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Literature of Consciousness

Samuel Becket – Subject – Negativity

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Jakub Momro

The questions the writer Samuel Beckett posed in his dramas, his prose and his poetry are the central questions asked by the most outstanding thinkers of modernity. Samuel Beckett, therefore, is the central figure in this book, but he is not alone. This study is not only a precise literary analysis, but it also traces transformations in terms of subjectivity and tries to conceptualize them. It universalizes the issues that emerge from the friction between the consciousness and the world, or, in other words, from the history of the struggle between the modern subject and that which negates: death, nothingness, the absence of meaning and the deception of living.
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Chapter One. Against the Event

Extract

Chapter One

Against the Event

Genesis of the Event. Between Repetition and Difference

The progression of language in Not I shows the uselessness of the dictionary of traditional metaphysics for describing this text (and other works of Beckett),174 relating being in categories of permanent oppositions between which there is no passage. While exploding the stability of being, the energy of speech heads toward expressing the event. Thinking the event will be possible once one assumes that the event situates itself between repetition and difference. Such an attitude reveals the classic binary division between what is essential and that which is accidental, what is spiritual and material; they show a reality in which there has to be a sanction that warrants and upkeeps the hierarchy of those opposing pairs. In the meantime, the philosophy of the event reverses this order and marks a return to reflection on the conditions of what is empirical, posing a question about the origins of that which reveals itself in the world and conditions the possibility of subjectivity appearing in the form a subject that expresses itself. The attempt to reveal the source of the empirical does not release one from reflecting on the transcendental order. Omitting that sphere pushes reflection into a naïve reductionism or a radical solipsism and, as a consequence, makes it impossible to legitimize the event. On the one hand, the transcendental order that appears in the figures of repetition constitutes a barricade against...

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