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The unnamable text : a deconstructive reading of Beckett’s The unnamable Nixon, Nicola C. 1985

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THE UNNAMABLE TEXTi A DECONSTRUCTIVE READING OF BECKETT'S THE UNNAMABLE By NICOLA C. NIXON B.A., The University of Western Ontario, 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1985 ®Nicola C. Nixon, 1985 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date April a i ° > ^ DE-6 (.3/81) Traditional criticism of Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable has sought to establish a universal "truth" or unified con-sciousness behind the dispersive nature of the text, and consequently readings of the novel have been both reductive and inadequate. Because Beckett's text distorts and displaces traditional narrative tools, and the Western metaphysical tradition from which they arise, criticism concerned with the upheaval of tradition is more appropriate for reading The Unnamable. The thesis takes three different textual positions in the text — the question of beginnings and endings in the text, the problematic of the subject (the proliferation of the "I" versus a concept of the unified consciousness), and the notion of propriety in the concept of the proper name — and engages in textual play with the text. By using certain modified methods of what we might provisionally call "deconstruction," the readings open the metaphors in the text, and examine the nature of the dis-tortion of tradition that Beckett achieves? the readings are productive rather than reductive. The thesis is more concerned with enacting the upheaval of The Unnamable, and is less concerned with describing the textual ruptures or arriving at any fixed meanings or conclusions, for that would be to remain strictly within the tradition that Beckett and the decontructors attempt to dislodge. i i i Table of Contents I The Critics, The Deconstructors, The Unnamable 1 II The Question of Beginning 33 III Eyeing the Subject 57 IV Unnaming the Text 84 Bibliography 107 iv One is never so far removed from the centre as when one assumes to have recaptured the origin of the self in an empirical experience that is taken to be the cause. Paul de Man The Critics, The Deconstructors, The Unnamaple 1 The poet being an i m i t a t o r , l i k e a p a i n t e r or any other a r t i s t , must of n e c e s s i t y i m i t a t e one of three o b j e c t s — things as they were or are, things as they are s a i d or thought to be, or things as they ought to be. The v e h i c l e of ex-pr e s s i o n i s language — e i t h e r current terms o r , i t may be, rare words or metaphors.1 A r i s t o t l e What does i t a l l mean? What i s the key to t h i s strange world? The c r i t i c must attempt an answer. A. H a r t l e y In h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n to Samuel B e c k e t t i A C o l l e c t i o n of  C r i t i c a l Essays, M a r t i n E s s l i n maintains that "a wide area s t i l l remains th a t i s l e g i t i m a t e l y open f o r c r i t i c a l analysis"-^ of Samuel Beckett's t e x t s , and he c l a s s i f i e s t h i s " l e g i t i m a t e " area of a n a l y s i s i n t o three c a t e g o r i e s i the e l u c i d a t i o n of a l l u s i o n s — l i t e r a r y , p h i l o s o p h i c a l , geographical — i n the t e x t , the e l u c i d a t i o n of s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s , or the main design of the t e x t , and the determination of the " q u a l i t y and depth of [ t h e w r i t e r • s ] experience" by the c r i t i c , who thus w i l l " f u l f i l l h i s proper f u n c t i o n ... as exemplar f o r the r e a c t i o n s of a wider p u b l i c . " ^ Most t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m of Beckett's The Unnamabie f a l l s i n t o these three c a t e g o r i e s , although there are some c r i t i c s who, as E s s l i n would have i t , do not f u l f i l l t h e i r proper f u n c t i o n s and engage i n i l l e g i t i m a t e c r i t i c i s m of Beckett. Rather than attempting a c h r o n o l o g i c a l survey of c r i t i c i s m of The Unnamable (as Edouard Morot-Sir does i n " C a r t e s i a n Emblems"), we w i l l maintain E s s l i n ' s three c a t e g o r i e s and t r a c e the l e g i t i m a t e c r i t i c i s m , i n d i c a t i n g the 2 substance ( i n Frye's sense of the word as sub-stance, standing under, understanding) of the c r i t i c i s m to the point where the t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m ' s b l i n d n e s s to i t s own endeavour becomes apparent. The f i r s t group of c r i t i c s , l i k e a v a r i e t y of l i t e r a r y d e t e c t i v e s , attempt to t r a c e the " r e a l " sources i n Beckett's t e x t s — the "things as they were or are" of A r i s t o t l e . John F l e t c h e r i n The Novels of Samuel Beckett d i s c o v e r s that the re s t a u r a n t , where one of the characters of The Unnamable (Mahood) s i t s w i t h h i s head stuck i n a j a r , was r e a l l y a " s q u a l i d eating-house near the Vaugirard a b a t t o i r s i n southern P a r i s . F l e t c h e r comments that " i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to remark 7 that the res t a u r a n t ... a c t u a l l y e x i s t e d , " ' and places the eating-house, c a l l e d the A l i - B a b a , on the rue de Dantzig, c l o s e to a windowless rotunda (the rotunda t h a t Mahood l a t e r c i r c l e s ) ; the Al i - B a b a was run by an o l d woman (the woman who takes care of Mahood w h i l e he l i v e s i n the j a r ) . F l e t c h e r concludes that "Beckett would have known i t s i n c e he l i v e d o at one time i n the rue des F a v o r i t e s , not f a r away." Both F l e t c h e r and V i v i a n M e r c i e r take pains to record a l l the references to I r e l a n d i n the no v e l , and a l l the references to people whom Beckett was acquainted w i t h w h i l e he l i v e d i n I r e l a n d . Hugh Kenner, l i k e F l e t c h e r and Mer c i e r , s u b s t a n t i a t e s h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the "C a r t e s i a n Centaur" (the man on the b i c y c l e ) w i t h evidence! "on l e a v i n g Beckett's apartment I became confused ... and blundered i n t o a cul-de-sac which contained two ash cans and a b i c y c l e . F o r these c r i t i c s , 3 empirical facts of the "real" world provide the necessary-support for their analyses; they would "transgress the text toward something other than i t , toward a referent (a reality)" 1 for the proof of their assertions. While some critics would substantiate the "things" or "places" in The Unnamable with the things surrounding Beckett, the "real" person, others would substantiate the style of Beckett's writing with psychological proof. According to G.C. Barnard, Beckett had a genuine interest in schizophrenia, and had "at least two opportunities ... of observing something at first hand."11 Apparently Beckett visited the Bethlem Royal Hospital when he lived in London, because "he was 1 2 already intested in psychotics;" and had a chance to observe Lucia Joyce, who was "diagnosed as a schizophrenic case."1-^ Since the speech and thoughts of schizophrenics are disordered and broken by the intrusion of irrelevant ideas, a faithful record of their thought would be equally broken and disorderedi "examples of these disorders of thought occur throughout Ik Beckett novels." And thus, The Unnamable is an example of the schizoid split of the ego into two selvesi the inner, which withdraws from the real world, and the outer, which is a false self. The critic becomes the analyst and the text the patient, and the critic justifies his assertions with biographical and psychological "evidence" from the "real" world. Clearly Fletcher, Mercier, Kenner and Barnard regard Beckett, to one degree or another, as a mimetic writer, who uses an e s s e n t i a l l y transparent language to i m i t a t e " t h i n g s as they were or are." W i t h i n the confines of E s s l i n ' s f i r s t category, however, there are other c r i t i c a l endeavours which seek to expose a l l u s i o n s of a p h i l o s o p h i c a l nature. A l a r g e number of c r i t i c s adopt a v a r i e t y of p h i l o s o p h i c systems to e l u c i d a t e Beckett's w r i t i n g . But at times the converse seems to occur« the c r i t i c s use Beckett to i l l u s t r a t e a p a r t i c u l a r p h i l o s o p h i c system. F i c t i v e language i s taken to be the language of philosophy, p r o p o s i t i o n a l languagei there i s a need f o r f i c t i o n to i l l u s t r a t e p r o p o s i t i o n a l t r u t h s . Edouard Morot-Sir c o r r e c t l y observes that " c r i t i c i s m of Beckett i n i t s p h i l o s o p h i c a l aspects has tended to con-ce n t r a t e on Descartes and the Cartesians on the one hand, and on the other on the t h i n k e r s of the nineteenth and tw e n t i e t h c e n t u r i e s more or l e s s connected w i t h E x i s t e n t i a l i s m . " 1 ^ Michael Robinson, a c r i t i c of the l a t t e r c o n c e n t r a t i o n , approaches The Unnamable through the philosophies of S a r t r e and Berkeley. The B e c k e t t i a n S e l f i s an approximation of S a r t r e ' s pour-soi which "organizes a l l t h a t i s (the e n - s o i ) " 1 ^ and cannot conceive o f i t s e l f without becoming the Other. The " I " or pour-soi wants to know i t s e l f and t h e r e f o r e creates a f i c t i o n (the c h aracter of Worm), thereby becoming Worm's Other, an object:. The unnamable wants to become Worm i n order to conceive h i s own self-hoodt h i s attempt i s a f a i l u r e , as he i s unable to become h i m s e l f through h i s c r e a t i o n . Robinson uses S a r t r e ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of human r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n an attempt to e x p l a i n the novel and the character's search f o r his. S e l f i 5 a futile gesture where the Other exists. From that, Robinson takes Berkeley's doctrine esse est percipi to illustrate the need for the unnamable to creates others so that he might be seen, since once he has been seen by another, his Being is confirmed. The novel becomes "a monstrous projection of Berkeley's doctrine of perception and of Sartre's concept of the O t h e r . A s Morot-Sir states, Existential readings of Beckett are popular with the critics, who frequently ally Beckett with Sartre and Camust Rilke and Dostoevsky. Steven Rosen places Beckett in an entire tradition of pessimism which includes the Existentialists, but begins with Socrates and the Cynics. Rosen maintains that Beckett uses a l l the pessimistic cliches to write "a really entertaining -1 Q complaint about l i f e . " The character of the unnamable is, according to Rosen, a sage-type in the mode of Socrates, mediated by humour and a certain buffoonery; but Rosen calls him a failed sage "who has lost some of his poise,"^ h i s serenity (perhaps an "insane calm"), on his quest for apathy. Like the other pessimists, Beckett will admit no consolation for the misery of man, since consolation is no more than a cowardly or platitudinous gesture. Beckett enters the pessimistic tradition by declaring that "the artist must accept 2 0 his art's futility}" in keeping with this assertion, Beckett, like his predecessors the "solitary, introspective pessimists 2 1 from Heraclitus to Proust," upholds the pessimistic tradition by using "unrealistically simplified models of consciousness, ... rather arbitrary limitation[s]of mood, ... and deals with 6 something l i k e hypochondria, ["humans are s u b s t a n t i a l l y s i c k " ] 22 a c o n d i t i o n which seems to i n v i t e i n t o l e r a n c e . " Rosen claims t h a t even w i t h i n t h i s p e s s i m i s t i c t r a d i t i o n , Beckett's views seem remarkably extreme. In h i s study, Rosen makes l i t t l e d i s t i n c t i o n between the novels, although he b e l i e v e s that the f i r s t two novels o f the t r i l o g y are b e t t e r examples of the p e s s i m i s t i c t r a d i t i o n t h a t Beckett's other novels; The Unnamable does, however, i l l u s t r a t e how "as man withdraws from the world and approaches the s e l f ... the s e l f becomes s u c c e s s i v e l y emptier, even f i n a l l y without d i s t i n c t i d e n t i t y at a l l . " 2 ^ By u s i n g Beckett as an i l l u s t r a t i o n or an example, and p l a c i n g him w i t h i n a somewhat r i g i d t r a d i t i o n , Rosen performs a l e v e l l i n g t a s k , reducing the d i f f e r e n c e between the w r i t e r s i n the t r a d i t i o n to a f f i r m general t r u t h s about the t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f ; Beckett's novels are placed i n a p o s i t i o n of s e c o n d a r i t y to the t r a d i t i o n . I f any one philosopher or philosophy dominates Beckett c r i t i c i s m , i t i s s u r e l y Descartes and Cartesianism. Since the recovery of Beckett's e a r l y poem "Whoroscope," which i s about Descartes and h i s eggs, and Beckett's f i r s t novel Murphy, w i t h i t s s i x t h chapter on Murphy's mind, Beckett c r i t i c i s m has s e i z e d on the concept of C a r t e s i a n dualism as i t i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n Beckett's works. Edouard Morot-Sir i n " C a r t e s i a n Emblems" t r a c e s more than f i f t e e n years of study of B e c k e t t i a n Cartesianism i n Beckett c r i t i c i s m , before he continues w i t h a v a r i a t i o n of the t r a d i t i o n . Perhaps the most w e l l known C a r t e s i a n study of Beckett i s Hugh Kenner's 7 "The Cartesian Centaur," where Kenner associates Descartes* "perfect corporeal machine"--the body.'— with Beckett's man on a bicycle. Kenner traces the development of the man on the bicycle motif, and its relation to Descartes, through Beckett's novels to The Unnamable; in The Unnamable the centaur becomes dismembered« the end result of a gradual disintegration of the machine. According to Kenner, The Unnamable "carries the Cartesian process backwards beginning with a bodily .ie suis and ending with a bare cogito:" there is "no verifiable body." Kenner concludes by suggesting that Beckett's study of the relation between mind and body, and his subsequent anti-Cartesianism, indicates the failure of the seventeenth century ideal (the "fatal dream of being, knowing and moving like a god"2-*) in the twentieth century — what Morot-Sir would describe as "the contemporary doom of 26 Cartesian expectations." Ruby Cohn, like Kenner, outlines the influence of Descartes on Beckett's novels, but finds that the Occasionists, Geulincx and Malebranche, with their extension of Cartesian principles are more significant in their influence on Beckett. She examines the mind/body split in The Unnamable. and the char-acter's search for selfhood which begins, like Descartes', in aporia or doubt; but she asserts that Beckett does not show particular interest in Cartesian idealism, and his heroes do not demonstrate the same ethical concerns as Descartes« "Beckett carefully disclaims for his hero any concern with the 'ethical yoyo' to which both Descartes and especially 8 Geulincx were drawn." ' Gohn would maintain, like Kenner, that The Unnamable is an example of the deterioration of Cartesian principles, that Beckett indicates the direction of Cartesian principles towards decay in "this late stage 28 of human history." Morot-Sir identifies at least twenty-five different philosophies associated with Beckett criticism; included are Martin Esslin's Kierkegaardian reading, Robbe-Grillet's Heideggerian reading, Schultz's Hegelian reading and Frederick Hoffman's Cartesian-Berkeleyan reading. Rather than elaborating upon each of the philosophical systems either applied to Beckett or supposedly intrinsic to his work, i t might be more interesting to note the significant interdependence of philosophy and literature. It seems that philosophy relies upon fiction to illustrate its particular propositions of general truths, and fiction upon philosophy for either ideas or commentary; and yet, the traditional critics presume a certain autonomy from the fiction they approach! Porter Abbott in The Fiction of Samuel Beckett writes, "unless we are to throw over our vocation, we must necessarily talk from a 29 vantage point outside art." 7 Inherent in this attitude is the belief that proper, l i t e r a l language stands apart from fictive, figurative language, that the schism between the two allows "vantage points" either outside or inside. But what of Beckett the philosopher? or does his vantage point ever change from that of the artist? As we have seen, there are certainly critics who would claim Beckett as a philosopher? 9 but they do not approach the subsequent problem of t h e i r own p o s i t i o n s as c r i t i c s . However, perhaps we are moving outside the realms of the l e g i t i m a t e c r i t i c i s m by r a i s i n g these questions; f o r the moment, l e t us remain w i t h i n the bounds of the l e g i t i m a t e c r i t i c i s m and examine E s s l i n * s second categoryi the e l u c i d a t i o n of u n d e r l y i n g s t r u c t u r e s or main design of the t e x t . Most of the t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m of The Unnamable i s concerned with.the u n d e r l y i n g s t r u c t u r e s of the t e x t , and most of the c r i t i c s i d e n t i f y the s t r u c t u r e , to one degree or another, as an epic s t r u c t u r e . Germaine Bree sees an e n t i r e epic p a t t e r n i n The Unnamable; the voyage, quest or encounter, 30 combat, s e p a r a t i o n and r e t u r n ; ^ but the m a j o r i t y o f other c r i t i c s focus on the quest s t r u c t u r e alone, along w i t h the r e q u i s i t e q u esting heroi a character they i d e n t i f y as the unnamable. Regardless of the f a c t that there i s an e n t i r e " g a l l e r y of moribunds" i n the nove l , going by the names o f Malone, Mahood, B a s i l and Worm interchangeably, the c r i t i c s conclude t h a t there i s a r e a l consciousness present i n the novel which e x i s t s apart from the f i c t i o n s (the other names and s t o r i e s ) , an " I " , c a l l e d the unnamable, who quests p r i m a r i l y f o r an i d e n t i t y , a s e l f , an ego, a name, a t r u t h , a being. There are a few v a r i a t i o n s on what the unnamable quests f o r ; Robinson claims that the unnamable quests f o r a 31 ce n t r e , a meaning,-^ Josephine Jacobsen and W i l l i a m M u e l l e r t h a t the hero quests f o r o b l i v i o n (meaninglessness, s i l e n c e ) , - ^ and Rosen t h a t the hero quests f o r apathy, ignorance and 1 0 a n x i e t y ("the inescapable c o n d i t i o n of h u m a n i t y " ) ; J J but a l l the c r i t i c s acknowledge t h a t there i s a c t u a l l y a questing hero, although from the f i r s t page the " I " i s questioned: 3/4. " I seem to speak, i t i s not I , about me, i t i s not about me."-/ A l l e n Thiher w r i t e s t h a t "the mere saying ' I * f o s t e r s , the i l l u s i o n t h a t a s e l f has been created, t h a t a character i s present, t h a t a v o i c e speaks."-^ I t seems necessary f o r t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c s to i d e n t i f y a cha r a c t e r , a hero, even i f he has no name, no i d e n t i t y , and "no v e r i f i a b l e body;" many conclude t h a t the char a c t e r i s t h e r e f o r e a u n i v e r s a l f i g u r e (mankind i n g e n e r a l ) . Jafcobsen and Mue l l e r c a l l the Beckett p r o t a g o n i s t the "Q" f i g u r e (from quidam; somebody, one unknown), Prye c a l l s i t the ego " s t r i p p e d of a l l i n d i v i d u a l i t y ... seen 3 7 merely as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a l l o f i t s k i n d , " - " F l e t c h e r c a l l s i t "the naked v o i c e of being who e x i s t s behind a l l of them [the other names^,"^ and Cohn c a l l s i t "the image of 3Q o u r s e l v e s . " ^ 7 Cohn and F l e t c h e r are more s p e c i f i c that the f i g u r e i s the u n i v e r s a l artist-human f i g u r e . I t i s a short step from an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the prot a g o n i s t as mankind, to a f f i r m a t i o n s of general t r u t h s ; the hero of the novel becomes a l l men que s t i n g f o r s e l v e s , i d e n t i t i e s and Being. Some c r i t i c s are c a r e f u l to i d e n t i f y the quest i n The  Unnamable as a uniquely t w e n t i e t h century one; Jacobsen and Muel l e r b e l i e v e t h a t w i t h the absence of God (a cen t r e , a meaning), mankind i s faced w i t h meaninglessness and emptiness and, out of n e c e s s i t y , must quest to di s c o v e r h i s i d e n t i t y . Other c r i t i c s see the problem as being as o l d as mankind: 1 1 man has always been compelled to quest for his identity, and that is the basis of a l l philosophy. The Cartesian critics see the quest as one for the cogito which can no longer be confirmed by a benevolent deity or the self thinking of itself; the Existential critics see the quest as man's attempt to transcend his facticity and achieve ideal Being. In every case, the quest for the self or Being or the cogito is a failure; The Unnamable is an example of man's "failure to acquire an identity," failure to be completely identified. Although the novel, according to the critics, affirms a universal truth about mankind, the supposed failure of the quest is, strangely enough,, not attributed to their assertion that man can never achieve self-hood no matter how long he quests to do so; rather, the failure is attributed to language. Again the division between the logical, propositional (literal, transparent) language of philosophy, and the language of fiction is attested by the critics; they say that fictional language, in Beckett's case, cannot deliver the truth, although that truth is claimed as a universal philosophic truth. Since the character cannot achieve identity in the novel, they claim the fault is in language, because i t actively prevents the character from realizing the goal of his quest. Here we see the paradoxical nature of the critics' endeavourst they affirm that Beckett reveals a philosophic truth about mankind, that mankind cannot achieve identity, but in fiction the failure of the achievement is the fault of fictional language — the truth of Beckett's fiction is that there .is no truth in fiction. 12 II Traditional textual interpretation founds itself on this particular understanding of metaphon a detour to truth. Not only individual metaphors or systems of metaphors, but fiction in general is seen as a detour to a truth that the.critic can deliver through her interpretation. Gayatri Spivak To suggest that meaning and language do not coincide, and to draw from that noncoincidence a particular strength, is merely to restate what literature has always revealed. 