This book examines the role of Samuel Beckett in contemporary philosophical aesthetics, primarily through analysis of both his own essays and the various interpretations that philosophers (especially Adorno, Blanchot, Deleuze, and Badiou) have given to his works. The study centres around the fundamental question of the relationship between art and truth, where art, as a negative truth, comes to its complete exhaustion (as Deleuze terms it) by means of a series of ‘endgames’ that progressively involve philosophy, writing, language and every individual and minimal form of expression.
The major thesis of the book is that, at the heart of Beckett’s philosophical project, this ‘aesthetics of truth’ turns out to be nothing other than the real subject itself, within a contradictory and tragic relationship that ties the Self/Voice to the Object/Body. Yet a number of questions remain open. ‘What’ or ‘who’ lies behind this process? What is left of the endgame of art and subjectivity? Finally, what sustains and renders possible Beckett’s paradoxical axiom of the ‘impossibility to express’ alongside the ‘obligation to express’? By means of a thorough overview of the most recent criticism of Beckett, this book will try to answer these questions.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 268 pp.
Contents: Beckett’s philosophy as a discourse on ‘exits’ – Beckett as Essayist – From Dante to Proust: Beckett’s Literary
Criticism Years – In Dialogue with Van Velde: Painting and Philosophy – Theodor Adorno and Beckett – Beckett’s Aesthetics
of truth – Exhausting the Possible Field of Narrative: Deleuze and Beckett – Beckett with Jerzy Grotowski – Thinking Differently
from Thinking: The Body in Beckett’s Later Theatre – Beyond the Stalemate of Subjectivity.