ;Illli absolutely beyond proof. This is why I can call it a pure disjunction. Why a pure disjunction? It is certain that there is 'woman' and there is , !llan' - in this case the old woman and the old man - but this certainty does l Iot let itselfbe deduced or inferred on the basis of any particular predicative I ra it. It is therefore a pre-linguistic certainty, in the sense that it can be said, hilt that this saying does not in turn have any other saying as its source. It is a lirst saying. One can say that there are woman and man, but at no time can (mc infer this from another saying, and in particular not from a descriptive, ( l r empirical, saying.

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Under these relations - of the one and the two, of the extremes of age, and of the sexes - the shades attest not to being but to existence. What is cxistence, and what distinguishes it from being? Existence is the generic attribute ofwhat is capable of worsening. What can worsen exists. 'Worsening ' is the active modality of any exposition to the seeing of the clenched staring eye and to the oozing of words. This exposition is existence. Or, perhaps at a more fundamental level, what exists is what lets itself be encountered. Being exists when it is in the guise of the encounter. Neither void nor dim designate something that can be encountered, because every encounter is under two conditions: on the one hand, that there be a possible interval of the void to section off what is encountered; on the other, that there be the dim, the exposition of everything that exposes itself. The shades are what lets itselfbe encountered. To let oneself be encountered and to worsen are one and the same thing, and it is this that designates the existence of shades. Void and dim - the names of being - do not exist.

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The text will therefore organise itselfby way ofhypotheses concerning the -ward, that is, the direction of thought. These hypotheses will concern what binds, unbinds, or affects the triad of dim-being, shade-existence, and skull-thought. W orstward H° will treat the triad being/existence/thought under the categories of the void, of the same and the other, of the three, and of the seeing/saying complex. Before formulating any hypotheses, one must seek support in a certain number of axioms that establish the primary bindings or unbindings . Almost the only axiom of Worstward Ho, which moreover generates its title, is an old axiom of Beckett's. It is by no means invented here and perhaps even constitutes one of his oldest axioms. This axiom goes: to say is to ill say. It is necessary to fully understand that 'to say is to ill say' establishes an essential identity. The essence of saying is ill saying. III saying is not a failure of saying, but precisely the contrary: all saying is, in its very existence as saying, an ill saying. The ' ill saying' is implicitly opposed to the 'well saying'. What is the well sayin g'? 'Well saying' constitutes a hypothesis ofadequation: the saying IS adequate to the said. But Beckett's fundamental thesis is that the saying that is adequate to the said suppresses saying. Saying is only a free saying, and in particular an artistic saying, to the extent that it does not coalesce with the said, to the extent that it is not subject to the authority of the said. Saying is under the imperative of saying, it is under the imperative of the ' on', and is not constrained by the said. If there is no adequation, if the saying is not prescribed by 'what is said' but only governed by saying, then ill saying is the free essence of saying, or the affirmation of the prescriptive autonomy of saying. One says in order to ill say. The apex of saying - which is poetic or artistic saying - is then precisely the controlled regulation of ill saying, what brings the prescriptive autonomy of saying to its culmination.

., it is n reading in Beckett terms such as ' ill saying ' , 'failure ' , etc Whe this well in mind. 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 , this would arouse no interest. Moreover, the text its h" ',rees of adhe moment tum out to be impossible. 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. Beckett clearly indicates I llt:seription of say l l i i s from the start:
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d nsequence of all this is that the norm of saying is calle The strict co uses course, the fact that failure provides the norm of saying aro , failure' . Of rfectly: s hope within the subject, a hope that Beckett identifies pe ; 1 fallaciou al failure, of an absolute failure that would have the I hc hope of a maxim is is you off both language and saying, once and for all. Th mcrit of turning m the l temptation, the temptation of subtracting oneself fro I he shamefu e temptation to have done with the 'on ' ; no longer to imperative of saying . Th suffer the intolerable prescription of ill saying. attain ll saying is impossible, 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. This would me itself, void or emptied, emptied of all prescription. In the end, the to the void - to be s cease to exist in order to be . In this form of failure one return temptation is to This is what we could call the mystical temptation, to the void, to pure being. it appears in Wittgenstein, in the last proposition of the in the sense in which e h the point at which, since it is impossible to speak, on Tractatus . To reac t it is ain silent. To reach the point at which the awareness tha can only rem t is, the awareness that ' it' has failed absolutely, impossible to say ' it' , tha der the sway of an imperative that is no longer the firmly places you un imperative of saying but the imperative of silence. ell, going ckett's vocabulary this is called ' going '. Going where? W In Be truth, like Rimbaud Beckett thinks that one nevcr away from humanity. In s absolutely the temptation of leaving humanity, the leaves. He recognise st. To failing both language and saying to the point of disgu temptation of

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leave existence once and for all, to return to being. But Beckett corrects and ultimately rejects this possibility. 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, an excess of failure that would be indistinguishable from the absolute success of saying:
Try again. Fail again. Better again. Or better worse. Fail worse again. Still worse again. Till sick for good. Throw up for good. Go for good. Where neither for good. Good and all (p. 8; p. 90).1 48

A la i n B a d i o u On Beckett
re g that is neither void nor dim, but the pu L l k l' pl ac e. This would be a nothin . ple abolition of the prescription of saying , I lid s im llowing: language partakes exclusively We must therefore maintain the fo t partake of the capacity of the nothing. no . . l l h c capacity of the least. It does One ning words' [des m ots qui reduisent] . I I ha s, as Beckett will say, 'leaste at leasten are those thanks to which ds th ha s words that leasten, and these wor , the direction of a centring of failure. ho, that is , I I l C can hold the worstward 's direct, allusive words' and B eckett Between Mallarm e' s 'never to be is evident. To approach the thing that is , kastening words ' , 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. o r the thing leads to a radical autono ry, it ct, or, according to Beckett's vocabula re ' I 'h is free saying can never be di , that worsens . I S a saying that leastens pect the minumum of the best worse, In other words, language can ex on ntial text, the one in which the expressi hi lt not its abolition. Here is the esse ' I castening words' also appears:
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This is the temptation: to go where all shade is gone, where nothing is exposed to the imperative of saying any longer. But in numerous passages, further on in the text, this temptation will be challenged, revoked, prohibited. For example on page 37 ( 1 1 0), where the idea of the 'but worse more . . . ' is declared to be inconceivable:
Back unsay better worse by no stretch more. If more dim less light then better worse more dim. Unsaid then better worse by no stretch more. Better worse may no less than less be more. Better worse what? The say? The said? Same thing. Same nothing. Same all but nothing.1 49

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Worse less. By no stretch more, Worse for want of better less. Less best. No. Naught best. Best worse. No. Not best worse. Naught not best worse. Less best worse. No. Least. Least best worse. Least never to be naught. Never to naught be brought. Never by naught be nulled. Unnullable least. Say that best worse. With leastening words say least best worse. For want of worser worst. Unlessenable least best worse (pp. 3 1 -32; p. 1 06).1 50

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The fundamental point is that the 'throw up for good, good and all' does not exist, because every ' same nothing' is really a ' same all but nothing'. The hypothesis ofa radical departure that would subtract us from the humanity of the imperative the essential temptation at work in the prescription of silence cannot succeed for ontological reasons. The ' same nothing' is really always a ' same all but nothing', or a ' same almost nothing' , but never a 'same nothing' as such. Thus, there are never sufficient grounds for subtracting oneself from the imperative of saying, in the name either of the advent of a pure 'nothing' or of absolute failure.
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h ) T h e La ws of Worse n i n g
From this point onwards, 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. One is always in the ' same all but nothing', but never at the point ofthe ' go for good', where a capture by the nothing would
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'Least never to be naught' is the law ofworsening. ' Say that best worse' is the 'unnullable least' . The 'unlessenable least best worse' can never be confused with abolition pure and simple, or with the nothing. This means that the 'one must remain silent', in Wittgenstein's sense, is impracticable. We must hold the worstward ho. W orstward Ho: the title is an imperative, and not simply a description. . . The imperative of saying thus takes the guise of a constant repnse; It belongs to the regime of the attempt, of effort, of work. The book itself wil l try to worsen everything that offers itself up to the oozing of wo�ds. A considerable amount of the text is devoted to what could be called expenmcnts in 'worsening' . W orstward Ho is a protocol ofworsening, presented as a figurc of the self-affirmation of the prescription of saying. Worsening is a sovereign procedure ofnaming in the excess offailure; it is the same as arousing thought by 'never direct, allusive words', and carries with it the same impassablc

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proximity to nothingness as Mallanne's poetry. Worsening, which is the exercise of language in its artistic tension, takes place through two contradictory operations. What in fact is worsening? It is the exercise of the sovereignty of saying with respect to the shades. Therefore, it is both saying more about them and restricting what is said. This is why the operations are contradictory. Worsening is saying more about less. More words to better leasten. Whence the paradoxical aspect of worsening, which is really the substance of the text. In order to leasten 'what is said' so that - with regard to this purging [epuration] - failure may become more manifest, it will be necessary to introduce new words. These words are not additions - one does not add, one does not make sums - but one must say more in order to leasten, and thus one must say more in order to subtract. Here lies the constitutive operation of language. To worsen is to advance the ' saying more' in order to leasten.

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The deployment of names that marks out this first shade with a great I H I mber of subtractive attributes is, at the same time, its leastening or reduction. l i s reduction to what? Well, to what should be named a mark o the one [un f imit d 'un], a mark that would give the shade with nothing else besides. The words demanded for this mark are 'bowed back' . A simple curve. Nothing I )ut a curve, such would be the ideality of the 'worse still' ; knowing that l Ilore words are needed in order to make such a curve arise, because words alone operate the leastening. We can thus say that an operation of nominal ()ver-abundance - over-abundance always being relative in Beckett - aims hcre at an essential leastening. This is the law of worsening: one cuts the legs, the head, the coat, one (;uts all that one can, but each cut is in truth centred on the advent - by way of supplementary subtractive details - of a pure mark. One must supplement so as to purge the last mark of failure. And now the worsening exercise of the two:
Next two. From bad to worsen. Try worsen. From merely bad. Add -.

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The text lavishly multiplies worsening exercises over the entire phenomenal field of shades, over the configuration of generic humanity. These can be briefly categorised as follows: - worsening the one, or, worsening the kneeling woman; - worsening the two, or, worsening the pair of the old man and the child; - worsening the head, or, worsening the eyes, the oozing brain, and the skull. These are the three shades that constitute the phenomenal detenninations of shade. Worsening the one: this is the exercise that occupies page 2 1 (99):
First one. First try fail better one. Something there badly not wrong. Not that as it is it is not bad. The no face bad. The no hands bad. The no-. Enough. A pox on bad. Mere bad. Way for worse. Pending worse still. First worse. Mere worse. Pending worse still. Add a-. Add? Never. Bow it down. Be it bowed down. Deep down. Head in hat gone. More back gone. Greatcoat cut off higher. Nothing from pelvis down. Nothing but bowed back. Topless baseless hindtrunk. Dim black. On unseen knees. In the dim Add? Never. The boots. Better worse bootless. Bare heels. Now the two right. Now the two left. Left right left right on. Barefoot unreceding on. Better worse so. A little better worse than nothing so (p. 23; p. 100).152

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The boots - there aren't many names like 'boots' in this piece, whose texture is extremely abstract. When there are such names, it is a sure sign that we are dealing with a risky operation. In a moment we will see this with a (;oncrete and essential word, the irruption of 'graveyard'. Nevertheless, the boot, which appears all of a sudden, is only there in order to be crossed out, crased: 'The boots. Better worse bootless.' A part of things is only given so as to fail, to be crossed out; it only (;omes to the surface of the text so as to be subtracted; here lies the wntradictory nature of the operation. The logic of worsening, which is the logic of the sovereignty of language, equates addition and subtraction. Mallanne did not proceed otherwise. Mallanne, for whom the very act of the poem consists in bringing about the emergence of an object (swan, star, rose . . . ) whose arrival imposes its own tennination. Beckett's 'boot' is the support­ tenn of such an act. Finally, worsening the head. This passage concerns the eyes (rc(;al l

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For Beckett, the courage oftruth could not come from the idea that we w i l l be repaid by silence or by a successful coincidence with being itself. We have seen this already: there will be no termination of saying, no advent of t he void as such. The on cannot be effaced. So, where does courage come from? For Beckett, courage comes from tile fact that words have the tendency to ring true. An extreme tension, which perhaps constitutes Beckett's vocation as a writer, results from the fact that courage pertains to a quality of words that is contrary to their use in worsening. ' I 'here is something like an aura of correspondence in words from which ( paradoxically) we draw the courage to break with correspondence itself, that is, to hold worstward. The courage of effort is always drawn out against its own destination. I ,et us call this the torsion of saying : the courage of the continuation of effort is drawn from words themselves, but from words taken against their genuine destination, which is to worsen. Effort - in this case, artistic or poetic effort - is a barren work on language, undertaken in order to submit language to the exercises of worsening. 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, but wholly against the grain of its destination, the courage of its treatment. In Worstward Ho this tension gives rise to some very beautiful passages. Here is the first:
The words too whosesoever. What room for worse ! How almost true they sometimes almost ring! How wanting in inanity! Say the night is young alas and take heart, Or better worse say still a watch of night alas to come. A rest of /ast watch to come. And take heart [Etprendre courage] (pp. 202 1 ; p. 99). 154

that the skull is composed of eyes on a brain):
The eyes. Time to try worsen. Somehow try worsen. Unclench. Say staring open. All white and pupil. Dim white. White? No. All pupil. Dim black holes. Unwavering gaping. Be they so said. With worsening words. From now so. Better than nothing so bettered for the worse (p. 27; p. 1 03).1 53

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The logic of the writing in this passage is altogether typical. On the basis of the syntagm ' clenched staring' - whose meaning I 've already discussed - we have the attempt at an opening. We will pass from 'clenched staring' to ' staring open', which is a semantically homogenous datum. 'Open' will in tum give us white, and white will be terminated, giving us black. This is the immediate chain. We pass from clenched to open, from open to white, and then white is crossed out in favour of black. The outcome of the operation - the operation of worsening - is that in place of 'clenched staring' we will have 'black holes', and that, from now on, when it will be a question of eyes, it will no longer even be in terms of the word ' eyes' - Beckett will simply mention two black holes. Note that the open and the black only emerge within the sequence of the operation in order to pass from eyes to black holes, and that this operation of worsening aims at ridding us of the word 'eyes' - too descriptive, too empirical, and too singular - so as to lead us, by way of diagonal worsening and deletion, to the simple acceptance ofblack holes as blind seats ofvisibility. The eye as such is abolished. From this point onwards, there is only a pure seeing linked to a hole, 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.

