This essay attempts to situate Samuel Beckett’s fiction in the Parisian intellectual and literary milieu of Maurice Blanchot, particularly with respect to the experience of the materiality of language and the double bind of writing in which—as Blanchot wrote in Faux pas (1943)—“the writer finds himself in the increasingly ludicrous condition of having nothing to write, of having no means with which to write it, and of being constrained by the utter necessity of always writing it.” One way of coping with this impasse was to take recourse to the fragment, in which words are not composed but juxtaposed, as in Blanchot’s L’attente, l’oubli (1962) and Beckett’s Worstward Ho (1983).
Gerald L. Bruns; The Impossible Experience of Words: Blanchot, Beckett, and the Materiality of Language. Modern Language Quarterly 1 March 2015; 76 (1): 79–95. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2827560
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