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Midwest Modern Language Association

"Inside and Outside at the Same Time": Language Play in Beckett and Cixous
Author(s): Jacquelyn Scott
Source: The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Fall 2012), pp.
59-74
Published by: Midwest Modern Language Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43150845
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and Lyotard." the dialecticsof representation. French intellectual thought between 1930 and 1960 focused attentionon inAs terrogatingand reconstructingdialectical thinkingand its modes of mimetic representation. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .a concept based upon the theoretical dichotomy of presence and absence. Samuel Beckett's Molloy.' as well as the firstto reconceptualize and reemphasize spaces 'exceeding' the dialectic" (138). and nonmimetic mode of conceptuality" (119).No.214. and The Unnamable trilogy. explores these philosophical issues via an intense language play that corresponds with those Jardine calls "the philosophers-after-Lacan. Malone Dies. will be overflowing unrepresentable genderedas feminine.from 'reality' into the 'symbolic.as withthedemiseof theCartesianEgo.45. Jardine points to Lacan as the "firstto displace." such as Derrida.And. slightly. thatwhichis "beyond[Lacan's governingparadigmof the Law of] the Father.1 | Spring 59 This content downloaded from 134."Inside Language and Outside Play at the in Beckett Jacquelyn Same and Time": Cixous Scott Alice Jardine notes in Gynesis. This project quickly engendered a movement that gained prominence in 1968 and continues today: the "quest for a nondialectical. ("Gynesis"60) This last sentence argues that those concepts which dialectical language is incapable of representing and incapable of naming TheJournal oftheMidwest Modern Language Association 2012Vol.226.the mediator in patriarchal culturethe Father. written in France in the late 1940s. Deleuze. each of whom set abouta totalreconceptualization of difference (beyondcontradicbothsexes intoa métonymie confusion tion).253 on Thu.self-consciously throwing of gender. nonrepresentational.

This essay differs from previous studies of Beckett and French feminist thought by focusing on the novels of these two Parisian expatriates Beckett from Ireland. Cixous from Algeria . Her task is complicated by the hegemonic oppression of one member of the heterosexual couple.214. who uses narrative to explore the failure of narrativemimesis in The Unnamable. the narrator works toward expressing presence when writing about love between a human couple.253 on Thu. tries to write narrative voice out of it. a patriarchal traditionshe suspects may lie at the foundation of the hierarchization This content downloaded from 134. Cixous has remained silent on Samuel Beckett's corpus.226. The Unnamable. Nonetheless. the poetic "philosopher-after-Lacan" whose écriture féminine deals most specifically with ways of making the impossible possible by writing the theoretically unrepresentable linguistic feminine into a presence based on shiftingidentificationand poetic language play. Cixous's effortsin The Book of Promethea do differfrom Beckett's in the thirdnovel of his trilogy." By this. This gendering leads me to the somewhat strange coupling indicated in my title. I mean to suggest a coupling of two terms of equal value instead of the hierarchical binary pairing of "presence/ [with its other] absence.60 I "InsideandOutsideat theSameTime" are identical to the subversive spaces within language that have become associated with the textual feminine. most notably Elin Diamond." while he. the woman.the past.to explore the ways their narratives embody self-consciously theoretical language that exemplifies writing the feminine. and Hélène Cixous. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . these seemingly antithetical directions connect on a more profound level: they share the goal of existing "inside and outside at the same time. In Cixous's The Book of Promethea. which always recalls something absent." These authors attemptthis "presence and presence" pairing even when representing memory.1 As a critic. by focusing on physical disintegration almost to the point of material nonexistence." of achieving "presence and presence. in that she attemptsto manifest feminine desire by "writing the body. find an "astonishing" compatibility between Cixous's French feminism and Beckett's drama (208).that of Samuel Beckett. whose fiction and drama have so much in common with her own novels and plays that feminist scholars.

