Happy Belated Birthday, Beckett
if all that all that yes if all that is not how shall I say no answer if all that is not false yes
all these calculations yes explanations yes the whole story from beginning to end yes completely false yes
-from How It Is
Yesterday was Beckett’s birthday (he’d have been 104).
To think, when one is no longer young, when one is not yet old, that one is no longer young, that one is not yet old, that is perhaps something.
Last semester, while I was studying theories of modernism with S. E. Gontarski, I got the opportunity to copy edit Jean-Michel Rabaté’s contribution to the just-released collection of original essays by leading Beckett scholars and biographers, A Companion to Samuel Beckett.
Rabaté’s essay is called “Philosophizing with Beckett: Adorno and Badiou.” It’s pretty interesting. Here’s a taste:
On the whole, Adorno and Badiou presuppose that any respectable intellectual should be conversant with the most minute details of Beckett’s oeuvre; his oeuvre helps readers find their bearings in matters of ethics, dialectics, politics, and why not, more intimate issues of love and beauty.
As is sometimes the case with academic books, it’s outrageously overpriced, but the good folks at Google Books have made much of it viewable here. Plus, I’m sure you could find a copy at a library.
Also, here’s Beckett’s Ohio Impromptu: