Late Modernism, Minimalism, and Silence in the Work of Samuel Beckett
4. BECKETT, MINIMALISM, AND THE QUESTION OF POSTMODERNISM
This chapter addresses a simple question: is Beckett a postmodernist writer? Of course the question is not so simple at all, for it begs a number of other tricky questions that get only more complicated as we address them: how am I defin- ing modernism and postmodernism? What does the post in postmodernism signify? And in any case, Beckett’s work does not suffer from not fitting easily into either of these categories or periodizations, so who really cares? Yet all the same, it seems that if postmodernism has any analytical value as a category, a style, or a “cultural dominant” applied to literature (in Fredric Jameson’s appropriation of Raymond Williams’s term), then Beckett is a crucial test case, following as he does perhaps the most exemplary of prose modernists, James Joyce, and producing a body of work which is very much unlike that of his famous predecessor and compatriot/co-exile, as well as that of the subject of his youthful scholarly interest, another quintessential prose modernist, Marcel Proust. Beckett clearly, and not just temporally, comes after these modernists and their moment. His defining war is the Second, not the First. His childhood BECKETT, MINIMALISM, AND THE QUESTION OF POSTMODERNISM All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. Samuel Beckett, 1983 Art indicts superfluous poverty by voluntarily undergoing its own . . . Along with the impoverishment of means entailed by the ideal of blackness . . . what is written, painted, and composed is also impoverished: the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.