Western thought.irreconcilable.or tryingto relate. a law organizeswhatis thinkable ordering byoppositions orsublatable.214. inside and outside.. hierarchical opposition. plot is displaced by repetition that continually shifts the space of the referent. These techniques characterize both Cixous's theory (or "anti-theory. In eschewing traditional narrative as a referential tool. (dual.Scott | 61 Jacquelyn (her word) of linguistic binaries.codes and values. and character is undermined by a fragmented narrative voice that shifts with dizzying swiftness fromnarratorto narrated. both authors rely on linguistic play: fluid shifts and subversions that often dissolve traditional borders between noun and verb. always destabilizes present This content downloaded from 134. In both novels. she explains. Marie Cardinal.fromsingular to plural. to borrow a phrase fromanother French feminist. this "authentic" representation requires the presence of his history. from male to female.stories of presence. what the sign is not. whom Cixous later reimagined in her of the same name.253 on Thu. subject and object.Does thatmeansomething? . dialectical).Andall thesepairsofopIs thefactthatLogopositionsarecouples.man/woman? system.all concepts. Beckett's unnamable concentrates on testing narrative positions from which he may be able to relate the "truth. works throughdual." These dissimilar intentionsbring both narratorsto the same impasse with respect to conventional narrative forms and their limitations for relating. he can never find "the words to say it.the binary structure of the sign is determined by the trace of the absent other.226.to a binary centrism subjectsthought relatedto "the"couple." a Freudian psychoanalytic method that uses narrative as a means of imposing meaning upon fragmented memories.but. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." Again. (NewlyBorn Woman64) Also struggling for presence. and this trace of the other. Whenever intervenes . But according to Derridean theory. Like Freud's Dora. Beckett's inscrutable unnamable seems to play be seeking a "talking cure.."as she would have it) of écritureféminine and the linguistically and ideologically playful fictionBeckett wrote in France a generation before she published "The Laugh of the Medusa" in 1976.

It is nothing living. the thing autobiography seeks to expose. Benveniste points to the polar constructionof the "I" and the "you" in discourse as the fundamental condition that makes language possible. representing the life-force itself. In this seminal article. the word "nothing.214. deceitful sort of thing I detest it" (19). Both Beckett and Cixous explore this dual linguistic representation of one and other." This word is a textually present signifier of the absence or negation of the thing itself (no-thing). inside and outside. Cixous 's Beckettian syntax destabilizes its own declaration. for instance. In The Book of Promethea Cixous 's first-personnarrator does not attempt to resolve her contradictory words regarding autobiography and the subject/object binary: "Autobiography does not exist ." she posits an exterior "you" who will then reverse the termsand name "me" as the "you. must circulate through alternative positions in language to indicate a never-ending self-identification with the other.. and they both bear witness to the feminine. If autobiography does not exist. This shared interest is especially apparent in their literaryinvestigations of what it means and what it does not mean when a narratorattemptsto voice subjectivity but ends up as the unnamable." how can it have a name.. "still the teller and the told" (310). By placing "autobiography" in the subject position of that first declarative statement and juxtaposing this subject with its negation ("does not exist"). at least linguistically." Emile Benveniste's "Subjectivity in Language" (1958) elucidates this breakdown of "the old antinomies of 'I' and 'the other'" (225).226.in other words. exemplifying how both A and not-A can exist in the same space. When a speaker refers to herself as "I. Take. "presence and presence.253 on Thu.62 I "InsideandOutsideat theSameTime" meaning. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Subjectivity. deceitful sort of thing I detest it" [my italics]? The opposition between subject and object affirms the existence of autobiography. and how can it act as both subject and " object in the sentence It is a jealous. The subsequent sentences " contribute to the instability also. but passive existence for Cixous is not enough." But it is crucial to remember that the This content downloaded from 134. as it escapes their narrators' control. Both sides of the presence/absence binary exist simultaneously. It is a jealous.

