Daily Archives: April 12, 2009

Letters from Beckett

Samuel-beckett-paris-cafe

“It is indeed getting more and more difficult, even pointless, for me to
write in formal English. And more
and more my language appears to me like a veil which one has to tear apart in
order to get to those things (or the nothingness) lying behind it.
 Grammar
and style! To me they seem to have become as irrelevant as a Biedermeier bathing
suit or the imperturbability of a gentleman.
 A mask. It is to be hoped the time will
come, thank God, in some circles it already has, when language is best used when
most efficiently abused . . . . Or is literature alone to be left behind on that
old, foul road long ago abandoned by music and painting? Is there something
paralysingly sacred contained within the unnature of the word that does not
belong to the elements of the other arts? Is there any reason why that
terrifyingly arbitrary materiality of the word surface should not be dissolved,
as, for example, the sound surface of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is devoured
by huge black pauses, so that for pages on end we cannot perceive it as other
than a dizzying path of sounds connecting unfathomable chasms of silence? An
answer is requested.”

 

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