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Worsening is a labour, an inventive and arduous effectuation of the imperative of saying. Being an effort, holding to the worstward ho demands courage. Where does the courage of effort come from? I think this is a very important question, because it is in general the question of knowing where the courage of holding to any procedure oftruth comes from. 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, and take heart - that one holds worstward. ' Say the night is young alas and take heart. ' How magnificent! Here is a variation on the theme:
What words for what then? How almost they still ring. As somehow from last unlessenable least how loath to leasten. For then in utmost dim to some soft of mind they ooze. From it in it ooze. How all but uninanc. To

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dimmer still [plus obscur encore]. To dimmost dim. Leastmost in dimmost dim. Utmost dim. Leastmost in utmost dim. Unworsenable worst (p. 33; p. 1 07). 156

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Everything here shows to what extent one is 'loath to leasten' , to what extent this effort is barren. One loaths to leasten because words are 'all but uninane', because the word sounds true, because it rings clear and it is from the word that we take heart, that we draw our courage. But taking heart for what? Well, precisely in order to ill say; to challenge the illusion that it rings true, the illusion that summons us to courage. The torsion of saying is thus both what clarifies the barrenness of effort (one must overcome, towards the worst, the clarity of words) and the courage with which we treat this barrenness. Nevertheless, there is another reason why holding worstward proves difficult: being as such resists, being rebels against the logic of the worst. As worsening comes to be exercised upon the shades, one reaches the edge of the dim, the edge of the void, and there to continue to worsen becomes more and more difficult. As if the experience of being were witness, not to an impasse of worsening, but to a difficulty, to a growing effort - ever more exhausting - in this worsening. When one is led to the edge of being by a barren and attentive exercise in the worsening of appearances, a sort of invariance comes to confound saying, exposing it to an experience of suffering - as if the imperative of saying encountered here what is furthest away from it, or most indifferent. This will be said in two ways: according to the dim or according to the void. This relation between the dim, the void and the imperative of saying brings us to the core of our ontological questions. Let us recall that dim is the name of what exposes being. It follows from this that the dim can never be a total darkness, a darkness that the imperative of saying desires as its own impossibility. The imperative of saying, which desires the leastmost, is polarised by the idea that the dim could become the obscure, the absolutely dark. The text makes several hypotheses concerning how this desire can be satisfied. But these hypotheses are ultimately rejected, for there is always a minimal exposition of being. The being of void being is to expose itself as dim; in other words, the being of being is to expose itself, and exposition rules out the absoluteness ofthe dark or obscure. Even if one can lessen the exposition, one can never attain the obscure as such. Of the dim, it will be said that it is an 'unworsenable worse' :
So leastward on. So long as dim still. Dim undimmed. Or dimmed to

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Thought can move in the leastmost, in the utmost dim, but it has no access to the obscure as such. There is always a lesser least - so let us state the fundamental axiom once again: 'least never to be naught'. The argument is simple: because the dim, which is the exposition of being, is a condition of the worstward ho - what exposes it to saying - it can never be entirely given over to it. We may go worstward, but we can never go voidward [Nous ne pouvons mettre cap sur Ie neant, seulement sur Ie pire]. There can be no voidward precisely because the dim is a condition of the -ward. Thus one can argue for the quasi-obscure, the almost obscure, but the dim in its being remains dim. Ultimately, the dim resists worsening.

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The void is given in experience. It is given in the interval of shades within the dim. It is what separates. In fact, the void is the ground [f ond] of being, but in its exposition it is a pure gap [ecart]. With respect to the shades or the pair, Beckett will say: 'vast of void atween'. Such is the figure in which the void is given. The worsening aims to get closer to the void as such, no longer to have the void in its mere dimension of interval, but the void as void - being as retracted from its exposition. But if the void is subtracted from its own exposition it can no longer be the correlate of the process of worsening, because the process of worsening only works on shades and on their void intervals. So that the void 'in itself' cannot be worked upon according to the laws of worsening. You can vary the intervals, but the void as void remains radically unworsenable. Now, if it is radically unworsenable, it means that it cannot even be ill said. This point is a very subtle one. The void 'in itself' i s what cannot be ill said. This is its definition. The void cannot but be said. In it, the saying and the said coincide, which prohibits ill saying. Such a coincidence finds its reason in the fact that the void itself is nothing bu t its own name. Of the void 'in itself' you have nothing but the name. Within Beckett's text this is expressly formulated in the following form :

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Say child gone. As good as gone. From the void. From the stare. Void then not that much more? Say old man gone. Old woman gone. As good as gone. Void then not that much more again? No. Void most when almost. Worst when almost. Less then? All shades as good as gone. If then not that much more than that much less then? Less worse then? Enough. A pox on void. Unmoreable unlessable unworseable evermost almost void (pp. 42-43; p.

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That the void is subtracted from ill saying means that there is no art of the void. The void is subtracted from that which suggests an art within language: the logic of worsening. When you say 'the void' you have said all that can be said, and you possess no process that could elicit the metamorphosis of this saying. In other words, there is no metaphor for the void. In the subjective register, the void, being but a name, only arouses the desire for its disappearance. In the skull the void arouses not the process of worsening - which is impossible in its regard - but the absolute impatience of this pure name, the desire that the void be exposed as such, annihilated, something which is nevertheless impossible. As soon as one touches upon a void that is not an interval, upon the void 'in itself', one enters what in Beckett constitutes the figure of an ontological desire that is subtracted from the imperative of saying: the fusion in nothingness of the void with the dim. It will also be remarked that, in a manner resembling the functioning of drives, the name of the void sets off a desire for disappearance, but that this desire for disappearance is without object, for there is here nothing but a name. The void will always counter any process of disappearance with the fact that it is effectively subtracted from worsening; this subtraction results from a property of the void, which is that in it the 'maximum' and the ' almost' are the same thing. Let us note that this is not the case with the dim, so that the two names of being do not function in the same way. The dim can be dimmost, leastmost dimmost; the void cannot. The void cannot but be said, seized as pure name and subtracted from every principle ofvariability, and therefore of metaphor or metamorphosis, because, within it, the 'maximum' and the ' almost' coincide absolutely. Here then is the great passage on the void:
All save void_ No. Void too. Unworsenable void. Never less. Never more. Never since first said never unsaid never worse said never not gnawing to be gone. Say child gone [ . . . ] (p. 42; p. 1 1 3).158

113).159 The experiment, as one can see, fails. The void qua pure nomination remains radically unworsenable and thus unsayable.

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Together with the supposed movements of appearance and disappearance, the argument tied to the void summons all of the Platonic supreme ideas. We have being, which is the void and the dim; the same, which is the one-woman; the other, which is the old man/child-two. The question is that of knowing what becomes of movement and rest, the last two categories in the five primordial genera of The Sophist. 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, which says that absolute disappearance is the disappearance of the dim. If one asks: What can disappear absolutely? The response is: The dim. For example:
On back to unsay void can go [disparition du vide]. [As I've already said,

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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, and therefore as the disappearance of the dim. But one must not forget

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e ought and being. 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 - whi the void are under the same sign. l and I I ', II"stward H0 declares that the skul ly the other, or the tw o, supports T h is means that ultimately on I l lo vement: this is the third thes is . esis. There is no movement but of This is a classical thesis, a Greek th It is they who walk, who plod on. e child. Ih e pair, i .e . 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 what is significan d man and the child - this is a the ol ,�ense immobile. When speaking of say: ble leitmotiv the text will constantly ve rita
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that this hypothesis is beyond saying, that the imperative of saying has nothing to do with the possibility of the disappearance of the dim. Hence the disappearance of the dim, like its reappearance, is an abstract hypothesis that can be fOImulated but which does not give rise to any experience whatsoever. There is a horizon of absolute disappearance, thinkable in the statement ' dim can go'. Nevertheless, this statement remains indifferent to the entire protocol of the text. The problem will therefore centre upon the appearance and disappearance of shades. This is a problem of an altogether different order which is associated to the question ofthought. On the contrary, the hypothesi of the disappearance of the dim is beyond saying and beyond thought. More generally, this new problem is to do with the movement of shades. The investigation ofthis point is very complex, and I will limit myself here to presenting my conclusions alone. First, the one is not capable ofmovement. The figure ofthe old woman which is the mark of the One, will certainly be termed ' stooped' and the 'kneeling', all of which seems to express change. But the crucial proviso is that we are dealing here only with prescriptions of saying, rules of the worst, and never with a movement proper. It is not true that the one stoops or kneels. The text always states that one [on] will say kneeling, sunk, etc. All this is �re�cribed by the logic of lessening within worsening, 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 ' . . as It IS only counted as one, remains indifferent to movement. Sec?nd statement: thought (the head, the skull) is incapable of . dISappearIng. There are a number of texts concerning this point. Here is one:

6 recede (p. 1 3 ; p. 93) .1 2 Plod on and never

t. an internal immobility to this movemen There is movement, but there is eans hat does this mean? O f course, this m They plod on and never recede. W that there is only one situation of ), but that there is movement (they plod on l situation. One will also say: there is heing, that there is only one ontologica ed very early on by the maxim: but one place. This is what is declar
6 e one (p. 1 1 ; p. 92) .1 3 No place but th

The head. Ask not if it can go. Say no. Unasking no. It cannot go. Save dim go. Then all go. Oh dim go. Go for good. All for good. Good and all (p. 1 9 ; p. 9 8). 1 6 1

of e universe; there is only one figure There is but one place, or on going, ctively to recede, for it to recede in being, not two. For the pair effe the pair would have to be able topass , there would have to be an other place her place: 'No place but the one ' . In into another place. But there is no ot . This being. B eing is One in its localisation other words, there is no duality in ised, but, at the same time, 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. ce. This is what is confirmed by the pa pla

This ' Oh dim go' remains without effect. As we've seen, you can always say 'Oh dim go' , the dim does not care in the least. What is important for us then is that the head is incapable of disappearing, save of course the dim go, but then all go. Consequently, we must note that the head has the same status as the void when it comes to the question of disappearance. This is exactly Parmenides' maxim: ' It is the same to think and to be' . Parmenides designates

, m ) Lo v e
d hy hich is that of the two, is deeply markc This immobile migration, w the old man and the child, but i t it is Beckett's conception of love. Here, s axim of the two, and, in that prod i g i oll m matters little. For what we have is the a so rt t presents us with the two of love as text on love that is Enough, Becket

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riation it can be submitted to by the prescription i!sel ffrom the hypothetical va o f saying. two regard to shades of type one (the woman) and type In the end, with the immobile migration of the pair bears ( the old man and the child), only witness to a movement. ree ly led to the question of the changes of the type th Thus we are final ch the skull from which words ooze, the skull from whi shade, the skull, the At this juncture, there clearly intervenes the prescription of saying oozes. e spoke above: the structure of the cogito . Every halting point of which w ked rance, reappearance or alteration of the skull is bloc modification, disappea represented as that which seizes itself in the by the fact that the skull must be dim. Therefore we cannot presume that everything has disappeared in the skull. The hypothesis of radical doubt, which would affect the shades with a total disappearance - subject to the prescription to be made by the skull -cannot be maintained, for the same reasons that force Cartesian radical doubt to impose limits upon itself. Here is the passage in question:
In the skull all gone [disparu]. All? No. All cannot go. Till dim go. Say then but the two gone. In the skull one and two gone. From the void. From the stare. In the skull all save the skull gone. The stare. Alone in the dim void. Alone to be seen. Dimly seen. In the skull the skull alone to be seen. The staring eyes. Dimly seen. By the staring eyes (pp. 25-26; p. 102).1 66

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of migration, which is at the same time a migration unto oneself. Such is the essence of love. The migration does not make one pass from one place to another. Instead, it is a delocalisation internal to the place, and this immanent delocalisation finds its paradigm in the two of love. This explains why the passages on the old man and the child are marked by a muted emotion, which is very particular to Worstward Ho: the immobile migration designates what could be called the spatiality of love. Here is one ofthese texts, in which a powerful and abstract tenderness - echoing Enough - can be heard:
Hand in hand with equal plod they go. In the free hands -no. Free empty hands. Backs turned both bowed with equal plod they go. The child hand raised to reach the holding hand. Hold the old holding hand. Hold and be held. Plod on and never recede. Slowly with never a pause plod on and never recede. Backs turned. Both bowed. Joined by held holding hands. Plod on as one. One shade. Another shade (p. 1 3 ; p.93).I 64

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A hypothesis accessible to the skull would be that the shades - between a disappearance and a reappearance - have been modified. This hypothesis is evoked and worked through, but it is expressly presented as a hypothesis of . saymg:
They fade [disparaissent]. Now the one. Now the twain. Now both. Fade back [reapparaissent] . Now the one. Now the twain. Now both. Fade? No. Sudden go. Sudden back. Now the one. Now the twain. Now both. Unchanged? Sudden back unchanged? Yes. Say yes. Each time unchanged. Somehow unchanged. Till no. Till say no. Sudden back changed. Somehow changed. Each time somehow changed (p. 14; p. 94). 165

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The hypothesis of the disappearance of the shades, based on the fact that they would have gone from the skull - and thus that they would no longer be of the order of seeing or of ill seeing - does not entail the disappearance of the all, the ' all go '; in particular, it does not entail the disappearance of all the shades, because the skull, which itself is a shade, cannot itself disappear or 'go'. The Cartesian matrix is necessarily stated as follows: 'In the skull all save the skull gone'. I think, therefore I am a shade in the dim. The skull i s the shade-subject, and cannot disappear; it cannot 'go ' .

