Monday, March 09, 2009

E M Cioran on Samuel Beckett

He lives not in time but parallel to it, which is why it has never occurred to me to ask him what he thinks of events. He is one of those beings who make you realize that history is a dimension man could have done without.
It just never occurred to Philip Hensher.


  1. Neither did the paragraph.

  2. By way of a comment some unsuitable extracts from my Sam Beckett poem:

    He wipes his face
    on a crumpled rag ...

    The waiter's long shadow
    slithers over the table
    and over Sam's long face.

    The whisky sours are with us

    ...a tumbling moon beyond the doorway

    ... Sam doesn't say say it again again.

    Sam's no Bogart.

    We clunk the tumblers
    and settle back
    to the rattan chairs

    It's a feckin' catastrophe
    says Sam at last

  3. "It's a feckin' catastrophe
    says Sam at last"

    Must have been talking about Harry's Place.

  4. Ho, ho, ho!
    By the way, with 3 others I was politely shown the door at Harry's Place for remarking too loudly on a curious smell emanating from the kitchens. I mean Harry's Place on Canal Grande as opposed to Harry's Dolci across the water. But I also know of the establishment you are thinking of. I have posted the odd reply there but no longer do so as I'm liable to be Rottweilered.
    I didn't know HP had already disingegrated into a catastrophe but the graffito has been on the toilet door for some time, in fact since the $$$ crisis hit us all in the old sky-rocket.

    "It's a feckin' catastrophe say Sam at last". This quote, just for the record, was Beckett's reply on learning he'd won the Nobel Prize. The adjective is mine. But in the poem it has a double meaning for it refers also to Neil Armstrong's balls-up on the moon. It was the same year - 1969.

  5. I think it was his wife who uttered the line.

  6. Irish Independent Centenary Magazine (1905-2005):
    News Briefs
    October 24, 1969
    The Irish playwright Samuel Beckett has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His reaction upon hearing the news was to grunt "catastrophe". The Irish Independent reports that the writer is in Tunisia leading "a paranoid, peripatetic existence, moving from hotel to hotel, encased in anonymity."

  7. Damned to Fame page 570: "Lindon telephoned the ... hotel and spoke first to a distressed Suzanne, who genuinely regarded the award as a 'catastrophe'."

  8. Sam dredges the sour spirit's depths
    for the words
    to frame the thought

    for the words for Sam's one-liner.

    And I wait.

    It's a feckin' catastrophe
    says Sam at last.

    Now see that they print it he growls

    with a grunt.

    [Waiting with Beckett pp 10,11 Genteel Messages]



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