Beckett On Proust Essays

Beckett On Proust Essays-35
When Albertine was his prisoner, the possibility of her escape did not seriously disturb him, because it was indistinct and abstract, like the possibility of death.Whatever opinion we may be pleased to hold on the subject of death, we may be sure that it is meaningless and valueless. (6) This entry was posted on June 27, 2010 at am and is filed under Critical Studies.

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One day Odette says: ‘Forcheville (her lover, and, after the death of Swann, her husband) is going to Egypt at Pentecost.’ Swann translates: ‘I am going with Forcheville to Egypt at Pentecost.’ The fluid of future time freezes, and poor Swann, face to face the future reality of Odette and Forcheville in Egypt, suffers more grievously than even at the misery of his present condition.

(4-5) The future event cannot be focussed, its implication cannot be seized, until it is definitely situated and a date assigned to it.

I propose to examine these ideas under three headings. Beckett is sympathetic to Proust's pessimism but wishes «to clarify this too abstract and arbitrary statement of Proust's pessimism» (p. In this connection he calls on two key Schopenhauerian ideas : the image of man as Tantalus — man as a bundle of desires never satisfied, and that summed up in Calderon's line «For man's greatest offence/Is that he has been born». Life in time («the double-headed monster of damnation and salvation») is tragic but in art we transcend time and experience moments of consolation and joy.

In this connection Beckett calls on Schopenhauer's definition of art as «the contemplation of the world independent of the principle of sufficient reason» .

But what is attainment: The identification of the subject with the object of his desire.

The subject has died–and perhaps many times–on the way.In this post, which will require little commentary on my part, I will select passages related to time.He accepts regretfully the sacred ruler and compass of literary geometry.The number of philosophers that figure in Beckett's dramatic works is unmatched in modern literature even though most — especially the Pre-Socratics — figure as objects of satire.Descartes and Schopenhauer however are in a different and more serious category.I Notwithstanding his influence on the early Wittgenstein (2) Schopenhauer is primarily an artist's and writer's philosopher rather than a philosopher's philosopher.His aesthetic theory and general pessimistic outlook gave support and self-justification to several generations of artists and writers.(3) The individual is the seat of a constant process of decantation, decantation from the vessel containing the fluid of future time, sluggish, pale and monochrome, to the vessel containing the fluid of past time, agitated and multicoloured by the phenomena of its hours.Generally speaking the former is innocuous, amorphous, without character, without any Borgian virtue.You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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