2 Geoffrey Hartman Most of the traditional Beckett critics agree that Beckett's The Unnamable is difficult and obscure, and frequently quote the passage "the discourse must go on. So one invents obscurities. Rhetoric;" (p.294) some of the critics go so far as to say that Beckett is deliberately obscure so as to resist interpretations " i t discourages interpretation, for this discouragement, in fact, is a large part of Beckett's meaning ... this] works provoke such guesswork ... and provoke curiosity about [the meaning]." J Rosen actually makes a case that despite a l l Beckett's attempts to suppress or eliminate meaning, meaning continues to emerge from the "buzzing, blooming confusion." As Nietzsche writes, our will to order arises from our need to make chaos intelligible through interpretation and subsequently appropriation; the will to create or arrive at a unified, fixed meaning in critical interpretations is a reductive process. Harold Bloom atteststhist "The proper use of any critical paradigm 13 ought to l e s s e n the dangers of r e d u c t i o n , yet c l e a r l y most paradigms are, i n themselves, dangerously r e d u c t i v e . " T r a d i t i o n a l Beckett c r i t i c i s m concerns i t s e l f w i t h p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r p r e t a t i v e models; most of the c r i t i c i s m i s a manner of hermeneutics, which would attempt to d e l i v e r the meaning or t r u t h o f Beckett's The Unnamable. Strangely enough, however, the c r i t i c s never examine the donnees they employ or accept; they maintain a necessary b l i n d n e s s to t h e i r own p r o j e c t s . Since most of the c r i t i c s presume th a t Beckett i s d e l i b e r a t e l y obscure, and t h a t h i s t e x t s r e s i s t easy under-standing, such a p o s i t i o n seems a good place to begin; Jacobsen and Mueller w r i t e "there i s general agreement that Beckett readers need a key, some open-sesame as they stand 4 5 at the t h r e s h o l d of h i s t e x t . " v To r e v i v e A r i s t o t l e , w r i t e r s employ the v e h i c l e of language — the language of r a r e words and metaphors — i n t h e i r a r t ; i f the work i s obscure, i t must be because of the f i g u r a t i v e language. C l e a r l y , t h i s p r e s u p p o s i t i o n i s working i n Beckett c r i t i c i s m . And thus, the c r i t i c s e s t a b l i s h the dichotomy between A r t and c r i t i c i s m ; Art obscures and c r i t i c i s m c l a r i f i e s . The i m p l i c a t i o n s of the word "obscure" are evident« o b s c u r i t y i s a covering over, a darkening, an u n i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y (from the L a t i n "to s h i e l d " or "cover"). By employing such a word, the c r i t i c s i n d i c a t e the d i r e c t i o n they w i l l take f o r approaching Beckett. As we observed e a r l i e r , the primary cause given f o r the f a i l u r e of the quest i s language; each one of the Beckett c r i t i c s expresses t h i s f a i l u r e of language to express. John 14 P i l l i n g observes t h a t The Unnamable i s an example o f "the contemporary obsession w i t h the inaccuracy o f language as an instrument; i t i s designed to express, but almost a c t i v e l y r efuses to do so ... language i s a system doomed to f a i l u r e . " The quest f o r s e l f i d e n t i t y f a i l s because "words form the b a r r i e r that prevents us from knowing who we are and what we 47 are," ' w r i t e s Robinson; "language i s the fundamental deception 48 ... an empty area of t r a n s i t , " w r i t e s D i e t e r W e l l e r s h o f f ; "never, i n f i c t i o n , have so many words been used as by Beckett to u n d e r l i n e the i n e f f i c i e n c y of l a n g u a g e , " ^ w r i t e s A.J. Leventhal; and Richard Coe observes t h a t one o f the most important themes of The Unnamable i s "the f a i l u r e of the s e l f to penetrate the b a r r i e r o f w o r d s . n J F i c t i o n a l language appears to express i t s own f a i l u r e to express; the c r i t i c s prove t h i s w i t h Beckett's own words i n Three Dialoguesi " t h i s f i d e l i t y to f a i l u r e , a new occasion, a new form of r e l a t i o n , and of an act which, unable to a c t , o b l i g e d to a c t , he [Van Velde] makes, an expressive a c t , even i f only o f i t s e l f , o f i t s i m p o s s i b i l i t y , of i t s o b l i g a t i o n . " ^ 1 "Expression" i m p l i e s a d i r e c t l i n k , a l i n e between the s i g n i f i e d (the thought) and the s i g n i f i e r , and Beckett a s s e r t s that expression, as such, i s doomed to f a i l u r e , that the occasion and the expression of i t are not n e c e s s a r i l y r e l a t e d , t hat the c l a s s i c a l conception of the s i g n as the " s i g n of" something must be reexamined. Perhaps t h i s i s Hartman's i m p l i c a t i o n when he w r i t e s t h a t l i t e r a t u r e has always revealed the noncoincidence of meaning and language. But the c r i t i c s 15 would maintain the disjunction between their interpretive acts of expression and the fictive text's impossibility to express. While the critics actively claim that fictional language is obscured by metaphors, they claim for themselves exemption — " a l l language distorts; stylistic language distorts absolutely,*^2 writes Richard Coe. Implied in the hermeneutic gesture of Beckett critics is the belief that their language can reveal the "truth," the signified, even though the artist himself expresses the failure of the endeavour. Richard Coe claims that Beckett developed an antistyle which is "a vehicle of expression in which the concepts to be signified are neither coloured nor distorted by the words used to signify them;"-^ and this antistyle will overcome the "chasms between language-as-such and the thoughts or concepts that language traditionally is expected to convey."^ Antistyle or simply the nature of fictive language? Coe does not examine his own expression, the expression of these supposed concepts or truths that Beckett expresses throughvthe vehicle of language. Let us examine the implicit claim of critical language which proposes that i t is a more transparent and direct means of expression than the figurative language that i t explores. The transparency of critical language is dependent on the non-presence of figures of expression in its own writing, for metaphor appears to be the essence of fictional language (that leads to its obscurity); metaphor is what the formalists would call the "making strange" or "making figures" that 1 6 gives the very q u a l i t y of " l i t e r a r i n e s s " to l i t e r a r y t e x t s . What i s the key to t h i s strange w o r l d ? ^ Our study does not c l a i m to s o l v e a l l the puzzles ... meaning has to be disentangled from a seemingly c r y p t i c s c r i p t . 5 ° Man cannot decipher h i s i d e n t i t y from the cosmic complexity of f i c t i o n s and words.57 We cannot avoid n o t i c i n g that there are ... elements that at l e a s t appear to be keys.5o Beckett readers need a key, some open-sesame as they stand at the t h r e s h o l d of h i s t e x t . 5 9 The Unnamable ... i s the product o f a v i s i o n sQ which uncovers "the model, the Idea, the t h i n g i n i t s e l f . " L i k e secret watermarks hidden meanings appear. °^ 62 We must look f o r the key [to meaning] elsewhere. I f we were to c u l t i v a t e Nietzsche's w i l l to ignorance f o r a moment, or maintain the c r i t i c s ' o p p o s i t i o n to A r t , and t h e r e f o r e read these passages l i t e r a l l y , p r o p e r l y , non-m e t a p h o r i c a l l y , we would presume th a t The Unnamable was a locked door, a c r y p t , a c o l l e c t i o n of h i e r o g l y p h i c s , a game or toy, a s e c r e t code, a m y s t i c a l p l a c e , a b u r i a l spot, a coded document or a secret other world. But, The Unnamable i s l i t e r a l l y the t i t l e of a book, a book w i t h two covers and a c e r t a i n number of pages, w r i t t e n i n a common language ( E n g l i s h or French); i s t h a t the t h i n g i t s e l f , the pure s i g n i f i e d t h a t the c r i t i c s r e f e r t o , t h e i r meaning? Transparent language i s e v i d e n t l y not b i n a r i l y opposite to f i g u r a t i v e language; the c r i t i c s use, knowingly or not, metaphoric language to d e s c r i b e t h e i r endeavours. M e t a p h o r i c a l l y , the t e x t becomes a c r y p t , a p u z z l e , a locked entrance way e t c . , and the c r i t i c becomes the key h o l d e r , the game master or the A l i Baba who knows the s e c r e t code to enter a s e c r e t 17 place. I f the reader of the c r i t i c s must decipher, decode the c r i t i c s ' w r i t i n g i n the same way t h a t the c r i t i c s decipher or decode Beckett, then the reader must use the same c r i t i c a l t o o l s ; thus there must be another set of c r i t i c s , and the l a y e r s always connect to other l a y e r s of readers. As Jacques D e r r i d a w r i t e s , "the w r i t e r w r i t e s i n a language and i n a l o g i c whose proper system, laws, and l i f e h i s discourse by d e f i n i t i o n cannot dominate a b s o l u t e l y . G i v e n that the t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c s do not escape metaphoric language, we w i l l examine the predominant metaphors of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n a l i t t l e f u r t h e r . The passages s e l e c t e d from the c r i t i c a l t e x t s are not randomly chosen, but should we d i s t i n g u i s h between the randomness of s e l e c t i o n and s e l e c t i o n f o r design? Any s e l e c t i o n , of course, removes passages from t h e i r contexts to be incorporated i n t o another context, so t h a t now the c r i t i c s are open to i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . I n t e r e s t -i n g l y , w h i l e the c r i t i c s attempt to f i x meanings, or d i s c o v e r t r u t h s i n Beckett's t e x t , t h e i r own meanings s l i p i the c r i t i c s use metaphors to describe the t r u t h a r i s i n g from the metaphors i n another t e x t . The metaphors of keys, p u z z l e s , c i p h e r s , c r y p t s , caves, and those a r i s i n g from the words " o b s c u r i t y " (from the Greek "to s h i e l d " ) , " e l u c i d a t e " (from the L a t i n " l i g h t " ) and " c r y p t i c " (from the Greek "to h i d e " ) , are a l l a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the act of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , but imply that the t e x t i s l o c k e d , coded, covered, hidden, s e c r e t , dark, t h a t the c r i t i c b r i n g s keys, codes, t o o l s , answers, l i g h t . I n 18 t r a d i t i o n a l hermeneutics, r e v e l a t i o n i s a: key concept, the b r i n g i n g o f l i g h t i n t o the obscure world of the t e x t . While we understand the metaphors of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n on one l e v e l , i f we examine the metaphors f u r t h e r s t i l l , we di s c o v e r some r a t h e r i n t e r e s t i n g c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , instances where the metaphors can work i n s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t ways. When the c r i t i c s use the metaphor of the "c i p h e r " (the secret w r i t i n g ) f o r the t e x t , i n d e s c r i b i n g t h e i r p r a c t i c e of "deciphering" (the t u r n i n g of the c i p h e r i n t o o r d i n a r y w r i t i n g ) , they i n d i c a t e t h a t on the one hand there i s a secret w r i t i n g which conceals meaning, and on the other the o r d i n a r y w r i t i n g which r e v e a l s meaning. And y e t , i n the very etymological root of " c i p h e r " (from the Arabic c i f r meaning "zero" o r "empty" i n the a d j e c t i v e form), l i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of non-meaning. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , the c i p h e r does not make sense, i s u n i n t e l l i g i b l e , i s m y s t i c a l ; i t r e v e a l s i t s own emptiness of meaning. Only the continued b e l i e f t h a t there must be meaning leads the attempt to decipher; the p o s s i b i l i t y of "zero" of absence i s always already t h r e a t e n i n g . The quest f o r meaning must ever accept the presence of non-meaning; e r r o r i n d e c i p h e r i n g w i l l i n e v i t a b l y produce the zero. The metaphor of the cr y p t and c r y p t i c w r i t i n g i s another metaphor common to t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m of The Unnamable. The c r y p t i c w r i t i n g or the s e c r e t , m y s t i c a l w r i t i n g i s s i m i l a r to the c i p h e r i n tha t i t conceals t r u t h and r e q u i r e s e i t h e r higher i n t e l l i g e n c e or m y s t i c a l knowledge to r e v e a l i t s e l f J an A l i Baba and s e c r e t codes, open-sesames. E n c l o s i n g the 1 9 meaning i s the c r y p t , f o r the open-sesame i t s e l f i s not the meaning, and the crypt can at once conceal treasure or emptiness, death; the c r y p t conceals the dead, i s the b u r i a l p l a c e . D e r r i d a w r i t e s an i n c i s i v e study o f the metaphor of w r i t i n g as "the dead l e t t e r , " and t r a c e s how w r i t i n g , since i t t e s t i f i e s an absence of an author or speaker, has been 6k a s s o c i a t e d w i t h death throughout philosophy. The crypt metaphor i n d i c a t e s , l i k e the c i p h e r , a r i s k of non-meaning; the a r c h e t y p a l crypt i n l i t e r a t u r e i s C h r i s t ' s tomb which i s discovered empty, save f o r the l i n e n c l o t h e s . The crypt conceals an absence, w h i l e t a n t a l i z i n g w i t h the promise of treasure. One of the most predominant metaphors of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s that of the key and the locked t e x t ; t h i s , of course, corresponds w i t h the t o o l of d e c i p h e r i n g the c i p h e r or c r y p t i c w r i t i n g . The c r i t i c s would solve the puzzles of The Unnamable w i t h the discovery of the appropriate key. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , however, the key which opens the path or passage to meaning, can a l s o preclude opening, f o r the key a l s o conceals, l o c k s i n s i d e i i t both l o c k s and opens. The c r i t i c s ' key to the t e x t must f i t h i s or her reading o f the t e x t , to the supp-r e s s i o n of what does not f i t j i t presents meaning w h i l e preventing the p o s s i b i l i t y of another meaning. In any attempt to u n i f y , there i s always part o f the t e x t which cannot be locked i n , f u l l y accounted f o r i a part which always escapes. Perhaps the most i n t e r e s t i n g metaphors of t r a d i t i o n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n are those of darkness and l i g h t . T r a d i t i o n a l l y , 20 the poet i s a v i s i o n a r y , one who i s guided by a l i g h t that others may not n e c e s s a r i l y see; a r t i s t s , as i t were, see the l i g h t , b r i n g the l i g h t of t r u t h to the darkness of the w o rld, and thus they are awarded s u p e r i o r p o s i t i o n s to those who have no such v i s i o n . They are h i e r a r c h i c a l l y s u p e r i o r to the c r i t i c , who t r a d i t i o n a l l y maintains a p o s i t i o n of s e c o n d a r i t y as one l a c k i n g i n v i s i o n . ^ The v i s i o n a r y t e x t i s considered to be shrouded i n darkness, i n o b s c u r i t y , and n e c e s s i t a t e s " e l u c i d a t i o n . " We may w e l l q u e stion how, i n the task of e l u c i d a t i o n , of r e v e l a t i o n , the c r i t i c must b r i n g the l i g h t to the t e x t i f he i s merely i n a p o s i t i o n of secondarity. The c r i t i c , t h e r e f o r e , b r i n g s l i g h t to another l i g h t con-cealed, and thus takes the primary p o s i t i o n of the v i s i o n a r y ; the union of l i g h t and l i g h t c r eates a "pure presence," unadulterated l i g h t . Beckett would respond t h a t " f o r us ... there i s not such c l a r i t y ... where we have both dark and l i g h t we have al s o the i n e x p l i c a b l e . " ^ On one l e v e l , the metaphors of t r a d i t i o n a l t e x t u a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of The Unnamable a l l p o i n t towards the i n t e r -p r e t i v e ( d e c i p h e r i n g , decoding, u n l o c k i n g , s o l v i n g , l i g h t e n i n g ) acts of r e v e l a t i o n (of the t r u t h or meaning obscured i n the t e x t ) , but on another l e v e l the metaphors p o i n t towards emptiness, zero, death and locked entrances always l o c k i n g out the very p o s s i b i l i t y of meaning, wh i l e h o l d i n g the key to opening the passage to meaning. The t e x t i s (n)ever l o c k e d , (n)ever opened, (n)ever empty, (n)ever a c c e s s i b l e to e l u c i d a t i o n . 2 1 While t r a d i t i o n a l Beckett c r i t i c i s m would endeavour to f i x meaning and t r u t h i n Beckett's t e x t — the misery of the human c o n d i t i o n , the t r u t h of man's s o l i t u d e i n an i n d i f f e r e n t u n i v e r s e , the endless and f u t i l e quest f o r the s e l f or i d e n t i t y , man's l o n e l i n e s s and hopeless l o n g i n g f o r r e s t — and to i s o l a t e i t s e l f or take a "vantage p o i n t " o u t s i d e of Art ( f i g u r a t i v e language), the r h e t o r i c of such c r i t i c i s m r e v e a l s the same metaphors f u n c t i o n i n g i n what i s supposedly p r o p o s i t i o n a l language; but even more im p o r t a n t l y , the c r i t i c s ' g r eatest i n s i g h t i n t o the i n t e r p r e t i v e task, i s the moment of t h e i r g r e a t est b l i n d n e s s (to use Paul de Man's term). There i s always a s k i d d i n g ( o v e r s p i l l , displacement, supplement! here we do not c l a i m f o r ourselves any autonomy from metaphoric language) i n any attempt to a f i x a meaning to the t e x t ; r e v e l a t i o n always conceals, w r i t i n g always " c a r r i e s w i t h i t a c e r t a i n absence or indeterminacy of meaning."^ How els e could we account f o r a l l the d i f f e r e n t " f i x e d " meanings tha t the u n i f i e d i n t e r p r e t i v e readings of Beckett's t e x t d e l i v e r , which "accumulate as a variorum of readings that cannot a l l be r e c o n c i l e d ? " T r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m must, however, maintain i t s own b l i n d n e s s i n order to continue; as Spivak w r i t e s , " i n the l o n g run a c r i t i c cannot h i m s e l f present h i s own v u l n e r a b i l i t y . We come back simply to tha t question of a t t i t u d e ... c r i t i c i s m does not r e v e a l the ' t r u t h ' of l i t e r a t u r e , j u s t as l i t e r a t u r e r e v e a l s no ' t r u t h ' . " ^ 22 I I I C e r t a i n t e x t s ... mark and organize a s t r u c t u r e of r e s i s t a n c e to the p h i l o s o p h i c a l c o n c e p t u a l i t y t h a t a l l e g e d l y dominated or comprehended them, whether d i r e c t l y , or whether through c a t e g o r i e s derived from t h i s p h i l o s o p h i c a l fund, the catego-r i e s of e s t h e t i c s , r h e t o r i c , or t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m . For example the values of meaning or of content, of form or s i g n i f i e r , o f metaphor/ metonymy, of t r u t h , of r e p r e s e n t a t i o n e t c . , at l e a s t i n t h e i r c l a s s i c a l form, can no longer account f o r c e r t a i n very determined e f f e c t s o f these t e x t s . ' Jacques D e r r i d a To begin again, to s t a r t again from nowhere, from no one and from nothing and win to me again, to me here again, by f r e s h ways to be sure, or by the ancient ways, unrecognizable at each f r e s h f a r i n g . Samuel Beckett I f we were to begin again, and go back to E s s l i n ' s observation about the wide area open to l e g i t i m a t e c r i t i c i s m , or r a t h e r the wide area l e g i t i m a t e l y open to c r i t i c i s m , we might indulge i n some s p e c u l a t i o n about l e g i t i m a c y . For now, l e t us take t h i s a s s e r t i o n of E s s l i n ' s out of context (out of two contexts — the t e x t of E s s l i n ' s i n t r o d u c t i o n , and the t e x t at the beginning of t h i s t e x t ) to examine the term " l e g i t i m a c y " when a p p l i e d to an area of l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m . "Legitimacy" (from the L a t i n l e g i t i m u s i l a w f u l , or l e x j law) i m p l i e s a l e g a l , proper r e l a t i o n s h i p between the f a t h e r and the o f f s p r i n g ; the o f f s p r i n g i s l e g i t i m a t e d by the s t r i c t h e r e d i t a r y bond between parent and c h i l d , the c h i l d who i s 23 born from l e g a l wedlock. How does t h i s r e l a t e to the c r i t i c and the t e x t ? The c r i t i c becomes the l e g i t i m a t e descendent from the f a t h e r or the t e x t , and since there i s descendence, there i s a l s o the accompanying primacy and secondarity; the t e x t i s the o r i g i n , and the c r i t i c i s m the i s s u e ( c r i t i c i s m i s the i s s u e ) . The laws p r e s c r i b e d , the laws which determine the bond of l e g i t i m a c y , must be p r e s c r i b e d by something/one preceding the i s s u e i the f a t h e r ; and thus, the f a t h e r ( t e x t ) o r i g i n a t e s the laws f o r h i m s e l f and f o r h i s o f f s p r i n g (the c r i t i c s ) . I n a d i a l e c t i c a l way, each must depend on the other to l e g i t i m a t e itself» the f a t h e r - t e x t i s only such i n so much as i t has a s o n - c r i t i c . As i t i s evident that c r i t i c i s m , or the c r i t i c i s m of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , t h i n k s i t s e l f n e c e s s a r y — why e l s e would a c r i t i c assume the o b l i g a t i o n of i n t e r p r e t i n g a t e x t ? — there must be a c e r t a i n l a c k inherent i n the t e x t , something th a t needs i n t e r p r e t a t i o n ; Spivak w r i t e s , "the s o - c a l l e d secondary m a t e r i a l i s not a simple adjunct to the s o - c a l l e d primary t e x t . The l a t t e r i n s e r t s i t s e l f w i t h i n the i n t e r s t i c e s of the former, f i l l i n g holes that are always already there."'' 