That there can be real changes, that is, changes caught between appearance and disappearance, is not a hypothesis liable to affect the being of a shade; rather, it is a hypothesis that the prescription of saying might formulate. It is somewhat like above with ' Oh dim go' , or when one says 'kneeling' , 'stooped', etc. It is necessary to distinguish what is an attribute of the shade

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Longing the so-said mind long lost to longing. The so-missaid. So far so­ missaid. Dint of long longing lost to longing. Long vain longing. And longing still. Faintly longing still. Faintly vainly longing still. For fainter still. For faintest. Faintly vainly longing for the least of longing. Unlessenable least of longing. Unstillable vain least of longing still. Longing that all go [que tout disparaisse] . Dim go. Void go. Longing go. Vain longing that vain longing go (p. 36; p. 1 09).1 67
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Many comments could be made regarding the correlations between this passage and the canonical doctrines of will. We could say that willing is shaped by the imperative of saying and that the 'all go' - the will that the 'vain longing that vain longing go' itself go or disappear - is the irreducible trace of will, or that the will, as the imperative of saying, cannot but go on. Pain is ofthe body (whilst joy comes from words). In the body, pain is what provokes movement, and this is what makes it the first witness of the remains of mind. Pain is the bodily proof that there are remains of mind, inasmuch as it is what arouses the shades to movement:
It stands. What? Yes. Say it stands. Had to up in the end and stand. Say bones. No bones but say bones. Say ground. No ground but say ground. So as to say pain. No mind and pain? Say yes that the bones may pain till no choice but stand. Somehow up and stand. Or better worse remains. Say remains of mind where none to permit of pain. Pain of bones till no choice but up and stand. Somehow up. Somehow stand. Remains of mind where none for the sake ofpain. Here ofbones. Other examples ifneeds must. Of pain. Relief from. Change of (p. 9; p. 90).1 68

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are so few words to say what there is to say. Joy is always the joy of the poverty of words. The mark of the state of joy or of rejoicing - of what rejoices - is that there are exceedingly few words to say it. Upon reflection, this is entirely true. Extreme joy is precisely what possesses few or no words to speak itself. Whence the fact that in the figure of the declaration of love there is nothing to say but ' I love you' - an extremely meagre statement, because it finds itself in the element ofjoy. I am thinking, in Richard Strauss 's Elektra, o f the scene of the recognition of Orestes by Elektra, in which Elektra sings a very violent 'Orestes! ' and the music is suddenly paralysed. Here we encounter a musical ortissimo, but one that is absolutely formless and rather lengthy. passage inj I have always liked that quite a lot. It is as if an unspeakable and extreme joy were musically presented in the self-paralysis of the music, as if its internal melodic configuration (which later on will present itself, over and over again, in saccharine waltzes) were stricken by powerlessness: here is a moment of 'rejoicing', understood as an impoverished disposition of naming. Beckett says this very clearly. It is evidently linked to the fact that there are poor remains of mind, and poor words for these poor remains:
w Remains ofmind then still. Enough still. Somewhose somewhere someho t enough still. No mind and words? Even such words. So enough still. Jus enough still to joy. Joy! Just enough still to joy that only they. Only! (p. 29; p. 104)1 69

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So much for the subjective faculties other than seeing and saying, and above all the three main ones (will, pain, joy). All things considered, what we have here is a classical doctrine of the passions.

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, if we wish to proceed in the study of the subject, we must do so subtractively. Fundamentally, Beckett's method is like Husserl's epoche turned upside down. Husserl's epoche consists in subtracting the thesis of the world, 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' . Husserl's lineage originates in Cartesian doubt. The thetic character of the universe o f the intentional opera t i o n s o r

Joy, in the end, is on the side of words. To rejoice is to rejoice that there

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consciousness is retracted in order to try to apprehend the conscious structure that governs these operations, independently of any thesis concerning the world. 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. The hypothesis of a seeing without words will be forwarded. A hypothesis of ,,:ords without seeing will also be made, together with a hypothesis of a dIsappearance of words. And it will be noted that there is then a better seen [du mieux vu] . Here is one of the protocols ofthis experiment:
Blanks for when words gone. When nohow on. Then all seen as only then. Undimmed. All undimmed that words dim. All so seen unsaid. No ooze then. No trace on soft when from it ooze again. In it ooze again. Ooze alone for seen as seen with ooze. Dimmed. No ooze for seen undimmed. For when nohow on. No ooze for when ooze gone (p. 40; p. 1 12).170

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:;pace, of variations . . . we could go on forever. something til page 45 ( 1 1 5) . Because from this point onwards, At least un exity is such that long analyses would still be ds e happens, whose compl ial to the bottom of it. Let me simply indicate the essent required in order to get points.

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t-up , we remain within the parameters of the minimal se Until page 45 and thought. It is at this point that we witnes s the that links being, existence the strict sense - a discontinuity, an event prepared production of an event in e have a last state. 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, the last just described: it things. This state is seized by the impo ssibility of the saying of the state of ying.1 7 l beyond sa ion - ' save dim go ' , which remains a hypothesis annihilat arrange, ofwhose trajectory we shall have to say more - will The event ying reduced (,leastened' ) to the statement of or expose, an imperative of sa in conditions will be modified in and by the event its own cessation. 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' . What will re have a saying that has reached an absolutely be said. And thus we shall maximal degree of purification. gins with the recapitulation of the last state : Everything be

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Here it would be necessary to explain the text in greater detail. We are dealin� with a protocol of seeing that remains undimmed when the hypothesis of a dIsappearance of words is made, the hypothesis of the real end of the imperative of saying. Like Husserl 's epoche, this is a pure abstract hypothesis, as well as an untenable hypothesis, one that is actually impracticable. In this hypothesis, some light is shed on being. The inverse experiment can also be ca�ied out: subtracting sight and then asking oneself what is the destiny of an III saying that is disconnected from seeing, from ill seeing. .1 shall not develop these experiments any further. Ultimately, if we recapItulate our argument about the question of disappearance we can obtain three propositions. First of all, the void is unworsenable once it is caught in the exposition of the dim. This means that there is no experience of being, only a name of . bem�. A name commands a saying, but an experience is an ill saying and not a saymg proper. S �con ly, the skull or subject cannot really be subtracted from seeing and �aymg; It can only be subtracted in formal experiments [experiences], in partIcular because for itself it is always 'not gone' . Finally, the shades - i.e. the same and the other - are worsenable (from the point of view of the skull) and are therefore objects of experience of . . . artIstIc exposItion.

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somehow less in vain. Worse in vain. All gnawing to be naught. Never to be naught (p . 46 ; p. 1 1 5) . 172

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te seals the process of worsening as interminab le. The last or latest sta cre in vain' . But, once the recapitulation is complete th Its maxim is: 'Worse stanc in g - in a moment introduced by ' sudden' - a sort of di brusquely occurs r n, which is like its absolute retreat into the inte rio of this state to a limit positio in hing that had been said, by being able to be sa id of language. As if everyt l11 th e ly found itself at an infinitesimal distance fro its last state, sudden imperative of language. ll this movement is absolutely parallel to the i rru pt io It must be noted that

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of the Constellation at the end of Mallarme's Coup de des. In my view, the analogy is a conscious one - we shall see why. In this moment when there is nothing more to say but 'behold the state ofthings, the things ofbeing' (which Mallarme says in the form: 'Nothing has taken place but the place') - when one thinks that the text will stop there, that this maxim represents the last word on what the imperative of saying is capable of- it is as though a kind of addition took place. This addition is sudden, abrupt, in rupture, and takes place on a scene situated at a remove from the one at hand, a scene in which a metamorphosis of exposition is presented - a sidereal metamorphosis, or a 'siderealisation' [sideration]. It is not a question of the disappearance of the dim, but of a retreat ofbeing to its very limit. Just as in Mallarme the question of the dice-throw results in the appearance of the Great Bear, likewise what was counted in the dim will here be fixed in pinholes - a closely related metaphor. Here is the passage introduced by the clause of rupture, ' Enough' :
Enough. Sudden enough. Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far. All least. Three pins. One pinhole. In dimmost dim. Vasts apart. At bounds of boundless void. Whence no farther. Best worse no farther. Nohow less. Nohow worse. Nohow naught. Nohow on. Said nohow on (pp. 46-47; p. 1 1 6). 1 73
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However, the configuration of possible-saying is no longer a state of ar. It is an heing, an exercise in worsening. It is an event, creating an af i ncalculable distancing. From the point of view of the poetics ofthe text, we would need to demonstrate that this evental configuration - this ' sudden' - is acsthetically or poetically prepared by a specific figure. In Mallarme, the Constellation is prepared by the figure of the master, drowning himself on the surface of the sea. In Beckett, this figural preparation, which deserves to be admired, consists in the altogether unpredictable metamorphosis of the one-woman into the gravestone, in a passage whose imagery of discontinuity should alert us. Immediately prior to this passage, a page before the event at the limits, we find the following:
Nothing and yet a woman. Old and yet old. On unseen knees. Stooped as loving memory some old gravestones stoop. In that old graveyard. Names gone and when to when. Stoop mute over the graves ofnone (p. 45; p. 1 1 5).1 75

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I would simply like to insist upon a few points. The intratextual, evental character of this limit-disposition is marked by the fact that the ' sudden' is devoid of movement: ' Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far' . Therefore it is not a change, but a separation; it is another scene, doubling the scene that was primordially established. Secondly - making me think that the Mallarmean configuration is conscious - there is the passage: 'Vasts apart. At bounds of boundless void' . This sounds very close to 'on high perhaps, as far as place can fuse with the beyond . . . a constellation. ' 1 74 I am absolutely convinced that Beckett's three pins and Mallarme's seven stars are the same thing. For thought, 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, in a suddenness that amounts to a grace without concept, an overall configuration in which one will be able to say 'nohow on'. Not an 'on' ordained or prescribed to the shades, but simply 'nohow on' - the 'on' of saying reduced, or leastened, to the purity of its possible cessation.

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This passage is absolutely singular and paradoxical in relation to what we have argued hitherto. First of all, because it makes a metaphor emerge with regard to the shades. The one-woman, the stoop of the one-woman, literally becomes a gravestone. And on the stoop ofthis gravestone, the subject is now given only in the erasure of its name, in the crossing out of its name and date of existence. It could be said that it is on the background of these ' graves of none' , on this new stoop, that the 'enough' indicates the possibility of the event. The stoop opens onto the sudden, the anonymous tomb opens onto the astral pin. In Coup de des, it is because the element of the place has managed to metamorphose into something other than itselfthat the evental rupture ofthe constellation is possible. In Worstward Ho, we have a grave; the old woman herself has become a grave, a one-grave. Likewise, in Mallarme 's poem we have the foam becoming vessel and, in so doing, call1ing forth the vessel's captain, etc. We have a transmigration of the identity of the shade into the figure ofthe gravc, and when you have the grave, you also have the migration of the place: what was dim, void, or unnameable place, becomes a graveyard. I call this a figural preparation. In effect, we can say that every event admits of a figural preparation, that it always possesses a pre-eventalfigure. In our text, the figure i s given from the moment that the shades become the symbol of being of an ex istel1cc.
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What is the symbol of being of an existence, if not the gravestone, on which we find the name, as well as the dates of birth and death, 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, but graveyard. The grave presents the moment when, by a mutation internal to saying, existence attains a symbolism of being, such that the nature of what one will be able to pronounce with regard to being changes drastically. An altered ontological scene doubles the last state, which proves to be not the last, but only the latest. There is a state supernumerary to the last state - precisely the one that constitutes itself all of a sudden. Having been figurally prepared, an event is what happens so that the latest state of being will not be the last. And what will remain in the end? Well, a saying on a background [f ond] ofnothing or ofnight: the saying of the 'on', ofthe 'nohow on', the imperative of saying as such. Ultimately, this saying is the terminus of a sort of astral language, floating above its own ruin and on the basis of which all can begin again, all can and must recommence. This ineluctable recommencement can be called the unnameable of saying, its ' on'.1 76 And the good - that is, the proper mode of the good within saying - is to sustain the 'on'. That is all. To sustain it without naming it. To sustain the ' on' and to sustain it at the extreme, incandescent point at which its sole apparent content is: 'nohow on' . But in order for this to be, an event must go beyond the last state of being. Then and only then can I and must I continue. Unless, in order to recreate the conditions for obeying this imperative, one must fall asleep a little; the time necessary to conjoin, in a simulacrum of the void, the dim half-light of being and the intoxication of the event. Perhaps the entire difference between Beckett and Mallarme lies here. The first forbids sleep, like he forbids death. One must remain awake. For the second, after the work of poetry one can also return to the shade - through the suspension of the question, through the saving interruption. This is because Mallarme, having posited, once and for all, that a Book is possible, can rest content with 'tries in view of better' [d 'essais en vue du mieux], and sleep between attempts. In this regard, I approve of his being a French faun, rather than an Irish insomniac. 177
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Yes, of course, there is in Beckett what does not happen, what insists on not happening - like Godot, like Molloy in search of his mother. A�d . there is also repetition, like in the discouragement that afflIcts the bodIes busy looking for their lost one in the cylinder of the world. But why not begin instead with what happens, with thIS fIgure 0 1 suddenness that seizes the prose, 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', of which Rimbaud was the foundmg poet ,? A
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Enough. Sudden enough. Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far. All least. Three pins. One pinhole. In dimmost dim. Vasts apart. At bounds of boundless void (WH, p. 46; NO, p. 1 1 6).179

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Alternatively, we could begin with the naming of what happens. After all, for Beckett, to find the name of what does not happen is a matter of comedy - like in the amusing facility of the proper name ' Godot', this occasional God of the theatre. On the contrary, to find the name of what happens demands an invention within language, a poetic forcing. Like when - in III Seen III Said - a sound comes to unsettle the inspection of proximity and awaken the mind. 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. Reinforced a little later ifnot enfeebled by the infrequent slumberers. A slumberous collapsion (ISIS, p. 5 5 ; NO, p. 83).1 80

And having matched - in order to name what happens - the uncommon to the infrequent, we are accorded the gift, as the paragraph concludes, of a ' gleam of hope. By the grace of these modest beginnings' (ISIS, p. 55; NO, p. 83).181 Where then are these 'modest beginnings'? In the prose, in the beauty of the prose, through which courage is incessantly renewed. For if the paradoxical exactitude of an ill said in prose comes to correspond to the ill seen of experience, then the awakening of mind under the injunction of 'what happens' gives us, at least, the courage to continue. Of course, the function of words is that of bringing about the failure of things, because things themselves are failures of being. The ground of everything is but void and dim. The aim of the prose is to hold the worstward ho, to ill say the ill seen, to fail in words the failure of experience. It must:
Say that best worst. With leastening words say least best worse. For want ofworser worst. Unlessenable least best worst (WH, p. 32; NO, p. 1 06).182

But the whole problem is that this failure ofprose is by no means given. I t is an effort and an ascesis, because words themselves ring clear. As Beckett says: 'How almost true they sometimes almost ring! How wanting in inanity! Say the night is young alas and take heart' (WH, pp. 20-2 1 ; NO, p. 99).183 Artistic or poetic effort is a work upon language whose aim is to bring language under the rule of the worst. But this barren effort draws its energy from a lortunate disposition oflanguage, a sort ofaura of correspondence that haunts language, and which is where - in a figure of torsion - the writer looks for ' the courage to break with correspondence itself. This is why we must begin with beauty. What is beauty? It is the trace - within the ascetic effort to submit saying to the 'unlessenable least best worst' - of the paradoxical courage that feeds this effort, and which is nourished by the 'ringing clear' of words, by their lack of ' inanity', and by their fallacious virtue of correspondence. Beauty surges forth when we understand that the path of words goes counter to the demand of thought. This is because words bear the courage of the mUltiple and the true, whilst thought obstinately seeks to approach the void. Beauty takes place when the poetic naming of events seizes thought at the edge of the void. By surprise, beauty superimposes the path of words onto the counter­ path of thought. In other words, it superimposes the multiple onto the void. This is why in Beckett we find three regimes of prose, three configurations of beauty. The first comes forth when words settle upon the inertia ofbeing, upon the still surface of what there is, respecting the countours of thought whilst modifying its colour, like a golden dust spread upon the gray rock of the planet. Let us listen to Lessness:
Earth sky as one all sides endlessness little body only upright. One step more one alone all alone in the sand no hold he will make it. Ash grey little body only upright heart beating face to endlessness. Light refuge sheer
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white blank planes all gone from mind. All sides endlessness earth sky as one no sound no stir (eSp, p. 1 56; GSP, p. 201).184

