Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency

By Andrew Gibson | Go to book overview

7
The Sparkle Hid in Ashes: Beckett’s Plays

THE PRECIOUS MARGARET

If, for Lacan, potlatch is the little miraculous stone in the desert of the competition for goods, by a significant coincidence, as early as 1932, Beckett was resorting to a very similar image to articulate his aesthetic position. In Dream of Fair to Middling Women, Belacqua reflects on the value, ‘in the domain of words, of the little sparkle hid in ashes’:

The uniform, horizontal writing, flowing without accidence, of the man with style,
never gives you the margarita. But the writing of, say, Racine or Malherbe, per-
pendicular, diamanté, is pitted, is it not, and sprigged with sparkles; the flints and
pebbles are there, no end of humble tags and commonplaces. They have no style,
they write without style, do they not, they give you the phrase, the sparkle, the pre-
cious margaret.1

This ‘sprigging’ is another figure for the undetermined condition associated, not with the event itself, but with événementialité. Événementialité is the glint of an instability in Being that is the threshold of the event. Beckett’s ‘sparkles’ resemble what we saw Valéry calling the ‘imperceptible moments’ in Un coup de dés, those fractions of a second in which the possibility of an idea flickers and fades.2 The rigour with which Beckett thinks this threshold is perhaps what Adorno says critics like Lukács detest in Beckett’s work because ‘they themselves have betrayed’ it.3

To sprig a work with sparkles is to produce, explore, mimic the cracks in the homogeneity or, in Beckett’s terms, the ‘uniformity’ of a situation.4

1Dream of Fair to Middling Women (Dublin: Black Cat, 1992), 47–8. Reprinted in DI, 47.

2 Paul Valéry, Fragments sur Mallarmé (Paris: Ronald Davis, 1924), 19.

3 Theodor Adorno, ‘Towards an Understanding of Endgame’, in Ruth Gale Chevigny (ed.), Twentieth Century Interpretations ofEndgame’ (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969), 82–114, p. 84.

4 To conflate production and exploration or given and manufactured objects may seem odd. But ‘sprig’ does the same. A sprig is a spray, twig, or shoot; also, specifically, an offshoot or minor

-229-

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

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

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
/ 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, 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."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.

    Author Advanced search

    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.