1 Thus c r i t i c i s m founds i t s e l f on an absence i n the t e x t , and i n a s i m i l a r way engenders i t s own absence of meaning, t r u t h , s i g n i f i e d e t c . ; the f a t h e r ' s l a c k i s f i l l e d by the son. The c r i t i c s ' t e x t s only belong to the f a t h e r s ' t e x t s only i n so f a r as both belong to language — what D e r r i d a would c a l l the "General Text;" the laws th a t govern the two ( a t t e s t i n g to l e g i t i m a c y or otherwise) are the laws of language 24 ( f i g u r a t i v e , p r o p o s i t i o n a l , f i c t i o n a l , t r a n s p a r e n t ) . T r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m of Beckett's t e x t The Unnamable i s o n l y l e g i t i m a t e i n s o f a r as i t conforms to a standard type, to the t r a d i t i o n a l e d i c t s of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n which attempt to u n i f y , enclose and f i x meaning i n a t e x t , although th a t meaning i s always already s l i p p i n g . I n t h i s endeavour, they continue the t r a d i t i o n of logocentrism and the l o g i c a l c o n s t r u c t s of Western metaphysics; D e r r i d a c a l l s the h i s t o r y of Western metaphysics the metaphysics of presence (the presence of t r u t h , meaning, bein g ) . Such i s the yearning f o r u n i t y i n presence. We should acknowledge, of course, that what we have performed to t h i s p o i n t has been a manner of u n i f i c a t i o n i n the t r a d i t i o n a l way. I f we were to continue i n the usual manner, we would place t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m , u n i f y i t i n i n t e n t and method, then promptly usher i n the new form of c r i t i c i s m e q u a l l y u n i f i e d and complete and some-how superior to the antecedent c r i t i c i s m ; we would perform a t r a d i t i o n a l gesture of d i s m i s s a l of the f o r e f a t h e r s and c e l e b r a t e the new, i n i t s very d i f f e r e n c e (and i m p l i e d s u p e r i o r i t y ) to the o l d . This gesture, however, i s i t s e l f a u n i f y i n g one, and thus i s part and p a r c e l of t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m ; i t i n d i c a t e s only a d i f f e r e n c e i n degree and not i n k i n d . We cannot, t h e r e f o r e , dismiss t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m out of hand, even i f t h i s form of c r i t i c i s m has d i f f i c u l t y i n i t s p r o j e c t to u n i f y the meaning of The Unnamable and a r r i v e at a general t r u t h which transcends the t e x t . I f we were to attempt to define a new c r i t i c a l approach, 25 p r o v i s i o n a l l y c a l l e d d e c o n s t r u c t i o n , i t would be problematic, s i n c e the p r o j e c t s of the s o - c a l l e d deconstructors are di s p a r a t e . There are, however, c e r t a i n q u a l i t i e s that they have i n common* they are concerned w i t h the bi n a r y o p p o s i t i o n s (and v i o l e n t h i e r a r c h i e s ) inherent i n the Western metaphysical - l o g o c e n t r i c t r a d i t i o n , w i t h the non-coincidence of meaning and language, w i t h commentary versus u n i f y i n g i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , w i t h the languages of p h i l o -sophy and f i c t i o n , w i t h the way tha t meaning always escapes (as does the t e x t ) i n t o t e x t u a l i t y and does not remain w i t h i n the i l l u s o r y confines of the "book" under the i l l u s o r y a u t h o r i t y of the proper author, w i t h the Derridean concept of " w r i t i n g " (phonic, g r a p h i c , ideogrammic, h i e r o g l y p h i c e t c . ) , and w i t h i r r e c o n c i l a b l e d i f f e r e n c e ( and Derrida's " d i f f e r a n c e " which i s n e i t h e r a word nor a concept, but the c o n d i t i o n of a l l d i f f e r e n c e s ) . The deconstructors are not opposed to t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m , f o r that would be to remain w i t h i n the c l o s u r e of Western metaphysics, the t r a d i t i o n from which t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m a r i s e s , and they use t r a d -i t i o n a l t o o l s to explore d i s u n i t y , what escapes every u n i f y i n g gesture. In many ways, t h e i r p r o j e c t s are s i m i l a r to the p r o j e c t s of l i t e r a t u r e : to subvert, overthrow and p l a y w i t h i n the laws of language, of w r i t i n g . Geoffrey Hartman observes that the suggestion o f f i n d i n g s t r e n g t h i n the d i s u n i t y between meaning and language i s "merely to r e s t a t e what l i t e r a t u r e has always r e v e a l e d , " and De r r i d a observes t h a t c e r t a i n s o - c a l l e d l i t e r a y t e x t s have set up pat t e r n s of 2 6 r e s i s t a n c e to Western metaphysics. T r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m needs a supplement, just as the t e x t does; d e c o n s t r u c t i o n provides such a supplement to both t e x t s . Since the t e x t i s always supplemented, the supposed u n i t y r e s u l t i n g from the i l l u s i o n provided by the t i t l e d two covers, i s only p r o v i s i o n a l ; as D e r r i d a w r i t e s , the proper name of the author or the t e x t has no s u b s t a n t i a l v a l u e , and the i n d i c a t i v e value we giv e them " i s f i r s t to 72 name the problem"' Rather than attempting a d e s c r i p t i o n of The Unnamable. a d i s c u s s i o n of what the t e x t i s about, which would be an ex e r c i s e i n d e l i m i t i n g the boundaries of the t e x t , i n e n c i r c l i n g the t e x t , and t h e r e f o r e acknowledging the sovereignty of the t e x t (an acknowledgement of the t e x t ' s i l l u s o r y l i m i t s ) , we would do b e t t e r to i n d i c a t e some o f the concerns i n the t e x t . T h i s i s not, however, to prove only a sameness ( a r e d u c t i o n o f the t e x t i n t o commonplace themes), or as Prye c a l l s i t a " l i k e n e s s which leads to 73 monotony,"'^ but more to i n d i c a t e how a l l w r i t i n g concerns i t s e l f w i t h w r i t i n g and language. In many ways, The Unnamable p a r a l l e l s d e c o n s t r u c t i o n . Perhaps i t would be b e t t e r to say t h a t The Unnamable demonstrates what l i t e r a t u r e has always known, and d e c o n s t r u c t i o n demonstrates the gradual coming to self-knowledge o f c r i t i c i s m . L i k e d e c o n s t r u c t i o n , Beckett's w r i t i n g plays w i t h the metaphysical o p p o s i t i o n between p r o p o s i t i o n a l language, or the language o f philosophy and c r i t i c i s m , and the s o - c a l l e d l i t e r a r y language of metaphor and f i c t i o n ; Beckett t r a n s -27 gresses the supposed boundaries between the two by u s i n g p h i l o s o p h i c a l "catch-words" and paradoxes i n metaphorical c o n s t r u c t i o n s , j u s t as D e r r i d a transgresses the boundaries by u s i n g metaphorical c o n s t r u c t i o n s i n p h i l o s o p h i c a l i s s u e s . Both d e c o n s t r u c t i o n and The Unnamable r a d i c a l l y question the very boundaries themselves by c o n t i n u a l l y a l t e r i n g t h e i r p o s i t i o n s , t h e i r "vantage p o i n t s " i n s i d e or o u t s i d e of A r t i the i n s i d e becomes the o u t s i d e and v i c e versa. Beckett uses l o g i c a l c o n t r a d i c t i o n and paradoxes, never a l l o w i n g an a f f i r m a t i o n to remain unnegated, and questions how the t e x t can proceed at a l l when " l o g i c a l l y " such procedure should i n v a l i d a t e i t s e l f ; he questions the very n o t i o n of a r r i v i n g at t r u t h through the a p o r i a of philosophy; "What i s more true than anything else? To swim i s t r u e , and to s i n k i s 74 t r u e . One i s not more t r u e than the other."' L i k e Beckett, d e c o n s t r u c t i o n questions v a l i d i t y and the p o s s i b i l i t y of " t r u t h . " D e r r i d a c a l l s the a f f i r m a t i o n of w r i t i n g , w i t h the r i s k of not a r r i v i n g at a t r u t h or meaning "Nietzschean a f f i r m a t i o n " — "the joyous a f f i r m a t i o n of the p l a y o f the world and of the innocence of becoming, the a f f i r m a t i o n o f a world of signs without f a u l t , without t r u t h , and without 7*5 o r i g i n . " ' - ' Beckett's w r i t i n g i s a c e l e b r a t i o n of d i s u n i t y , and i s thus problematic f o r c r i t i c i s m which s t r i v e s f o r u n i f i c a t i o n i n an e s s e n t i a l l y hermeneutic gesture. Beckett says "What i s the h i s t o r y of c r i t i c i s m but the h i s t o r y of men attempting to make sense of the manifold elements i n a r t what w i l l not allow themselves t o be reduced to a s i n g l e 28 philosophy or a s i n g l e a e s t h e t i c theory?"' As D e r r i d a w r i t e s , " c e r t a i n t e x t s ... mark and organize a r e s i s t a n c e to the p h i l o s o p h i c a l c o n c e p t u a l i t y t h a t a l l e g e d l y comprehended them;" The Unnamable i s such a t e x t , and i t s s t r u c t u r e of r e s i s t a n c e to t r a d i t i o n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s a s t r u c t u r e of r e s i s t a n c e to t r a d i t i o n a l metaphysical con-ceptions of l i t e r a t u r e . The Unnamable c o n s t a n t l y transgresses the supposed boundaries of f i c t i o n and philosophy, metaphor and l i t e r a l i t y , takes i s s u e w i t h the metaphysical d e s i r e f o r c l o s u r e i n beginnings and ending, allows no f o o t h o l d f o r t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m which would seek to e s t a b l i s h p l o t , c h a r a c t e r s e t t i n g , and questions the very p r o p r i e t o r i a l act of naming, of h o l d i n g a t i t l e over a t e x t . The Unnamable does draw st r e n g t h from the noncoincidence of language and meaning, and i f the absence of meaning or the d e f e r r a l of meaning questions the very p o s s i b i l i t y of proceeding i n a t e x t , The Unnamable would o f f e r " I can't go on. I ' l l go on." Rather than attempting another r e d u c t i v e reading o f The Unnamable, we w i l l provide a f i e l d o f p l a y and attempt a productive r e a d i n g of the n o v e l , a reading which w i l l supplement other t e x t s i both other t e x t s o f c r i t i c i s m and The Unnamable i t s e l f . A productive reading, which i s a t t e n t i v e to the m u l t i p l i c i t y and p l u r a l i t y of the t e x t as i t t ransgresses the p r o v i s i o n a l boundaries of t r a d i t i o n , w i l l both augment and a l l o w the p l a y t h a t any t r a n s g r e s s i o n promises. What The Unnamable already deconstructs i n t r a d i t i o n , we w i l l deconstruct even f u r t h e r , and produce what D e r r i d a would c a l l a " d i s s e m i n a t i v e reading," which i s a t t e n t i v e to the multitude of p o s s i b l e meanings th a t language allow s . 29 Footnotes 1 Aristotle, Poetics, trans. S.H. Butcher (New York; H i l l and Wang, 1961), p U l l . Anthony Hartley, "Samuel Beckett," in Spectator (October 23, 1953), P-^59. ^ Martin Esslin, "Introduction," in Samuel Beckettt A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. M. Esslin (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.t Prentice-Hall, 1965). p.10. Esslin, p.12. 6 Esslin, p. 12. John Fletcher, The Novels of Samuel Beckett (Londont Chatto and Windus, 1964), p.180. 7 Fletcher, p.184. 8 Fletcher, p.185. ^ Hugh Kenner, Samuel Beckett 1 A Critical Study (New York: Grove Press Inc., 1961), p . l l . [ 1 0 Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology. trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1976), p.158. 1 1 G.C. Barnard, Samuel Beckett: A New Approach (New York: Dodd, Mead Inc., 1970), p.7. 12 Barnard, p.7. 14 Barnard, p.7. Barnard, p.7. Edouard Morot-Sir, "Samuel Beckett and Cartesian Emblems," in Samuel Beckett: The Art of Rhetoric, eds. E. Morot-Sir et al (Chapel H i l l , N.C.; Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1976), p.29. ^ Michael Robinson, The Lpng Sonata of the Dead: A Study Qt Samus], BecKett (New York; Grove Press Inc., 1909;, p.198. 1 7 Robinson, p.203. 1 8 Steven Rosen, Samuel Beckett and the Pessimistic Tradition (New Brunswick, N.J.; Rudgers Univ. .Press, 1976p.zo. ^ Rosen, p.112. 30 2 0 Rosen, p.215. 2 1 Rosen, p.219. 22 Rosen, p.219. 23 r Rosen, p.29. 24 Kenner, p.128. 2 ^ Kenner,"p.l32o 2 6 Morot-Sir, p. 3^. 2^ Ruby Cohn, Samuel Beckett 1 The Comic Gamut (New Brunswick, N.J.t Rutgers Univ. Press, 1962), p.57. 28 Cohn, p.296. 2 9 Porter Abbott, The Fiction of Samuel Beckett (Berkeley* The Univ. of California Press, 1973)» P»6. ~~ 3° Germaine Bree, "The Strange World of Beckett's 'Grands Articules*," in Samuel Beckett Now, ed. M. Friedman (Chicagoi Univ. of Chicago Press, 1970), p.84. 3 1 Robinson, p.30. 3Z Josephine Jacobsen and William Mueller, The Testament  of Samuel Beckett (New Yorki H i l l and Wang, 1964), p.23. 33 Rosen, p.27. 31* Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable in Three Novels (New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1957). p.291. All subsequent references will be to this edition. 3$ Allen Thiher, "Wittgenstein, Heidegger, The Unnamable and Some Thoughts on the Status of Voice in Fiction," in Samuel Becketti Humanistic Perspectives, eds. Morris Beja et al (Ohio 1 Ohio State Univ. Press, 1983), p.88. 3^ Jacobsen and Mueller, p.5* 3? Northrop Frye, "The Nightmare Life in Death," in Hudson  Review. 13 ( i 9 6 0 ; , p.443 and 448. 3 8 Fletcher, p.179-39 Cohn, p.5» **° Fletcher, p.190. 4 l Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Translator's Preface" to Of Grammatology. by Jacques Derrida, p.lxxiv. 31 Geoffrey Hartman, "Preface" to Deconstruction and  Criticism, eds. Harold Bloom et al. (New York* The Seabury Press, 1979). p . v i i i . ^3 Rosen, p.6,7. ^ Harold Bloom, Poetry and Repression (New Havent Yale Univ. Press, 1976), pTPH Jacobsen and Mueller, p.60. John Pilling, Samuel Beckett (Londont Routledge and Kegan Paul Inc., 1976J, p.26,28. ^ Robinson, p.23. hQ Dieter Wellershoff, "Failure of an Attempt at De-Myth-ologizationi Samuel Beckett's Novels," trans. M. Esslin, in Samuel Beckett* A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. M. Esslin, p.105. ^ A.J. Leventhal, "The Beckett Hero, " in Samuel Beckettt A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. M. Esslin, p.50. 5° Richard Coe, "Beckett's English," in Samuel Beckett 1 Humanistic Perspectives, eds. Morris Beja et al., p.56. Samuel Beckett and George Duthuit, Three Dialogues, in Samuel Beckettt A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. M. Esslin, p.21. 5 2 Coe, p.38. 53 Coe, p.40. 5^ Coe, p.53. 55 Hartley, p.459« 5^ Alice and Kenneth Hamilton, Condemned to Life* The  World of Samuel Beckett (Grand Rapids, Mich.* William E. Eerdmans, 1976), p.10 and 121. 5? Cohn, p.296. 5 8 Abbott, p.9. 59 jacobsen and Mueller, p.60. ^ Jacobsen and Mueller, p.67. 6 1 Wellershoff, p.96. 6 2 Maurice Nadeau, "Samuel Beckett* Humor and the Void," 32 trans. Barbara Bray, in Samuel Becketti A Collection of  Critical Essays, ed. M. Esslin, p.35» 6 3 Derrida, p.158. 64 See Derrida's chapter "The End of-the Book and the Beginning of Writing," pp.16-18 in Of Grammatology. and see Dissemination. 6 5 See J. H i l l i s Miller's "The Critic as Host," in Deconstruction and Criticism, eds. Harold Bloom et al, for an examination of the continued metaphor of the critic as parasite. 66 Tom Driver, "Beckett by the MadeMne," in Columbia  University Forum. 4 (Summer 1961), p.23. ^ Hartman, p . v i i i . ^ Hartman, p . v i i i . ^ 9 Spivak, p.lxxv. 7 0 Jacques Derrida, Positions, trans. Alan Bass (Chicagoi Univ. of Chicago Press, 1981), p.70. 7 1 Spivak, p.lxxiv. 7 2 Derrida, Of Grammatology. p.99» 7 3 Northrop Frye, Spiritus Mundi (Indianat Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1976), p.17. ^ Driver, p.22. ^ Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicagot Univ. of Chicago Press, 1978), p.292. 7 6 Driver, p.22. II The Question of Beginning 34 The beginning is designated in order to indicate, clarify, or define a later time, place or action. 1 Edward Said Where now? Who now? When now? Unquestioning. I, say I. Unbelieving. Questions, hypotheses, call them that ... Perhaps that is how i t began. What am I to do, what shall I do, what should I do, in my situation, how proceed? By aporia pure and simple. The Unnamable From the Bible we get "In the beginning was the word," from Ferdinand Saussure, in the beginning was the sound (phone). from Jacques Derrida, in the beginning was "differance" (the condition of a l l beginnings), and from Samuel Beckett, Where now? Who now? When now? The Unnamable opens onto three questions, three interrogative pronouns, as the third of the projected trilogy of novels (Three Novels)i such is the beginning project of the end, the projected end, promised by the t i t l e of Three Novels, the beginning of the promised end, the completion, the last. The (hi)story of the Western literary tradition, from the initiating moment (provisionally called Aristotle), has been one of beginnings, middles and endings» every origin (arche) moves towards its end (telos), and thus writing has been marked by a proliferation of arche-ologies and teleologies, linearly circular, as certain as the tock follows the tick. But what of the infinitesimal moment between the tock and the next tick, between the end and the beginning, between Malone Dies and The Unnamable? The beginning of a text is difference, difference from/ 35 to other t e x t s ; i t i s what designates, ( d e ) s i g n ( a t e s ) the space between one t e x t and another, i n i t i a t i n g a process to be continued. As a s i g n , i t p o i n t s both back to previous t e x t s and forward to the t e x t i n progress. Said d i s t i n g u i s h e s beginnings from o r i g i n s i n t h a t o r i g i n s are t h e o l o g i c a l and d i v i n e , and beginnings are s e c u l a r ; o r i g i n s c e n t r a l l y dominate what deriv e s from them and beginnings encourage d i s p e r s i o n (are merely i n d i c a t o r s ) . "The beginning i s the f i r s t p oint 2 ( i n time, space or a c t i o n ) of an accomplishment or process." The beginning i s the i n i t i a t i o n ( i n i t i a l moment) of the d i f f e r e n t , i s the ceremony, t h e i n i t i a t i o n a l ceremony of the new member, the new l e g , the l a s t l e g as i t were, of the t r i l o g y . The novel moves towards a f u l f i l l m e n t of the promise of completion, the f i n a l beginning from a l l other beginnings; the t r i l o g y promised, and the t h i r d comes as promised, to the l a s t l e g on i t s l a s t l e g s . A f t e r Malone Dies we come to the promised end, the end to come; the end comes i n ( e n t e r s ) . Enter the t e x t — the stage (the t h i r d ) i s set (now?). Where does the t e x t enter, on what stage, what board(er)s ( i n French bords. s i d e s , borders)? Where are the board(er)s of the t e x t ? In Beckett's drama, the boards (the stage) always recede, become a t o p o g r a p h i c a l , p l a c e l e s s p l a c e s , i n d e f i n i t e t o p o i . The b l a c k i s only broken by a scream (Breath), i n t r u d e d on by a mouth (Not I ) , by words; language breaks the bords. "Here i s my beginning" says Molloy ( f i r s t s tage); but where? (now) i n The Unnamable ( t h i r d stage)? Where (?) i s 36 the demand f o r s i t u a t i o n , f o r s p a t i a l d e f i n i t i o n , s p a t i a l borders of the stage (3); where i s the beginning, where the t e x t begins? The (now) blackened boards, blackening against the white of the margins (and the white space above/ before the b l a c k ) . F i r s t white, then b l a c k ; now white, now ( b ) l a c k — Edward Saidt "the beginning premise of a l l w r i t i n g i s l o s s . * * 3 Now white, now ( b ) l a c k . (B)lack now, (b)lac(k)now. The question "Where now?" l a c k s knowledge of s p a t i a l i t y , questions s i t u a t i o n ("My s i t u a t i o n " ? ) ; i t i n s p i r e s the d e s i r e to know, i n d i c a t e s the l a c k o f s i t u a t i o n ( ? ) . The question thwarts the promise of f u l f i l l m e n t , promised i n the f i r s t , i n the t i t l e Three Novels, i n the beginning of the t h i r d . The end s u r e l y enters, but where (now)? I t s e l f a promise, the question effaces the i n i t i a l promise by promising anew, promising an answer to where i s "my s i t u a t i o n " now? I t promises a wait ("Perhaps t h a t i s how i t [Godot] began?"), but not a way (means) of e n t r y , and suspends the weight of beginning. The beginning p o i n t , the " f i r s t p o i n t " i s suspended, but u r g e n t l y (now). Can the stage (3) l a c k the necessary board(er)s and s t i l l r e t a i n the margins o f beginning, the i n i t i a t i n g p o i n t , the b l ackening of the page, or are the beginnings effaced by the question and the suspended promise? The promise i s issued by whom (now)? Who w i l l f u l f i l l the promise (now) of beginning the t e x t , of answering the q u e s t i o n of s i t u a t i o n ? N a r r a t i v e demands a n a r r a t o r , a t e l l e r o f the t a l e , one who w i l l f u l f i l l the promise o f a beginning (but have we begun 37 now?), f i l l the; l a c k between the two t e x t s (2 and 3); n a r r a t i v e s , n o v e l s , r e q u i r e one who k(now)s how to proceed. But again the second question i s suspended (now) over the f i r s t , o r a f t e r the f i r s t , t a n t a l i z i n g l y s h i f t i n g as we move, i n our d e s i r e f o r reassurance, towards a graspable s i t u a t i o n , an i d e n t i f i a b l e speaker (not a where? or who? now). Again the urgency of the qu e s t i o n i s repeated i n the now(?'); the t e m p o r a l i t y i s suspended by the question mark which betrays the apparent l i n e a r i t y o f the w r i t t e n l i n e . The c o n s e c u t i v i t y of the questions, the words ( ? ) , (the black n o ( w ) h i t e ) , l i n e a r l y arranged suggest beginning p o i n t s , but the temporal element of a l l n a r r a t i v e s (which always have an i n t e r n a l chronology) which could confirm the i n i t i a t i n g p o i n t of s t a r t i n g , of going forward, i s effaced by the question and the promise. In the beginning (when? now) is/was the ( b ) l a c k o f w r i t i n g i r r u p t i n g from the margins (now?), the l a c k of o r i g i n s , the i n i t i a t i n g l o s s . The "now" repeated three times u r g e n t l y , but q u e s t i o n i n g the c o n s t i t u t i o n (the cont a g a i n s t , s ( t ) i t u i p l a c e , " a t i o n " ) o f a beginning moment, of i n i t i a l movement, i s emphatic through r e p e t i t i o n . Begin now! (?) Commencez! (Comment C'est. How I t I s . i n the beginning). I t p r o j e c t s towards a novel as yet un w r i t t e n (according to the chronology o f the Beckett oeuvre). but w r i t t e n a l ready i n t e x t u a l i t y i i t a l s o p r o j e c t s towards a beginning not as yet made, another beginning (?) — when? ( a f t e r two novels) now? The f i r s t word then (Where?) i n the opening o f the 38 novel cannot be the beginning; i t has been effaced by the p r o j e c t i o n o f another beginning to come (in» e n t e r ) . The board(er)s become c l e a r f o r another beginning which i s not the f i r s t : but was there a f i r s t ? J u s t a "confusion i n the e x o r d i a . " (p.302) L i t e r a l l y a con, a t r i c k , which reneges on the promise of the t i t l e ; we have been conned by a beginning t h a t was not; but a l s o a con (with) f u s i o n ( j o i n i n g ) , which at once j o i n s the t h i r d novel to the second, and e f f a c e s the d i s t i n g u i s h i n g marks — marks which should, according to S a i d , i n d i c a t e , c l a r i f y or d e f i n e . Does the novel begin by begging t o (k)now? (where, who, when), by begging the que s t i o n (beg(g)in(g) the qu e s t i o n , begin the q u e s t ( i o n ) ) ? I t s t a l l s , postpones the beginning w i t h questions (through begging or a v o i d i n g the i s s u e ) , and creates "the i n f i n i t e s i m a l l a g , between a i r i v a l and departure, t h i s t r i f l i n g delay;" (p.3W i t defers the i s s u e of beginning by d i f f e r i n g from i t s e l f (begging to d i f f e r ) , by p r o j e c t i n g forward to an i n d e f i n i t e moment of beginning and promising the p o s s i b i l i t y of another p o i n t o f departure. And y e t , the three questions are unquestionably the f i r s t three i n the no v e l , the f i r s t words; the q u e s t i o n i n g i s i t s e l f denied; "unquestioning" f o l l o w s the questions. The " u n q u e s t i o n i n g questions are undone, the promise dashed by the l a c k of the question mark, by the statement. The ( h i ) s t o r y of n a r r a t i v e l i t e r a t u r e begins w i t h the premise t h a t a l l s t o r i e s have beginnings from which proceeds the s t o r y towards i t s end; even the s t o r i e s which begin 39 i n media res begin nonetheless and f i n d t h e i r c h r o n o l o g i c a l ( i n t e x t u a l chronology) beginnings d u r i n g the course of the s t o r y . The f i r s t words are the beginning, but the beginning i s d eferred i n the i n f i n i t e s i m a l l a g between a r r i v a l and departure, (between 2 and 3)» they c o n t a i n a r a d i c a l a l t e r i t y which cannot be d i s s o l v e d . The Unnamable does not begin at the beginning, nor i n media res ( s i n c e s i t u a t i o n i s always suspended by the mark o f the q u e s t i o n ) , j u s t i n media, the middle, the i n between* "nothing can serve as a poi n t of departure." (p.306) The words proceed from an i d e f i n i t e p l a c e , through an i n d e f i n i t e n a r r a t o r , i n an i n d e f i n i t e time ( l i k e the two screams i n the dark i n Breath)* and yet they proceed w i t h the p r o j e c t of beginning always already de f e r r e d , postponed. But t h i s assurance o f procedure i s i t s e l f suspended, effaced by the q u e s t i o n i n g mark* "how proceed?" The procedure i s questioned, both the p o s s i b i l i t y o f proceeding and the method of procedure; both senses s p r i n g from the etymological d i f f e r e n c e of cederei both to y i e l d and go forward. Proceeding e n t a i l s the y i e l d i n g , the g i v i n g way, and the movement away from the wreckage* language moves i n The Unnamable through a process of c o n t i n u a l effacement, each new q u e s t i o n e f f a c i n g the effaced preceding (pre-ceding* the one t h a t has given way before) q u e s t i o n i n a system o f p a l i m p s e s t u a l ( p a l - i n c e s t u a l ) r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Procedure contains the necessary f a i l u r e o f i t s e l f * i t questions i t s e l f (proceed?); the system of palimpsests, however, i s 40 not l i n e a r , nor can a method be (dis)c o v e r e d through arch-o l o g i c a l p u r s u i t s , s i n c e there i s no i n i t i a l i m p r i n t which i s not i t s e l f always already effaced. "Procedure'' i s pro-ceeding through endless erasure; such i s the procedure o f w r i t i n g and the ( h i ) s t o r y o f t e x t u a l i t y t "the t e x t i s a process of demonstration ... i s he l d i n language, o n l y e x i s t s i n the movement of a di s c o u r s e . " The Unnamable proceeds (how?) against i t s own erasure, i s c o n s t a n t l y t h r e a t e n i n g to ef f a c e i t s e l f even as i t pro-ceeds. Such i s an a p o r i a , not pure and never simple. The procedure