" thisI is neverthesubjectofautobiography. Both Cixous and Beckett allow their narrators to recognize this nonreferentiality. the narrators they conjure. I surrenders. Thereis no concept"I" thatincorporates inthemouthsofall speakers. Unbelieving..Scott | 63 Jacquelyn but verytermswe areusinghere. I does not getslost. Cixous: WhenI say"I. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . . the opposition of "I" and "you" is merely a linguistic convention that references nothing outside of the system of discourse.does notcomprehend lie. "I" can never refer to the individual.. which employ several of the same words and syntactical strategies when exploring the challenge of self-narration.(Promethea19) Now Beckett: .hisitalics) Benveniste is arguing that the reality the "I" refers to is the act of discourse.( Unnamable291) In both examples of "I say I. all theI's thatareuttered at everymoment (Benveniste225-6.226. Now thesepronouns are distinguished a languagearticulates inthattheydo notrefer fromall otherdesignations toa conceptor toan individual.I andyou.itis not I.Says nothing aboutme. secondperson. so that "I" (spoken) cannot directly or fully. I seemto speak. itself. Rather. possible ways of bringing the absent object This content downloaded from 134.arenottobe takenas figures in as linguistic formsindicating the first "person"[as syntactical person. repeatedly. aboutme. say I.myalarms.214.suggest that meaning unravels in the distance between "I" as speaking subject and "I" as spoken or writtenobject.Compare the following two passages.First. myI is free.thirdperson]. Is thesubjectof mymadness. I do notlie to anyone. aboutme.itis notI. who must posit himself as subject in order to use language." Cixous and Beckett.or rather.253 on Thu. .in terms of representing"pure" presence.. comment upon I (being)....myvertigo. Yet both explore.

both I's refer to the same unified subject." and the "effect of the comma is to reconfigure entirelythe dynamic patterningof différance in the sentence. through. so that in theirfirstreading of "I. narrator/narrated binary into question. but as Richard Begam demonstrates in a deconstructive reading of Beckett's "I." the expected verb ending ("do") for the first-person singular signals that syntax has temporarily shifted back to conventional usage.2 For instance. Begam points out that on one level.they functionantithetically. There are differences between these authors." a thing outside of the speaker. and we can locate a significant one here: while Cixous 's narrator claims that her anti-autobiographical "I" does not lie." "I" refersnot to the speaker but to the spoken "I. even within each of these terms" (877). the subjective flows back in again: in the following "I do not lie to anyone. the otheras object.the unnamable freelyadmits that its stories are essentially "all lies" (314). because none of them can narrate the nonmediated presence of personal history. Rather than moving back and forthin simple bipolar fashion between the two I's. according to Begam. But as soon as the "I" is established in this new position. For instance. in a fluid dynamic that calls the entire subject/object. say I. syntax no longer functions according to conventional narrative principles. in "I does. because Beckett inserts a comma after the first"I.which is always already absent. différance now circulates around. because it does not seek to immobilize presence in a single narrative." this phrase resists referringtojust one "I" as subject. the reader can understand which "I" acts as subject and which as object. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .226. As a result. but because one acts as subjectnarratorand the other as object-narrated. However. Cixous follows the subject "I" with the third-personsingular "does" to indicate that the subjective "I" (as in "I surrenders") has shifted from the expected first-personsingular to an unconventional "I" that stands in for "it". the reader cannot discern which "I" serves which syntactical purpose. English speakers most often position the subject at the beginning of the sentence." they would comprehend the initial This content downloaded from 134. of course.64 I "InsideandOutsideat theSameTime" back into the narrative text through syntactical games that subvert the fixed binary system. in the last two lines of the Promethea example.253 on Thu. In the example from Cixous.214. say I.