But we also find it - this prose brought to it greatest calm - when what. remains of humanity walks the world without pain, benefiting from a grace compatible with the surest of maladies. Such is the case with the two loyers in Enough, as she who renders their chronicle declares:

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I don't know what the weather is now. But in my life it was eternally mild. As if the earth had come to rest in spring (CSP, p. 143; GSP, p. 1 9 1).185

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Yes, we can certainly call this regime of prose that of mildness [douceur] . Because within it everything happens, for a time, as ifthe path of words doubled, almost silently, the counter-path ofthought - the one matched by the other in a sort of immobile movement. At the other extreme, we find what I will call Beckett's sarcastic prose. Built almost entirely on rhythm, it gratingly utters - a little as with some of Mahler's allegros, with a touch ofthe lop-sided and incongruous - that words are an inadequate vehicle, that ill saying is always already too much of a well saying, and that the counter-path of thought can only be rediscovered by throttling words, SUbjecting them to a syntactical ordeal that forces them to ill ring. Here is an altogether typical example of this regime (in From an Abandoned W ork):
Ah my father and mother, to think they are probably in paradise, they were so good. Let me go to hell, that's all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss. Yes, I believe all their blather about the life to come, it cheers me up, and unhappiness like mine, there's no annihilating that (CSP, p. 1 33 ; GSP, p. 1 5 9). 186

the n the deceitful excess of words and I <" IISC and volatile fault-line, betwee , not ose unbinds syntax and pun�tuation I I l 1possibility of silence. This pr novelty, but because m the verbal al hecause of a preoccupation with form e llow, almost at every instant, both th ar ks that are thereby opened one can fo the t - which leads to the imminence of :;l Ibtractive counter-path of though - which leads to the captu�e. of words Ilothing and the radiating path of of happiness. Such is the am�1t10n form what happens, as well as to a singular e that of How It Is . Allow me a smgl rose, of Beckett's worst understood p ates dence, which recalls B o ssuet, culmin quote, where a long affirmative ca
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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 ; HIl US p. shrimp and a little longer (HIl, p . 69 in stoic love to the last 62)187

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We should understand that the prosodic regime of mildness seeks the slowness of a coincidence, whilst the sarcastic regime attempts to establish a perpetual lag [dlxalage] , and is therefore in need of an acceleration of saying, of an energy that must be ceaselessly nourished. Words always bum when they are forced to counter thought. But Beckett, in his own sovereign way, knows that there is the slow combustion that takes place in the mild and nocturnal embers of prose, on the one hand, and there is the dry fire of incinerating sarcasm, on the other. Finally, where can we find the entanglement of these two regimes; the melding, in the long run, of these contrasting fires? It is in Beckett's most ambitious prose, which holds together the two primordial regimes, oscillating as it does between the emaciated primacy of the void and the proliferation of terms, between mildness (be it the mildness of tears) and violence (be it the violence of laughter). 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. ter of nt poet of mildnes s, the rhythmic mas Behold Beckett: the confide e constructor of metamorphose s. . sarcasm, th ing sense of the magmficent formula ak It will always be a question of m TN , an and all the rest divine' (T, p . 30 2 ; from The Unnamable: ' I alone am m � to its curse to the periphery o f saying, �n p . 30 0 ). To relegate the divine and hopelessness, relentless, survlvmg, e or declare man naked, without either hop the excessive language o f his desire. . 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 - to Vladimir 's sente _ which is not so easy mankind is us, whether we like it or all this place, at this moment of time, not' (CDW, p . 74 ; WG, p. 5 1) . Translated by Alberto Toscano Revised by Nina Power
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Alain Badiou's work on Beckett radically takes issue with what he takes to be a distinct and coherent tradition running through Beckett criticism. Badiou argues that the tradition has too often made of Beckett an absurdist or existentialist, a nihilist or tragic pessimist. In doing so, it has effectively always contemplated Beckett as its own opposite, as the negative to the unrel en t i n g positivity of its own discourse. For it has invariably adopted the point o f

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view of the proprietor, for whom possessions are 'the only proof of bei ng and sense' . In its very admiration ofBeckett, the tradition has declared its dis tance from him. That distance is also the measure of its own worldliness . Ba diou is opposed to the view that Beckett moved towards 'a nihilistic destitu tion, towards a radical opacity of significations '. The criticism that produ ces this insistence can understand Beckett only as inverting what it takes to be its own fullness. For Badiou, however, from a philosophical perspecti ve, that fullness - ofbeing and meaning - is no more sel f-evident than is the sup posed 'poverty' of Beckett's art. From the philosopher 's point ofview, what pri marily commands attention, in Beckett's work, is not a condition of exi stential deprivation. It is the evidence of labour, unremitting effort and, abo ve all, thought: 'Beckett speaks to us ', Badiou writes, with existentialist cri ticism in mind, of something 'far more thought out than this two-bit, dinner-pa rty vision of despair' [ 'beaucoup plus pense que ce desespoir de salon ']. Strictly speaking, however, from an Anglo-American perspective the critical tradition with which Badiou takes issue is one that now looks r ther dated. It has been superseded by the theoretical tum in Beckett stu die s: the various theoretically informed, sophisticated and sometimes brillia nt studies of Be ckett that have been appearing since the late eighties. Mu ch of that criticism has also taken issue with the tradition described by Badio u. Thomas Trezise, for examp le, has called what he refers to as 'the pervasive ass ociation of Beckett's work with the ideology of existential humanism' into question, . . prIncIpally because it ' derives from a phenomenological understa nding of the hum�n subjec t' which Trezise is concerned to interrogate (Trezi se, p. 5). � . . WrItmg III 1 996, RIchard Begam suggests that readings of Beckett as either ' a �i��tic nihilist' or an 'existential humanist' are being fast outstr ipped by a CrItlcIsm that reads Beckett 'through the discourse of po ststructu ralism' and drastically reconstitutes our understanding of his treatment of ' such fundamental issues as the subject-object dialectic, the metaphysics of presence, and the correspondence theory of truth' (Begam, p. 8). Badiou's wr itings on Beckett do not refer to this criticism, and he appears to be unaware of it. What I want to do here, then, 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. This seems all the more appropriate . �n t at BadlOu has taken issue with many of the thinkers who have chiefly IllspIred the tradition in question (Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Lyotard) . He has called, for instance, for a reconfiguratio n of po st-

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war French thought which would place him on one side, perhaps surprisingly, ill the company of Sartre and Lacan (a Sartre and Lacan one must imagine read in Badiou's own distinctive terms), and, on the other side, contemporary I l cideggerians, Bergsonians and those heirs to the linguistic tum that, in his Manif f Philosophy, he calls 'the sophists'. 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. I call these concerns: the logic ofreversal; the general economy; repetition; the instability of the name; the dissolution of the subject. These five themes are by no means clearly and consistently distinct from one another: they play against each other, and sometimes overlap. Nor are they necessarily discoverable in all the positions to which I shall refer: indeed, I will simplify matters by associating each theme with one Beckett critic in particular, scattering references to others here and there. In one form or another, however, the themes recur. I would maintain that, taken together, they represent a kind of disposition within Beckett criticism at the current time, a set of parameters within which it has been operating. By and large - and one would have to except here, for instance, Leslie Hill's emphasis on the ' emotional fervour ' and 'intellectual disarray ' to be found in Beckett's work (Hill, p. x) - 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, 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. There can be no question of systematically opposing Badiou's Beckett at every point to what we might call the postmodern or poststructuralist Beckett. There are clearly occasions on which Badiou and at least some of the new Beckett criticism have a certain ground in common. Towards the end, too, I shall argue that, whilst Badiou's own terms of reference constitute a significant contribution to Beckett studies, they are not themselves immune to question and - more importantly - neither is the overall philosophical structure in which he locates them. To some extent, Badiou's terms may seem to ask for a rather different set of applications or distributions to those proposed by Badiou himself. I shall nonetheless claim that Badiou's work has the power to orient Beckett studies in a different direction: towards understanding Beckett's work, neither as determined by mood nor as engaged in a practice of theoretical diagnosis, but rathcr as a project of thought, one whose implications are ultimately ethical. According to the concept of a logic of reversal, in Beckett's work opposite terms are exchangeable, impl ode, cannot be kept apart . The

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Al ai n Ba d i o u On Beckett r---architecture that once cemented them in place, baldly confronting one another, has come asunder. Its joints have sprung loose. From now on, interminably and indeterminably, there is play within the system. Beckett sees this before others; alternatively, he sees it - and articulates it - with special penetration. Leslie Hill in particular has meticulously traced the logic of reversal through a range ofBeckett's works. Indeed, I have borrowed the term from him. Beckett is committed to defending the autonomy of literary texts, says Hill. His commitment leads him to define fiction ' as an activity of language in which, paradoxically, the foundations of meaning are attacked by the uncontrollable, self-inverting character of meaning itself' (Hill, p. 6). Beckett is concerned with ' what could be called indifference'. that which is in-between positions of meaning, neither positive nor negative, constantly shifting and irreducible to subject or object' . He therefore understands a logic of circularity - the 'purgatorial cycle' (Hill, p. 1 0) - as being what constitutes a modem literary text. There is no dialectical union of opposites in Beckett's work, but rather a movement of constant displacement. Thus at the very heart ofMurphy, for example, there lies paradox, oxymoron and chiasmus, contradictory apposition and rhetorical inversion, an unstoppable play of convergences and divergences. So, too, in Molloy, binaries become 'both crucial and indeterminate, significant yet devoid of meaning' (Hill, p. 62). The significance of that great Beckettian figure, aporia - partiCUlarly in the Trilogy - is that it both describes and challenges the possibility of a 'moment of passage' (Hill, p. 63), at once articulating and suspending a structure of opposition. Theatre allows Beckett to move even further away from dialectics (Hill, p. 1 32). Later prose texts like The Lost Ones fall prey to ' aporetic contradiction' or ' a powerful identificatory ambivalence' (Hill, pp. 1 55 , 1 57). Logically enough, the switchback afflicts the difference-indifference dyad itself. Thus in W Watt's att, quest is for 'the impossible difference' (Hill, p. 29) that will serve as anchor, security, foundation, but instead encounters Knott, a figure of indifference, ' engulfment and indeterminacy, apathy and invisibility' (Hill, p. 27) . At the same time, however, indifference in Watt becomes an uncontrollable proliferation of difference: B eckett 'dramatises the threat of engulfment by indifference by multiplying all manner of differences, contrasts, distinctions in his own text' (Hill, p. 34). In effect, the logic of reversal instigates a hollowing or emptying out of value; except that, for Hill, it is not so much value as 'positions of meaning' that are at issue. This way of putting matters seems to me to be quite characteristic ofrecent Beckett criticism. Here the gap between that criticism,

Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett
and the existentialist and humanist criticism that preceded it, looks narrower than it may initially have appeared to be. Where Beckett's concern was I()rmerly deemed to be an absence of sense ('absurdity'), recent criticism now takes it to be the activity of sense-making, understood as differentiation. I n either instance, the question of an already existent meaning is of cardinal importance. By contrast, 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. If, as we will shortly see, this interest also involves a reduction of experience to a finite set of minimal functions, these are established as beyond interpretation. Not surprisingly, therefore, Badiou does not read Beckett as engaged in a more or less deconstructive kind of work. For he experiences the weight of doxa more oppressively than most current deconstructionists appear to, and understands Beckett as labouring under the same oppression. In Badiou's terms, Beckett 'makes holes' in knowledge. In contradistinction to contemporary Beckettians, Badiou stresses historicity on the one hand and a principle of antagonism on the other. 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' . Badiou's Beckett is not primarily engaged in an activity of constatation, that is, in the registering and diagnosis of a general structure of sense. With a force and decisiveness that, after all, might make him finally seem closer to Sartre than to Derrida, he rather commits his art to opposition, a scrupulous but fiercely corrosive assault on contemporary orthodoxies, particularly as they are couched in language. Of course, one can hardly claim that this assault has gone unnoticed by previous or indeed by contemporary critics. Hill notes, for example, the 'peremptory and polemical' references to 'received opinion' in Beckett's essay 'Dante . . . Bruno. Vico . . . Joyce' and in his monograph on Proust (Hill, p. 2). He asserts quite rightly that Beckett's attitude of 'indifference' is also an 'abdication from the world's commercial round' (Hill, p. 9). Similarly, 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. None the less, the deconstructive bent of recent criticism has made it wary of attributing to Beckett's art a rigorously negative power. Badiou, by contrast, has no such qualms. The key term in the sentence from Tireless Desire that I have just quotcd is subtraction. It is subtraction, in effect, that Badiou counterposes to t l1(; logic of reversal. Badiou asserts that, ' since Plato, philosophy is a brcak with

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opinion. For the philosopher, everything that is consensual is suspect' . In Badiou's philosophy, what he calls truths are not objects of knowledge but holes made in the orders of knowledge and representation and indiscernible to them. They appear as a subtraction from the particularity of what is currently known. With Lacan in mind, Badiou calls this process a reduction of the density of knowledge. Truths do not destroy a previous knowledge. They rather traverse and fracture it. A truth is always distinct from the realm of what Badiou calls opinion, 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. Truths appear as subtractions from opinion. Philosophy formalises truths and places them in relation to one another. 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. But philosophy itself does not produce truths. By the same token, it does not exactly subtract. Truths appear in four domains; in other words, there are four spheres oflife in which subtraction can take place: the political, the romantic, the scientific and the artistic. It is clear that, for Badiou, Beckett's work constitutes a primary instance of art as an activity of subtraction. Beckett is concerned with subtraction as a patient, disciplined, vigilant elimination of doxa. In a fine phrase, Badiou even suggests that Beckett's prose is itselfthe very movement of 'negligence' ofthe mundane. It is seldom, if ever, writes Badiou, that one finds a writer of Beckett's calibre so little exposed to the world and so little compromised by his relations with it. Badiou partly shares the continuing emphasis in recent criticism on Beckett's quarrel with Descartes. He would also partly assent to Trezise's case for an anti-phenomenological Beckett. He sees Beckett as inverting the Husserlian epoche and breaking with 'Cartesian terrorism ' . But the inversion and break are finally less important than a fundamental allegiance, a shared commitment to subtraction. In this respect, for Badiou, 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'). Self-impoverishment would be an austere and necessary clearing of the ground for thought, as distinct from the incorrigible, muddy complicities of daily life (for Badiou insists that we are bound to inhabit the world of opinion, we cannot do otherwise). True, the principle of methodical ascesis to which Badiou is committed has no immediate implication for subj ectivity. But the structures that B eckettian self­ impoverishment itself is concerned so rigorously to undermine are arguably

