Proust, Beckett, and Narration

By James H. Reid | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION
1
Samuel Beckett, Proust (New York: Grove Press, 1970). Some of the more recent Beckett critics who have briefly commented upon the relation between the search for self in Proust and Beckett are Leslie Hill, Beckett's Fiction: In Different Words (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 2–6 and Steven Connor, Samuel Beckett: Repetition, Theory, and Text (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988), pp. 44–45.
2
Paul de Man, “The Rhetoric of Temporality, ” in Interpretations, ed. Charles Singleton (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970). As I will discuss later, de Man's analyses of the tropes of allegory and irony best analyze their temporal, if not always their spatial, structure.
3
Samuel Beckett, Three Novels by Samuel Beckett: Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable (New York: Grove Press, 1958), p. 293. All subsequent references to pages of this edition of the trilogy will be made within the text between parentheses and will be preceded by “TN
4
“In everyday, common existence, … [language] functions much more as does the cobbler's or the carpenter's hammer, not as the material itself, but as the tool by means of which the heterogeneous material of experience is more-or-less adequately made to fit. The reflective disjunction not only occurs by means of language as a privileged category, but it transfers the self out of the empirical world into a world constituted out of, and in, language – a language that it finds in the world like one entity among others, but that remains unique in being the only entity by means of which it can differentiate itself from the world. Language thus conceived divides the subject into an empirical self, immersed in the world, and a self that becomes like a sign in its attempt at differentiation and self-definition.” (de Man, “Rhetoric, ” 196) “The ironic language splits the subject into an empirical self that exists in a state of inauthenticity and a self that exists only in the form of a language that asserts the knowledge of this inauthenticity.” (de Man, “Rhetoric, ” 197) “[The author] asserts…the ironic necessity of not becoming the dupe of his own irony and discovers that there is no way back from his fictional self to his actual self.” (de Man, “Rhetoric, ” 201)
5
“[R]enouncing the nostalgia and the desire to coincide, [allegory] establishes its language in the void of th[e] temporal difference [between present and past self]” (de Man, “Rhetoric, ” p. 206).

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