i s d o u b t f u l , i s doubting, but u n l i k e Descartes* a p o r i a f i n d s no c o n s o l a t i o n i n a transcendental (something/ one which escapes t e x t u a l i t y ) s i g n i f i e d . P l a y i n g upon the board(er)s between a r r i v a l and departure, the margins and the t e x t , the t e x t of The Unnamable i s always at r i s k , the r i s k of i t s own effacement (through " u n q u e s t i o n i n g , " u n -r a v e l l i n g ) , and the p l a y proceeds nonetheless, even though " i t hasn't begun, he's o n l y p r e l u d i n g , c l e a r i n g h i s t h r o a t , alone i n h i s dressing-room, h e ' l l appear any moment, h e ' l l begin any moment." (p.381) So f a r (bothi t h i s d i s t a n c e and to t h i s p o i n t , i n d e f i n i t e ) has the novel begun, or are we s t i l l w a i t i n g f o r i t to begin? We have explored the p r o v i s i o n a l boundaries o f the f i r s t few l i n e s of The Unnamable. not to e s t a b l i s h l i m i t s , which would be imp o s s i b l e , but to e s t a b l i s h how the p r o v i s i o n a l opening o f the novel i s not the beginning, i s merely a s e l f - e f f a c i n g p r o j e c t , p r o j e c t i n g both o u t s i d e towards other 41 t e x t s (Malone Dies. Molloy. t h i s t e x t ) and i n s i d e towards the "beginnings" w i t h i n i t s own (we w i l l l a t e r problemetize t h i s concept of ownership) t e x t . Any marginal l i m i t s are always effaced and expanding; the p r e - l i m i n a r i e s are (n)ever f i n i s h e d ; " I thought we had done w i t h p r e l i m i n a r i e s . No, no, we have a l l been here f o r e v e r . " (p.293) Unquestionably there are p a r t i c u l a r p r o t o c o l s o f reading, p r o t o c o l s of beginnings, and The Unnamable i s not b l i n d to these. Yet the beginning markers are always questioned; "perhaps t h a t i s how i t began?" Beckett w r i t e s t h a t "perhaps" i s a key word i n h i s p l a y s ; "perhaps" i s both "maybe" or "maybe not," q u e s t i o n i n g and suspending, c o n t i n u i n g the p r o j e c t , the promise of the beginning to come(enter the t e x t ) . T r a d i t i o n a l l y , p r o t o c o l s o f beginning are e a s i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e , the signs i n d i c a t e " t h i s i s the beginning;" t h i s leads Edward Said to c e l e b r a t e what proceeds from the beginning, the d i f f e r e n t elements o f each s t o r y ; "developing from them [beginnings] are orders of d i s p e r s i o n , of adjacency, and of complementarity ... [the beginning i s ] a m u l t i l e v e l e d coherence of d i s p e r s i o n . " ^ But Said would have i t that beginnings are methods o f u n i f i c a t i o n which l e a d to d i s p e r s i o n ; there i s , however, always already d i s p e r s i o n i n the beginning; "In the beginning was the pun. And so on." (Murphy, p.65) As a novel t h a t (n)ever begins, The Unnamable questions the very premises of n a r r a t i v e ; t r a d i t i o n a l l y a l l n a r r a t i v e s have a s t o r y and a t e l l e r . Where Joyce i n Finnegans Wake draws a l l n a r r a t i v e s ever w r i t t e n i n t o a u n i f y i n g whole 42 encompassed "by the beginning and the end, one which leads into the other in a circular pattern, Beckett places the whole issue of narrative in question by allowing the moments of beginning and ending to slip away, to efface themselves by questioning themselves. Kellogg and Scholes claim that Joyce celebrates the narrative form, while Beckett demonstrates its meaninglessness and hopelessness;^ Said claims that unlike Beckett's writing, Joyce's Finnegans  Wake "is a form of perpetual writing, always at a beginning."7 Joyce's writing demonstrates that narrative is unified, and Beckett's that unification is nostalgia, a dream of completion for Man yearning for stability and meaning. For Beckett, narrative is an endless risk taking, risking incompletion, risking lack and meaninglessness. Nothing is sure or safe, and to succumb to nostalgia is to admit palliation, to be duped t The glutton castaway, the drunkard in the desert, the lecher in prison, they are the happy ones. To hunger, thirst, lust, every day afresh and every day in vain, after the old prog, the old booze, the old whores, that's the nearest we'll ever get to felicity. (Watt, p.43) Now (?), what of a novel that (n)ever begins (is never "at" the beginning), that questions the ability to begin, that (n)ever ends, that ever "goes on," that ever promises, questions the promises and questions the questions? There are stories, but impossible stories ("this hell of stories") which equally never begin or end, which are forgotten in a faulty memory, which are not even a simulacrum of l i f e (what Kellogg and Scholes deign to be the nature of narrative). 43 The stories of Mahood, Malone, Basil and Worm become incomplete vignettes, interrupted, disrupted and discontinued, although their completion is projected! "We must fi r s t , to begin with, go back to his beginnings and then, to go on with, follow him patiently through various stages ... let us go back as planned, afterwards we'll f a l l forward as projected. The reverse would be more like i t . " (p.352) But the stories never go back or forward* "the mistake they make of course is to speak of him as i f he really existed, in a specific place, whereas the whole thing is no more than a project for the moment." (p.371) The novel becomes projects for the moment, moments projected, never sequential; the projector throws the light forward, then shuts offi "Can i t be that one day, off i t goes on?" (p.291) When Said writes about the "multilayered coherence of dispersion," we can only agree up to a pointi the novel is indeed multi-layered and dispersive, but lacks the unifying element of coherence within the provisional boundaries of the novel. If The Unnamable cannot be said to have "a" story (although i t does contain multiple stories, fragmented and unconnected), and maintains that the projected moments are always provisional, then can we justifiably call i t a novel, or even a narrative (a narrative "only beginning, though long since begun," p.366)? A narrative must have a structure of coherence; i t must contain enough linearity throughout its dispersive elements to retain a unity. Even in modern texts, where the narrative is structured around an absence 44 (or an event which may or may not have occurred in the narrative) — the loss of virginity in The Sound and the Fury, the episode with H.C.E. in Phoenix Park in Finnegans Wake, the crime in The Trial — t h e narrative follows sequentially around the event. Narrative required a modicum of linearity, of sequentiality, that a moment comes from and moves towards another moment. The Unnamable recognizes the need, and subjects i t to scrutiny; All this business of a labour to accomplish, before I can end, of words to say, a truth to recover, in order to say i t before I can end, of an imposed task, once known, long neglected, finally forgotten, to perform, I invented i t a l l , in the hopes i t would console me, help me to go on, allow me to think of myself as somewhere on a road, between a beginning and an end, gaining ground, losing ground, getting lost, but somehow in the long run making headway. A l l lies. (p.314) The narrative does go on, without consolation, the discourse continues on its way — not on a metaphorical linear road between beginning and ending — without making headway. "Headway** implies a hierarchy, a gain, a goal achieved; although the narrative (?) is a gain, i t is again and again going on, projecting, promising, catching itself promising and promising never to promise again. We must look at the li e s , a l l the lies, be a l l eyes, al(l)ies to the lies in order to analyze them, eye the annals (the "vast tracts of time" in How It Is) of lies, of chrono-logy, and an(n)alyze the chronology of chronologies in narrative, the (hi)story of narratives ("it's a chronicle"), of beginnings and endings. For Beckett, the labour is not to remember (re-member, piece together again) the history 45 of narratives, rather the labour is to lose the memory, to refuse to be a member of tradition? the labour is the performance of what must ultimately be an alliance (all-eye-ance) to/with tradition. With eyes regarding the performance (per-form-ance) on stage three of the trilogy (on which stage of the annals?), we see the attention to the protocols of beginnings throughout the text, attention as per form (ance). The Unnamable recovers the task of originality, of difference, at once saving (recovering) and covering over its origins (origin-annals). To call traditions of beginnings and endings lies, is not to successfully dispense with tradition? as Derrida points out, i t is not so easy to step outside tradition. The Unnamable must eye the forms of tradition, as per form (ance), of beginnings and endings, and while de-forming (or attempting to deform, disfigure the figurations of beginnings and endings) accept a necessary alliance with other texts (more form-alized)texts). Beckett necessarily uses the form in order to step away, step out of the road. Formed therefore, is a formal alliance (alliance of forms), a marriage contract (com with "tracts of time"), from which will issue difference (difference is the issue) after the labouri "Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hold, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps." (Godot, p.58) Although originality (in difference) is born of the alliance between The Unnamable and other texts of a traditional 46 nature, there cannot be an originary text* the origins are always lost somewhere in the road, somewhere between births. If originality is traditionally a form of priority and precedence, then what precedes the text must be the original; and yet, texts are always born of other texts; in the beginning was the plural (the word and God, the pun, the forbears; "these notions of forbears ... where do they come to me from?" p.294). Since a l l texts are part of textuality, and of continuing unfolding textuality, a l l writing is a losing and gaining ground, but not a making headway, for that would celebrate primacy. The Unnamable is a step (stage) in textuality, a stride of/in a tradition which is never static, born of (borne by) a greater text always already recovering itself, erasing itself with questions. The quest(ion) of the long run, the race of striding away, of going on (and on-going), is that of The Unnamable; the question of beginnings always erases itself in another beginning as i t races from beginning to beginning, (t)races over the paths of textuality, goes over the (t)races of other writing, and is born of the (t)race of other writing, in a formal alliance with what has walked before on the road "between," what has pre-ambledi "I hope this preamble will soon come to an end." (p.302) The preamble never "ends" because there is always the obligation to begin again, "to start again from nowhere, from no one and from nothing and win to me again, to me here again, by fresh ways to be sure, or by the ancient ways, unrecognizable at each fresh faring." (p.302) The text turns back on itself, 47 back to its beginnings (?), its fresh faring of "Where now? Who now? When now?" and, in a sense, provides the promised answer to the questions? the textual forbears are always unrecognizable, always the traces of the ancient ways, the annals of lies, the allies. The Unnamable bears the traces (unrecognizable) of textuality, and is conversely borne by them? The Unnamable bears the traces of its difficult birth in its performance of the labour, performance on the board(er)s between texts in the third stage (or "each step along the way"). As the text is accomplished, The Unnamable must become an accomplice to a l l texts, and the reader of the novel an accomplice to a l l that lies (the lies) in textuality, an accomplice to the play between the novel and other textst "the infinitesimal lag, between arrival and departure, this t r i f l i n g delay," (p.349) although "the essential is never to arrive anywhere." (p.338) We have preambled with the text as accomplices to its lies, accomplices who are implicated in the lies? we have proceeded from the three interrogative pronouns which opened the text and the spirit of interrogation, the urgent inter-rogation demanding where? who? when? Interrogations always demand the truth, demand the disclosure, uncovering and dis-covering of the truth? that is their business ("all this business"). They demand the truth appear (the appearance of truth), summon the truth to appear with a summons, and make a summation of the evidence. Had the spirit of the interrogation given way (conceded) to the truth, then the 48 sum would have been the beginning, would have been the end of the beginning, ending i t before i t began: but the s p i r i t of i n t e r r o g a t i o n does gi v e way, give a way, giv e away (to) the beginning, causes i t to be l o s t . The questions re-cover themselves as the beginning covers over i t s e l f ; and yet there i s the quest(ion) o f / f o r t r u t h , a t r u t h to recover (to f i n d again, l o s e a g a i n ) , a t r u t h to say before the novel can end. A l l t h i s business of t r u t h though i s a l l l i e s , l i e s to be recovered; and the t r u t h i s neglected and f o r g o t t e n , erased by the memory. I t cannot be r e v i v e d , recovered'by i n t e r r o g a t i o n ; the summons i s neglected, ignored. The i n t e r -r o g a t i o n o f the three questions, and the subsequent q u e s t i o n i n g of the questions i n s u r e s t h a t the t e x t leads but never a r r i v e s , only a r r i v e s at the beginning again, which i s never "a" beginning, o n l y a beginning again: And now I f e e l i t ' s about to begin, (p.248) Things are o n l y beginning, though l o n g s i n c e begun.(p.366) I t ' s o n l y beginning, i t hasn't begun, (p.381) I t ' s o n l y beginning, (p.398) Today i s the f i r s t day, i t begins, (p.400) I f o n l y I could give up, before beginning, before beginning again, (p.409) and a beginning promise again (to b e g i n ) . The Unnamable'3 promises w i t h i n promises e f f a c i n g them-selves p r o j e c t the beginning o f the t e x t , but they a l s o p r o j e c t i t s ending, i t ( s ) ending forward (toward) the ending, which i s always already the beginning again; "The end begins, you go s i l e n t , i t ' s the end, s h o r t - l i v e d , you begin again." (p.394) The p l a y between the beginning and the ending i s confusion, a ( c o n ) f u s i o n which does not al l o w e i t h e r term 49 of the heterogeny to be l o s t ; the end and beginning are always invoked as i f they might "mean" something, as they do i n t r a d i t i o n a l n a r r a t i v e s . As an ending i t s e l f , an ending of the t r i l o g y , The Unnamable plays w i t h ending w h i l e e f f a c i n g , ( p r ) j e f ( f ) a c i n g the ending and confusing, t u r n i n g over, the two termsi " i t ' s the end th a t i s the worst, no, i t ' s the beginning t h a t i s the worst, then the middle, then the end, i n the end i t ' s the end t h a t i s the worst." (p.395) And the end becomes the f i r s t i n a s e r i e s o f endings which begin to subsume a l l the beginnings and endings throughout the t r i l o g y , subsume i n a confusion ( j o i n i n g but jumbling). The novel begins to p l a y w i t h the other novels t " I t ' s n i g h t ... I'm l o o k i n g f o r my mother to k i l l her ... i t ' s r a i n i n g . " (Molloy) " I was hoping f o r something b e t t e r , ... to see nothing ... now i n shadow now i n l i g h t ... shut up l o o k i n g out of a window. (Malone D i e s ) . " (p.391.2) As The Unnamable proceeds towards i t s own ending (which i s another beginning), i t p o s i t s the other moments of beginnings and endings, but only p o s i t s them as l i e s , as i l l u s i v e ( e l u s i v e ) ; i t p o s i t s i t s own end i n the same ways "I'm going to stop, t h a t i s I'm going t o look as i f I had." (p.393) And the novel makes another promise, and again questions the promise. The Unnamable moves back and f o r t h over the t r i l o g y , p i c k i n g up the strands and threads of the other novels, weaving them i n t o i t s own t e x t ( i l e ) ; as the novel proceeds, i t a l s o p i c k s up the threads of i t s own t e x t ( i l e ) , thereby causing the novel t o f o l d over i t s e l f — what D e r r i d a would 50 call "invagination." Summoning forth its own interrogation and reworking the text, the novel "becomes the culprit, guilty of interrogating itself* "the words f a i l , the breath fails, no it's something else, it's an indictment, a dying voice accusing ... a culprit is indispensable;" (p.411) the text accuses itself of failing to begin, of beginning failure, of beginning to f a i l (to end). The dying voice of the accuser (accusing where, when, who), however, is revived in the end, crosses over the borders of its death to come back in the end* "in the end i t comes to that, to the survival of that alone, then the words come back, someone says I, unbelieving." (p.402) The promise of ending (the promising ending), and the promise of beginning (the beginning promise), move towards an abyss structure, a mise en ablme, move pro-mise (en ablme). moving back and forth; over the textual fabric of the novel. The end promises to recognize itself, to cognize itself again — "in the end I ' l l recognize i t , the story ... the end, the beginning, the beginning again" (p.413) — by beckoning to the beginning to begin again so that i t can be recognized as such, almost in the Proustian "involuntary memory" which presents the past as i t never was present, represents a present that never was. Effacing (or facing) its own provisional origins, The Unnamable can only recognize that there never were any real beginnings, and the beginnings are only provisional opening which come back to haunt the provisional endings, as i f in a remembered dreamt "perhaps 51 i t ' s a dream, a l l a dream ... dream, dream again ... never wake." ( p . 4 l 4 ) The Unnamable dreams i t s beginnings and endings, dreaming of the dream o f o r i g i n s and t e l e o l o g i e s ? l i k e a l l dreams, the dreams are fragmented, fragmenting the p o i n t s of departure and a r r i v a l , and never a r r i v i n g at the departure p o i n t i "I've journeyed without knowing i t . " ( p . 4 l 3 ) The "long sonata of the dead" plays the dream, the dream sonata perhaps of another p l a y , another p l a y o f effaced beginnings and endings ("sleep without dreaming ... c h i l d of t h i s world of i l l u s i o n ... t h i s world o f endless change ... may the Lord o f Heaven be m e r c i f u l to you upon your 8 journey""). The p l a y i n the t e x t u a l i t y o f The Unnamable always plays over the borders of the margins, and p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the l a r g e r p l a y of t e x t u a l i t y . I f we, l i k e the n o v e l , go back over the beginnings o f t h i s t e x t , which o r i g i n a t e d p r o v i s i o n a l l y from the opening o f the novel The Unnamable. we d i s c o v e r how, f a r from being a s t r u c t u r e of u n i t y from which i s s u e s d i s p e r s i o n , The  Unnamable i s d i s p e r s i v e from i t s opening? i t s p i l l s over i t s e l f and e f f a c e s i t s e l f i n i t s beginnings and beginning questions. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , n a r r a t i v e s are t e l e o l o g i c a l , moving towards an end to c r e a t e a u n i f i e d whole, moving through the middle, which can o n l y be a middle because bounded by s t a t i c moments of beginning and ending. The middle i t s e l f , the "between" part (between the a c t s of opening and c l o s i n g ) , i s e n t i r e l y dependent upon the other two p a r t s . I n The Unnamable. though, the novel becomes the 52 "between," unbounded by beginnings and endings, s p i l l i n g over or out of the openings, the holes (wholes). Instead of being a whole n o v e l , i n the A r i s t o t e l i a n sense, at any r a t e , the novel i s always the f l u x between beginnings and endings which cannot h o l d the novel together (the centre cannot h o l d , the centre i s not whole). The novel can never be u n i f i e d (wholed) by a re a d i n g , because i t i s always on the t h r e s ( h o l d ) of escaping out of the openings (holes) t h a t i t has cr e a t e d , escaping through "the space between here and the door ... what l i e s between us." (p.411) Perhaps i t ' s the door, perhaps I'm at the door ... I can depart, a l l t h i s time I've journeyed without knowing i t , i t ' s I now at the door. (p.413) Perhaps i t ' s done already, perhaps they have s a i d me a l r e a d y , perhaps they have c a r r i e d me t o the t h r e s h o l d o f my s t o r y , before the door t h a t opens on my s t o r y , (p.414) Perhaps the novel w i l l end i n opening on to the ending, open the ending, be open-ended (or an ended opening, an end opening), open on to the f i n a l (end) a ct (performance) i n i t s l a s t run (the l o n g r u n ) . The t h r e s h o l d provides the edge (the border, the margins) t h a t can be crossed over, opens the p o s s i b i l i t y o f being on the b r i n k (of ending or beginning); i t i s ( n ) e i t h e r the end, (n)or the beginning o f the s t o r y , an indeterminable moment on the b r i n k , t e e t e r i n g f i r s t backwards then forwards. Swaying ( p l a y i n g ) back and f o r t h between the beginning and ending, the t h r e s h o l d i s the u l t i m a t e d i f f e r e n c e d i v i d i n g the "between." At the t h r e s h o l d , the door swings e i t h e r inwards or outwards, a l l o w s departure out o f the s t o r y or a r r i v a l t o the beginning of the s t o r y ; i t i s the i n f i n i t e s i m a l l a g , ("the t h i n g t h a t d i v i d e s 53 the world i n two, on the one s i d e , the o u t s i d e , on the other the i n s i d e , t h a t can he as t h i n as f o i l , I'm n e i t h e r one s i d e nor the other, I'm the middle, I'm the p a r t i t i o n , I've two surfaces and no t h i c k n e s s , I'm the tympanum", p.383). the "between." At the t h r e s h o l d o f the s t o r y , The Unnamable becomes the preamble, the confused exordium, the beginning* the novel allows the opening, the (o)pen(n)ing (penning) o f another n o v e l , o f continued w r i t i n g (penning the s t o r y ) . The novel becomes i t s own palimpsest, e f f a c i n g i t s e l f e n t i r e l y ( w h o l e l y ) , o f f e r i n g i t s e l f t o be r e w r i t t e n ( w r i t t e n o v e r ) . The t h r e s h o l d i s the c u r t a i n which d i v i d e s the performances of the acts (of w r i t i n g ) , the c u r t a i n i n f r o n t o f the board(er)s of the stage (of w r i t i n g ) . At the t h r e s h o l d , the novel opens on t o the f i n a l a c t , the f i n a l p l a y (of the i n f i n i t u d e of p l a y ) , the endgame — "Me t o pl a y . Old endgame l o s t o f o l d , p l a y and l o s e and have done w i t h l o s i n g . " (Endgame, p.82) The endgame can be e i t h e r the end o f p l a y (end the p l a y i n a check-mate, end the p l a y i t s e l f ) , or the beginning of an end t h a t never comes (the pieces can avoid each other i n d e f i n i t e l y i n a stal e - m a t e ) , an end t h a t i s suspended, th a t i s l e f t hanging on, ( t h r e s ) h o l d i n g on — " I can't go on. I ' l l go on." (p.414) The f i n a l act of the performance (the "labour t o perform," the laboured per-form-ance), e f f a c e s i t s own f i n a l i t y through the dual movement o f the t h r e s h o l d (the endgame) which ( d i s ) plays i t s heterogeny, i t s r a d i c a l (with the dual r o o t s of 54 l i t e r a l and f i g u r a t i v e meaning) a l t e r i t y , and allows the going on ( d e s p i t e the cant of not being a b l e ) . The end susp(ends) i t s e l f , goes on d e s p i t e i t s e l f and s p i l l s over i t s own p r o j e c t . L i k e a l l the other p r o j e c t s (and promises and questions) i n The Unnamable, the f i n a l p r o j e c t i s l e f t t o e f f a c e i t s e l f before moving on (pre-ambling). "Can i t be t h a t one day, o f f i t goes o n i " and o f f goes the t e x t (both i n the sense of moving o f f towards something e l s e , and t u r n i n g o f f the t e x t , t u r n i n g the t e x t back onto i t s e l f ) ? o r "that one day I simply stayed i n . " (p.291) The borders cannot c o n t a i n the p l a y o f the t h r e ( e ) s h o l d (the t r i l o g y ) , of the going on? the p l a y goes on (as i t must go on), and l o s e s i t s e l f (looses i t s e l f ) i n t e x t u a l i t y where i t (n)ever "has done w i t h l o s i n g . " The Unnamable does not c o n t a i n any " t r u t h s t o be recovered; i t cannot even c o n t a i n i t s e l f , h o l d i t s e l f i n s i d e i t s pro-v i s i o n a l marginal borders. The beginnings and endings as boundaries are always l o s t i n the f l u x of the middle, the between, the t h r e s h o l d . Any r e a d i n g o f the novel must recognize t h a t the t r a d i t i o n a l t o o l s o f n a r r a t i v e (beginnings, middles and endings) are not absent from the t e x t , r a t h e r they are suspended by qu e s t i o n s , by "perhapses" and by an e f f a c i n g movement o f the t e x t , moving back and f o r t h over i t s e l f , making i t s e l f at once preamble and end. The t r a d i t i o n a l signs of beginnings are present throughout the t e x t — i n the beginning, I begin, I w i l l b egin again e t c . — but they are s c a t t e r e d through the t e x t i n such abundance th a t they 55 cease to have any "meaning" as "beginning movements; a l l the signs are emptied through overuse and questions to the point t h a t we can no longer i d e n t i f y the t r a d i t i o n a l aspects o f beginnings and endings w i t h t h e i r appearance i n The Unnamable* The p l a y ( i n a l l senses o f the word) of The Unnamable, always on the t h r e s h o l d of t e x t u a l i t y w h i l e i n t e x t u a l i t y (always on the t h r e s h o l d o f an end or a b e g i n n i n g ) , does not d i s p l a y the meaninglessness or hopelessness of n a r r a t i v e s , K e l l o g g and Scholes would have i t , nor does i t d i s p l a y Joycean c e l e b r a t i o n of n a r r a t i v e form; i t ( d i s ) p l a y s t r a d i t i o n a l n a r r a t i v e forms by p l a y i n g them against themselves. There i s never a s t a t i c moment i n The Unnamable. never a u n i t y , a r e a s s u r i n g c e r t i t u d e which i s the end of play; o n l y p l a y always r i s k i n g non-meaning, r i s k i n g l o s i n g i t s e l f w h i l e i t goes on, only " p r o j e c t s f o r the moment." Any reading which recognizes t h a t p l a y i n The Unnamable must engage i n the same (but not i d e n t i c a l ) p l a y w i t h the t e x t . A r e a d i n g must take the same r i s k s (of " u n b e l i e v i n g " ) , and p l a y the f i e l d (the t h r e s h o l d ) between the t e x t of the reading and the t e x t i t i s reading, p l a y the tympanum, and allow the p l a y to go on. 56 Footnotes Edward S a i d , Beginnings,(New Yorkt B a s i c Books, I n c . , 1975). P.5. 