Texts for Nothing and Other Shorter Prose, 1950-1976 by Samuel Beckett

By Samuel Beckett

This is often the final of 3 volumes of gathered shorter prose to be released within the Faber variation of the works of Samuel Beckett - which already encompasses a quantity of early tales ("The Expelled"/"The Calmative"/"The End"/"First Love") and of past due tales ("Company"/"Ill visible sick Said"/"Worstward Ho"/"Stirrings Still"). the current quantity comprises all the brief fictions - a few of them now not than a web page - written and released by way of Beckett among 1950 and the early Nineteen Seventies. so much have been written in French, they usually normally belong inside of 3 unfastened sequences: "Texts for Nothing", "Fizzles" and "Residua". The variation additionally comprises amazing self sustaining narratives: "From an deserted Work" and "As the tale used to be Told". All of those texts, whose awake topic is themselves, show that the quick tale is likely one of the recurrent modes of Beckett's mind's eye, and events a few of his maximum works...he would favor it to be my fault that phrases fail him, in fact phrases fail him. He tells his tale each 5 minuts, announcing it isn't his, there's cleverness for you. He would favor ti to be my fault that he has no tale, after all he has no tale, that's no cause of attempting to foist one on me...

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Apparently countermanding this self-reflexivity is the summons to travel; yet the trip, far from leading into the open, will take the speaker inland into a topography of enclosure. In the second poem of the sequence, he metamorphoses into a garden himself, and does no more than attend to the sensations of his and its growth: Ich will ein Garten sein, an dessen Bronnen die blassen Tra¨ume neue Blumen bra¨chen, die einen schwarmgesondert und versonnen, und die geeint in schweigsamen Gespra¨chen. Und wo sie schreiten, u¨ber ihren Ha¨upten will ich mit Worten, wie mit Wipfeln rauschen, und wo sie rasten, will ich den Beta¨ubten mit meinem Schweigen in den Schlummer lauschen.

He becomes aware of a discrepancy between his inner sense of time (‘es muß also Herbst sein’ (it must be autumn)) and the unreadable weather of these foreign parts (‘die Sonne ist schwer, wie bei uns tief im Sommer’ (the sun is heavy, as in high summer at home)). Knowledge itself, finally, is dislodged from the experiencing consciousness and cast backward into the minds of the women left behind (‘wo traurige Frauen von uns wissen’ (where sad women know about us)). The passage as a whole moves increasingly into an imaginary realm where nothing is fixed or certain and the only possible response is speculation.

The human speaker, the monk who is the mouthpiece of most of the poems in The Book of Hours, consoles God as if he were a loving parent. The extended metaphor that constitutes the poem is a peculiar one. On the one hand, customary attributes of God are attributed to the human speaker: the notion of being ever-present and always listening. By the same token, human attributes, such as needing comfort in the night, are attributed to God. On the other hand, in accord with more conventional thinking about the relation between human beings and the divine, the speaker is the one who tries to make contact with God at night, and God is the one who is asked to give a sign.

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