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those of selfuood than of the delusive cornucopia of extant knowledge. 1 1 1 any case, as we shall shortly see, Badiou's account ofBeckett's development does not precisely correspond to his own very specific conception of slIbjectivation. There is a sense in which, unlike what we might term Badiou's paradigmatic subject - Cantor would perhaps be the most obvious example ­ h i s Beckett never decisively moves beyond 'working with impotence, ignorance ', in Beckett's own famous phrase. In any event, in his suspension o f all that is inessential, for Badiou, Beckett has long been exemplary, perhaps above all others. But if subtraction operates as a kind of clearing of the ground, what is the thought that proceeds from or along with it? Badiou describes it as what, following Mallarme, he calls a mode of 'restricted action' (action restreinte). 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. The shift is evident, above all, in Trezise's book Into the Breach, which is where these terms chiefly figure. For Trezise, the general economy - as opposed in particular to the restricted economy ofphenomenology - 'produces the world . . . and exceeds it' as a ' strangeness constitutive of all familiarity' (Trezise, p. 30). Since phenomenology conceives of subjectivity as a 'separation from exteriority ', the general economy is irreducible to its terms (Trezise, pp. 6, 8). For his part, however, Beckett understands that, however originary it presents itself as being, all separation is itself conditioned. 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, p. 3 1). Beckettian art exposes the ' illusory priority of consciousness' and ' its pre-originary involvement in an economy of signification' that escapes it (Trezise, p. 32). It dramatises the immemorial dispossession of subjectivity as ' an involvement with an outside' that is always 'already within' (Trezise, p. 33). Thus Molloy reverses the reversal by virtue of which closure or separation appears to precede, found and condition ' its own genesis' (Trezise, p. 48); Malone Dies reverses the phenomenological pour-soi into the pour I 'autre of signification; and the 'non-self-coincidental voice' of the Unnamable ' thematizes literature itself as the ex-pression of a rilogy SUbjectivity beyond separation' (Trezise, p. 97). The personages in the T are powerless because they cannot escape an ironical knowledge that, as speaking subjects, they articulate themselves only on the basis of a more fundamental intersubjectivity that they cannot articulate. In this manner,

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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, p. 65). The point is not exactly that Trezise's concept of alterity has no meaning for Badiou, but rather that he sees alterity as banally self-evident, and therefore as without any great importance. 'Infinite alterity,' he writes, in his Ethics, 'is quite simply what there is' . What matters crucially is not alterity or ' the infinite multiplicity of differences', but sameness, understood as a feature not ofwhat exists already but of what 'comes to be' . 1 87 Badiou would certainly have no interest in mounting a defence specifically of phenomenology or phenomenological readings of Beckett. Yet his own account of Beckett takes a very different direction to Trezise's. For Badiou's Beckett is not concerned with a concept of the general, but rather with the 'restricted action' of what Badiou calls ' writing the generic'. Beckett's work is therefore not read as a diagnosis of its own condition. The Beckettian project is rather a question of determination and therefore also a mode of action. It constitutes itself as a form of thought that is self-grounding or self-constituent, establishing its own internal samenesses or consistencies. (We shall note a little later that this emphasis creates certain problems for Badiou). It is worth reflecting here on what Badiou says about the poem � and, above all, the Mallarmean poem � in 'Que pense Ie poeme?': the poem or work cannot be general or refer to any generality. 1 89 In its singularity, it proffers not knowledge but thought. The work has no object or objectivity. In its self-constitution, as its own universe, it aims rather to deny or depose the obj ect. What emerges in this denial of objectivity is pure thought or the Mallarmean 'pure notion' . Nothing confirms the universe - constituted by and as the work - as having a right to exist. In this respect, the work of art is pure affirmation (which is how Badiou can claim that 'in an almost aggressive way, all of Beckett's genius tends towards affirmation' , and yet, in doing so, mean something quite different by affirmation to what the existential humanists meant). This is generic work, in Badiou's understanding of it: Beckett reduces experience to a set of significant minima, 'to certain major functions or axiomatic terms' (Movement, Rest, the Same and the Other, the Logos); to certain questions about these functions (the place of being, the subject, 'what happens' , the existence of the pair); to certain responses to these questions (the grey-black of Being, the solipsistic torture of the subject, the event and its nomination, love). It is thus that he produces what Badiou calls his axiomatics ofhumanity. Like Rimbaud and Mallarme, Beckett decides a universe into existence, and

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proceeds to make it consistent on the basis of that decision. Beckett writes, says Badiou, at the very point at which the decision as to the being of the I hi ng in question is made. He commits himself to a treatment of that which alone constitutes an ' essential determination' (see ' The Writing ofthe Generic' i n this volume). This 'determination' is neither an objective essence nor established in its right to existence. It proceeds axiomatically, on the basis of a soit, mettons, disons, or supposons que. If, as Badiou adamantly maintains, his is a philosophy of sameness rather than alterity, this does not mean that it is a philosophy of inexorable recurrence. Something like the reverse is true: Badiou is intent on sustaining a thought of the radical break - if within a set of rigorous conditions - under the rubric of the event. Here again, his thinking takes a different tack to the new Beckett criticism, particularly with regard to what has tended to be its concern with repetition. Richard Begam, for example, reads Beckett in terms of a Derridean scepticism according to which every attempt to move 'beyond' or 'outside' metaphysics, humanism, anthropologism insistently returns to 'a set of ideas ... which themselves participate in the anthropocentrism they are meant to transcend'. For Begam's Beckett, there is no rupture that is not a repetition. But the most significant and influential study of repetition in Beckett has been Steven Connor's Samuel Beckett: Repetition, Theory and T ext. Connor does not simply assert the power of repetition over that of newness in Beckett's work, but rather suggests that they share a complex and problematic interrelationship. Repetition does not necessarily have a stymying effect on Beckett's world. It is not an index of an essential paralysis. Nor does Connor read it as a centring or unifying force in Beckett's work. Indeed, he suggests that Beckett's practice 'instances the powerful possibilities of reproduction over the sterile compulsions of replication' (Connor, p. 20 1). He argues that repetition brings with it ' a principle of difference' , in Beckett, that it even activates a 'perverse dynamism of difference' (Connor, p. 1 3). This is hardly surprising, since, according to Connor, Beckett tends to dissolve the difference between repetition and difference itself. 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, p . 2). Connor 's concept of a Beckettian ' self-constraint' actually bears a certain resemblance to what Badiou means by 'restricted action ' . But Connor's Beckett can imagine nothing beyond the ' self­ constraining movement' of his art. This means that that art is everywhere intrinsically ambivalent: in Murphy, for example, 'repetition enacts a

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doubleness , asserting both the freedo m of the language from referentia l constraints and its internal emptines s and exhaustion' (Connor, p . 2 3) . 1 11 Krapp s Last Tape, as Krapp listens to hi mself, repetition opens up possibilities, in that he recognises his ' ironic non-c oincidence with himself ', the truth o f self-difference (Connor, p . 1 28 ). On the other hand, it closes p os sibilities down, in that the play also demonstra tes the Derridean principle of the graf t, according to which ' every utterance can be taken up or enveloped by som e other occasion' (Connor, p . 1 30 ). The effects of repetition thus also tend towards inertia, a reminder o f 'the de ath into writing of every living word' (ibid.). As Connor describes it, the ineluctabl e ambivalence of repetition in Beckett thus traps him, again, in the en dlessness of Hill 's 'purgatorial cycle' . There is no exterior to this purgatory. There cannot be, because the power of the relationships between repetition an d difference transcends time and history. For Badiou, however, this is not the case , because there is always the possibility of an event. The event is an 'extra-b eing '. 'Every singular truth ', writes Badiou, 'has its origin in an event. So mething must happen, in order for ther e to be something new. Even in our pers onal lives, there must be an encounter, there must be something which cann ot be calculated, predicted or managed , there must be a break based only on chan ce '. An event is a substanceles s fragment of pure fortuitousness . It is al so ephemeral, and therefore precisely historical. It arrives as a supplement to being, in that it both pertains to a given situation and yet is also outside and detached from the latter 's 'r ul es ' , constraining us to decide on a new w ay of being which conservatism would decree to be impossible. O f course, no newness is absolutely new: the even t must compose with elements o f the si tuation as given. In this respect, 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. Nonetheless, wha t ist nguishes Badiou's account ofthe 'p urgatorial cycl e' - which he interprets , III h IS own way, as a seem ingly interminable oscillation betwee n the dim or grey-black ofbeing and the solipsistic torture of the cogito - is that it ultimately presents Beckett with an impasse from which he gradually recognises that he must work his way free. Thus, from T ts f Nothing onwards, Beckett's ex or work begins to open itself up to the event: to chance, the incident, ' sudden modifications of the give n ', even to the p ossibility of happiness and lov e. Beck�tt effects this, not least, to return to an earlier point, by abandoning the questIon of meaning. This is evident in later work from The Lost Ones to Enough to III Seen III Said. W stwar or d Ho even presents us with a kind of

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';l I l 1 l1nary of Beckett's trajectory, in this respect, tracing the course of a long lahour that ends in an impasse. This impasse, however, is decisively broken prccisely by an event. If the event is not to sink back unnoticed into the grey-black of being, Ii( )wever - if it is to inaugurate what Badiou calls a truth procedure - it must hc held, stabilised in a trace. This means that it must be named. For Badiou, ill Beckett's later work, the activity of naming becomes very important. Here, again, Badiou seems at odds with recent critics, who have repeatedly in�isted on the instability of the name or what Carla Locatelli calls 'the realIty of semantic instability' (Locatelli, p. 229), with Watt's deliberations on the word ' pot' as a kind of locus classicus or textual crux. For Locatelli, ' the rundamental dichotomy between words and things' is what powers the theoretical interrogation sustained by Beckett's art (Locatelli, p. 5 1 ). She pits Beckett unstintingly against naIve referential fallacies and logocentric closure. In Locatelli's account, Beckett moves steadily towards a 'literature of the unword' by means of a process of ' active and lucid "unwording'" (Locatelli, p. ix). His art does not exactly repudiate the practice of naming, however. Instead, he institutes a ' suspension of designation' (Locatelli, p. 6) which, by means of paradox, contradiction, lacunae, 'pseudo-referents' (Locatelli, p. 58), 'comic slippage' , ' irresolution' (Locatelli, pp. 1 00- 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, p. 228). In fact, LocatellI also describes 'designative suspension' as a process of ' subtraction' . 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, as in other recent studies of Beckett, the 'logocentric orientation that characterises Western thought' (pp. 225- 26). Badiou puts this familiar emphasis into reverse. For Badiou - and this makes him quite remarkably distinct from many of his philosophical and theoretical contemporaries - there is at least one domain in which language must be deemed to 'come after', to have a secondary or subordinate function. 'There exists a realm of the thinkable', he asserts, 'that is inaccessible to the so-called total jurisdiction oflanguage'. As Badiou affirms the sheer radicality of the event in its rarity, so too he also affirms its radically heterogeneous relation to the orders of language. The event is hors loi (outside the law) and a supplement to the situation at hand. As such, it is irreducible to the terms of that situation, and is thus subtracted from any and every regime of sense. It must therefore be named; in effect, it calls for a name, and this namc serves

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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', one s desire, my desire

This way ofthinking Beckett in relation to subjectivity is quite foreign to Badiou. For one thing, it takes Beckett's ' characters' to be representative of the generalised conditions of subjectivity. But, as I observed earlier, for Badiou, like Mallann6's poems, Beckett's art cannot be general or refer to any generality. Beckett decides a world into existence, in all its singularity. The question of subjectivation needs to be approached quite differently, principally in relation to Beckett himself. Badiou's conception of the subject is very different from the one on which Katz depends. There is no universal or general subject whose deconstruction would now be imperative. Subjects are subjects of events, and specific to them. A truth - in what we saw earlier is Badiou's sense of the term - is the consequence of an event. Truths persist because of the allegiance of their subjects, who commit themselves to truths and insist upon them. 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; or, better still, it even ' induces' a subject. Ordinarily, the human animal comports itself in terms of Spinoza's 'perseverance in being', the pursuit of interests, self-preservation. Individual consciousness is indeed always already ' deconstructed' ; it is an indeterminate and heterogeneous flux. Identity is no more than a given state of this flux, a representation expressing a more or less habitual preference for certain features ofthe flux at the expense of others. The representation in question is what one customarily takes for the stable structure of a self. But this perseverance is the law of one's being only insofar as one knows oneself. The experience of the event and the 'process' of a truth do not fall under this law. Routine perseverance in being can be broken by an event, 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. It is thus that subjectivation begins. A concept of fidelity is therefore crucial to Badiou's thought. The subjects of a truth remain faithful to the event that inaugurated the truth in rom the question. Fidelity is the 'process' of continuing within a situationf f point o view o the event that has come to supplement it. It is the determination f to think a world according to the principle of what has come to change it, to make it new. SUbjectivation is fidelity to the interruption constituted by the event and therefore a continuing resistance to the law. Subj ectivity is perseverance in what has broken one's perseverance in being. In a phrase of Lacan's that Badiou returns to repeatedly, the imperative undergone in subjectivation is 'nepas ceder sur son desir' ('not to give up on one's desire'). The question is: how am I to continue to exceed my own being, to remain

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as what I do not know about myself? How do I continue to will something that I could not have willed to start with, that could only have come to me through an encounter? In Badiou's account of him, Beckett possesses two qualities that might seem to indicate fidelity, in Badiou's sense of the term : ascesis and vigilance. The first is intrinsic to Beckett's practices of subtraction and 'restricted action' . Beckett engages in them with what is, for Badiou, a kind of principled intransigence. In other words, he refuses to give up on a desire that has overtaken him. His is a ' constant and delicate labour' undertaken without promises or guarantees, and with no certain knowledge of where it is tending. Indeed, it led Beckett precisely into crisis and impass e. But it is also at the very heart of the Beckettian lesson, which is a lesson in measure, exactitude and courage. As regards vigilance: attentiveness - attentiveness, that is, to the possibility of the most radical difference that is the event - is or becomes Beckett's very principle. Badiou finally contrasts a vigilant Beckett with Mallarme , the Irish insomniac with the French faun. For Mallarme, says Badiou, it is always possible to break from the poetic endeavour, to relinquish the effort, to suspend activities, to cease to pose the poet's question. Mallarme can always return to the indeterminacy from which the poetic endeavour springs and will spring again. There is no possibility of any relaxation in Beckett. His work has no place for a suspension of operations. Here, again, he is intrans igent, not only in his asc etic ism , but in his injunction to watchfulnes s. But there is an oddity, here. As I suggested earlier, Badiou's account of Beckettian fidelity does not exactly correspond to his larger account of the structure of subjectivation itself. Subjectivation begins with an event, to which the subject then declares his or her fidelity. But Beckett is not the subject of an event, for Badiou; at least, he has given no indication that he sees Beckett in this way. Rather, Beckett is faithful to an exteriority, to what lies outside the particularity ofwhat is currently known. Initially, this commitment appears only in negative form, in the austere operations of subtraction and the singularity of 'restricted action' . After T f Nothing, however, it becomes exts or a commitment to the possibility of the event. But neither commitment is precisely an instance of fidelity, since there is a sense in which Beckett has nothing to which to be faithful. Indeed, Badiou has preferred to speak of Beckett's courage, rather than his fidelity. One might propose of course that

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

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and by a variety of different means, Beckett edges towards a faith in possibility. This is also a faith in transformation whose token is the transformation of language itself. To return to the Sartre with whose project Badiou partly identifies his own, one might think of Badiou's Beckett as granting at least a kind of minimal credibility to the assertion, in the Critique of Dialectical Reason, that 'man exists only in flashes' . Such a project - a project whose ultimate bearing is surely on the legacy of a century of disaster, one of what Beckett calls 'the times of the great massacres' - could only be undertaken with the extraordinary and selfless courage that has long been attributed to Beckett. As Badiou's writings help us see, this project is, in the highest degree, an ethical one.