Derrida: whether we categorize them as artists or philosophers. Although the comma then forces the reader to reevaluate the sentence dynamics and see that the first"I" actually functions as the object. Cixous.214.' 'there. Beckett.' and so on) that usually serve to anchor the speaker/narratorin time and space" (59).' 'here. verb tenses. Beckett further subverts narrative authority by opening the novel with questions ("Where now? Who now? When now?") that."the madness of having to speak and not being able to" (324). Present blends into futuretense. and of the other deictic forms or shifters('now. as in this example: "Quick.as it still relies on "narrative" to make sense of sensory perception. each explores the same struggle with(in) language. Expressing the inexpressible. Beckett is comfortable with contradictions. the unnamable.these desires involve struggling with an inherent and irreconcilable contradiction: how can we bring the subtextual to the surface without changing its identityin a way thatmerely invertsthe binary? This impossible challenge leads the unnamable to madness withincircularity.Scott | 65 Jacquelyn "I" as the subject. Like Cixous. Give me a mother and let me suck her white.226. pronouns. these questions lead "not to answers but to playful manipulations of names. that firstreading of it as the subject remains as a destabilizing trace (Begam 877). the feminine. if answered. pinching my tits'''(337. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . would orient the narrative voice (291). saying "the question driving me mad is: how can one manage to be simultaneously inside and outside?" ( Promethea 16). my italics). Yet even this playful narrative voice. Cixous's narratorshares this madness. These questions closely parallel Derrida's discussion of "The Ends of Man.' 'then. But as Angela Moorjani points out. while narrative identificationwith the male Oedipal child slips into identificationwith the mother." which explores how we might transcend the limits of patriarchal Western philosophical discourse fromwithin its system. cannot completely escape its own narrativity. which explodes traditional narrative form. This content downloaded from 134. so it comes as no surprise thatthe unnamable invokes alternativeversions of self in the formof Mahood and Worm to relate contradictoryself-narrationsthat slip temporally and spatially.253 on Thu.

Writingfromthis position requires an acceptance of repetition.as ifhearingan "othermeaning"alwaysintheprocess of weavingitself. ignorance" (qtd. rather. . . much of his work reveals a simultaneous yearning for and failure to achieve stable self-identity.but also of getting ridof wordsin ordernotto becomefixed. she breaksoffand startsoverat "zero": herbody-sex.226. herellipses) repetition provides space for ideas that may appear contradictory from the standpoint of post-Enlightenment reason. even though it realizes thatlanguage is too ineffableforthis task. moreover. It touches(upon)." he was "working with impotence. or even a name. unfinished again Fromanotherpointof pleasure.Whatshesaysis neveridenticalwithanything.66 I "InsideandOutsideat theSameTime" Beckett's unnamable embodies a self-consciously doomed desire to achieve identitythroughstories constructed fromlanguage. Whenshe returns. off from elsewhere. but Irigaray implies that a fixed. One would have to listen withanother ear.or of pain. Indeed.(29.214.identicalwithwhatshe sayssomething. whisper. The narrator's consciousness has moments approaching self-recognition. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Beckett once wrote that while Joyce was "tending towards omniscience and omnipotence as an artist. yet these same moments demonstrate slippage away from meaning. exclamation.Andwhenitstraystoo farfromthat it is contiguous.congealedin them. means. in Mays 24). rather than upholding the phallocentric tradition of the Law of the Father.If "she" itis not. proximity.and his decrepit male characters.253 on Thu. and the attemptsend in the failure of mimesis.itis alreadyno longer. Beckett's fiction and drama support his self-evaluation.of embracingitselfwithwords. fail to maintain use of the subjective "I. that fully captures both its subjectivity and objectivity." This lack of "masculine" presence leads to the linguistic space that has been gendered feminine. prefabricated critical position is incapable of comprehending the ever-changing qualities of being This This content downloaded from 134.She stepseverso lightly a sentence left a with a an fromherself murmur. forthe consciousness can never find a pronoun. it is to set . which Luce Irigaray contextualizes in The Sex Which Is Not One: aside [W]omanis constantly touchingherself.

