Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency

By Andrew Gibson | Go to book overview

4
The Break with Doxa: Murphy, Watt

MURPHY AND THE BIG WORLD

Badiou has recently called for an end to talk of the ‘end of representation’ (CR, 85) and shown interest in novelists whose work is comparatively representational (Melville, Conrad, Faulkner).¹ His aesthetic position has none the less always been closely linked to radical abstraction in art. Not surprisingly, then, he has nothing to say about Murphy or Beckett’s early realism, or Beckett’s turn away from realism after Murphy. This is one of the more striking lacunae in his narrative of Beckett’s career. There are very good reasons, however, for not neglecting Murphy here. First, the change in Beckett’s orientation that takes place between Murphy and Watt seems almost as decisive as the change that happens after Texts for Nothing, of which Badiou makes so much. Surely the logic that requires an emphasis on the second break also requires at least some attention to the first? Secondly, as we’ve seen, for Badiou, Beckett’s initial commitment is to a labour of subtraction. But Murphy is the Beckett text perhaps most explicitly concerned with this labour. Indeed, at the very centre of the novel is an image of radical subtraction, Murphy tied to his rocking chair, withdrawn from ‘the breakers of the world’ (MU, 66).

At the same time, however, subtraction in Murphy is not merely a thought and a practice. It is also a theme for thought. This in itself is an indication of how far the novel complicates Badiou’s thesis. Here, at its very inception, his narrative of Beckett needs to be revised and its coherence cast into doubt. For Badiou, Beckett is neither the subject of an event, nor concerned with the emergence of a subject or subjects as the consequence of an event. He rather shares the classic modernist concern with getting beyond the existing encyclopedia and the veridicity of established knowledge. Yet there is no truth without an event. There is only veridicity. This leaves the early Beckett with

1 See OB, 36; CR, 44.

-143-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 322

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.