Catherine Laws

insistent, if shadowy, presence of unheard sound. Beckett seems here to focus not on silence or absent sound but on a kind of leastness of sound; the traces of sound that emerge when listening can come and go (as in Stirrings Still (1983–87), when ‘in the end he ceased if not to hear to listen’),49 or perhaps an ideal and probably unattainable kind of hearing that is released from the anguish of self-perception. Beckett and unheard sound 189 Notes 1 John Gruen, ‘Samuel Beckett talks about Beckett’, Vogue, 127:2 (February 1970), 108. 2 Mary Bryden, ‘Beckett and the

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Beckett and nothing: trying to understand Beckett
Daniela Caselli

Introduction Beckett and nothing: trying to understand Beckett Daniela Caselli Best worse no farther. Nohow less. Nohow worse. Nohow naught. Nohow on. Said nohow on. (Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho) In unending ending or beginning light. Bedrock underfoot. So no sign of remains a sign that none before. No one ever before so – (Samuel Beckett, The Way)1 What not On 21 April 1958 Samuel Beckett writes to Thomas MacGreevy about having written a short stage dialogue to accompany the London production of Endgame.2 A fragment of a dramatic dialogue, paradoxically

in Beckett and nothing
Derval Tubridy

, creating a sculpture that has much in common 144 Beckett and nothing with the negative spaces of Beckett’s theatre. The American composer Morton Feldman’s Neither has been called an ‘anti-opera’, a stripped down, minimalist monodrama. Described as ‘shockingly beautiful as it is disorienting and distancing’ the music of Neither echoes the movement of Beckett’s text in an oscillation between two poles of impossibility.6 Samuel Beckett’s brief and evocative text was written for Morton Feldman in a collaboration initiated by Feldman. Commissioned by the Teatro dell

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Going on without in Beckett
John Pilling

1 On not being there: going on without in Beckett John Pilling ‘The essential is never to arrive anywhere, never to be anywhere . . .’ (Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable)1 Not much in Beckett is left wholly unaffected by the notion of ‘not being there’, even though he remains haunted by the self-imposed imperatives of ‘going on’. Not being there is only one of ‘the problems that beset continuance’ of which Beckett spoke in connection with the art and craft of his Israeli friend Avigdor Arikha, to which there can only ever be temporary solutions. The problems derive

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Reading Beckett’s negativity
Peter Boxall

2 Nothing of value: reading Beckett’s negativity Peter Boxall The first section of Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt depicts Watt’s journey to and arrival at Mr Knott’s house, an establishment in which Watt is to feel for the first time in his life at rest. When Watt arrives at his destination and settles himself, like Beauty’s father enjoying the hospitality of the Beast, at Mr Knott’s kitchen table, he meets Knott’s manservant Arsene, whom he is to succeed in Mr Knott’s employment. As Arsene prepares to leave in order to make way for Watt, he delivers a long speech

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Theoretical debates and the critical erasure of Beckett’s cinema
Matthijs Engelberts

’s project,8 before adding that ‘So far, only the Beckett section is completed’.9 In the world of cinema, then, Film is referred to primarily as the work of its scriptwriter: the man with a pen. While this manner of presenting the short film would change somewhat following its release, it would continue to diverge from 164 Beckett and nothing normal practice. The section in Cahiers du Cinéma on the 1965 Venice festival presents a number of films, but Schneider’s is the only one to receive a subtitle featuring two names instead of one: ‘Film de Samuel Beckett et Alan

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Beckett and anxiety
Russell Smith

11 It’s nothing: Beckett and anxiety Russell Smith On 11 August 1936, Samuel Beckett wrote the following passage – in German – in his notebook: How translucent this mechanism seems to me now, the principle of which is: better to be afraid of something than of nothing. In the first case only a part, in the second the whole is threatened, not to mention the monstrous quality which inseparably belongs to the incomprehensible, one could even say the boundless. [. . .] When such an anxiety [Angst] begins to grow a reason [Grund] must quickly be found, as no one has

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Shane Weller

once impossible and unavoidable. The consummation of this art comes, however, almost forty years later, in the unprecedented deployment of the unwords ‘void’ and ‘naught’ in Worstward Ho, where the aporias of both the ontological and the ethical nothing are enacted in a literary language that remains unlike any other: ‘Nohow over words again say what then when not preying. Each better worse for naught. No stilling preying. The shades. The dim. The void. All always faintly preying. Worse for naught. Worser for naught.’ Notes 1 Samuel Beckett, Disjecta: Miscellaneous

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Ghosts and the busy nothing in Footfalls
Stephen Thomson

to philosophy it is emphatically not because he deals in clean, hard concepts shorn of the contingencies of bodily existence; for neither, in truth, does philosophy. 80 Beckett and nothing Notes 1 Samuel Beckett, Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment (London: John Calder, 1983). One might doubt how seriously this scribble to a pen pal, dismissed by Beckett himself as ‘German bilge’ (Disjecta, p. 170), should be taken. Yet the insistently negative moment of Beckett’s oeuvre, which can moreover be seen repeated en petit in the genesis of any

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Beckett and the matter of language
Laura Salisbury

12 ‘Something or nothing’: Beckett and the matter of language Laura Salisbury In 1981, Lawrence Shainberg sent Samuel Beckett a copy of his book about neurosurgery hoping it might be of interest. To Shainberg’s surprise, Beckett replied almost straight away, and in their subsequent meetings, the younger author continued to be intrigued by Beckett’s enthusiastic and particularised questions about the work of the brain surgeon: Whenever I saw him, he questioned me about neurosurgery, asking, for example, exactly how close I had stood to the brain while observing

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