Paul A. . the shadowy space between the signifierand the signified where it is able to be without being seen an invisible presence that.. but the moment they separate from self through language. the histories they try to narrate lose authenticity{Unnamable 304). like Irigaray's specular This content downloaded from 134. .Scott | 67 Jacquelyn and representation as they appear in écriture féminine.always mingled with mine. But now. is it I now. . I on me?" (309-10). to distance a painful life-possibility: despair" aligns with my argument (196). but that reading implies that there are several separate narrative positions (181). At one point.214.. who claims that Mahood "lived in my head. In a sense. "I on me. Irigaray's insight into writing based upon the need to return to the body as "ground zero" serves as an apt guide for tracing the narrative movement of Beckett's unnamable. Bové's reading of Beckett's trilogy as "a series of attempts on the part of the author-heroes to objectify and. Mahood's body is all but hidden in a trashcan. creates these multiple voices as fragmented reflectionsof self. in its repeated attempts.226. Beckett's narrators want to separate from self "in order to witness" their histories. This last line layers subject on object. Left without bonds to mother or father. issued forthfrom me. a body that can be self and other and still maintain a faithful mimetic representation of itself. Robert Welch maintains that this passage indicates a narrative "drift[ing] from identity to identity" due to the absence of a subject. this spatial distance from self parallels Lacan's account of the mirror stage.it enters an existence within nonexistence." but this dual reference to the unnamable 's narrative still occurs in the form of a question. It is his voice which has [note the contradiction in the next two words] often. and sometimes drowned it completely. a now-standard psychoanalytic theory that posits an utterable "I" fraught by its double nature as subject and object. heaped stories on my head. I take the view that these identities are not separate but come from one consciousness that is unable to constitute a unified self in language but which. .253 on Thu.in other words. Mahood's self-objectification in narrative coincides with its attemptto finda shape that will fitboth subject and object . hence. and then eventually forgottenby the woman who occasionally tended it. entered back into me. came back to me. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .

it says that "were it not for the distant testimony of my palms.. As we see. is situated outside of representationas "absence. to whom we can more confidently assign a masculine pronoun. It's I who live there now. it identifies with rather than subordinates the other ("Laugh" 314).68 I "InsideandOutsideat theSameTime" woman. shapes) for size." an indication that they do matter if only on the level of description ("Draff" 176).3 As Herbert Blau points out. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In the very next sentence. as in the operations of the unconscious which has no beginning or end: "the within. also begins his attempt at self-narration in a maternal feminine space: "I am in my mother's room. which contradicts the idea that another Beckettian narrator expresses. of an egg" (305). is intended. a lesser man" (Moi 133-34).226.e. This description recalls Cixous's location of the suppressed feminine impulse in the social and textual This content downloaded from 134. negativity. if not the consistency. I believe. I would gladly give myself the shape. but this attemptto control the body of the text has failed. namely that "bodies don't matter" ("Draff' 176). all that too quite differentlydisposed" {Molloy 50). I don't know how I got there" {Molloy 7). the thought remains below. my soles. In both this incarnation and as Worm. what appears to be the mother is polysemously at the controls. "I have not been able to" indicates both an attempt and a failure: the unnamable has been trying to remake itself in the image of Woman. The words fly up. the unnamable's inability either to assume or repudiate traditional phallocentric roles and structuresof knowledge reveals a tendency instead to engage in écritureféminine. The pun. in which presence is "infinitelydynamized by an incessant process of exchange from one subject to another". which I have not yet been able to quash.253 on Thu. the brain and heart and other caverns where thought and feeling dance their sabbath. Mahood's identification with feminine forms and spaces seems purposeful.214. the dark continent. Beckett seems as comfortable with contradictoryelements as Cixous. or at best.an egg. and to take the form of her fertility. One of the unnamable's predecessors. however. all that inner space one never sees. Molloy. this narrator contradicts its claim with the qualifier "but hers went something like this. It continues the quest by dwelling on shape and using language games to tryon several "bodies" (i. and vice versa.