B i b l i o g ra p h y
BEGAM, Richard, Samuel Beckett and the End ofModernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1 996) CONNOR, Steven, Samuel Beckett: Repetition, Theory and T (Oxford: ext Blackwell, 1 988) erent W ords (Cambridge: Cambridge HILL, Leslie, Beckett 's Fiction: In Diff University Press, 1 990) KATZ, Daniel, Saying 'J' No More: Sub jectivity and Consciousness in the f Prose o Samuel Beckett (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1 999) LOCATELLI, Carla, Unwording the W orld: Samuel Beckett 's Prose W orks After the Noble Prize (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1 990) TREZISE, Thomas, Into the Breach: Samuel Beckett and the Ends of Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1 990)

N otes

1 ['L'ecriture du generique: Samuel Beckett', in Conditions (Paris, Editions du Seuil: 1 992), pp. 329-366. This text was read out in 1 989, in the context of the Conferences du Perroquet (a series of lectures set up by I 'Or ganisation politique in Paris). It was published as a conference pamphlet and has long been out of print. It will be noted that, since this lecture was given, Samuel Beckett has died. And that W orstward Ho has been admirably translated into French by Edith Fournier, under the title Cap au pire (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1 991).] 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, which Beckett himself described as 'gloomy French doggerel' (quoted in James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Lif o e /Samuel
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scxuation, see Jacques Lacan, Seminar XX: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits ofLove and Knowledge, 1972-1973, ed. by Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. by Bruce Fink ( London: w.w. Norton, 1 998).] 3 1 [By adding in the French '(Monsieur Noeud, Monsieur Noue) ' - literally Mister Knot, Mister Knotted - Badiou is alluding to the link between the concept of structure and the theory of knots in late Lacan.] 32 [ . . . ] a la maison de Monsieur Knott rien ne pouvait etre a joute, rien soustrait, mais que telle elle etait alors, telle elle avait ete au commencement, et telle elle resterait jusqu 'a la fin, sous tous les rapports essentiels, et cela parce qu 'ici a chaque instant toute presence significative, et iei tout presence etait significative, meme si l 'on ne pouvait dire de quoi, impliquait cette meme presence a tout instant [ .. ] (pp. 135136).
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1 9 [We are here following Beckett's usage for the translations of (monce and enoneiation, following a suggestion by Anne Banfield. 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] . See The Archaeology o Knowledge (London: Routledge, 1989) p. l 07.] f 20 [ . . .]je croyaispar moments que ce serait la ma recompense d 'avoir si vaillamment parte, entrer encore vivant dans Ie silence [ . . . ] (p. 1 83). 2 1 Ma pensee s 'estpensee et [ .. . ]je suis par aitement mort [letter to Cazalis, May 14, f 1 867].
ff pier qu 'on 22 Moije ne pense, si c 'est la cet a olement vertigineux comme d 'un gue en ume, que depasse un certain degre de terreur (p. 1 06). f

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23 [ . . . ] ilf continuer, je ne peux pas continuer, je vais continuer (p. 2 1 3). aut 24 [ . . . ] un qui parle en disant, tout en parlant, Quiparle, et de quoi, et un qui entend, muet, sans comprendre, loin de tous [ . . . ] . Et cet autre [ . . . ] qui divague ainsi, a coups de moi a pourvoir et de lui depourvus [ . . . ] . V oila unjoU trio, et dire que tout 9a nef ait qu 'un, et que cet un nef que rien, et quel rien, il ne vaut rien (p. 199). ait 25 Fut-il jamais un temps ou plus question de questions? Mort-nees jusqu 'a la derniere. Avant. Sitot con9ues. Avant. OU plus question de repondre. De ne Ie pouvoir. De ne pouvoir ne pas vouloir savoir. De ne Ie pouvoir. Non. Jamais. Un reve. V oila la reponse (p. 46). 26 [For a meta-ontological presentation ofBadiou's theory of orientations in thought, see Meditation 27 ofL 'etre et l 'evenement (Paris : Seuil, 1 988), pp. 3 1 1-3 1 5.] 27 [On the relationship between the concepts ofgeneric and indiscernible, a crucial esto f Philosophy, ' Conference sur la or feature of Badiou's philosophy, see Manif soustraction' in Conditions, and L 'etre et l 'evenement, Meditations 33 and 34.] 28 [ . . . ] on est ce qu 'on est, en partie tout au moins (p. 8 1). 29 T erre ingrate mais pas totalement (p. 35). [This can be translated literally as 'Ungrateful earth but not entirely.'] 30 [For Lacan's concept of the 'Not-All ' , originating in his mathemes of (feminine)

33 [ . . . ] brillants de clartef ormelle et au contenu impenetrable (p. 75). 34 [ . . . ] la signification attribuee a cet ordre d 'incidents par W dans ses relations, att, etait tantot la signification originaleperdue etpuis recouvree, et tantot une signification tout autre que la signification originale, et tantot une signification degagee, dans un delai plus ou moins long, et avec plus ou moins de mal, de l 'originale absence de signification (p. 80). 35 Hamm: Qu 'est-ce qui se passe? / Clov: Quelque chose suit son cours. /Un temps. / Hamm: Clov! / Clov (agace): Qu 'est-ce que c 'est? / Hamm: On n 'est pas en train de . . . de . . . signifier quelque chose? / Clov: Signifier? Nous, signifier! (Rire brei) Ah elle est bonne! (p. 49) 36 Pendant l 'inspection soudain un bruit. Faisant sans que celle-la s 'interrompe que I 'esprit se reveille. Comme l 'expliquer? Et sans allerjusque-la comment Ie dire? Loin en arrit'!re de I '(Ril la quete s 'engage. Pendant que I 'evenement palit. Quel qu 'il f Mais voila qu 'a la rescousse soudain il se renouvelle. Du coup Ie nom commun ut. f ffaibli par I 'inusuel languide. peu commun de croulement. Ren orcepeu apres sinon a jours une lueur Un croulement languide. Deux. Loin de l 'oeil tout a sa torture tou d'espoir. Par la grace de ces modestes debuts (p . 70). 37 [The 'out-of-place' [horlieu], together with the 'space of placements' [esplace], 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, 1982).]

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barque s 'est coincee. Comme its se pliaient, avec un soupir, devant la proue! Je me suis coule sur elle, mon visage dans ses seins et ma main sur elle. Nous restions lii, couches, sans remuer. Mais, sous nous, tout remuait, et nous remuait, doucement, de haut en bas, et d 'un cote a l 'autre. / Passe minuit. Jamais entendu - (pp. 24-26) 49 II causait rarement geodesie. Mais nous avons du parcourir plusieurs f ois l 'equivalent de l 'equateur terrestre. A raison d 'environ cinq kilometres par jour et nuit en moyenne. Nous nous re ugiions dans I 'arithmetique. Que de calculs mentaux f e ectues de concert plies en deux! Nous elevions ainsi a la troisieme puissance des fJ nombres ternaires entiers. Par ois sous une pluie dituvienne. T f ant bien que mal se gravant au f et a mesure dans sa memoire les cubes s 'accumulaient. En vue de ur I 'operation inverse a un stade ulterieur. Quand Ie temps auraitf son oeuvre (pp. ait 38-39).

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

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Ala i n Bad i o u On Beckett r-----ecoutez les f euilles. Dans leur ombre tremblante (p. 65-66).
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79 Penombre obscure sourcepas suo Savoir Ie minimum. Ne rien savoir non. Serait trop beau. T au plus Ie minime minimum (p. 1 0). out
f parition de la penombre. Alors disparition 80 Disparition du vide ne se peut. Sau dis de tout (p. 22).
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69 De sa couche elle voit se lever Venus. Encore. De sa couche par temps clair elle voit se lever Venus suivie du solei!. Elle en veut alors au principe de toute vie. Encore. enetre. Le soir par temps clair elle jouit de sa revanche. A Venus. Devant I 'autre f Assise raide sur sa vieille chaise elle guette la radieuse (p. 7).
ff 70 Je m 'en vais maintenant tout e acer sau les fleurs. Plus de pluies. Plus de f mamelons. Rien que nous deux nous trafnant dans les fleurs. Assez mes vieux seins sentent sa vieille main (p. 47). amille, troisieme patrie, histoires de f 7 1 Travail, f esses, finances, art et nature, f or interieur, sante, logement, Dieu et les hommes, autant de desastres (Fragment de thM.tre II, in Pas, p. 39).

8 1 Je Ie crois, oui, je crois que tout ce qui estf aux se laisse davantage reduire, en notions claires et distinctes, distinctes de toutes les autres notions (p. 1 1 0). 82 [ . . . ] c 'est un reve, c 'est peut-etre un reve, c;a m 'etonnerait, je vais me reveiller, dans Ie silence, neplus m 'endormir, ce sera moi, ou rever encore, rever un silence, un silence de reve [ . . . ] (p. 2 1 2).
ff 83 Moije ne pense, si c 'est la cet a olement vertigineux comme d 'un guepier qu 'on enf ume, que de passe un certain degre de terreur (p. 1 06).

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. 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;a puis ne cede plusje nef pasje m 'exile (p. 60)

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84 [ . . . ] un quiparle en disant, tout en parlant, Quiparle, et de quoi, et un qui entend, muet, sans comprendre, loin de tous [ . . . ]. Et cet autre [ . . . ] qui divague ainsi, a coups de moi a pourvoir et de lui depourvus [ . . . ]. V oila unjoti trio, et dire que tout c;a nef ait ait qu 'un, et que cet un nef que rien, et quel rien, il ne vaut rien (p. 1 99). 85 [Badiou's theory of the count-as-one [compte-pour-un] constitutes one of the foundational moments in his ontology, as can be seen in Meditation 1 ofL 'etre et I 'evenement.] 86 [ . . ] ilf continuer, je ne peux pas continuer, je vais continuer (p. 2 1 3). aut
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74 [See notes 2 and 3.] 75 Endroit clos. T ce qu 'ilf savoirpour dire est su (Pourfinir encore et autres ' aut out f Oirades, p. 57)[See note 8 on the title of this text]. 76 Ciel gris sans nuage pas un bruit rien qui bouge terre sable gris cendre. Petit cor meme gris que la terre Ie ciel les ruines seul debout. Oris cendre a la ronde ps terre ciel con ondus lointains sans fin (p. 70). f 77 [It is far easier to identify this 'conceptual ' consistency in Beckett's French work, where the name of the place of being is quite consistentlypenombre. As many of the quotations presented here demonstrate, in the English works there is some variation in Beckett's designation of this 'place' . See the translators' introduction for further discussion of the concept of place in light of Badiou's recent theory of appearance.] 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. 32).

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87 [ . . . ] a la maison de Monsieur Knott rien ne pouvait etre a joute, rien soustrait, mais que telle elle etait alors, telle elle avait ete au commencement, et telle elle resterait jusqu 'a lafin, sous tous les rapports essentiels [ . ] (pp. 135- 1 36).
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88 [ . . . ] brillants de clartef ormelle et au contenu impenetrable (p. 75).
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att, 89 [ . . . ] la signification attribuee a cet ordre d 'incidents par W dans ses relations, etait tant6t la signification originaleperdue etpuis recouvree, et tant6t une signification tout autre que la signification originale, et tant6t une signification degagee, dans un delai plus ou moins long, et avec plus ou moins de mal, de l 'originale absence de signification (p. 80).

