The formal specifics of Samuel Beckett's writing have so far been redescribed in terms of mysticism, ordinary language philosophy,phenomenology, and deconstruction. Expanding on but also departing from these descriptions, this article tests the capability of a different heuristic vocabulary, derived from systems theory and second-order cybernetics, to reconstruct the formal dynamics of Beckett's writing and to reveal the structural principle that determines the generation of form in Beckett's work. The argument assumes that George Spencer Brown's dynamic (operative) concept of form can be used as a conceptual basis for describing the complex and baffling operation performed by Beckett's writing, and it proposes that this literary technique is best understood as a double recursion that envisages the unpresentable generativity of the literary text. These hypotheses are developed by drawing on a wide range of Beckett's work, including major plays,prose, Film, work for television, and critical writings.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.