the articulation of the body.253 on Thu. such writing constitutes a perspective of bliss by heightening our attunementto the musicality inherent in the words with which we construct our narratives. However. the patina of consonants.226.since it resists "their" attempts to make "him" grow appendages with which to pull him back into civilization. instead. but it suggests a powerful subterranean. primal image that invokes that presocialized feminine. Beckett's unnamable wants to hide in this chaos.Scott | 69 Jacquelyn margins. This kind of text (i. . Herbert Blau sees Beckett's focus on joining the physical with the textual as a "compulsive" articulation of the body: It's nextto impossibleto thinkof Beckettand notgetcaughtup in the This content downloaded from 134. a whole carnal stereophany. it has only voice with which to write. the language lined with flesh. The unnamable enters this space when Mahood transforms to Worm. Worm has retreated from societyarguably voluntarily. But whereas Cixous wants to bring this hidden force to power in society by breaking the codes that negate Woman throughthe creation of "a radical mutation of things brought on by a material upheaval when every structure is for a moment thrown off balance and an ephemeral wildness sweeps order away" ("Laugh" 310). the unnamable does seem to be writing.. not that of meaning. This writing subordinates the aim of conveying "messages" to the experience and appreciation of "the pulsional incidents. Like the feminine in language.214. of language" (66-67). . in "the heath where witches are kept alive" ("Laugh" 310). as it is not human. the voluptuousness of vowels. apparently lacking arms. to resign it as a "him" with the Law of the Father. Beckett hardly seems to be writing the body. where we hear the grain of the throat. of the tongue. For Barthes. Écriture à haute voix) resists privileging the meaning of a word over its capacity for aesthetic beauty by emphasizing the pleasure one receives from experiencing the physical sensation of speaking and hearing that word.e. .a figure that lacks social currency. a process Roland Barthes calls Écriture à haute voix in The Pleasure of the Text. This logical impossibility suggests that the unnamable is " " writingaloud. although. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . he may be unwriting the body as he explores the theme of material disintegration.

26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Just as Cixous's feminine refuses to be controlled.(15) An example of Beckett's attention to the auditory imagery of écriture à haute voix occurs as the unnamable once again tries to situate its subjectivity: "For if I am Mahood.thewritingbeforetheletteron thematriarchal similarcontortions to achieveselfwall. even when it is speaking about the nature of that very discourse. we have another example of binary erasure and reinscription. it cannot help having fun with language. And despite its constant struggle. It likes its own "colourful language. I shall be when I cease to be Mahood.as the binary of speech and writing melds into a juxtaposition that acknowledges and embraces both poles. these bold metaphors and apostrophes" (333).likethe presence livingpresent. I am Worm too. of "the play of the world and the innocence of becoming. but they reveal that the narrator is playing with language to enhance its auditory pleasure.does writing economy notinhabitor borrowfromanything outsideitself. Beckett's unnamable indeed practices écriture à haute voix. pure of the unconscious in the libidinal of the womb. as "it is a drive to life.thetongueintheutercompulsive us. the affirmationof a world of signs without fault. and beyond" language in order to move beyond the grand Narratives of the past to a new space (522-23). the insertion of the irrelevant "plop" focuses the reader's attention on narrative style rather than content and indicates the unnamable 's own diffidence toward its own discourse. plop" (338).to "think at.goingthrough in the that auto-affection which. plop. so Beckett's unnamable goes on resisting the ending it craves.always related to otherness" ("Laugh" 310). the additions of "plop" add no literal meaning. as I am proposing.70 I "InsideandOutsideat theSameTime" textualization ofdisplacedbodyparts. revealed in language games. dissolving theirpolarity in the process. and he explicitly This content downloaded from 134. Or if I am not yet Worm. In addition. JeffreyNealon sees this gaming as an attemptto stretchthe limits of previous thought. This last example illustrates the strongest stylistic commonality shared by Beckett and Cixous their affirmation.226. If. against. without truthand without origin which is offered to active interpretation"(Nealon 526). as "plop" is best understood as onomatopoeia. thespeechlessinfantin themouth.253 on Thu. From a standpoint of linear narrative.214.