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plus et dans dre Ie peu possible la ou it n 'estpas n 'est seulement 99 [ . . . ] dans Ie cyfin rien tout entier si cette notion est maintenue (p. 28 ). Ie moindre moins Ie contraire (p. s on est dans lajusticeje n 'aijamais entendu dire Ie 1 00 [ . . . ] en tout ca

90 Quelque chose suit son cours (p. 49). 9 1 Signifier? Nous, signifier? Ah elle est bonne! (p. 49). 92 [Badiou fonnulates the distinction between presentation and representation in L 'etre et [ 'evenement, see especially Meditations 1 , 8 and 9.] 93 Pendant [ 'inspection soudain un bruit. Faisant sans que celle-fa s 'interrompe que I 'esprit se reveille. Comment l 'ex pliquer? Et sans aUer jusque-Ia comment Ie dire? Loin en arriere de I 'adl la quete s 'engage. Pendant que I 'evenementpalit. Quel qu 'ilfot. Mais voila qu 'a la rescousse soudain il se renouvelle. Du coup Ie nom commun peu commun de croulement. Ren orce peu apres sinon a aiblipar I 'inusuel languide. f ff jours une lueur Un croulement languide. Deux. Loin de I 'ceil tout a sa torture tou d 'espoir. Par la grace de ces modestes debuts (p. 70). 94 Nous nous re ugiions dans l 'arithmetique. Que de calculs mentaux e ectues de f ff concert plies en deux! (p. 38) 95 [ . . . ] de marivaudages, def rayeurs et def arouches attouchements, dont if importe seulement de retenir ceci, qu 'ils firent entrevoir a Macmann ce que signifiait l 'expression etre deux (p. 144). 96 [In this respect, it is interesting to note the 'philological' debate over the exact dimensions of the cylinder, discussed in the 'Notes on the Texts' of the Grove Press edition of the Complete Short Prose, edited by S.E. Gontarski (p. 282). The original French text mistakenly gives the dimensions as 80,000 square centimeters, whilst the correct figure (given a height of 1 6 meters and a circumference of 50) should be of approximately 12,000,000 square centimeters. 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, you can't play fast and loose withpi. ]
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ce que peut Ie ntrer comme moi je I 'entends, ' cela depasse tout 1 0 1 [ . . ] se renco soit la science ant soit-il, et tout ce que sait Ie corps, queUe qu 'en sentiment, si puiss (p. 1 59).
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1 02 [ . . . ] Ie temps beni du bleu [ . . . ] (Sans, p. 70). 1 03 Nous nous etions scindes si c 'est cela qu 'it desirait (p. 38). 104 [Le dur desir de durer is the title ofa collection ofpoetry by Paul Eluard, published in 1 946.] 1 05 Pourpouvoir de temps a autrejouir du ciel if se servait d 'unepetite glace ronde. L 'ayant voilee de son sou jJle et ensuite f rottee contre son mollet iI y cherchait les constellations. Je I 'ail s 'ecriait-il en parlant de la Lyre ou du C ygne. Et souvent if a joutait que Ie ciel n 'avait rien (p. 42). 1 06 [See note 50]

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1 07 voix f orte, un peu solennelle, manif estement celle de Krapp a une epoque tres anterieure (p. l3). 108 indestructible association jusqu 'au dernier soupir de la tempete et de la nuit avec la lumiere de l 'entendement et lef - (p. 23). eu
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97 Se jour ou des cor vont cherchant chacun son depeupleur (p. 7). ps 98 Vus sous un certain angle ces cor sont de quatre sortes. Premierement ceux qui ps circulent sans arret. Deuxiemement ceux qui s 'arretent quelque ois, 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. [ . . ] Quatriemement ceux qui ne cherchent pas ou non-chercheurs assis pour la plupart contre Ie mur [ . . . ] (pp. 12-13).
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1 09 Krapp debranche impatiemment I 'appareil [ . . . ] (p. 23). 1 1 0 - Ie haut du lac, avec la barque, nage pres de la rive, puis pousse la barque au large et laisse aller a la derive. Elle etait couchee sur les planches duf ond, les mains sous la tete et les yeux f ermes. Solei! flamboyant, un brin de brise, I 'eau un peu clapoteuse comme je l 'aime. J'ai remarque une egratignure sur sa cuisse et lui ai demande comment elle se I 'etailf aite, En cueillant des groseilles a maquereau, m 'a t­ elle repondu. J'ai dit encore que 9a me semblait sans espoir etpas la peine de continuer et elle a f oui sans ouvrir les yeux. Je lui ai demande de me regarder et a ait pres quelques instants ... apres quelques instants elle l 'a f ail, mais les yeux comme des

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Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett r-------'f entes a cause du solei!. Je me suis penche sur elle pour qu 'ils soient dans I 'ombre et ils se sont ouverts. M'ont laisse entrer. Nous derivions parmi les roseaux et la barque s 'est coincee. Comme ils sepliaient, avec un soupir, devant la proue! Je me suis coule sur elle, mon visage dans ses seins et ma main sur elle. Nous restons la, couches, sans remuer. Mais, sous nous, tout remuait, et nous remuait, doucement, de haut en bas, et d'un cote a I 'autre (pp. 24-26). 1 1 1 Viens d 'ecouter ce pauvre petit cretin pour qui je me prenais il y a trente ans, dijJicile de croire quej 'aiejamais be con a ce point lao 9a au moins c 'estjini, Dieu merci (p. 27). 1 12 Krapp demeure immobile, regardant dans Ie vide devant lui. La bande continue a se derouler en silence (p. 33). 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. 1 13-1 14)
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Alai n Bad i o u On Beckett
disparaisse a ta vue. Nuit sans lune ni boiles. Si tes yeux venaient a s 'ouvrir Ie noir s 'eclaircirait (pp. 74-75). 1 1 9 Bleme, quoique nullement invisible, sous un certain eclairage. Donne Ie bon eclairage. Gris plutot que blanc, gris blanc (p. 14). 120 Les mots vous ldchent, il est des moments ou meme eux vous ldchent. Pas vrai, Willie? Pas vrai, Willie, que meme les mots vous ldchent, par moments? Qu 'est-ce aire alors, jusqu 'a ce qu 'ils reviennent? (p. 30) qu 'on peut bienf 1 2 1 Pense, pore! (p. 55) 122 [ . . . 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. 5758)
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1 14 c 'bait de bons moments bons pour moi on parle de moi pour lui aussi on parle de lui aussi heureux [ . . . J (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. 1 1 3 )
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'I · ous n 'avezpasjini de m 'empoissoner avec vos histoires de temps.? C 'est msense. 123 V ffit Quand! Quand! Un jour, c;a ne vous su pas, un jour pareil aux autres it est devenu muet, un jourje suis devenu aveugle, un jour nous deviendrons sourds, un jour nous sommes nes, un jour nous mourrons, Ie meme jour, Ie meme instant, c;a ne vous suffit pas? Elles accouchent a cheval sur une tombe, Iejour brille un instant, puis c 'est la

nuit a nouveau (pp. 1 1 6- 1 1 7).

1 1 6 Une voix parvient a quelqu 'un dans Ie noir (p. 7). us 1 1 7 Tu vis Iejour dans la chambre ou vraisemblablement tu f conc;u (p. 1 5).

aisons-nous ici, voila ce qu 'ilf se demander. Nous avons la chance de Ie aut 124 Quef savoir. Oui, dans cette immense con usion, une seule chose est claire: nous attendons f que Godot vienne. [ . . . J Ou que la nuit tombe. Nous sommes au rendez-vous, un point c 'est tout. Nous ne sommes pas de saints, mais nous sommes au rendez-vous. Combien de gens peuvent en dire autant? (pp. 1 03-104) 125 [ . . . J a nouveau seuls, au milieu des solitudes (p. 1 05).

1 1 8 Une greve. Le soir. La lumiere meurt. Nulle bientot elle ne mourra plus. Non. Rien de tel alors que nulle lumiere. Elle allait mourantjusqu 'a l 'aube et ne mourait jamais. Tu es debout Ie dos a la mer. Seul bruit Ie sien. Tou jours plusf aible a mesure que tout doucement elle s 'etoigne. Jusqu 'au moment OU tout doucement elle revient. Tu t 'appuies sur un long baton. Tes mains reposent sur Ie pommeau et sur elles ta tete. 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. f Ensuite et elle seule Ie temps qu 'elle disparaisse I 'ombre du baton sur la sable. Qu 'elle

1 26 H. Elle nef pas convaincue. J'aurais pu m 'en douter. Elle t 'a empeste, disait­ ut elle tou jours, tu pues la pute. Pas moyen de re pondre a c;a. Je la pris done dans mes bras et luijurai queje nepourrais vivre sans elle. Je Iepensais du reste. Oui,j 'en suis persuade. Elle ne me repoussa pas. / F1. Juges done de mon e arement lorsqu 'un fJ beau matin, m 'bant enf ermee avec mon chagrin dans mes appartements, je Ie vois arriver, I 'oreille basse, tomber a genoux devant moi, enf ouir son visage dans mon giron et ...passer aux aveux (pp. 13-14).

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1 27 Puis parler, vite, des mots, comme I 'enf solitaire qui se met en plusieurs, ant deux, trois, pour etre ensemble, et parler ensemble, dans fa nuit (pp. 92-93). 1 28 Ce n 'estpas tous lesjours qu 'on a besoin de nous. Non pas a vrai dire qu 'on ait ff pYlkisement besoin de nous. D 'autresf eraient aussi bien I 'a aire, sinon mieux. L 'appef que nous venons d 'entendre, c 'est plutot a l 'humanite tout entit�re qu 'il s 'adresse. Mais a cet endroit, en ce moment, I 'humanite c 'est nous, que c;a nous plaise ou non (p. 1 03). 129 Nous sommes des hommes (p. 1 07). 130 Les yeux uses d 'o enses s 'attardent vils sur tout ce qu 'ils ont si longuement ff prie, dans la derniere, la vraie priere enfin, celle qui ne sollicite rien. Et c 'est alors qu 'un petit air d'exaucement ranime les VIEUX morts et qu 'un murmure nait dans l 'univers muet, vous reprochant a ectueusement de vous etre desespere trop tard(p. ff 1 72). 1 3 1 Ie bleu qu 'on voyait dans la poussiere blanche [ . . . ] (p. 1 1 0). 132 [ . . . ] 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, 'men homes (p. 1 99) [In Badiou's quotation the sentence reads inf infernal' - however, it seems that Beckett has here, rather enigmatically, left the English 'homes' in the French text, which Badiou has in turn read as an erratum.] 1 3 3 Assez. Soudain assez. Soudain tout loin. Nul mouvement et soudain tout loin. Tout moindre. Trois epingles. Un trou d 'epingle. Dans l 'obscurissime penombre. A des vastitudes de distance. Aux limites du vide illimite (p. 62). 134 [ . . . ] considere comme une sorte d'agglutinant mortel [ . . . ] (p. 148). 1 3 5 C 'hait seulement en Ie deplac;ant dans cette atmosphere, comment dire, definalite sans fin, pourquoi pas, quej 'osais considerer Ie travail a executer (p. 1 72). 136 [Originally published as 'Etre, existence, pensee: prose et concept', inPetit manuel d 'inesthhique (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1 998), pp. 137-187. Unless otherwise noted all references in this essay are to W orstward Ho. In the body ofthe text, the first page number refers to the Calder edition, the second to the Grove edition.]
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1 37 [Molloy was in part translated in collaboration with Patrick Bowles, 'The Expelled' and 'The End' were translated in collaboration with Richard Seaver, and the two brief texts 'The Image' and 'The Cliff' were translated by Edith Fournier.] 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, often forcing us to test the resources of the English language in order to maintain the closeness of Badiou's reading, as well as the way in which Beckett's own terminology is progressively appropriated into Badiou's prose. We shall try to deal with specific issues as they appear, in the notes. Hopefully, 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.]
ant 1 39 Encore. Dire encore. Soit dit encore. T mal que pis encore (p. 7).

1 40 Soit dit plus meche encore (p. 62).
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141 Disparition du vide ne sepeut. Sau disparition de lapenombre. Alors disparition f de tout (p. 22). 142 Rien qui prouve que celui d 'unef emme et pourtant d 'unef emme (p. 45).

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1 43 Ont suinte de la substance molle qui s 'ammolit les mots d'unef emme (p. 45). 144 Desormais unpour I 'agenouille. Comme desormais deuxpour lapaire. Lapaire comme un seul s 'en allant tant mal que mal. Comme desormais trois pour la tete (p. 24). 1 45 Ce que c 'est que les mots qu 'il secrete disent. Quoi l 'ainsi dit vide. L 'ainsi dite penombre. Les ainsi dites ombres. L 'ainsi dit siege et germe de tout (p. 38). 146 [Badiou is currently developing a systematic approach to the relation between being and appearance, to be presented in his forthcomingLogiques des Mondes (Paris: Seuil, 2004). Many of the themes anticipated in these writings on Beckett find their logical and mathematical formalisation in this work, sections of which will appear in English in Alain Badiou, Theoretical Writings, edited and translated by Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum, 2003).]

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154 Les mots aussi de qui qu 'ils soient. 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. Ou mieuxplus mal dire une nuit veille encore helas a venir. Un reste de derniere veille a venir. Et prendre courage (pp. 25-26). 1 5 5 Quels motspour quai alors? Comme as presque sonnent encore. T andis que tant mal que pis hors de quelque substance moUe de I 'esprit as suintent. Hors c;:a en c;:a suintent. Comme c 'est peu s 'en f aut non inepte. Jusqu 'au dernier imminimisable moindre comme on rechigne a reduire. Car alors dans I 'ultime penombre finir par de-pro erer Ie moindrissime tout (p. 43). f 1 56 Ainsi cap au moindre encore. T que la penombre perdure encore. Penombre ant inobscurcie. Ou obscurcie a plus obscur encore. A I 'obscurcissime penombre. Le moindrissime dans l 'obscurissime penombre. L 'ultime penombre. Le moindrissime dans I 'ultime penombre. Pire inempirable (pp. 42-43). 1 57 Le vide. Comment essayer dire? Comment essayer rater? Nul essai rien de rate.
Dire seulement- (p. 20)
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1 47 Dire pour soit dit. Mal dit. Dire desormais pour soit mal dit(p. 7). 148 Essayer encore. Rater encore. Rater mieux encore. Ou mieux plus mal. Rater omir plus mal encore. Encore plus mal encore. Jusqu 'a etre degoute pour de bon. V ois pour de bon. Partirpour de bon. La au ni I 'un ni I 'autre pour de bon. Une bonnef pour toutes pour de bon (p. 8). 1 49 Retour dedire mieuxplus malpluspas concevable. Siplus obscur mains lumineux alors mieux plus mal plus obscur. Dedit done mieux plus mal plus pas concevable. Pas mains que moins mieuxplus malpeut etre plus. Mieuxplus mal quai? Le dire? Le aut dit? Meme chose. Meme rien. Meme peu s 'en f rien (p. 49). 150 Pire moindre. Plus pas concevable. Pire a de aut d 'un meilleur moindre. Le f meilleur moindre. Non. Neant Ie meilleur. Le meilleurpire. Non. Pas Ie meilleurpire. Neant pas Ie meilleur pire. Mains meilleur pire. Non. Le mains. Le mains meilleur pire. Le moindre jamais ne peut etre neant. Jamais au neant ne peut etre ramene. Jamais par Ie neant annule. Inannulable moindre. Dire ce meilleur pire. Avec des f mots qui reduisent dire Ie moindre meilleur pire. A de aut du bien pis que pire. L 'imminimisable moindre meilleur pire (p. 4 1 ). 1 5 1 D 'abord un. D 'abord essayer de mieux rater un. Quelque chose la qui ne cloche pas assez mal. Non pas que tel quel ce ne soit pas rate. Rate nul visage. Ratees les nulles mains. Le nul -. Assez. Peste soit du rate. Minimement rate. Place au plus mal. En attendant pis encore. D 'abord plus mal. Minimement plus mal. En attendant pis encore. Ajouter un -. Ajouter? Jamais. Le courber plus bas. Qu 'a soit courbe plus bas. Au plus bas. Tete chapeautee disparue. Longpardessus coupe plus haut. Rien du bassin jusqu 'en bas. Rien que les dos courbe. Trone vu de dos sans haut sans base. Nair obscur. Sur genoux invisibles. Dans la penombre vide. Mieuxplus mal ainsi. En attendant pis encore (pp. 26-27). 1 52 Puis deux. De rate a empirer. Essayer d'empirer. A partir du minimement rate. alons nus. Ajouter -. Ajouter? Jamais. Les bottines. Mieux plus mal sans bottines. T ant6t les deux gauches. Gauche droite gauche droite encore. T ant6t les deux droits. T Pieds nus s 'en vont etjamais ne s 'en eloignent. Mieux plus mal ainsi. Un petit peu mieux plus mal que rien ainsi (pp. 28-29) . 1 53 Les yeux. T emps d 'essayer d'empirer. T mal que pis essayer d 'empirer. Plus ant out out clos. Dire ecarquilles ouverts. T blanc etpupille. Blanc obscur. Blanc? Non. T rous nair obscur. Beance qui ne vacille. Soient ainsi dUs. Avec les mots qui pupille. T empirent. Desormais ainsi. Mieux que rien a ce point ameliores au pire (pp. 34-35).

