Richard N. Coe, Beckett [Writers and Critics, gen. Eds, A. N. Jeffares & R. C. L. Lorimer] (Edinburgh & London: Oliver & Boyd 1964; rev. edn. 1968), 120pp.

‘In his poetry, where he usually speaks directly, he either camouflages his Self so well that none but his intimates can guess at the hidden meanings, or else reduces this same Self to a commonplaceness which even the Figaro littéraire might find acceptable. In Whoroscope, however, he has interposed between himself and the world another figure [Descartes], and this is the solution which will be continued in Murphy and Watt, in the unpublished Mercier et Camier, and in the plays - with this additional factor, that Murphy, Watt, etc., are also grotesque and the element of parody serves as an additional barrier against the ironic assaults of the world. But the final solution - arrived at gradually by way of Molloy and Malone Dies - lies in the creation of a pseudo-Self, a narrator whose “I” is at first reading indistinguishable from Beckett’s own, and yet who, clearly, moves in a dimension which is not that of any living mortal.’ (Richard Coe, Beckett, 1964, p.17.)

Beckett’s plays, from Godot to Happy Days, are, as it were, running commentaries on his novels; but inevitably, the various aspets of the problem of Time loom larger, while other themes tend to fade into the background.’ (p.88).

Waiting for Godot, then, is the angoisse of man at grips with time, the finite clutching at the infinite. But Beckett’s genius in the paly lies in weaving the inconclusiveness of his rational system into a pattern of imagery so complex, that almost every line suggests another train of images and ideas leading, like the extremities of parabolas, towards infinity.’ (Coe, 93).

The central theme of Bekcett’s philosophy - the impentrable tangle of relationships betweent he essential Self and the apparent Self - drove him necessarily in the novel towards the form of the extended monologue. On turning to the theatre … the compulsive forces which demanded the monologue did not cease to operate, and Krapp’s Last Tape was Beckett’s first experiment in designing for the stage a monolgue which is at the same time, in the full sense of the world, dramatic.’ (p.103)

Proust: ‘The mortal microcosm cannot forgive the relative immortality of the macrocosm. The whiskey bears a grudge against the decanter.’ (Proust, p.10)

Endgame, ‘it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished. Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there’s a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.’ (p.12); ‘moment upon moment, pattering down, like the millet of grains of … that old Greek, and all life log ou wait for that to mount up to a life.’ (p.45).

‘Have you not done tormenting me with our 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’ll die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? (Waiting, 89.)

Mrs Rooney: ‘Heaveans, there is that up mail again, what wil become of me. (The dragging steps resume.) Oh I am just a hysterical old hag I know, destroyed with sorrow and pining and gentility and chruch-going and fat and rheumatism and childlessness. (Pause. Brokenly.) Minnie! Little Minnie! (Pause.) Love, that is all I asked, a little love, daily, twice daily, fifty years of twice daily love like a Paris horse-butcher’s regular, what normal woman wants affection? A peck on the jaw at mrning, near the ear, and another at eveing, peck, peck, thill you grown whiskers on you. There is that lvoely laburnum again.’ (All That Fall, p.9)

I asked her to look at me and after a few moments … after a few moments she did. […] We drifted in among the flags and stuck. The way they went down, sighing, before the stem! … 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, genlty, up and down, and from side to side.’ (Krapp’s Last Tape, p.18.)

‘Ah yes, so little to say, so little to do, and the fear so great, certain days, of finding oneself … left, with hours still to run, before the bell for sleep, and nothing more to say, nothing more to do, that the days go by, certain days go by, quite by, the bell goes, and little or nothing said, little or nothing done.’ (Happy Days, p.27)

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