253 on Thu. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Beckett's language play participates in representing the limitless metaphysics of presence and gender through poetic liberation from traditionally perceived formal constraints." but that would only serve to reinscribe ourselves within a binary system of oppositions. by a fear of being a woman!" (314). This content downloaded from 134. hold no sway. instead. An important theme in The Unnamable involves the narrator's resistance to such inscription into fixed. postmodern. recognize this space as one where gendered binaries. In "The Laugh of the Medusa. We should. or "writing the feminine. In fact she explicitly admits that "at the same time. And consumed.226." Écriture féminine. Like Cixous's écritureféminine. man has been handed that grotesque and scarcely enviable destiny (just imagine) of being reduced to a single idol with clay balls.214.Scott | 71 Jacquelyn calls the kind of gaming that Beckett engages in. Arizona State University Notes 1. having been deconstructed through the play and flux of oppositions. In her still-influential"The Laugh of the Medusa" (1976). Cixous insists that "woman must write woman" (310) through a process " she terms écriture féminine. they must take charge of self-representation in written discourse and base this representation upon the sexuality and creativity that according to Cixous is their biological." incorporates two equally crucial activities: (1) women must no longer passively accept patriarchal representations of their sexuality." Cixous is careful to point out that it is up to man to say where his masculinity and femininityaresuggesting that men are also confined by dominant social positions as inauthentic as those limitingwomen. as it "others" itself again and again and creates new alternatives for self narrative along the way. we might be tempted to call this postmodern space "feminine. one that seeks to transgress rather than replicate the limits of Western discourse. as Freud and his followers note. predetermined subject positions. such as the limiting madonna/whore dichotomy. however. but not yet their social. If the grand Narratives are gendered masculine.

Another male writer whom Cixous believes tends toward écritureféminine is Beckett's mentor James Joyce. whose modernist masterpiece . In these works. 1975). For example. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .226.' says Molly. especially as she believes that most women writing in the past wrote "as men. I will Yes'" (qtd. in "Laugh" 314).253 on Thu. co-authored with Catherine Clément (Paris: Union Générale d'Éditions. uterus. carrying Ulysses offbeyond any book and toward the new writing. This content downloaded from 134. While Cixous endeavors to free women from shame for their sexuality by explicitly bringing their sexual organs. she advances the idea of the feminine in language as the elusive. contradictoryideas may exist simultaneously without one holding a dominant and the other a subordinate position. yes.and (2) in so doing. and so forth into her texts.214. they must reinvent narrative in order to subvert the oppressive syntax of patriarchal language." Cixous's argument in "The Laugh of the Medusa" takes the poetics of Heinrich Kleist as an example of writing the feminine.72 I "InsideandOutsideattheSameTime" birthright. Faced with the paucity of women-authored writing that she can use to exemplify feminine writing. while words signifying the passive-subtextual-absent are considered feminine. 'I said yes. she then subverts purely biologistic reductionism by pointing with characteristic acceptance of contradiction to male writers who practice écriture féminine by reinventing language to make room for the other. silent spaces that escape referential borders and therefore cannot be limited by definition. Cixous expands upon these ideas in La Jeune Née ( The Newly Born Woman).because the feminine "does not contain. In this and other works published in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. so that these new representations of female sexuality can exist in a fluid textual space that Cixous calls "the libidinal feminine. it carries" ("Laugh" 3 17). Cixous appropriates Jacques Derrida's deconstruction of binary hierarchies to demonstrate how language reflectsembedded assumptions about gender: linguistic concepts relating to the active-textual-present are regularly designated as masculine." The most strikingcharacteristic of the libidinal feminine economy is its inclusive acceptance of the other. . And Ulysses ends in affirmationthat signifies the feminine. such as the vagina.