2 S a i d , p.5» 3 S a i d , p.245. Roland Barthes, Image Music Text, t r a n s . Stephen Heath (New Yorkt H i l l and Wang I n c . , 1977), P.157. 5 S a i d , p.373. Robert Scholes and Robert K e l l o g g , The Nature o f N a r r a t i v e (New Yorkt Oxford Univ. Pr e s s , 1966). P-158,9* 7 S a i d , p.261. Q August S t r i n d b e r g , The Ghost Sonata i n S i x Plays of  St r i n d b e r g . t r a n s . E l i z a b e t h Sprigge (New Yorkt Doubleday and Co. Inc., 1955), p.304. I l l E yeing the Subject 58 Scenei A white stage the margins ( L i g h t on) One b l a c k character Actor stands composed, d e l i v e r s speecht the w r i t t e n characters composing The Unnamable Who speaks? — subject " I " i the a c t o r What does he speak about — subject " I " t about h i m s e l f CommencezS I say I . U n b e l i e v i n g . I seem to speak, i t i s not I , about me, i t i s not about me. (p.291) The a c t o r (the i l l u s i o n i s t ) seems t o speak (gives the i l l u s i o n o f speaking), seems t o be the speaking s u b j e c t , but i t i s not as h i m s e l f t h a t he speaks; he speaks as an a c t o r , a c t i n g the r o l e of the speaking subject (assuming the r o l e of the s u b j e c t ) . He seems to speak about h i m s e l f (about " i t " — the s e l f o b j e c t i f i e d ) , but only as h i m s e l f as a c t o r , the subject of the speech. As a f i r s t person pronoun, which according t o grammatical h a b i t i n d i c a t e s an i n d i v i d u a l speaker, the " I " can only i n d i c a t e the a c t o r i n h i s r o l e of sayi n g " I " , not the a c t o r as a " r e a l " i n d i v i d u a l , a man (speaking subject " I " ) . The " I " can never r e f e r t o the a c t o r when he leaves the stage, o n l y t o the " I " o f the a c t o r the spec t a t o r sees i n the s p e c t a c l e , the show (the i l l u s i o n , l i g h t e n e d s t a g e ) . The speaking subject never speaks about h i m s e l f as speaking s u b j e c t , nor i s he the subject of the speech; a l l i s i l l u s i o n , o n l y seems to be, as the " I " o n l y seems to say h i m s e l f and speak about h i m s e l f . The " I " s , the i n d i c a t o r s 59 (the semes) do no more than i n d i c a t e one who can never be o u t s i d e the realms of the discourse* a not " I " who i s none-t h e l e s s speaking about who he i s not. The n I H which says " I * i s u n b e l i e v i n g , does not b e l i e v e t h a t he ( i t ) i s " I " i the " I " s h i f t s from the f i r s t person pronoun subject to an i n d e f i n i t e pronoun " i t " ! " i t i s not I . " And thus a pronoun (already a s u b s t i t u t e f o r a proper noun) i s s u b s t i t u t e d f o r another pronoun, i n d e f i n i t e l y . What the " I " who speaks does not b e l i e v e i s the u n i t y o f the " I " , the oneness of the " I " , the i n d i v i d u a l i t y (that which cannot be d i v i d e d , the i n d i v i s i b i l i t y ) o f the " I " , which the " I " always claims f o r i t s e l f 1 i t claims the u n i t y o f the subject (the speaking subject and the words spoken about the subject* when " I " say " I " , " I " mean " I " , I r e f e r t o me, t o myself, when I say I ) . " I t i s not that t h e i r meaning escapes me, my own escapes me j u s t as much." (p.294) What escapes i s the meaning of the " I " i what always a l r e a d y has escaped i s the uniqueness of the " I " , which, when spoken by the s u b j e c t , cannot r e f e r t o (cannot mean) " I " as the i n d i v i d u a t e d s u b j e c t , the subject o f the i n d i v i d u a l . The i n d i v i d u a l i s always d i v i d e d * the a c t o r speaks and says " I " , but cannot r e f e r t o anything but a s u b j e c t t h a t he i s n o t i the subject becomes fragmented, even as i t seems to be u n i f i e d , seems to speak i t s own v o i c e about i t s e l f . The sovereign u n i t y o f the " I " o n l y hides ( i n the i l l u s i o n , the l i g h t ) what has already escaped, hides the d i s p e r s i o n , the fragmentation of i t s e l f . As Nietzsche p o i n t s 60 out i n The W i l l to Power, the subject i s the r e s u l t of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , i s a f i c t i o n o f u n i f i c a t i o n (part of the "grammatical custom t h a t adds a doer to every deed" 1), which may be a b e l i e f but has "nothing t o do w i t h t r u t h . " The " I " sayer i n The Unnamable. however, i s u n b e l i e v i n g w h i l e he says " I " . Although the s o v e r e i g n t y and the u n i t y of the subject who speaks has been accepted and c e l e b r a t e d i n the Western metaphysical t r a d i t i o n (as Nietzsche w r i t e s , "the subject* t h i s i s the term f o r our b e l i e f i n a u n i t y u n d e r l y i n g a l l the d i f f e r e n t impulses of the highest f e e l i n g o f r e a l i t y " 3 ) , our b e l i e f i n t h i s u n i t y has never extended to the speaking a c t o r on the stage. Do we not know t h a t the a c t o r d e l i v e r s h i s l i n e s , t h a t he i s prompted by a s c r i p t , t h a t h i s speech i s not h i s own words but r a t h e r the words of another — some other a u t h o r i t y which never appears on the stage? ''The a c t o r as subject d e l i v e r i n g a subject i s d e l i v e r e d from the p o s s i b i l i t y of being the s u b j e c t : even as he speaks, he i s e f f a c e d , as he says " I " , he i s a l r e a d y not r e f e r r i n g to h i m s e l f , r e f e r r i n g to t h a t which he i s not. While we accept the heterogeny (with what? a w i l l i n g suspension of d i s b e l i e f ? ) between t h a t which the a c t o r seems to be when d e l i v e r i n g h i s l i n e s and t h a t which the a c t o r a c t u a l l y i s as not an a c t o r , not the " I " of the speech, what i s the connection, the l i n k , the knot which t i e s the seams (between who seems to speak and who speaks) between " I speak" and " i t i s not I ; " a seem (seam) between the " I " and the (k)not " I " . 61 The seam (seem) di s c o v e r s i t s e l f as an i l l u s i o n * o n l y what seems t o sew together the " I " and the "not I " , which knots the seams between the two i n a k i n d o f i n v i s i b l e mending? where does the " I " end and the (k)not " I " begin? I n v i s i b l e mending which leaves no t r a c e o f where the d i f f e r e n c e occurs, where the knot i s , where the knot i s not, allows the d i s t i n c t i o n w h i l e c o n s t a n t l y e l u d i n g the seam (the semantic topos) i n the seem, the i l l u s i o n . The seam (seme, s i g n of meaning) escapes by being i n v i s i b l e ? but because the semantic t r a c e of the (k)not i s r e t a i n e d , the heterogeny continues between the words and the speaker, between the a c t o r and the s c r i p t , between the subject speaking and the speaking su b j e c t . As the seam (seem)signals i t s own disappearance (the disappearance of the u n i f i e d s u b j e c t ) , the u n i t y o f the " I " (the one, the sovereign "I") fragments! " i s not t h i s r a t h e r the place where one f i n i s h e s v a n i s h i n g ? " (p.293) The d e f i n i t e s u bject vanishes i n t o the i n d e f i n i t e ? the " I " which should be the i n d i v i d u a l (the i n d i v i s i b l e s u b j e c t ) , vanishes i n t o the i n v i s i b l e (the i n - " d i " - v i s i b l e a l r e a d y r e t a i n s the t r a c e of i t s own " d i " - v i s i b i l i t y i n the " d i " , and becomes i n v i s i b l e ) , the i n ( d e ) f i n i t e (the i n f i n i t e " i t " which cannot c o n t a i n the i n d i v i d u a l , y e t r e t a i n s the t r a c e of the I ( t ) ) . The " I " i s d i s t o r t e d by the s l a s h across which forms the " t " , the s l a s h which i s a k i n d o f d e l e t i o n , a "not" t h i s , a "not" " I " . As the oneness i s shaken by i t s own disappearance, something comes to " i n " h a b i t the s u b j e c t , something which 62 i s not the subject enters the subjects a t e x t , a s c r i p t goes i n t o the subject* " i t f i l l s me, i t clamours against my w a l l s , i t i s not mine, I can't stop i t . " (p.30?) The " I " i s f i l l e d by the " I " t , t h a t which the " I " i s n o t i "What puzzles me i s the thought of being indebted f o r t h i s i n f o r -mation to persons w i t h whom I can never have been i n contact. Can i t be inna t e knowledge ... innate knowledge o f my mother, f o r example, i s t h a t conceivable? Not f o r me. She was one of t h e i r f a v o r i t e s u b j e c t s , of conversation." (p.297) The t e x t comes from a "they", another i n d e f i n i t e pronoun ( i n d i -v i d u a l s unknown), w i t h whom the " I " has never had any contact; the t e x t i s conceived elsewhere, i s s u e d by:- a mother which cannot have made contact w i t h her i s s u e — her i s s u e as e i t h e r the speaker " I " o r the subject o f the di s c o u r s e ; and yet she i n t u r n i s a f a v o r i t e " s u b j e c t " of conversa t i o n . Again the subject i s fragmented* can the mother o f the t e x t be the subject of her own conv e r s a t i o n , or i s the subject of the mother al r e a d y the subject of the "they"s conversation? The mother does not conceive the t e x t , at l e a s t not f o r "me". Thus, what i s p u z z l i n g i s the thought of being indebted t o an a u t h o r i t y which i s i t s e l f fragmented* an a u t h o r i t y which i s not u n i f i e d , which i s a "they" or a mother which engenders, w i t h i s "both the t e l l e r and the t o l d . " Who then has a u t h o r i z e d the t e x t , the s c r i p t which the speaker d e l i v e r s ? S u r e l y not s& author, a u n i f i e d s u b j e c t , one "named" perhaps Samuel Beckett whose name appears on the cover of the t e x t Three Novels? The n o t i o n o f the author 63 who executes a t e x t has already been executed at l e n g t h by the l i k e s of Roland Barthes and Michel Poucault ( u n f o r t u n a t e l y we are f o r c e d t o use these proper names as i n d i c a t o r s — f o r D e r r i d a t h i s i s "naming" the problem of a u t h o r i t y i n t r a d i t i o n a l : metaphysics); f o r Nietzsche, the death of the great a u t h o r i t y has al r e a d y been heralded by the madman w i t h the l a n t e r n (the l i g h t o f i l l u m i n a t i o n , o f i l l u s i o n ) . The "one" who conceives the t e x t , who gives b i r t h to the t e x t i s as d i s u n i f i e d as the "one" who speaks the t e x t i "What matter who's speaking, someone s a i d what matter who's speaking?" ( S t o r i e s and Texts f o r Nothing, p.85) A l l that the speaker can ever be indebted to i s language, i s w r i t i n g , i s the s c r i p t g i ven to him — "the sinecure handed down from generation to generation." (p.315) No one author can ever accept the c r e d i t of w r i t i n g the t e x t , can ever r e c e i v e the c r e d i t s f o r w r i t i n g the s c r i p t , j u s t as the a c t o r can never be c r e d i t e d w i t h producing the words f o r the spectator} i n w r i t i n g , o r t e x t u a l i t y , there i s no author o f a t e x t , there i s only w r i t i n g , w r i t i n g i t s e l f over other w r i t i n g ! I am round and hard ... a l l the r e s t I renounce, i n c l u d i n g t h i s r i d i c u l o u s black which I thought f o r a moment w o r t h i e r than grey to e n f o l d me. What rubbish t h i s s t u f f about l i g h t and dark ... But do I r o l l , i n the manner o f a t r u e b a l l ? ... What reams o f dis c o u r s e I could e l i c i t from t h i s seemingly so l e g i t i m a t e preoccupation. But which would not be c r e d i t e d to me. (p.306) The " I " becomes m e t a p h o r i c a l l y the b a l l , round and hard, which r o l l s over, b l a c k e n i n g the whiteness, e l i c i t i n g reams of discourse? the " I " becomes the instrument o f w r i t i n g , w r i t i n g i t s e l f as the su b j e c t o f w r i t i n g , but unable to take 64 c r e d i t f o r the w r i t i n g . The " I " o f w r i t i n g can t h e r e f o r e not be c r e d i t e d w i t h producing the d i s c o u r s e , j u s t as the " I " o f the a c t o r can never be c r e d i t e d w i t h r e f e r r i n g to hi m s e l f . W r i t i n g " d e s c r i b e s i t s e l f , as the " I " "de"-scribes (takes i t s e l f away from w r i t i n g , becomes a "not I , " a not(a)t mark on the page) i t s e l f i n i t s anonymity, i t s l a c k o f c r e d i t . As the black o f the t e x t (the l i g h t and dark o f the space and character) enfolds the "me" o f w r i t i n g and the w r i t t e n " I " , i t consumes the marks o f an i n d i v i d u a t e d " I " and "me" w h i l e e l i c i t i n g the discourse of w r i t i n g ? i t enfolds the c r e d i t s o f any i n d i v i d u a l a u t h o r i t y and l o s e s them. L i k e the " I " o f the speaking s u b j e c t , o f the a c t o r speaking, the " I " t h a t e l i c i t s d i s c ourse i s pre-occupied, i s already f i l l e d w i t h that which i t i s not. The " I " s l i p s i l l i c i t l y away from i t s e l f (renounces i t s e l f ) , j u s t as w r i t i n g s l i p s i l l i c i t l y away from the c r e d i t e d " I " ( c r e d i t e d w i t h a u t h o r i t y over the t e x t ) through the speaking subject (another " I " which cannot be c r e d i t e d ) and escapes i n t o t e x t u a l i t y ( i t s meaning escapes)? the unlawfulness o f the i l l i c i t departure o f a u t h o r i t y i n w r i t i n g i s what makes the pre-occupation o n l y "seemingly so l e g i t i m a t e . " Such i s the puzzle of , debtedness to a c r e d i t e d a u t h o r i t y , an a u t h o r i t y which i s always l o s t as the t e x t escapes, as w r i t i n g enfolds the c r e d i t s . The subject i s problematic i n The Unnamable because the " I " i s never the s u b j e c t , always denies t h a t i t t a l k s about i t s e l f , r e f e r s to i t s e l f ? "strange t a s k , which c o n s i s t s of speaking o f o n e s e l f . " (p.311) As the " I " i s always 65 pre-occupied i n / w i t h i t s e l f , i t denies i t s own primacy. The f i r s t person s i n g u l a r pronoun " I " should i n d i c a t e primacy, as does the "one," the "alone" ("a"t f i r s t l e t t e r , l o n e i one)* but what pre-occupies the " I " i s the words o f the others ( w r i t i n g , language)* "no words but the words o f others." (p.314) The words of the " I " can never be h i s own, can never be about him, only about an anonymous " I " , an unpossessed "me"i h i s v o i c e i s always already i n h a b i t e d by the v o i c e of w r i t i n g * I t i s h i s v o i c e which has o f t e n , always, mingled w i t h mine, and sometimes drowned i t completely ... h i s v o i c e continued to t e s t i f y f o r me, as though woven i n t o mine, preventing me from say i n g who I was, what I was ... he may come back again. Then my v o i c e , the v o i c e , would say, That's an i d e a , now I ' l l t e l l one of Mahood's s t o r i e s ... to make me t h i n k I was a f r e e agent. But i t would not be my v o i c e , not even i n p a r t . (p.309) The v o i c e of the other (of "him," of " i t " "bah, any o l d pronoun w i l l do", p.3^3) always mingles w i t h the v o i c e of the " I " and robs the " I " o f h i s primacy, of h i s unity? the subject can never be u n i f i e d i f i t cannot c l a i m s o v e r e i g n t y , uniqueness of v o i c e , i n d i v i d u a t e d "I"ness. To be a f r e e agent would have to e n t a i l being apart from language, o u t s i d e of the f i e l d o f w r i t i n g , but the subject (?) " I " i n The Unnamable sees t h a t there i s no existence o u t s i d e of the f i e l d of w r i t i n g , j u s t as there i s no existence i n s i d e the f i e l d of w r i t i n g — at l e a s t existence i n the sense o f a "being" i n language. As Lacan w r i t e s , the subject must recognize h i s own being-for-death i n h i s own subversion i n t o the language of the other* "Can t h a t be c a l l e d a l i f e which 66 vanishes when the subject i s changed?" (p.353) There i s always only the weaving of v o i c e s , the weaving of the t e x t i l e , as the subject i s always eluded i n the mingled discourse of another (but not only "one" o t h e r ) . According to Alan Thiher, the f i r s t person pronoun t r a d i t i o n a l l y confers f i c t i o n a l b eing,^ acknowledges "a" persona, perhaps a n a r r a t o r or t e l l e r o f the t a l e ; but the r o l e of the t e l l e r i s already i n h a b i t e d by the t r a c e of the weave of other v o i c e s . There are no f r e e agents, f r e e to speak uninhabited by another; there i s no ownership o f words or o f v o i c e s , not even i n p a r t ( i n p a r t s perhaps). The part of the speaking subject i s parted even as he stands apart ( a l o n e ) , does not a l l o w f o r the part of the s e l f apart from the d i s c o u r s e . The s u b j e c t ' s part p a r t s i t s e l f from i t s e l f w i t h the m i n g l i n g v o i c e s which drown out i t s p a r t , drown i t s part i n a sea of wordsi "my v o i c e ... so weak, so f a r , t h a t i t was l i k e the sea, a f a r calm sea dying." (p.309) Does the " I " i n The Unnamable. the lone a c t o r speaking (not) h i m s e l f , (rtot) about h i m s e l f see h i s drowning, t e s t i f y to h i s own drowning (another t e s t i f i e s . , however) i n the sea of words, l o s e s i g h t of h i m s e l f i n the l o s s of u n i t y , i n the m i n g l i n g sea, l o s e h i s " I " s ? The " I " can o n l y s i g h t ( c i t e ) the other, can never take possession o f the " I " , even w h i l e he eyes i t ; language prevents the " I " from b e i n g "mine" — the "I"dea i s never "mine." The subject i s always already l o s t , drowned i n a sea o f v o i c e s * Where i s nature, where i s man, where are you, what 6? are you seeking, who i s seeking, seeking who you are, supreme a b e r r a t i o n , where you are, what you're doing, what you've done to them, what they've done to you, p r a t t l i n g along, where are the others , who i s t a l k i n g , not I , where am I , where i s the place where I have always been, where are the ot h e r s , i t ' s they are t a l k i n g , t a l k i n g to me, t a l k i n g o f me, I hear them, I'm mutes (p.385,6) drowned i n a sea of su b j e c t s ("you,*' "they," "others," "who," etc.) and o b j e c t s ("you," "them," "others," "me," e t c . ) . A l l pronouns i n The Unnamable are interchangeable? the " I " switches to "one," to "you," to "he," to " i t , " back: and f o r t h q u e s t i o n i n g always the s t a t u s of the s u b j e c t , which vanishes when the subject i s changed. There i s no c e n t r a l i z e d subject* "X l i k e to t h i n k I occupy the ce n t r e , but nothing i s l e s s c e r t a i n ? " (p.295) nor i s there a subject which can c o n t a i n the dis c o u r s e . Once the subject begins to que s t i o n i t s e l f as s u b j e c t , the " I " questions i t s "I"ness, i t i s already l o s t as subject? the subject must o b j e c t i f y i t s e l f to ask about i t s e l f , become the " n o t / I " to question the " I " and v i c e versa? and i f a l l language i s already the words of the other, then the subject can only be a " p r o j e c t f o r the moment," thrown forward towards i t s own drowning, l o s t even as i t s u r f a c e s , even as i t "seems" to appear on the page. The " I " i s effaced by i t s own questions, effaced by the s c r i p t and l o s t i n t e x t u a l i t y because never possessed? i t i s always i n t e r r u p t e d by the "not," by i t s l o s s of primacy even as i t i s the " f i r s t " person " s i n g u l a r . " As a p r o j e c t f o r the moment, the " I " i s alone, a l o a n f o r the moment* " I have to say, when I speak, Who speaks?" (p.390,1) To ask the question "Who speaks?" i s merely to hypothesize another s u b j e c t , another subject to subst i t u t e f o r the "I"? 68 but i n The Unnamable, the subject s h i f t s back and f o r t h through a l l d i f f e r e n t pronouns and never e s t a b l i s h e s , makes s t a t i c , a s i n g l e speaking s u b j e c t . T r a d i t i o n a l c r i t i c i s m of The Unnamable must p o s i t a c e n t r a l consciousness behind the " f i c t i o n s , " a c e n t r a l u n i f i e d subject which commands the p l a y of the s u b j e c t s . But to p o s i t a c e n t r a l i z e d consciousness i s to a f f i r m what The Unnamable cannot a f f i r m at a l l ; to p o s i t a subject behind the effaced subject i s t o p o s i t an i n d i v i d u a l (one that cannot be d i v i d e d ) , a n ' i n d i v i d u a l "cause" primary to the secondary " e f f e c t s " of the s h i f t i n g s u b j e c t s . According to Nietzsche "the subject i s the f i c t i o n t hat many s i m i l a r s t a t e s i n us are the e f f e c t o f one sub-stratum."