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1 5 8 T sau out fle vide. Non. Le vide aussi. Inempirable vide. Jamais moindre. Jamais augmente. 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. Dire I 'en ant disparu (pp. 55-56). f
ant 1 5 9 Dire I 'enf disparu. Tout comme. Hors vide. Hors ecarquilles. Le vide alors emme n 'en est-il pas d'autant plus grand? Dire Ie vieil homme disparu. La vieille f out disparue. T comme. Le vide n 'en est-if pas d'autant plus grand encore ? Non. Vide outes ombres au maximum lorsquepresque. Aupire lorsquepresque. Moindre alors? T tout comme disparues. Si donepas tellementplus que c;:a tellement mains alors? Mains pire alors ? Assez. Peste soil du vide. Inaugmentable imminimisable inempirable sempiternel presque vide (p. 56). [The US edition has 'then' instead of 'than' in the line 'ifthen not that much more than that much less then? ']

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1 60 Encore retour pour dedire disparition du vide. Disparition du vide ne se peut. Sau disparition de la penombre. Alors disparition de tout. T pas deja disparu. f out Jusqu 'a penombre reapparue. Alors tout reapparu. T pas a jamais disparu. out Dis parition de I 'une se peut. Dis parition des deux se peut. Disparition du vide ne se peut. Sau dis f parition de la penombre. Alors dis parition de tout (p. 22). 1 6 1 La tete. Ne pas demander si disparition se peut. Dire non. Sans demander non. f parition de la penombre. Alors disparition de D 'elle disparition ne se peut. Sau dis

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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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: trans. by Peter Hallward (London f g o Evil, s: An Essay on the Understandin 1 8 8 Ethic Verso, 200 1) , pp. 2 5 and 2 7 .
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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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cinema 40, 42 closed, the 5, 6, 1 0, 20, 28, 49, 5 1 , 56 cogito xiv-xxxii, 9- 1 5 , 19, 28, 33, 5 1 , 53, 54, 55, 6 1 , 64, 68, 72, 88, 1 04, 128, 1 3 1 , 1 34 comedy xviii, xxix, 44, 75, 1 14 count, the 14, 54, 83, 84, 86, 88, 1 02, 1 1 0, En84 couple, the 6, 1 3 , 60, 63, 64, 66, 74, 76 courage xii, xxi, xxiv, xxx, 40, 4 1 , 77, 96, 97, 98, 1 14, 1 1 5 Dante xiv, 23, 6 1 , 1 23 dark, the xvi, xxxi, 7, 25-29, 3 1 , 32, 35, 47, 5 1 , 63, 65, 70, 7 1 , 74, 98 death 7, 1 1 , 12, 24, 34, 40, 45, 47, 49, 56, 60, 1 1 1 , 128 Descartes, R. xviii, xxi, xxvii, 9, 1 0, 44, 1 05, 1 24 desire xix, xxxiii, 3, 23, 24, 33, 34, 52, 6 1 , 62, 66, 67, 74, 75, 77, 98, 1 00, 1 1 7, 1 24, 1 32, 1 3 3 despair 4, 1 5, 38, 76, 1 20, 1 2 1 dialectic xxvii, 2, 5 1 , 1 20, 1 22,En36 dim xxiii, xxv, xxix-xxxi, 50, 5 1 , 54, 77, passim ch.3, 1 14, 128, 1 30, En 1 70 dying 1 2, 28, 45, 47, 52, 53 encounter passim intro., 1 5, 1 7, 23, 25-29, 3 1 , 33, 35, 37, 38, 47, 60, 63-66, 68, 70, 73, 89, 98, 1 06, 1 22, 128, 1 32 - 1 34 eternity 6 1 , 66, 67, 77 event passim intro, 5, 1 8, 20, 2 1 , 22, 28, 3 1 , 32, 33, 50, 55-59, 62, 64, 72, 76, 1 08-1 12, 1 14, 1 1 5, 1261 30, 132- 1 35, En50, En 1 70

exhaustion 1 1 , 1 3 , 128 existence xvi, xvii, xxiii, xxv, 4, 5, 8, 9, 20, 26, 38, 40, 4 1 , 47, 50, 54, 60, 64, 68, 70, 76, 77, 85, 89-9 1 , 1 09, 1 1 1 , 1 12, 1 26, 1 27, 1 32, 1 3 5 existentialism xiv, xxi, 39, 40 failure xvii, 1 0, 1 7, 25, 62, 90-95, 1 14, 1 1 5 figures xv, xvi, xx, xxii, xxiii, xxiv, xxx, 49, 60, 62-65, 74, 75, 88, 90 finitude xiv, 40 flux 1 , 2, 45, 48, 1 07, 1 32 freedom 1 8, 22, 39, 55, 56, 62, 127 functions xiii, xx, xxi, xxii, 3, 1 9, 3 1 , 32, 44-47, 52, 60, 66, 123, 1 26, 1 3 5 going 2, 3, 29, 30, 46, 49, 1 03 happiness xvi, 6, 1 7, 26, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 55, 59, 64, 66, 1 1 7, 128 Heidegger, M. xxvi, 88, 1 20, 1 2 1 , 135 Heraclitus 1, 48 hope xii, xv, xvi, xxx, xxxii 2, 1 1 , 2 1 , 22, 40, 4 1 , 48, 50, 52, 58, 59, 69, 1 30, 1 34 9 1 , 1 14, 1 1 7, humanity, generic xiii, xviii, xxi, xxii, xxiii, xxvi, xxix, xxx, xxxii, 3, 4, 6, 7, 16, 26, 44, 46, 47, 54, 63, 94, 1 26 humour xiv, 46, 75 Husserl, E. xviii, xxii, xxvii, 44, 1 07, 1 08, 1 24 immobility xxiii, xxxi, 2, 5, 6, 7, 24, 26, 3 1 -34, 45, 47, 50, 54, 65, 66, 1 03 impasse, in Beckett's work xiv, xvi, xviii, xxiv, xxx, xxxii, 12, 14, 39, 4 1 , 54, 55, 56, 128, 129, 133

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incidents 19, 20, 2 1 , 3 1 , 56, 57 infinity xvi, xvii, 1 7, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 67, 8 8 jokes xix, 43 journey 6, 7, 26, 3 1 , 40, 45, 76 justice 26, 64 Kafka, F. 16, 39 Kant, I. xviii, xxii, 2, 4 1 , 77 knowledge 6, 1 9, 30, 50, 54, 56, 57, 66, 67, 1 23- 1 26, 1 29, 1 3 1 , 133 Lacan, J. 1 8, 25, 121, 124, 1 32,En29, En30, En40 language passim intro., 3, 5, 7, 8, 1 8, 2 1 , 22, 34, passim ch.2, 79-8 1 , 9 1 - 1 00, 1 09, 1 12, 1 14, 1 1 5, 1 1 7, 1 22, 1 2 3 , 1 27, 1 2 9- 1 3 1 , 1 3 6, En 1 3 7 localisation xxiii, xxv, xxxi, 5, 6, 7, 9, 50, 5 1 , 103 love xvi, xxvi, 5, 26-33, 46, 56, 60, 64-67, 74, 75, 77, 1 03, 106, 1 1 7, 1 26, 1 28, En50 Mallarme, S. xix, xx, xxi, xxvii, 12, 5 1 , 77, 93, 95, 1 09-1 1 2, 1 25, 1 26, 1 32, 1 33, En5 1 , En 1 73, En 1 76 mathematics xxiii, xxxi, 30, 60 meaning 8, 9, 1 5 , 19, 20, 2 1 , 22, 28, 3 1 , 32, 4 1 , 55, 57-60, 72, 76, 1 20, 1 22, 1 23, 128, 1 30, 1 3 1 , 135 memory xvi, xviii, 30, 44, 66, 67, 70 mobility xxxii, 45, 52, 65 movement xxii, xxiii, xxxi, 4, 6, 8, 23, 24, 40, 44-47, 50, 52, 54, 57, 5 8, 61 , 63, 85, 1 0 1 - 1 04, 1 06, 1 07, 1 09, 1 1 0, 1 16, 122, 124, 1 26, 127, 1 30, 1 3 1 multiple, the xxi, xxvi, 12, 1 7, 28, 29, 3 0, 3 1 , 1 1 5

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music 4 1 , 1 06, 1 07 naming xxiii, xxxii, 1 1 , 1 3 , 1 8, 2 1 , 22, 3 1 , 5 1 , 58, 82, 93, 1 07, 1 1 2, 1 1 4, 1 1 5, 1 29, 1 30, 1 3 5, En 1 75 nihilism xii, xxx, 1 5 , 39 non-being 2, 7, 9, 1 0, 48, 5 1 nostalgia 38, 64, 67-7 1 , 73 open, the xxiii, 6, 1 7, 3 0, 3 1 , 49, 5 1 , 96 optimism 24, 62 oscillation xiv, xv, xvi, xvii, xxx, 2, 8, 9, 1 7, 40, 4 1 , 53, 55, 1 28, 1 34, En4 other, the, (alterity) xv, xvi, xx, xxiv, xxvi, xxx, passim 4-32, passim 40-77, 84, 86, 88, 90, 1 0 1 - 1 03, 108, 1 26, 1 3 1 , 1 32, 134 passivity 13, 14, 47, 53, 54 place xv, xx, xxiii, xxiv, xxv, xxxii, 4- 1 2, 14, 1 5 , 1 8, 1 9, 2 1 , 22, 23, passim 45-77, 86, 97, 1 03, 1 091 1 1, 1 1 7, 1 26, 1 34, En36, En76 Plato xxii, xxvii, 4, 23, 47, 88, 1 0 1 , 123 plays, radio 74 poem xxvi, 4, 16, 1 7, 29, 30, 3 1 , 33, 40, 4 1 , 48, 5 1 , 60, 7 1 , 77, 80, 95, 97, 1 1 1 , 126, 132, En2, En 1 76 politics 33 predestination xv, 1 7, 1 8, 55, 56 procedures xvii, xxvi, xxix, xxxii, 1 6, 33 Proust, M . 42, 67, 1 23 repetition xiv, xv, 16, 33, 38, 40, 55, 57, 77, 1 1 3, 1 2 1 , 1 27, 128 Rimbaud, A. xix, xx, xxi, 37, 91, 1 1 3, 1 26 Sartre, J-P. xiv, xxiv, 38, 39, 1 2 1 , 1 23,

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

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136 saying xiv, xix, xxv, xxxii, 2, 3 , 7, 8 , 1 3, 22, 45, 46, 52, 53, 58, 59, 72, 76, passim ch.3, 1 1 5, 1 1 6, 1 1 7, 129- 1 3 1 , 1 3 5 , En6 sense 3, 9, 20, 40, 45, 55, 57, 73, 87, 1 20, 1 23, 1 29, 1 30 sexuation xvi, 22, 27, 33, 34, 64, 65, 66, 84, En29 signification 55, 57, 58, 80, 1 20, 1 25, 130 silence xi, xiii, xvi, xvii, xix, 1 1 - 1 4, 23, 38, 39, 45, 52-55, 69, 75, 9 1 , 92, 96, 1 1 7, 1 3 1 solipsism xv, xvi, xviii, xx, 5, 1 4, 28, 3 1 , 33, 55, 66, 68, 77 Sophist, The xxii, 4, 47, 1 0 1 , 1 2 1 subject, the passim intro., 2, 3, 4, 1 01 8, 22-26, 3 1 , 33, 44, 47, 5 1 -55, 59, 60, 64, 65, 68, 9 1 , 1 00, 1 05, 1 07, 1 08, 1 1 1 , 120- 1 22, 1 24- 1 26, 1 3 1 - 1 34, En36 subtraction xxv, xxviii, xxix, xxxi, 3, 8, 9, 1 8 , 19, 95, 1 00, 123-125, 1 29, 1 30, 1 3 3 - 1 3 5 supplement, ofbeing xxiii, xxiv, xxv, xxix, 4, 1 6, 1 8 , 1 9, 20, 2 1 , 22, 5 1 , 56, 86, 96, 1 28-1 30, 1 32, 1 3 5 terror xv, 12, 1 3, 53, 55, 64, 1 24 theatre, the 40, 42, 60, 7 1 , 74, 76,

1 14, 1 22 thought xviii, xx, xxii, xxiii, xxv,
XXVi, XXVll, XXiX, XXXi, XXXll,
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xxxiii, 3, 4, 6, 1 2, 1 5, 1 6, 1 8, 1 9, 20, 27, 38, 40, 4 1 , 46, 48, 5257, 59, 66, 75, passim 80-90, 93, 98, 1 0 1 , 1 02, 1 09, 1 1 0, 1 1 51 1 7, 1 20- 1 26, 1 29- 1 34, En25 torture xiv, xviii, xix, xx, xxi, xxiii, xxiv, xxx, 1 0, 1 2- 1 6, 2 1 , 29, 32, 49, 5 1 , 52, 54-56, 59, 72, 1 26, 128 trajectory 2, 4, 1 6, 1 7, 55, 57, 1 28, 135 truth xi, xx, xxvi, xxvii, xxviii, xxxi, 4, 5, 7, 1 0, 1 6, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 33, 5 1 , 59, 60, 67, 77, 96, 1 20, 1 23, 1 24, 1 28, 1 29, 1 32, 1 34, 1 35, En 1 75 Two, the xvi, xvii, xviii, xix, xxiv, xxxii, 5, 13, 1 7, 2 1 , 25-29, 3 1 34, 58, 60, 64, 66, 74, 75, 84, 86, 88, 89, 94, 95, 1 0 1 - 1 03, 1 05, En50 void xix, xxv, xxx, 7 - 1 0, 1 4, 2 1 , 22, 33, 34, 35, 40, 50, 66, 77, passim ch.3, 1 14- 1 1 6, 1 24, En 1 70 Wittgenstein, L. 9 1 , 93 youth 37-40, 68

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