Britain's first book blogger (November 2000). Also available in book form.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Beckett, consternation

That evening, speaking of Molloy and the work that followed it, he told me that, returning to Dublin after the war, he'd found that his mother had contracted Parkinson's Disease. "Her face was a mask, completely unrecognizable. Looking at her, I had a sudden realization that all the work I'd done before was on the wrong track. I guess you'd have to call it a revelation. Strong word, I know, but so it was. I simply understood that there was no sense adding to the store of information, gathering knowledge. The whole attempt at knowledge, it seemed to me, had come to nothing. It was all haywire. What I had to do was investigate not-knowing, not-perceiving, the whole world of incompleteness."
From a memoir of Beckett by Lawrence Shainberg (via Chekhov's Mistress). The connection with Krapp's vision on the jetty is not ignored. And then his perception of Kafka:
"Kafka's form is classic, it goes on like a steamroller, almost serene. It seems to be threatened all the time, but the consternation is in the form. In my work there is consternation behind the form, not in the form."

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