^ The Unnamable merely i n d i c a t e s t h a t a s u b j e c t , the s u b j e c t , cannot be i s o l a t e d , cannot be u n i f i e d , t h a t the subject cannot be c e n t r a l i z e d — nothing i s l e s s c e r t a i n . For Nietzsche, "the sphere of a subject c o n s t a n t l y growing or decreasing, the centre o f the system c o n s t a n t l y s h i f t i n g ? i n cases where i t cannot organize the appropriate mass, i t 7 breaks i n t o two p a r t s . " ' The subject p a r t s from i t s e l f , examines i t s e l f , becomes an " I " , but a "not I , " speaking about "me," but a "not me." And thus, the question "Who speaks?" i n The Unnamable i s never allowed an answer? there i s never a f i x e d p o s i t i o n f o r the subject which always Q occupies a p o s i t i o n other than i t s e l f . The Unnamable he r a l d s the l o s s of the u n i f i e d s u b j e c t , j u s t as D e r r i d a heralds the l o s s o f the sovereign subject? "Henceforth, what i s c a l l e d the speaking subject i s no longer 69 the person h i m s e l f , or the person alone, who speaks. The speaking subject d i s c o v e r s h i s i r r e d u c i b l e s e c o n d a r i t y , h i s o r i g i n i s always eluded? f o r the o r i g i n i s already eluded on the b a s i s of an organized f i e l d of speech i n which the speaking subject v a i n l y seeks a place t h a t i s always missing?" and Beckett w r i t e s , Now at l e a s t I know where I am, as f a r as my o r i g i n s go, I mean my o r i g i n s considered as a subject o f con v e r s a t i o n , t h a t ' s what counts. The moment one can say, Someone i s on h i s way ... agreed, agreed, I who am on my way, words b e l l y i n g out my s a i l s , am al s o t h a t unthinkable ancestor o f whom nothing can be s a i d . But perhaps I s h a l l speak of him some day, and of the impenetrable age when I was he ... yes perhaps I s h a l l speak of him, f o r an i n s t a n t , l i k e an echo t h a t mocks, (p.352,3) For Beckett, the o r i g i n becomes the subject o f conversa-t i o n ( t h a t ' s what counts)? the subject " I " changes to "one," "someone" and "he" back and f o r t h , seeking to f i n d h i s o r i g i n s i n another s u b j e c t , o r f i n d another subject who could d e s c r i b e the " I " s o r i g i n s . But the ancestor i s unt h i n k a b l e , nothing can be s a i d about him? the place o f the subject's o r i g i n s i s always m i s s i n g , i s impenetrable through the words which, although b e l l y i n g out the s a i l s , cannot all o w the sub-j e c t to see. The organized f i e l d o f speech becomes the sea or words, the a i r of words (with no substance) which pushes the c r a f t along ("so there i s an ocean then," p.314), but causes the subject to l o s e h i m s e l f , elude h i m s e l f on h i s way. Even i f we push back towards an o r i g i n t h a t can be spoken (the age when I was he ) f o r an i n s t a n t , the o r i g i n i s o n l y an echo, the secondary sound which echoes what was never s a i d , the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f what was never a f i r s t , o r i g i n a r y 70 present, a present always mis s i n g , always a l r e a d y an echo mocking i t s e l f . The o r i g i n as subject o f c o n v e r s a t i o n , or the o r i g i n a r y subject which seeks i n v a i n to f i n d i t s o r i g i n s by as k i n g who speaks, i s always already on h i s way, never s t i l l * " I am f a r ... f a r from my subject too, l e t ' s go back to i t , i t ' s gone ... where was I , oh yes, my s u b j e c t , no longer t h e r e , o r no longer the same." (p.391) To go back to the s u b j e c t , the subject o f who speaks, the subject of the c o n v e r s a t i o n , the subject " I " , subjected to s c r u t i n y , to subject the o r i g i n s and the o r i g i n a r y / a t i n g v o i c e to view, i s o n l y to d i s c o v e r t h a t the "where was I ? " i s the o r i g i n a r y q u e s t i o n , t h a t the subject i s always mis s i n g , always "no longer t h e r e , o r no longer the same." The subject i s always v a i n l y seeking — "who i s seeking, seeking who you are, supreme a b e r r a t i o n , where you are ... who i s t a l k i n g , not I , where am I ? " (p.385,6) — but the i d e n t i t y o f the subject i s never the same and never there. "Perhaps a l l they have t o l d me has reference to a s i n g l e e x i s t e n c e , the con-f u s i o n of i d e n t i t i e s being merely apparent and due to my i n a p t i t u d e t o assume any." (p.330) As the speaking subject cannot be a s i n g l e e x i s t e n c e , cannot be i d e n t i c a l w i t h h i m s e l f , i s always not there or not the same, the subject simply f l i c k e r s , assuming any i d e n t i t y , t a k i n g on, c a s t i n g o f f any pronoun, any i d e n t i f y i n g mark of the speaking s u b j e c t , be i t pronouns or proper names (Mahood, B a s i l , Malone, Worm, e t c . ) . There i s no p o s s i b i l i t y of e s t a b l i s h i n g or f i x i n g a speaking s u b j e c t , an " I " d e n t i t y , a s i n g l e u n i f i e d existence* 71 the " I " never represents an " i n d i v i d u a l , nor the "you," or "he." Over the organized f i e l d o f language, a l l p o s s i -b i l i t y of e s t a b l i s h i n g i n d i v i d u a l i t y i s l o s t i I t has not yet been our good fortune to e s t a b l i s h w i t h any degree of accuracy what I am, where I am, whether I am words among words, or s i l e n c e i n the midst of s i l e n c e ... what I am doing, how I manage, i f i t ' s I who speaks ... i f i t ' s I who seek, f i n d , l o s e , f i n d a g a i n , l o s e again, seek i n v a i n , seek no more, i f i t ' s I what i t i s , and i f i t ' s not I , who i t i s , and what i t i s . (p.388,9) What i s l o s t i s the s u b j e c t , the subject o f accuracy and the accurate subject? even the seeker (the seeking s u b j e c t , the speaking s u b j e c t ) has l o s t h i m s e l f seeking i n v a i n . The " I am" or " I am not I " are i n words (but not i n words alone, o n l y i n words w i t h other words)? to look inwards towards a c e n t r a l i z e d " I " i s to f i n d i t m i s s i n g between the Moment and the Speaking Subject. The s i l e n c e which i r r u p t s i n the midst o f s i l e n c e does not conceal the unspoken, unspeaking subject as a u n i f i e d consciousness t h i n k i n g of i t s e l f as s u b j e c t , but o n l y speaking i n the words of the other (the o b j e c t i f i e d o t h e r ) , because the " t r u t h t o recover," i f , as Western metaphysics would have i t , t h e r e i s a t r u t h (about the sov-e r e i g n consciousness, the u n i f i e d ego, t h i n k i n g s u b j e c t ) , i s " a l l l i e s . " To make headway, make our way towards the head — w i t h t h i n k i n g b r a i n , seeing eye, speaking mouth (or the p e r f e c t u n i t y of consciousness speaking to i t s e l f , pure a u t o - a f f e c t i o n ) — i s a l i e , l i e s l o s t . S i l e n c e i t s e l f i s i n t e r r u p t e d by the l e t t e r " I " which must e x i s t o u t s i d e i t s e l f ? s i l e n c e cannot h o l d i t s e l f apart from the " I " t h a t i s i n i t s midst (the s i l e n c e ) . Even the s i l e n c e cannot r e t a i n i t s 72 u n i t y , j u s t as the words cannot r e t a i n t h e i r u n i t y , t h e i r (uni) oneness, t h e i r "I^ness. A l l i d e n t i t y i s l o s t i n the v e r t i g i n o u s i r r u p t i o n o f words (s u b j e c t s ) i n t o s i l e n c e and v i c e v e rsa; a l l "I"ness i s noughti The words are everywhere, i n s i d e me, ou t s i d e me ... I'm i n words, made o f words, others' words ... a l l words, the whole world i s here w i t h me ... I'm a l l these f l a k e s , meeting, m i n g l i n g , f a l l i n g asunder, whenever I f i n d me, leave me, go towards me, come from me, nothing ever but me, a p a r t i c l e of me, r e t r i e v e d , l o s t , gone a s t r a y , I'm a l l these words, a l l these s t r a n g e r s , t h i s dust of words, w i t h no ground f o r t h e i r s e t t l i n g , no sky f o r t h e i r d i s -p e r s i n g , coming together to say, f l e e i n g one another to say, t h a t I am they, a l l o f them, those t h a t merge, those t h a t p a r t , those t h a t never meet, and not h i n g e l s e , yes, something e l s e , t h a t I'm some-t h i n g q u i t e d i f f e r e n t , a q u i t e d i f f e r e n t t h i n g , a wordless t h i n g i n an empty place ... where nothing s t i r s , nothing speaks, and t h a t I l i s t e n , (p.386) The " I " i s at once between words, surrounded by words, d i s p e r s i n g (dispensing) words, u n i f y i n g words, onl y part of words which are p a r t i c l e s of him, i s the dust of words which can never be u n i f i e d ( s e t t l e d ) , and i s the l i s t e n e r who never speaks. Grammatically, " I " i s a p a r t i c l e (and a fragment), both a word and l e t t e r , the s m a l l e s t denominator (de-nominatort t h a t which takes the name away, although a proper pronoun, t h a t which takes the proper name away w h i l e r e p l a c i n g i t , s u b s t i t u t i n g f o r i t ) of a g r e a t e r whole, and i s a l s o the whole i t s e l f (a word). "A" i s another p a r t i c l e , and both " I " and "a" c l a i m the d i s t i n c t i o n of being the smallest words, words which are merely one l e t t e r , b a r e l y words at a l l . " I " and "a" c i t e the space between the word and the l e t t e r , are e i t h e r words o r l e t t e r s , or both: the " I " i s both the l e t t e r i n a l l these words, the p a r t i c l e o f meaning, and a q u i t e 73 d i f f e r e n t t h i n g , a wordless t h i n g ( d i f f e r e n t from i t s e l f ) . As a p a r t i c l e , the dust of words, the l e t t e r " I " p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the c r e a t i o n and d e s t r u c t i o n o f Man — Man made from the dust ( o f words) who r e t u r n s to the dust (of words); man becomes words from dust to dust, from sky to ground or v i c e v e r s a ; not only becomes words (as the f l e s h made word), but has always already been i n s c r i b e d i n words. The p a r t i c l e of The Unnamable i s another p a r t i c l e merging and f a l l i n g away from/to t e x t u a l i t y , as i t p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the ( h i ) s t o r y of Man's c r e a t i o n and demise, o r the c r e a t i o n and demise of the " I am," the " I speak," the " I w r i t e . " The " I " d e s i r e s to be the o r i g i n of h i s own s t o r y , h i s t o r y , and continues to r e p o s i t i t s e l f throughout the novel; but nothing i s l e s s c e r t a i n than the loc u s of the " I " o r the v o i c e of the " I " . As Nietzsche w r i t e s , "We set up a word at the point at which our ignorance begins, at which we can see no f u t h e r , eg. the word 'I» ... these are perhaps the horizons of our knowledge." At the horizons o f our knowledge, between the ground and sky (or l a c k o f ground and s k y ) , we set up a word, an " I " , as i f i t were c e r t a i n , a contained p o i n t (word, l e t t e r or stigme) and c e l e b r a t e i t s u n i t y , i t s a b i l i t y to c o n t a i n the world (our world, our words) i n what we c a l l the ego, the s e l f , the i n d i v i d u a l . But at tha t point "between," our ignorance begins; we are ignorant of the o r i g i n s o f the " I " as i t appears i n language, as i t f a i l s to present i t s e l f as i n d i v i d u a l , as we l i s t e n to another say " I " , being denied our ownership of the term; t h a t " I " i s not me, but the " I " of another. While the po i n t seems c l e a r , there i s always 74 already the "not I " which must occupy the empty place — Lacan w r i t e s t h a t "empty speech" i s the speech "where the subject seems to be t a l k i n g i n v a i n about someone who, even i f he were h i s s p i t t i n g image, can never become one," 1 1 What appears t o be "me" t a l k i n g about "me" i s only the image of "me," and "I'm something q u i t e d i f f e r e n t ; " language can only present a simulacrum o f "me" or " I " . " I " always l o s e myself, l o s e myself as subject from the moment " I " begin to speak. The simulacrum i s a l l t h a t appears; " I " o n l y "seem" to be "me." " I " am o n l y the a c t o r d e l i v e r i n g the l i n e s which say " I " , but are not r e f e r r i n g to me, as " I " am something q u i t e d i f f e r e n t as " I " only l i s t e n t o myself speak, knowing that i t i s not " I " , t h a t " I " am s i l e n t (mute). Even at the horizons of ignorance when the " I " d e s i r e s to speak about h i m s e l f , w h i l e r e c o g n i z i n g the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of a c h i e v i n g the accurate words to desribe h i m s e l f , the " I " i s always making h i m s e l f an o b j e c t , even w h i l e d e s i g n a t i n g h i m s e l f as the subject o f the di s c o u r s e ; "the subject who t h i n k s he can accede to h i m s e l f by d e s i g n a t i n g h i m s e l f i n 1 2 a statement, i s no more than ... an o b j e c t , " no more than a part of a t o t a l f u n c t i o n t h a t produces the statement. Thus the subject " I " who seeks t o speak on the subject o f h i m s e l f , becomes an object of the d i s c o u r s e , the subject becomes i t s o b j e c t . I n attempting to d i s c o v e r who the " I " as subject i s , the " I " attempts to look behind language or look beyond the " I " f o r what has caused the speech, the d i s c o u r s e ; as Nietzsche w r i t e s , "Our 'understanding o f an 75 event' has c o n s i s t e d i n our i n v e n t i n g a subject which was made r e s p o n s i b l e , " 1 3 but the ensuing i n v e n t i o n i s o n l y "a t h i n g l i k e a l l o t h e r s i a s i m p l i f i c a t i o n w i t h the object of d e f i n i n g the f o r c e which p o s i t s , i n v e n t s , t h i n k s , as d i s t i n c t from a l l i n d i v i d u a l p o s i t i n g , i n v e n t i n g , t h i n k i n g as such. Thus a c a p a c i t y as d i s t i n c t from a l l t h a t i s i n d i v i d u a l . " A l l t hat can ever speak i s language speaking i t s e l f * ^ "Can i t be o f me I'm speaking, i s i t p o s s i b l e , of course not ... i n any case i t ' s not a que s t i o n o f speaking of me, but of speaking." (p.392) With the f r a c t u r i n g and d i s p e r s i o n of the subject i n t o a m u l t i p l i c i t y of p o s s i b l e s u b j e c t s or o b j e c t s , the subject n e c e s s a i l y l o s e s a l l i t s t r a d i t i o n a l importance* a l l t h a t maintains importance i s w r i t i n g , w r i t i n g i t s e l f , as a process i n t e x t u a l i t y . The speaking subject can no more ho l d the centre o r the concept of i n d i v i d u a l i t y ? the terms n e c e s s a r i l y l o s e a l l t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l "meaning" and the "question of speaking me" i s e f f a c e d , r e l e g a t e d to words, to "speaking." That's a l l words ... a l l words there's nothing e l s e ... they're going to abandon me ... you must say words, as l o n g as there are any ... u n t i l they say me, perhaps they have s a i d me alr e a d y ... I don't know, I ' l l never know. (p.4l4) Even i f there were "a" s u b j e c t , and " I " as a u n i f i e d speaking s u b j e c t , s a y i n g " I " a u t h e n t i c a l l y , as i t were, the " I " would never recognize whether he had s a i d h i m s e l f or not? enslaved i n language, because a part of language, the " I " (n)ever says h i m s e l f unknowingly. The "perhaps" e f f a c e s a l l c e r t a i n t y , a l l r e a s s u r i n g c e r t i t u d e , a l l n o s t a l g i a f o r f i x e d o r i g i n s 76 and the sovereign subject* " a l l words there's nothing e l s e . " As the words abandon "me," the l o s s i s at once f r i g h t e n i n g and e x h i l a r a t i n g * "the access to w r i t i n g i s the c o n s t i t u t i o n of a f r e e subject i n the v i o l e n t movement of i t s own e f f a c e -ment and i t s own bondage." 1^ And Dionysian freedom (from "me" as c o n s t i t u t i n g s u b j e c t ) i s v i o l e n t abandon; not the abandonment o f one l e f t alone (of a lone " I " a t the c e n t r e ) , but the abandonment of the one " I " w i t h i t s c y c l o p i a n d e s i r e to suck a l l words i n t o i t s mouth (the one, whose v o i c e can cl a i m them); " i t ' s a poor t r i c k t h a t c o n s i s t s of ramming a set of words down your g u l l e t . " (p.324) The s h a f t always p i e r c e s h i s eye. Whereas i n The Unnamable, the " I " always ef f a c e s i t s e l f , always d i s f i g u r e s i t s e l f w i t h the "not I , " i n Not I the " I " i s completely effaced from the t e x t before i t i s even w r i t t e n , d e s p i t e the presence o f the s o l i t a r y mouth d e l i v e r i n g the s t o r y . The only pronoun i s the t h i r d person which, the t e x t t e l l s us, the mouth "vehemently re f u s e s to r e l i n q u i s h " even; as the discourse stumbles p e r i o d i c a l l y over "What? ... Who? ... No! ... She.'" to the f i n a l "What? ... Who? ... No! ... She: ... SHE!" Although the mouth t e l l s what "seems" to be a personal account, i t never l a p s e s i n t o the " I " t h a t might in s u r e the i l l u s i o n o f a union between the t e l l e r and the t a l e , a union perhaps promised by the s o l e disembodied mouth; one which might have given "mouth-voice-words" the t r a d i t i o n a l u n i f i e d e f f e c t o f pure a u t o - a f f e c t i o n . The only appearance of the " I " i s i n the form o f "not I " i n the t i t l e o f the 77 play? the " I " can o n l y "be an absent presence i n the t e x t , a t r a c e . While the mouth i s given prominence i n Not I , even though i t can never t e l l i t s "own" s t o r y as a f i r s t person n a r r a t i o n , the mouth as " t h i s venerable organ" i s questioned i n The Unnamable? i n f a c t , the e n t i r e n o t i o n of v o i c e i s put i n t o question. As D e r r i d a has vindicated, the primacy of the v o i c e over the w r i t t e n word has l o n g been part of the metaphysical t r a d i t i o n , beginning w i t h the i d e a of the d i v i n e Logos and extending over the e n t i r e t r a d i t i o n , even to the p o i n t where " v o i c e " has become one o f the mainstay metaphors f o r n a r r a t i v e ! " I t ' s e n t i r e l y a matter of v o i c e s , no other metaphor i s a p p r o p r i a t e . " (p.325) But the metaphor of v o i c e always presupposes one who speaks, a mouth which d e l i v e r s the n a r r a t i v e , a consciousness t h i n k i n g and d e l i v e r i n g the n a r r a t i v e as i t i s thought (what D e r r i d a c a l l s the "s'entendre d i r e " ) . Once the n o t i o n o f the subject as a u n i f i e d whole (an "I") i s problematized and put i n t o p l a y ("this f l u x o f forms"), the metaphor of v o i c e a l s o becomes problematic. Where i n Not I Beckett dispenses w i t h the head (where the sovereign subject would r e s i d e ) , i n The Unnamable the head becomes an egg, an eye, a b a l l , a stomach, a mouth, then i s discarded altogether? at the mouth stage o f p l a y , the v o i c e i s o n l y the v o i c e o f another » a c o n j u r o r , an i l l u s i o n i s t . " I t h i n k Murphy spoke now and then, the others too perhaps, I don't remember, but i t was c l u m s i l y done, you could see the v e n t r i l o q u i s t . " (p.348) 78 The v e n t r i l o q u i s t , who puts h i s v o i c e i n s i d e the mouth or i n the v o i c e o f another, never speaks h i s own v o i c e ; the vo i c e s are m u l t i p l i e d and become "a goodly company." (p.379) But there i s t o be no marriage o f v o i c e and head, of thought and v o i c e , of vo i c e and " I " (not I ( d o ) ) , o n l y , i n Derrida*s word, a "dis s e m i n a t i o n , " and i n B e c k e t t ' s , a u r i n a t i o n or masturbationi A n i c e mess we're i n , the whole pack o f us ... I myself have been scandalously bungled ... I on whom a l l dangles, b e t t e r s t i l l , about whom, much b e t t e r , a l l t u r n s , d i z z i l y , yes yes, don't p r o t e s t , a l l s p i n s , i t ' s a head, I*m i n a head, what an i l l u m i n a t i o n , s s s s t , p i s s e d on out o f hand. (p.372) The wedding f e a s t of the goodly company, w i t h the " I " at the c e n t r e , i s s h a t t e r e d ( s p l a t t e r e d ) as are a l l notions of union i n The Unnamable; the form o f masturbation t h a t the " I speak to myself" i m p l i e s , i s only a s p i n n i n g outward o f a k i n d of c o i t a l c o i l , a wet dream w i t h no consummation* "a sperm dying, o f c o l d , i n the sheets, f e e b l y wagging i t s l i t t l e t a i l ... born of a wet dream and dead before morning." (P»379»80) The head th a t becomes an egg w i l l never have the consummation from the d y i n g sperm on the sheet, j u s t as the subject " I " w i l l never have the union o f h i m s e l f and the w r i t t e n " I " i the head t h a t t h i n k s i s l o s t , the mouth that speaks i s l o s t and the " I " on the page i s l o s t to t e x t u a l p l a y , f e e b l y wagging i t s t a i l ( t a l e ) o f i t s e l f , l o s t but not mourning. As the subject (both the speaking subject and the subject of the subject) i s put i n t o a f l u x o f p l a y (or a p l a y o f f l u x ) between the " I " , "not I , " "they," "he," "she" ("no sense 79 b i c k e r i n g about pronouns, and other p a r t s o f b l a t h e r . The subject doesn't matter," p.3^0), o r between the subject and the o b j e c t , there i s no r e s o l u t i o n , no d i a l e c t i c a l union? f o r the multitude o f p o s s i b l e s u b j e c t s (both speaking and of c o n v e r s a t i o n ) , and the absence of h i e r a r c h i c a l arrangements p r i v i i e d g i n g one over the other, i n s u r e s t h a t nothing can be aufgehoben. 1 7 There i s no "cause" (which i s Nietzsche's conception o f the i n t e r p r e t e d subject) f o r the d i s c o u r s e ; the discourse continues without cause, as a s e r i e s o f e f f e c t s ? but we should d i s r e g a r d the o p p o s i t i o n , f o r such an o p p o s i t i o n i s o n l y "other p a r t s o f b l a t h e r " i n The Unnamable. As the subject (?) " I " f l i c k e r s throughout the t e x t u a l f l u x , never to be consummated, i t i s always dead before morning? o r , as Lacan w r i t e s , "between an e x t i n c t i o n t h a t i s s t i l l glowing and a b i r t h t h a t i s r e t a r d e d , ' I * can come i n t o being and 18 disappear from what I say." The " I " can o n l y occupy that " i n f i n i t e s i m a l l a g between a r r i v a l and departure," t h a t p l a c e l e s s p l a c e , t i m e l e s s time, o r , as Beckett c a l l s i t , the "mess»" we have "to open our eyes and see the mess?" 1 9 or perhaps open the " I " s to the p l a y o f t e x t u a l i t y and abandon our " s e l v e s " to the mess of words. The speaking subject can no longer c o n t a i n the words he speaks, nor can he f i n d h i s place among the words? the words do not belong t o anything other than language, and t h e r e f o r e cannot be contained or oonfined t o a s t a t i c l o c u s . No longer can the " I " e s t a b l i s h anything even resembling i d e n t i t y i n languag? the " I " can o n l y seem to speak, f o r e v e r l o s t i n t e x t u a l i t y , e f f a c e d by h i s own d w e l l i n g place (which 80 has no l o c u s or o r i g i n s ) . To l o c a t e "a" subject i n The  Unnamable, or i n a l l w r i t i n g , i s i m p o s s i b l e , f o r the subject always escapes; how can we "designate a s u b j e c t , " w r i t e s 2 0 Lacan, "when he does not even know tha t he i s speaking?" And thus, the a c t o r who speaks, even knowing th a t he cannot speak of h i m s e l f , cannot even enter onto the stage, although the stage as the t e x t u a l f i e l d always beckons to the a c t o r to go on. As a speaker, the a c t o r cannot go on to d e l i v e r h i s s c r i p t , yet as a f i g u r e i n t e t u a l i t y , the a c t o r goes on and on i n the weaving o f t e x t u a l i t y * " I can't go on, I ' l l go on." (p.4l4) The " I " as grammatical h a b i t w i l l con-t i n u e , f o r we have no other t o o l s * "there i s no t o o l t h a t I 2 1 does not belong to the metaphysical box*" but the " I " as sovereign subject can't go on a f t e r d i s r u p t i o n s l i k e The  Unnamable. Forever l o s t , yet f o r e v e r apparent, the " I " i s always already at the t h r e s h o l d o f the t e x t , always already beginning a s t o r y t h a t i s "no longer t h e r e , or no longer the same." The subject o f the subject (both the speaking subject and the subject of the t e x t ) i n The Unnamable has been the p r o v i s i o n a l subject of t h i s t e x t ; but we can already see how the subject of the subject e t c . becomes convoluted to the extent of being an abyssal s t r u c t u r e . We must acknowledge the i d e a o f the subject as a concern o f Western metaphysics, but i n The Unnamable we witness a v i o l e n t r u p t u r e ; as D e r r i d a p o i n t s out, a l l ruptures o f h i e r a r c h i e s must be • ? 