Molloy precedes The Unnamable.Samuel. "Draff. 1994. Trans. TheUnnamable. these terms reflect the inherent instability of identity itself (879). However. I do not intend to suggest any clear delineation from Molloy to the unnamable in terms of character."Subjectivity in Language. 1971.Derridaand The Unnamable. ThreeNovels:Molloy."1958. "locutor" and "dislocution.RichardMiller.Print. New York:Grove. he suggests that the locutor has no stable position from which it projects identity.New York:Grove.MaloneDies."SplittingtheDifférance:Beckett. Rpt. Iain Wright voices a similar view when he says.ThePleasureoftheText. as we're unable to determine whether Molloy is an incarnation of the unnamable 's multiple voice or something more literal. CoralGables:U of MiamiP.226.214. Malones and Unnamables have already done all the work for us" (67). "It is almost too easy (and that I suggest is precisely what should put us on our guard) to apply this vocabulary of decentring and displacement to the trilogy.Roland.253 on Thu. eral Linguistics. Emile. .London:JonathanCape. 1976.MaryElizabethMeek.Trans. therefore. With the firstterm. 1955. Morans.223-30.Print. 3." which he believes are bettersuited to postmodern narratives. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .its Molloys. Works Cited Barthes. Begam. This slippage leads Begam to propose replacing "narrator" with two new terms. This content downloaded from 134.originary. for its narrators.in Problemsin GenBenveniste.he hopes to dispel reader assumptions thatnarrativevoice is unitary. these terms seem awkward and ultimately unnecessary when we consider that Beckett succeeded in creating a narrative voice that carries out a discursive function while shiftingacross a field of possibilities without the need to rename narrative tools.Print." ModernFictionStudies38.Print. 1934. Beckett.Scott | 73 Jacquelyn 2. and authoritative.4 (Winter1992): 873-92.Print. with the second.Richard."More Pricks ThanKicks. but in terms of the publication sequence of the trilogy.

Print.Hélène. 1990. Herbert. "Gynesis. AliceA. Cixous.Ed. Gynesis:Configurations of Womanand Modernity.Print."De-structing 1982. The Wordsto Say It. Criticism CriticalTheory.Playand Nealon.74 I "InsideandOutsideattheSameTime" "The BloodyShowandtheEye ofPrey:BeckettandDeconstrucBlau. "'What matterwho's speaking?':Beckett. Review 14.208-16."Diacritics12. 1982. 185-221.1993.ChangingStates:Transformations don:Routledge. 26 Nov 2015 21:30:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Angela.Print.1985.ofLa JeuneNée.Hélène.theAuthorialSubject 5 (1983): 59-86. Politics.Trans.2 (Summer1982): 54-65. for Waiting LoninModernIrishWriting. 1991. LeonardOrr.Iain.Ithaca:CornellUP. C.Print. TheBook ofPromethea." Irish University (Spring1984): 18-33. Paul A. "The LaughoftheMedusa. C. Diamond.1 Mays. Wright. 1985. "SpeakingParisian:Beckettand FrenchFeminism. tics.Robert.Elin.ChapelHill: U ofNorthCarolinaP. Trans.Lincoln:U of NebraskaP.Print.Trans.Troy. Moi.Print.Print. Burke.Catherine Irigaray. . Jardine. 1985.Print. Ithaca:CornellUP. Trans.Betsy Wing.Minneapolis:U of MinnesotaP.Print. J.Jeffrey.and CatherineClément."Womenin Ed.214. Cardinal.BetsyWing. The Deconstruction of Formin Bové.1975.Sexual/Textual Moorjani. "Beckett'sDreadfulPostmodern: HermeneutheNovel: Essays inAppliedPostmodern Molloy. Welch.MA: 1983. ThisSex WhichIs NotOne.Trans. "SamuelBeckettandthePostmodern: LanguageGames.4 Drama Modern Godot (December1988): 520-28. VanVactor Cixous."Comparative andContemporary Print.KeithCohenandPaula Cohen.226.NY: Whitston. PorterwithCarolyn Luce. .AbysmalGamesin theNovelsofSamuelBeckett.Print.London:Methuen.TheNewlyBorn Woman. 1986.253 on Thu. Paris:UnionGénéraled'Éditions. : Performance Beckett U ofIllinoisP."TheatreJournal39 (March1987): 5-19.Print.Pat Goodheart. tion. andGoodheart.Marie.Print. This content downloaded from 134. 31 ."Trans. LindaBen-Zvi. "Young Beckett'sIrishRoots.Print.Print.Urbana: and CriticalPerspectives. Print.Cambridge. Toril.Signs 1 (1976): 308-20.