The Drama in the Text: Beckett's Late Fiction

By Enoch Brater | Go to book overview

6
Posthumous Voices and More Stirrings Still

You needn't speak. Just listen. Not even. Be with me.

-- Embers

"The writing is over," Beckett said after completing Worstward Ho in 1983. He had simply and quite deliberately reconciled himself to not writing anything again. "Finally," he told Charles Juliet, "one no longer knows who is speaking. The subject disappears completely. That's where the crisis of identity ends." 1 But three years later he responded to the predicament of Barney Rosset, whose latest business difficulties in New York had forced him to sell the Grove imprint and all of its stock to Ann Getty and Lord Weidenfeld in 1985. 2 Thirteen months after the deal was struck, Rosset was fired, severing his last link to the celebrated avant-garde publishing house with which his name had long been associated. (When he bought the company in 1953, it had a short list of only three books: Melville's The Confidence-Man, Selected Writings of the Ingenious Mrs. Aphra Behn, and The Poetry of Richard Crashaw.) Recognizing Rosset's situation, Beckett sent him in early 1987a two-page typescript, consisting of seven paragraphs, called merely "Fragment." Dated "July 1986," it was dedicated to Rosset, his American publisher; he promised to send another "third" if he could find a way to publish the initial installment separately. By the end of the year Beckett had sent two more modest pieces, the paragraphs that correspond to the second and third parts of what became known as Stirrings Still, a title suggested at the same time by the author himself.

In a joint venture with John Calder, Beckett's publisher for his nondramatic work in London, an enterprising Barney Rosset set about to publicize a deluxe, limited edition of 226 copies of Stirrings Still as the inaugural volume for his newly launched company, Blue Moon Books in

-145-

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The Drama in the Text: Beckett's Late Fiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents *
  • 1 - Still Beckett 3
  • 2 - Acts of Enunciation 14
  • 3 - The Play of Language 58
  • 4 - The Performative Voice 90
  • 5 - Trios and Trilogies 106
  • 6 - Posthumous Voices and More Stirrings Still 145
  • 7 - Dire Comments on Comment Dire 164
  • Notes 175
  • Selected Bibliography 209
  • Index 219
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