2 v i o l e n t , because the h i e r a r c h i e s themselves are v i o l e n t . 81 A l l we can do i n a readi n g i a pl a y w i t h i n the p l a y of the rup t u r e , and w i t n e s s , w h i l e p a r t i c i p a t i n g w i t h abandon, the p l a y t h a t must r e s u l t from the f r e e i n g o f the sovereign subject i n the p l a y of t e x t u a l i t y . With The Unnamable we can o n l y p a r t i c i p a t e i n the problematic o f the subject i n w r i t i n g , and no p o s i t i o n i s l e s s secure than our p o s i t i o n s as c r i t i c s . Prom our s h i f t i n g p o s i t i o n i n s i d e the rupture of The Unnamable. always at the t h r e s h o l d , always r i s k i n g our own effacement as readi n g s u b j e c t s , and always r i s k i n g the d i s p e r s i o n of the subject under i n v e s t i g a t i o n , we p a r t i c i p a t e w i t h abandon. 82 Footnotes I F r i e d r i c h Nietzsche, The W i l l t o Power, t r a n s . Walter Kaufmann (New York t Random House In c . , 1 9 6 7), p.268. Nietzsche, p.269. 3 Nietzsche, p.269. Jacques Lacan, E c r i t s t A S e l e c t i o n , t r a n s . A l a n Sheridan (New Yorkt W.W. Norton and Co., 1 9 7 7 ) , p.68. Alan Thiher, " W i t t g e n s t e i n , Heidegger, the Unnamable, and Some Thoughts on the Status of Voice i n F i c t i o n , " i n Samuel  Beckettt Humanistic P e r s p e c t i v e s , eds. M o r r i s B e j a et a l (Ohiot Ohio State Univ. P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) , p.88. ^ Nietzsche, p.269. 7 N i e t z s c h e , p.270. 8 See M i c h e l Foucault's d i s c u s s i o n on the changing p o s i t i o n s of the speaking subject i n The Archeology of Knowledge.pp. 200-210. 9 Jacques D e r r i d a , W r i t i n g and D i f f e r n c e . t r a n s . Alan Bass (Chicagot Univ. of Chicago Press, 1 9 7 8 ), p.178. 1 0 Nietzsche, p.296. I I Lacan, p.45. 1 2 Lacan, p.315. 1 3 N i e t z s c h e , p.296. ^ Nietzsche, p.302. See Heidegger's d i s c u s s i o n of language speaking i t s e l f i n "Language" i n Poetry Language Thought, t r a n s . A l b e r t Hofstadter (New Yorkt Harper and Row, 1971.).. Jacqu.es D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology. t r a n s . G a y a t r i C. Spivak (Baltimoret The Johns Hopkins Univ. P r e s s , 1 9 7 6 ) , p . 1 3 2 . 1 7 See Hans-Joachim Schulz's This H e l l o f S t o r i e s (The Haguet Mouton, 1 9 7 3 ) , f o r h i s Hegelian r e a d i n g o f Beckett's n o v e l s , where he examines the v a r i o u s o p p o s i t i o n s i n f l u x before the aufhebung. 1 8 Lacan, p.300. 1 9 "Beckett by the Madeleine," an i n t e r v i e w w i t h Tom D r i v e r 83 and Samuel Beckett, in Columbia University Forum. 4 (Summer 1961), p.23. 2 0 Lacan, p.312*. 2 1 Derrida, Of Grammatology. p.xix. 2 2 Jacques Derrida, Positions, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1981), p.41. IV Unnaraing the Text 85 There i s no human being [although "language has created no forms t o d i s t i n g u i s h the r e a l from the u n r e a l " 1 ] so wretched as to have no name of h i s own, and yet the great m a j o r i t y of people ... are o f supreme i n d i f f e r e n c e to us. What i s more, they look a l i k e , o r i n a l l events the d i s t i n g u i s h i n g marks are not con-spicuous enough f o r the i n d i v i d u a l i t y o f each to he upheld by words more meaningful than proper names. S i r A l a n Gardiner We have the i n s t i t u t i o n of proper names to t a l k i n words about t h i n g s which are not i n themselves words and which need not be present when they are b e i n g t a l k e d about.-' John S e a r l e What of the t e x t The Unnamable (whose " t i t l e " we acknowledge by u n d e r l i n i n g , whose " r i g h t " o f t i t l e or mark of ownership i s enforced by the s o l i d l i n e beneath i t ) , a t e x t which appears "supremely i n d i f f e r e n t " to the n e c e s s i t y of naming i t s e l f , o f h o l d i n g i t s "own" proper name, a t e x t "so wretched" as to have no " r e a l " name "of i t s own?" But the t e x t i s not i n - d i f f e r e n t , f o r the t i t l e marks the d i f f e r e n c e between t e x t s , i s given an e x t r a page and i s honoured by f u l l c a p i t a l l e t t e r s as i t takes i t s place "before" the t e x t , suspended over the t e x t , c l a i m i n g the t e x t as i t s "own?" The Unnamable marks the d i f f e r e n c e between Molloy and Malone Dies, becomes the " d i s t i n g u i s h i n g mark" d i s t i n g u i -shing i t s e l f from a l l other t e x t s by i t s t i t l e , i t s name. The Unnamable* the name, mark o f d i s t i n c t i o n ? i t heralds a t i t l e d t e x t , promises a proper t e x t , and the white page 86 w i t h blazoned c a p i t a l s THE UNNAMABLE i s thrown down before the t e x t ' s a r r i v a l , demonstrating i t s "ownership" i n the deed. The name in s u r e s t h a t t h i s i s no anonymous t e x t , no t e x t l a c k i n g i n t i t l e , not a t e x t " i n name only," but a named t e x t , named f o r fame, so tha t we may conve n i e n t l y r e f e r to the t e x t w i t h the metonymic c o n t r a c t i o n o f i t s " t i t l e . " While the named t i t l e i s a d i s t i n g u i s h i n g " a p p e l l a t i o n , " the t i t l e ' s c l a i m over the t e x t , i t s deed of "ownership," i t s mark of "possession" i s no d i f f e r e n t than the t i t l e h e l d over any t e x t , i n t h a t most t e x t s are marked by a t i t l e ? few t e x t s are anonymous, few t e x t s would f o r f e i t the power of naming and allow any t i t l e at a l l t o appear before the t e x t . I n other words, few t e x t s are l e f t to be in v e s t e d w i t h a "common" name and mark t h e i r preference by a "proper" name, a name which accedes to the p r o p r i e t y of t e x t u a l naming? f o r t e x t u a l naming i s proper. The Unnamable i s i n - d i f f e r e n t to other t e x t s by v i r t u e o f the f a c t t h a t i t has a name, a t i t l e , t hat i t has a proper t i t l e which can j u s t i f i a b l y c l a i m a d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the t e x t . I f i t were an unnamed t e x t , an anonymous t e x t , i t would be l a c k i n g the con s e c r a t i n g name (the name of the f a t h e r ) , would be nameless and r i s k s l i p p i n g i n t o o b s c u r i t y , i n t o namelessness, or i n t o bastardy? i t would have no name, and the t i t u l a r power would be r e l i n q u i s h e d . Naming a t e x t i s app r o p r i a t e and a l s o an act o f approp-r i a t i o n ? Man's need to name and appropriate what i s u n f a m i l i a r i n t o the f a m i l i a r i n a "making equal" i s Nietzsche's " w i l l to power." To name i s "to f a m i l i a r i z e ? Adam comes to know the beasts which come before him by c o n f e r r i n g names upon them. And thus, Adam makes h i s c l a i m to power i n the act of namingt an act o f mastery. Unnamed, the beast would be unknown and unknowablei as W i t t g e n s t e i n c l a i m s , our words are our world. Could we know the t e x t The Unnamable i f i t were unnamed? Only i f we conferred a name on the text? and knowledge i s a p p r o p r i a t i o n . The Unnamable as the t i t l e suspended over the t e x t appropriates the t e x t i n t o i t s possession as i t holds the necessary t i t l e t o the t e x t , holds i t i n - d i f f e r e n t l y over the t e x t as i t marks i t as a proper t e x t p r o p e r l y t i t l e d , i n a l l p r o p r i e t y . For a l l t h a t the t i t l e of The Unnamable i s c o r r e c t and proper, i s i t at the same time deceptive, a name " i n name only," o n l y the "nominal" t i t l e ? While the "presence" of a t i t l e over the t e x t marks the p r i v i l e g i n g of a name over an anonymous t e x t , the t i t l e i t s e l f i s questionable i n i t s " a u t h o r i t y ? " we question the p r o p r i e t y o f naming a t e x t The Unnamable. On the one hand, the t e x t i s indeed named, and on the other the t e x t claims the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of i t s "own" name — claims the "a"-ppropriateness of i t s name. A name t h a t i s not a name, or i s an unname, i s perhaps not proper, although we may see tha t i t i s indeed, q u i t e f i t t i n g . I n the law (nojnos) of p r o p r i e t y , the t e x t has a name (noraen), but the t e x t questions the law of the name ( i n the name of the l a w ) , questions the a u t h o r i t y o f the name even as i t 88 confers a name. The Unnamable as a t i t l e i s a c o n t r a d i c t i o n of the law of the named t e x t , o r the t e x t w i t h i t s proper (owned) name* i t i s an "antinomy" because i t goes against the law. But The Unnamable i s a l s o an anti-nomen, f o r the t e x t transgresses the law of the name, goes against naming and the p r i n c i p l e s of naming. To name i s to giv e an i n d i v i d u a -t i n g , d i s t i n g u i s h i n g a p p e l l a t i o n , and to giv e a proper name (what i s the grammatical term f o r a l l t i t l e s o f books, ch a r a c t e r s , e t c . ) , i s to " s a t i s f y the p r i n c i p l e o f i d e n t i f i -c a t i o n . " The Unnamable confers and removes the proper name, i s an antinomy and an anomaly, because i t does not conform to the law and does not conform to the name. As a "proper" name, which should by " r i g h t s " e s t a b l i s h i t s "own" i n d i v i d u a -t i n g d i s t i n c t i o n , The Unnamable dispossesses i t s "ownership" by the "un"namingt "un" as a p r e f i x both marks a negation and a r e v e r s a l ; The Unnamable. t h e r e f o r e , reverses the con-f e r r i n g o f the name and negates the name. By the act of naming, The Unnamable t i t l e s i t s e l f and thus d i s a l l o w s another name to be conferred; yet by the act of naming w i t h an "unname" the naming i s suspended, i s effaced even as i t names i t s e l f . As a name, The Unnamable i s b a r e l y a name; i t i n d i c a t e s i t s "own" i n a b i l i t y to assume (take upon i t s e l f , i n v e s t i t s e l f w i t h ) the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t h a t the " t i t l e " n e c e s s a r i l y confers on i t . The Unnamable d i f f u s e s the investment of power t h a t the act o f t i t l i n g (of naming) always extends. The t i t l e i n d i c a t e s i t s a p p l i c a b i l i t y t o 89 designate a p a r t i c u l a r t e x t , s i n c e i t i s the "proper" name of the t e x t , but o n l y a c t u a l l y i n d i c a t e s i t s f a i l u r e as a name. I f , as Gardiner says, "the p r o p r i e t a r y i n s t i n c t i s the seedground of proper names,"^ then the p r o p r i e t a r y n o t i o n i s r a d i c a l l y questioned i n The Unnamable. I n grammatical terms, The Unnamable i s a c u r i o u s c o n s t r u c t i o n f o r a proper name* "unnamable" i s t e c h n i c a l l y an a d j e c t i v a l form which should modify a noun. But the l a c k of a subsequent noun r e v e a l s the a d j e c t i v e as able to stand alone, modifying a blank space* i t allows an i n f i n i t e number of s u b s t i t u t i o n s to supplement the l a c k of a noun, the l a c k of a "proper" noun to be modified. The space allows the s u b s t i t u t i o n of "common nouns to supplement the l a c k . For the moment (and a l l i s " p r o j e c t s f o r the moment"), we con-v e n i e n t l y s u b s t i t u t e " t e x t " i n the blank, and d i s c o v e r that the t e x t cannot be named even wh i l e i t i s named* or r a t h e r , the t e x t cannot have a "proper" name f o r i t s e l f . I f we spec u l a t e , however, on the space, the l a c k of the name, then we might admit t h a t the .lack of the name makes the name t r u l y "proper," f o r i t i s possessed by persons unknown (and unnamable). Since, however, no names are a c t u a l l y "proper" ( o r , there are no absolute "owners" o f names who can ever w r i t e them, because once they are w r i t t e n they are no longer "proper" — "the energy o f the graphein i s the o r i g i n a r y effacement of the proper name"^), and a l l names are "common," because they belong i n a system o f c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ( i n grammar the "proper name"), the absence of a name tha t 90 "unnamable" could modify does not i n d i c a t e some "owner" who transcends language. In t r a d i t i o n a l metaphysical terms, the a d j e c t i v e "unnamable" i s f r e q u e n t l y found to modify something which indeed transcends languaget a presence e t e r n a l , omnipotent, omniscient and t r a n s c e n d e n t a l , a God which cannot be named i n the f a l l e n language o f Man. The Hebrews had the unpro-nounceable "Jahweh" f o r God whose name could not be spoken. And thus, the language of Man n e c e s s a r i l y marks the f a l l from grace. D e r r i d a devotes much of h i s a t t e n t i o n to the metaphysical t r a d i t i o n of Man's d e s i r e f o r f u l l presence, and how God i s an example of one o f the concepts of t r a n s -cendence, which Man has created as an i d e a l of f u l l presence, which denigrate w r i t i n g . I n t h i s sense, "unnamable" attempts, but p o o r l y , to i n d i c a t e the grandeur and splendour, yet ab s t r a c t n e s s , o f God. Yet "unnamable" a l s o a p p l i e s to t h a t which cannot be i d e n t i f i e d , t h a t which cannot be f i x e d w i t h a name, t h a t which i s anonymous. P r o p r i e t y i s l o s t i n t e x t u a l i t y , as i s i d e n t i t y ? j u s t as the " I " i n The Unnamable i s always s h i f t i n g and l a c k i n g i n i d e n t i t y , so the "proper" name i s l a c k i n g i n a d i r e c t r e f e r e n t i n t e x t u a l i t y . I n the "normal" form (proper s t a t e ) o f the proper name (and we should recognize Freud's a s s e r t i o n t h a t normalcy i s a convenient f i c t i o n ) , o r as John Searle would say the " i n s t i t u t i o n o f the proper name," the name has a s i n g l e s i g n i f i e d ? i t * f o r m s a bond between the s i g n i f i e r and the s i g n i f i e d , and n e c e s s a r i l y l i m i t s the p l a y o f the s i g n i f i e r ? 91 "every s i g n i f i e d whose s i g n i f i e r can n e i t h e r v a r y nor toe t r a n s l a t e d i n t o another s i g n i f i e r without l o s s of s i g n i f i -7 cance, suggests a proper-name e f f e c t . M f I n other words, the proper name i n d i c a t e s a u n i t y , a completeness, an i d e n t i t y . Even i f Molloy or Malone were never named as such i n the t e x t s , the names would s u b s t i t u t e and toe s u b s t i t u t e d f o r the pronoun " I " i n the t e x t s i i n Molloy and Malone Dies, the u n i t y of the proper noun and pronoun i s assured, and the " t i t l e " s s o vereignty over the t e x t i n s u r e d . The " I " i n tooth t e x t s , as Barthes w r i t e s , "toecomes a name ... the toest 8 o f names," even w h i l e i t i s never given "a" name; the " I " i s a proper " I " , not a s h i f t i n g , u n c e r t a i n , questionable u n i t y , but "a magnetic f i e l d f o r the semes" 9 which draws the s i g n i f i e d s t o i t s e l f . I n Malone Dies and Molloy. the " I " and the "name" s a t i s f y our d e s i r e f o r p r o p r i e t y w i t h the c l e a n and f i t t i n g union of the s i g n and s i g n i f i e d , s a t i s f y our need f o r "semantic succour." (Watt, p.79) The Unnamable not o n l y l a c k s a s a t i s f y i n g t i t l e , but " a p p r o p r i a t e l y " l a c k s an " I " which w i l l remain s t a t i o n a r y l o n g enough to be namedi the baptismal ceremony i s marred by the s h i f t i n g t e x t which w i l l not allow the mark (nota, not "a") of the name to u n i t e w i t h the " I " . The scene of naming, the baptismal ceremony, i s always d e f e r r e d by the absence of the "one" t o be b a p t i z e d w i t h i t s "own" "proper" name. I f no being can be conferred (not even f i c t i o n a l being) i n The Unnamable. then no name can toe c o n f e r r e d , o n l y d e f e r r e d , a w a i t i n g the presence of the "goodly company," although 92 already i n the presence of the company o f a multitude of "I " s observing the ceremony; the " I " s observe the ceremony of naming, the naming of B a s i l , o f Mahood, o f Worms "But i t ' s time I gave t h i s s o l i t a r y a name, nothi n g doing without proper names. I t h e r e f o r e b a p t i s e him Worm. I t was high time. Worm. I don't l i k e i t , but I haven't much choice." (p.337) Worm, Malone, B a s i l , Mahood, a l l the "puppets*' are c o n t i n u a l l y named and unnamed, named and " s c a t t e r e d t o the winds," and the subject which always s h i f t s , s c a t t e r s i t s e l f , d i s p e r s i n g over the t e x t ; the subject as puppeteer or vent-r i l o q u i s t always shows h i s hands or l e t s h i m s e l f ( i t s e l f , myself) be seen before d i s a p p e a r i n g , before t a k i n g up another p o s i t i o n on the stage. Instead of being a u n i f y i n g gesture, naming i n The Unnamable becomes a d i s p e r s i v e gesture; naming al l o w s f o r -g e t t i n g , w h i l e remaining unnamed allows the t e n s i o n o f f l u x to c o n t i n u a l l y p o s i t and e f f a c e i t s e l f . The " I " i n i t s overdetermination as p o s s i b l e "proper" subject r e t a i n s prominence as i t e f f a c e s i t s e l f and s h i f t s from pronoun to pronouns "there's no g e t t i n g r i d of them without naming them." to name i s t o f o r g e t i n The Unnamable. and the object o f naming i s to dispense w i t h what i s named i n an act o f f o r g e t t i n g . Contrary t o the proper use of proper names, as a p p e l l a t i o n s which d i s t i n g u i s h and i d e n t i t y ( i n s u r e i d e n t i t y ) , the use o f the " t e c h n i c a l l y " proper name i n The Unnamable al l o w s the pl a y between the names and the s u b j e c t s , i n the p l a y of s u b s t i t u t i o n and effacement, i n the p l a y o f t e x t u a l i t y 93 which always transgresses the hounds o f p r o p r i e t y . The proper name has always been p r i v i l e g e d above the common name i n a h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e o f o p p o s i t i o n , yet the proper name i t s e l f has always s i g n a l l e d the f a l l away from the t h i n g i t s e l f . Prom P l a t o ' s Phaedrus onwards, we have a h i s t o r y o f d e n i g r a t i n g w r i t i n g as part o f the f a l l e n , t h a t which has f a l l e n away from the i d e a l t h i n g (the o u s i a ) . Since w r i t i n g i s described as a mneme techne, i t serves to a l l o w us t o f o r g e t the t h i n g i t s e l f , i t a l l o w s us to t a l k about something "which need not be p r e s e n t . " 1 0 u n t i l we no longer remember the a c t u a l t h i n g . And thus, what " o r i g i n a l l y " f u n c t i o n s t o a i d i n remembering, causes a f o r -g e t t i n g u n t i l e v e n t u a l l y the t h i n g i t s e l f i s f o r g o t t e n , and only the words remaini "the same words r e c u r and they are your memories." (p.395) I n The Unnamable the proper name as "an i n s t i t u t i o n " i s r e t a i n e d even w h i l e i t i s s u b s t i t u t e d ! Worm, I n e a r l y s a i d Watt, Worm, what can I say of Worm ... what might not j u s t as w e l l be s a i d o f the other? Perhaps i t ' s by t r y i n g to be Worm th a t I ' l l f i n a l l y succeed i n being Mahood ... then a l l I ' l l have to do i s be Worm. Which no doubt I s h a l l achieve by t r y i n g t o be Jones. Then a l l I ' l l have to do i s be Jones, (p.339) The " I " takes on and cast s o f f names and pronouns, i n d i c a t i n g r epeatedly the im p r o p r i e t y of the proper name as w e l l as the i m p r o p r i e t y o f the " I " as an i n d i v i d u a t i n g name or pronoun. Each name, which should be an end to naming, merely allows a subject f o r the moment. The name does not "mean" anything, does not r e f e r to anyonet not a char a c t e r or a person? "name" and "mean" are anagrammatically l i n k e d , 94 j u s t as nomos (Greek f o r " l a w ) and nomen (Greek f o r "name") are almost homonyraically l i n k e d . Mahood, Worm, Watt, Jones, B a s i l should mean something, 3 i n c e the proper name should belong to o r be possessed by something, through the r a t i f i -c a t i o n of a u t h o r i t y (the name of the law)* the name must mean i n order t o be proper* "the words have to be r a t i f i e d by the proper a u t h o r i t y . " (p.369) Names i n The Unnamable are only " s o - c a l l e d " proper names, only nominally proper names, proper names i n name onl y ("mere a p p e l l a t i o n s ... r e p u t a t i o n s without c o r r e s -pondance i n f a c t , " a c c o r d i n g t o the O.E.D.)