Josephine Jacobsen and William R. Muellar, The Testament of Samuel Beckett ( Faber 1964, 1966), 199pp.,

CONTENTS: [Introductory] The Murmur in the Mud; [The Technique] The Dimension of Poetry; The Epistemology: A preliminary to Understandign; The Comic Mode; [The Vision] The Human Condition; The Quest; [Conclusion] The Enormous Time; [Appendix] To Wait or not to Wait: The Enduring Saturday of Samuel Beckett; bibliographies. B: ‘Style is more a question of vision than technique’ [11]

Beckett the novelist and Beckett the playwright remain Beckett the poet. [20] ... the Beckett universe, the Beckett protagonist: this unique figure of which all alter egos are the mask - a giant, amorphous, frightening creation, whose image dominates every word Beckett has written. [21]

Authors refer to th Beckett protagonist as distinct from its manifestations as “Q” [21] In the novels the only motion was circular; identities merged, and emerged, and remerged [sic]. Locale, data, characters gave out under the reader’s feet with the abruptness of a pitfall. There was the sense of a mockery which ridiculed all things, even suffering; a sense of mystery which coulded the reader’s hasty, or even sober, conclusion. And there there were the repetitions. [22]

An object intrinsically insignificant ... reappears like some nemesis, shifting commonplace and horrifying aspects. [22]

The work of SB is a major contribution to literature, to poetry, and to the ancient questions man has asked in attempting to establish the truth of his identity and his predicament. [23]

Strange notion in any case, and eminently open to suspicion, that of a task to be performed, before one can be at rest. Strange task, which consissts in speaking of oneself. Strange hope, turned towards silence and peace. (U, 313)

But the other voice, of him who does not share this passion for the animal kingdom, who is waiting to hear from me, what is its burden? Nice point, too nice for me ... Faint calls, at long intervals. BHear me! Be yourself again! Someone has therefore something to say to me. .. I. Who might that be? Teh galley-man, bound for the Pillars of hercules, who drops his sweep under cover of night and crawls between the thwarts, towards the rising sun, unseen by the guard, praying for storm. Except that I’ve stopped praying for anything. No no, I’m still a suppliant. I’ll get over it, between now and the last voyage, on this leaden sea. It’s like the other madness, the mad wish to know, to remember, one’s transgressions. [U 338-39.]

.. with regard to the noise .. it has nto been possible up to date to determine with certainty, or even approximately, what it is, in the way of noise, or how it comes to me, or by what organ it is emitted, or by what perceived, or by what intelligence apprehended... [U392]

Quotes Beckett in Proust, ‘By his impressionism I mean his non-logical statement of phenomena in the order and exactitude of their percepton, before they have been distorted into intelligibility in order to be forced into a chain of cause and effect. ... And we are reminded of Schopenhauer’s definition of the artistic procedure as “the contemplation of the world independently of the pricniple of reason”. In this connection Proust an be related to Dostoievski, who states hsi cahracters without explaining them. It may be objected that proust does little else but explain his characters. But hsi explanations are experimental and not demonstrative. He explains them in order that they may appear as they are - inexplicable. He explains them away.’ (Proust, 66-67)

Derives from this SB’s epistemology and aesthetic ‘in microcosm’ [70] Beckett is in revolt against what he envisages as a scientific position ... Beckett is in revolt also against virtually our whole literary tradition. [71]

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