* and thus, the names become "a"nonyraous, unnames, l o s e t h e i r power ( t h e i r a u t h o r i t y ) to mean. While names de f a c t o , they are not names d e f j u r e i the names do not correspond t o the p r i n c i p l e s (the laws) of "meaning" and "naming;" t h e i r s i g n i f i c a t i o n i s a r r e s t e d a f t e r the robbery o f the name (by the u b i q u i t o u s "un"). The p o s s i b l e " s u b j e c t s " i n the t e x t are unnamed, robbed of t h e i r names* the nomen becomes no-men, i n t h a t i t cannot r e f e r to any men ( f i c t i o n a l or o t h e r w i s e ) , and becomes no-"me"(n), i n t h a t i t cannot r e f e r to any "me" as i n d i v i d u a l f i r s t person. As proper names cannot be sub-s t i t u t e d f o r d e s c r i p t i o n s or c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , even though d e s c r i p t i o n s and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s can be r e l a t e d t o proper names -- "proper names do not have d e f i n i t i o n s , nor can they be s u b s t i t u t e d f o r d e s c r i p t i v e e q u i v a l e n t s " 1 1 — and t h e i r primary f u n c t i o n i s to act as "pegs on which t o hang 12 d e s c r i p t i o n s , " once t h e i r f u n c t i o n as d i r e c t s i g n i f i e r s 95 i s suspended, they become emptied of a l l s i g n i f i c a t i o n , of a l l power to s i g n i f y . Names which no l o n g e r "mean" or r e f e r o r s i g n i f y are improper names, j u s t as s u b j e c t s which c o n t i n u a l l y change and are s u b s t i t u t e d cannot be "the" s u b j e c t . I t i s the tyranny of metaphysical language which continues to h o l d concepts of u n i t y ("I"nes3, s u b j e c t i v i t y , p r o p r i e t y ) i n w r i t i n g * "they w i l l devise other means ... o f g e t t i n g me to admit, or pretend to admit, t h a t I am he whose name they c a l l me by, and no other." (p.351) For the " I " or "he" o r " i t " t o admit to owning " t h e i r " own names i s o n l y an act of pretense, o n l y a pretending to admiti the names are admitted i n t o the p l a y of the t h r e s h o l d , of the "between," of s u b s t i t u t i o n . Onto the scene of naming, i n the t h i r d stage o f the t r i l o g y , the t e x t u a l f i e l d o f The  Unnamable. the names and pronouns are admitted and permitted, since they are not a r r e s t e d by the laws of p r o p r i e t y * no name can be proper i f there i s no "one" t o "own" i t , and " s u b j e c t s " cannot share "a" proper name without the name immediately becoming a taxonomic c o n s t r u c t . Therefore, i f a multitude of " s u b j e c t s " (or conversely "objects") share a s i n g l e , proper, name, they are o n l y part o f a common c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ! the "proper" transgresses i t s e l f and i s admitted i n t o the "common." The i n d i v i d u a l i t y promised by the proper name i s n e c e s s a r i l y l o s t , i s n e c e s s a r i l y e f f a c e d by the common, j u s t as the proper t i t l e d t e x t l o s e s i t s s u p e r i o r s t a t u s i n being unnamed, i n being The Unnamable. Only pretending t o submit (admit) t o the s u p e r i o r i t y o f the t i t l e (the proper t i t l e ) , the t e x t transgresses the proper and moves towards the common 9 6 i n t e x t u a l i t y and w r i t i n g , where p r o p r i e t y i s pretense as i t l o s e s a l l of i t s d i s t i n c t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and d i s t i n g u i s h -i n g marks. As D e r r i d a w r i t e s , "from the moment that the proper name i s erased from the system, there i s w r i t i n g . " 1 3 Because the e n t i r e l y proper name i s erased from the system, w r i t i n g emerges; once there i s no longer absolute "ownership" or " p r o p r i e t y , " the p o s i t i o n o f the s o - c a l l e d proper name i n language becomes problematic. I f the proper name no longer "means," o r no longer s i g n i f i e s the person or c h a r a c t e r (the t h i n g i t s e l f , p r o p e r l y s o - c a l l e d ) , the d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between the s i g n i f i e r and s i g n i f i e d (which the proper name guarantees or i n s i s t s upon) breaks down; the proper name e f f e c t which cannot bear s u b s t i t u t i o n without l o s i n g i t s p r o p r i e t y o r s i g n i f i c a n c e , s i g n a l s the l o s s of the r e l a t i o n between the word and the t h i n g i t s e l f ; and t o "pretend to admit" to "being" what i s "named" i s merely a n o s t a l g i c gesture. Saussure's p o s i t i n g o f the " a r b i t r a r i n e s s o f the s i g n " i s s t i l l yoked w i t h the meta-p h y s i c a l n o s t a l g i a f o r presence because i t i n s i s t s on the "common" understanding o f s i g n s , even i f the s o - c a l l e d t h i n g i t s e l f i s absent. O r i g i n a r y naming of t h i n g s (beings) may be l o s t i n memory, but the t r a c e s o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p (between s i g n and s i g n i f i e d ) are s t i l l maintained; i n the beginning was the o b j e c t , then i n the beginning was the named ob j e c t ; "nothing doing without proper names." T r a d i t i o n a l l y the a r t i s t uses the t o o l s of language t o express what i s known ( i n the common understanding o f language), and yet the d i r e c t 97 r e l a t i o n s h i p of expression becomes problematic when "the [ a r t i s t ' s ] o c casion appears as an unstable term of r e l a t i o n , " and subsequently the " d u a l i s t view o f the c r e a t i v e process [ i s ] unconvincing." (Three Dialogues, p.21) The source (and we use t h i s term c a r e f u l l y ) o f w r i t i n g i s o r i g i n a r y l o s s , and "the i n c r e a s i n g a n x i e t y of the r e l a t i o n i t s e l f , as though shadowed more and more d a r k l y by a sense of i n v a l i d i t y . " (Three Dialogues, p.21) Once the r e l a t i o n between the t h i n g and the name proper to i t becomes shadowy, i n v a l i d , once the t h i n g l o s e s i t s name, becomes unnamable, once expression becomes "the i n a b i l i t y t o express," becomes i n e x p r e s s i b l e ( a l l the p r e f i x e s , i n s t e a d of f i x i n g before hand, act as u n s t a b i l i z i n g agents which allow the p l a y t h a t the proper name i t s e l f d e n i e s ) , w r i t i n g l o s e s i t s s t a b i l i t y and r e a s s u r i n g c e r t i t u d e . I use them a l l , a l l the words they showed me, there were columns of them, oh the strange glow a l l of a sudden, they were on l i s t s , w i t h images o p p o s i t e , I must have f o r g o t t e n them, I must have mixed them up, these nameless images, these imageless names, these windows I should perhaps r a t h e r c a l l doors, or at l e a s t by some other name, and t h i s word man which i s perhaps not the r i g h t one f o r the t h i n g I see when I hear i t , but an i n s t a n t , an hour, and so on. (p.407) The i n s i d i o u s "perhaps" enters t o suspend and question the r e l a t i o n between s i g n and s i g n i f i e r , and gives the r e l a t i o n an absolute u n d e c i d a b i l i t y ; "perhaps" robs the name of i t s "meaning," and a l l o w s no "semantic succour." A l l i s mixed up, and the mixing d i s a l l o w s f o r g e t t i n g ; names can be f o r -g o tten, or r a t h e r the r e l a t i o n between names and images, but imageless names and nameless images a l l o w no peace, no 98 "wrapping up safe i n words." (Watt, p.80) And yet the naming process continues; the need t o name and a f f i x a name i n the face o f the l o s s and absence o f meaning continues; "now I ' l l have to f i n d a name f o r t h i s l a t e s t surrogate." (p.392) But i t i s only naming f o r the purpose of f o r g e t t i n g , f o r the purpose o f d i s p e n s i n g w i t h both the name and the t h i n g named; "And i t ' s s t i l l the same o l d road I'm t r u d g i n g , up yes and down no, towards one yet t o be named, so th a t he may leave me i n peace, be i n peace, be no more, have never been. Name, no, noth i n g i s namable, t e l l , no, nothing can be t o l d , what then, I don't know, I shouldn't have begun." S t o r i e s and Text3 For Nothing, p.12?) Unnamed, the words are robbed o f t h e i r names ( t h e i r "time-honoured names"), robbed o f t h e i r o r i g i n s and s t a b i l i t y ; the "un" marks the space o f a c a s t r a t i o n where the words cease t o mean; the word "man" i s "unmanned" (nomen), robbed of h i s "man"hood (the m i s s i n g "n" i n Mahood i s found i n the doubling of the " r i " i n "unnamable"). " I could have sworn they had g e l t me. But perhaps I am g e t t i n g mixed up w i t h other s c r o t a . " (p.333) The c a s t r a t i o n , or "mix-up." of the s c r o t a p a r a l l e l s the mix-up o f the names and images; unmanned, un-named, the t e x t becomes the s i t e of "unpower" ( l i k e Antonin Artaud's impouvoir). of unmeaning (of the powerlessness t o mean); At no moment do I know what I am t a l k i n g about, nor of who, nor o f where, nor how, nor why, but I could employ f i f t y wretches f o r t h i s s i n i s t e r o p e r a t i o n and s t i l l be short o f a f i f t y - f i r s t , to c l o s e the c i r c u i t , 99 t h a t I know, without knowing what i t means, (p.338) Thus the c i r c u i t ( d i r e c t current between s i g n and s i g n i f i e r , proper name and person o r ch a r a c t e r , e t c . ) , w i l l never be c l o s e d , w i l l always be h e l d open f o r "the l a t e s t surrogate" w a i t i n g to be named and f o r g o t t e n , a w a i t i n g the p o s s i b l e name or the p o s s i b l e meaning o n l y t o be f o r g o t t e n , to be defe r r e d by another surrogate and another s u b s t i t u t i o n . Always a l r e a d y a w a i t i n g completion, the c i r c u i t i s (n)ever c l o s e , has i t s completion d e f e r r e d , no matter how many "wretches" (Gardiner* "[there i s no person] so wretched as to have no name of h i s own") are employed t o complete the c i r c u i t i there w i l l always be the element mis s i n g which i n h i b i t s c l o s u r e . To know the clo s e d s t r u c t u r e o f the c i r c l e i s the a r r e s t of pl a y i n a f i x e d meaning; but to have the c i r c u i t unclosed, unnamed, unmeaning i s both t o allow p l a y and t o be open to the a n x i e t y of r i s k (the r i s k o f unmeaning)! "the i n c r e a s i n g a n x i e t y of the r e l a t i o n i t s e l f . " Of note ... was a p i c t u r e , hanging on the w a l l , from a n a i l . A c i r c l e , o b v i o u s l y described by a compass, and broken at i t s lowest p o i n t ... i n the eastern background was a p o i n t , o r dot ... [Watt] wondered what the a r t i s t had intended to represent ... a c i r c l e and i t s centre i n search o f each other, or a c i r c l e and i t s centre i n search of a centre and c i r c l e r e s p e c t i v e l y ... or a c i r c l e and a centre not i t s centre i n search of i t s centre ... i n boundless space, i n endless time ... at the thought ... Watt's eyes f i l l e d w i t h t e a r s t h a t he could not stem. (Watt, p.12?) Watt weeps at the thought of the centre or c i r c l e l o s t i n boundless space and endless time, and D e r r i d a w r i t e s t h a t , "even today the n o t i o n o f a s t r u c t u r e l a c k i n g any centre 14 represents the unthinkable i t s e l f ; " but i n The Unnamable. 1 0 0 t h i n k i n g about the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the l o s s , without knowing what i t means, i s t h i n k i n g the unt h i n k a b l e , i s a f f i r m i n g the abandonment of c l o s u r e , w i t h abandon. Nothing (no "one" th i n g ) w i l l f i l l the c e n t r e , o n l y a multitude o f s u b s t i t u t i o n s , and nothing (no "one" t h i n g ) w i l l complete the c i r c u i t , f o r there i s always a gap t h a t w i l l a l l o w another nameless wretch. There i s no f i r s t name, no proper name at the centre of The Unnamable (as the t i t l e promises); t h e r e i s no f i r s t person who names, no " I name" ( j u s t as there i s no a f f i r m a -t i v e " I " (n)"am"(e), o r " I " (n)"am"("me"), or " I " name. I f we push back to f i n d the o r i g i n a r y "unnamer," the one who s t e a l s the names before a d m i t t i n g them, i n a r e d u c t i o ad absurdum. we only d i s c o v e r t And whose v o i c e a s k i n g t h i s ? Who asks, whose v o i c e a s k i n g t h i s ? And answers, Hisoever who devises i t a l l ... For company. Who asks i n the end, Who asks? And i n the end answers as above? And adds l o n g a f t e r to h i m s e l f , Unless another s t i l l . Nowhere to be found. Nowhere to be sought. The unthinkable l a s t o f a l l . Unnamable. Last person. I . (Company, p.2k) There i s o n l y i n f i n i t e regress ( i n boundless space and end-l e s s t i m e ) , and no f i r s t (or l a s t ) a u t h o r i t y who can answer f o r - t h e asking. At b e s t , there may only be the o r i g i n a r y q u e s t i o n , l a c k i n g the o r i g i n a r y q u e s t i o n i n g s o l i t a r y (or d e v i s e r ) ; the d e v i s e r ( c r e a t o r , w r i t e r , author o r a u t h o r i t y ) i s always devised by "another s t i l l " which permits the f l u x r a t h e r than s t a b i l i z i n g a s t i l l c e n t re. The s o l i t a r y i s always a company, f o r companyt "the goodly company," the "puppets," the " c r e a t i o n s , " the "bran-dips," the pl a y e r s 101 who enact the scene of naming i n The Unnamable. where no name i s given any p r i o r i t y of s i g n i f i c a t i o n , i n c l u d i n g the name Samuel Beckett (which appears beneath the " t i t l e " of the t e x t ) . Although the proper name ( i n grammatical terms) "Samuel Beckett" stands beneath the t i t l e of the t e x t , both as "author" and " t r a n s l a t o r , " the name i n no way i m p l i e s any s u p e r i o r "understanding" of the t e x t , and the name should not be given any more p r i v i l e g e than any other name i n the t e x t . The name becomes part of the name s e r i e s i n The Unnamable. and must not mistakenly be considered "proper" to a man who "owns" the name and " a u t h o r i z e s " the t e x t ; the name "Samuel Beckett," l i k e Mahood, Worm, e t c . , s i g n a l s i t s l a c k o f pro-p r i e t y , of transcendental s i g n i f i e d , i n the effacement o f "the proper" enacted i n the t e x t . At the centre (the genera-t i n g centre) of The Unnamable i s not "one" Samuel Beckett, but j u s t another d e v i s e r , d e v i s i n g i t a l l f o r company, w h i l e devised h i m s e l f through language and w r i t i n g ; "as i f I were both the t e l l e r and the t o l d . " The s t o r i e s are never h i s "own" s t o r i e s . He has no s t o r y , he hasn't been i n s t o r y , i t ' s not c e r t a i n , he's i n h i s own s t o r y , unimaginable, u n t h i n k a b l e , t h a t doesn't matter, the attempt must be made, i n the o l d s t o r i e s incomprehensibly mine, t o f i n d h i s , i t must be there somewhere, (p.413) I t ' s the murmurs, the murmurs are coming ... murmurs, d i s t a n t c r i e s ... and the s i l e n c e ... I'm s t i l l i n i t , I l e f t myself behind i n i t . (p.4l4) The author "owns" no s t o r y (no t e x t ) and h i s proper name f o r f e i t s i t s ownership i n w r i t i n g ; i n s c r i b e d on the 1 0 2 cover of the t e x t i s a name which p a r t i c i p a t e s i n t e x t u a l i t y , as the t e x t does. Unspeakably, the author i s i n h i s "own" s t o r y , but " w r i t a b l y " the author's ownership i s revoked, and he i s i n h i s t o r y (not as a l i n e a r i z e d c o n s t r u c t of c h r o n o l o g i c a l s e q u e n t i a l i t y , but as t e x t u a l p a l i m p s e s t s ) ; i t i s unthinkable t h a t he "once" was an author, f o r w r i t i n g and t e x t u a l i t y do not d i s t i n g u i s h temporal sequences, o n l y adjacency and t e x t u a l t r a c e s , do not r e t a i n the d i s t i n g u i s h i n g marks (the proper names) as anything more than words p a r t -i c i p a t i n g i n the t e x t . Although the author's "name" i s there somewhere, h i s " s e l f " ( i d e n t i t y , presence, proper name) i s l e f t behind o n l y as a t r a c e , a remarking which p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the murmurs and d i s t a n t c r i e s ; the name becomes improper, becomes "anonymous" c r i e s and murmurs (where " I am the absentee again," p.413) i n what D e r r i d a might c a l l ( t h i s term i s a l s o suspect as i t i s d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to naming) the "General T e x t i " a t e x t w i t h no author and many t r a c e s o f names l o s t i n i m p r o p r i e t y . "My s t o r y " (incomprehensibly mine) becomes a "mystery" i n t e x t u a l i t y ; not a mystery t o be r e v e a l e d , not the mystery of o r i g i n s to be recovered, but the mystery (my s t o r y ) of the "my" (possessive) m i s s i n g i n the s t o r y , o r missing i n ( h i s ) s t o r y i "Where I make my escape, give myself up." (p.411) We r a r e l y make the mistake of a t t r i b u t i n g t e x t u a l "ownership" ,to a named c h a r a c t e r , w h i l e we f r e q u e n t l y make the mistake of a t t r i b u t i n g t e x t u a l "ownership" to the author ( i n h i s own name). Because the t e x t has no f a t h e r (or mother) 1 0 3 who generates i t (the t e x t i s generated i n language, horn i n and of w r i t i n g ) , l i k e a l l t e x t s i t i s i l l e g i t i m a t e ? i t cannot be contained by l e g a l c e r t i f i c a t i o n (of copyright laws which p r o t e c t ownership and promote the i l l u s i o n of the proper author's possession o f the t e x t , by l a w ) , as the t e x t "comes i n t o the world unborn, a b i d i n g there u n l i v i n g , w i t h no hope of death." (p.346) Dispossessed and unnamed by w r i t i n g , the t e x t j o i n s the improper p l a y of t e x t u a l i t y , escapes i n t o "the anonymity of t e x t u a l i t y , " 1 - * where the sovereign s e l f or the sovereign name i s always l o s t even as i t attempts to e s t a b l i s h i t s e l f as a u n i t y (one name). As D e r r i d a w r i t e s (and we use the"name" knowing t h a t the name i s on l y part of the l a r g e r working of t e x t u a l i t y , knowing t h a t the name f u n c t i o n s metonymically), "the proper name has never been, as a unique a p p e l l a t i o n reserved f o r the presence o f a unique b e i n g , anything but the o r i g i n a l myth of transparent l e g i b i l i t y present under the o b l i t e r a t i o n ? i t i s because the proper name was never p o s s i b l e except through i t s f u n c t i o n i n g w i t h i n a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and t h e r e f o r e w i t h i n a system o f d i f f e r e n c e s . " 1 ^ The t e x t comes i n t o the world unborn and abides there u n l i v i n g , incomprehensible because i t cannot "be" (compre-hended), without c e r t i f i c a t i o n (of baptism, of b i r t h , of marriage) o r c e r t i t u d e o f a u t h o r i t y ? unborn, i t i s borne away from the l e g a l i t i e s o f the name (and the unique), because no longer bounded by the l i m i t a t i o n s o f the proper (which would always attempt t o co n t a i n i t i n the "bournes" 104 of the unique, moving towards the goals (bournes) of pro-p r i e t y ) . Ungenerated and u n d i r e c t e d , the t e x t a b i d e s i " i t goes on by i t s e l f , i t drags on by i t s e l f , from word t o word, i n a l a b o u r i n g s w i r l , you are i n i t somewhere, everywhere." (p.402) The Unnamable labours without being born, o r labours unborn, unnamed, "someone says you, i t ' s the f a u l t of the pronouns, there i s no name f o r me, no pronoun f o r me, a l l the t r o u b l e comes from t h a t , t h a t , i t ' s a k i n d o f pronoun too, i t i s n ' t t h a t e i t h e r ... i t ' s a question of going on, i t goes on, hypotheses are l i k e e verything e l s e ... t h a t ' s r i g h t , impersonal, as i f there were any need of help to go on w i t h a t h i n g t h a t can't stop." (p.404) Impersonal, unnamed, unborn and u n b e l i e v i n g , the t e x t goes on by i t s e l f i n "a f a b l e o f one f a b l i n g , " i n a f a b l e of the "one," the unique, the proper, i n a f a b l e o f the one who could never "be." And there's n o t h i n g f o r i t but t o wait f o r an end t o come, and at the end i t w i l l be the same, at the end at l a s t a l l the same as be f o r e , as a l l t h a t l i v e l o n g time when there was nothing f o r i t but to get to the end, or f l y from i t , o r wait f o r i t , t r e m b l i n g or not, resigned or not, the nuisance of doing over, and of being, same t h i n g , f o r one who could never do, never be. (p.370) Borne t o the end of the t e x t (borne away by t e x t u a l i t y ) , born to see the ends o f the proper, borne over the l i m i t s of p r o p r i e t y , we reach at l a s t the end which i s " a l l the same as before," the end which i s only beginning to name i t s e l f (and efface i t s beginnings and names). The words c a r r y us (bear us) to the on-going end of the t e x t d i s p o s s e s s i n g i t s e l f , (un)naming i t s e l f The Unnamable, And the end (n)ever comes. 106 Footnotes 1 Sir Alan Gardiner, The Theory of Proper Names (Londoni Oxford Univ. Press, 1954), p.55. 2 Gardiner, p.47. 3 John R. Searle, Speech Acts» An Essay on the Philosophy  of Language (Londoni Cambridge Univ. Press, 1969), P»75. 4 Searle, p.171. ^ Gardiner, p.57. ^ Derrida, Of Grammatology. p.108. 7 Jacques Derrida, "Coming Into One's Own," trans. James Hulbert, in Psychoanalysis,'and the Question of the Text. ed. Geoffrey Hartman (Baltimoret The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1978), p.127. 8 Roland Barthes, s/z, trans. Richard Miller (New Yorkt H i l l and Wang, 1972*)» p.68. 9 Barthes, p.67. 1 0 Searle, p.75. 1 1 Searle, p.106. 1 2 Searle, p.172. 1 3 D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology. p.108. l i f D e r r i d a , W r i t i n g and D i f f e r e n c e , p.279. 1$ D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology. p . l i x . ^ D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, p.109. 107 Bibliography Selected Works by Beckett "Dante ... Bruno. Vico .. Joyce." In Our Exagmination  Round His Factification of Work In Progress. Parist Shakespeare and Co., 1929. Proust. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1957' Three Dialogues with George Duthuit. In Samuel Becketti A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. Martin Esslin. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.i Prentice-Hall, I965, pp. 16-22. Murphy. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1957' Watt. Londont John Calder Ltd., 1976. Mollov. In Three Novels. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1965. Malone Dies. In Three Novels. The Unnamable. In Three Novels. Waiting For Godot. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1954. Endgame. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1958. Stories and Texts for Nothing. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1967. How It Is. London: Calder and Boyars Ltd., 1964. Breath and Other Shorts. Londoni Faber and Faber Ltd., 1971. Not I. Londoni Faber and Faber Ltd., 1973. Company. New Yorki Grove Press Inc., 1 9 8 O . Works About Beckett Abbott, H. Porter. The Fiction of Samuel Becketti Form and  Effect.. Berkeley* Univ. of California Press, 1973. Bair, Deirdre. Samuel Becketti A Biography. New Yorkt Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978. 108 Barnard, G.G. Samuel B e c k e t t i A New Approach. New Yorki Dodd, Mead Inc., 1970. B a t a i l l e , Georges. "Le S i l e n c e de Molloy." C r i t i q u e . 7 (1951), pp. 387-96. B e j a , Morris et a l eds. Samuel B e c k e t t i Humanistic P e r s p e c t i v e s . Ohiot Ohio State Univ. Press, 1983. B e r n a l , Olga. Langage et f i c t i o n dans l e roman de Beckett. P a r i s i G a l l i m a r d , 1969. Blanchot, Maurice. "What Now? Who Now?" Trans. Richard Howard. Evergreen Review, 2 (Winter 1959), PP« 222-29. B r a t e r , Enoch, ed. Beckett Issue. J o u r n a l of Modern L i t e r a t u r e , 6 (February 1977)* Bree, Germaine. "The Strange World of Beckett's 'Grands A r t i c u l e s ' . " I n Samuel Beckett Now. Ed. M. Friedman. Chicago 1 Univ. of Chicago Press, 1970, pp. 73-87. Brooke-Rose, C h r i s t i n e . "Samuel Beckett and the A n t i - N o v e l . " London Magazine, 5 (December 1958), pp. 38-46. Coe, Richard. "Beckett's English.." In Samuel B e c k e t t i Humanistic  P e r s p e c t i v e s . Eds. M o r r i s Beja et a l . Ohioi Ohio State Univ. Press, 1983. PP. 36-57-Cohn, Ruby. Samuel B e c k e t t i The Comic Gamut. New Brunswick, N.J.i Rutgers Univ. Press, 1962. Back to Beckett. P r i n c e t o n i P r i n c e t o n Univ. P r e s s , 1973. Cornwell, E t h e l F. "Samuel B e c k e t t i The F l i g h t from S e l f . " PMLA, 88 (1973). PP. 41-51. Dearlove, J.E. Accomodating the Chaos 1 Samuel Beckett's N o n - r e l a t i o n a l A r t . Durham, N.C.i Duke Univ. Press, 1982. D r i v e r , Tom F. "Beckett by the Madeleine." Columbia U n i v e r s i t y  Forum, 4 (Summer I 9 6 I ) , 21-25. E s s l i n , M a r t i n , ed. Samuel B e c k e t t i A C o l l e c t i o n o f C r i t i c a l  Essays. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.i P r e n t i c e - H a l l , I965. Federman, Raymond. Journey to Chaos 1 Samuel Beckett's E a r l y  F i c t i o n . Berkeley1 Univ. o f C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1965. "Samuel B e c k e t t i The L i a r ' s Paradox." I n Samuel  B e c k e t t i The A r t of R h e t o r i c . Ed. Edouard Mo r o t - S i r , et a l . Chapel H i l l , N.C.i North C a r o l i n a Studies i n the Romance Languages and L i t e r a t u r e s , 1976, pp. 119-41. 109 F l e t c h e r , John. The Novels of Samuel Beckett. London* Chatto and Windus, 1964, Samuel Beckett's A r t . London* Chatto and Windus, 1967. Friedman, Melvin J . , ed. Samuel Beckett Now* C r i t i c a l Approaches  to His Novels. Poetry, and P l a y s . Chicago* Univ. o f Chicago Press, 1970. Frye, Northrop. "The Nightmare L i f e i n Death." Hudson Review, 13 (I960), pp. 442 -49. G a r z i l l i , E n r i c o . C i r c l e s without Centre* Paths to the Discovery S e l f i n Modern L i t e r a t u r e . Cambridge* Harvard Univ. Press, 1972. Hamilton, A l i c e and Kenneth. Condemned to L i f e * The World  of Samuel Beckett. Grand Rapids, Mich.* W i l l i a m B. Eerdmans, 1976. H a r t l e y , Anthony. "Samuel Beckett." Spectator. (October 1953), pp. 458-59. Harvey, Lawrence E. Samuel Beckett* Poet and C r i t i c . P r i n c e t o n * P r i n c e t o n Univ. Press, 1970. Hesla, David H. The Shape of Chaos* An I n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the  Art of Samuel Beckett. Minneapolis* Univ. o f Minnesota Press, 1971. Hoffman, F r e d e r i c k J . Samuel Beckett* The Language of S e l f . 1962; r p t . New York* E.P. Dutton, 1964-. Jacobson, Josephine, and W i l l i a m R. Mue l l e r . The Testament of Samuel Beckett. New York* H i l l and Wang, 1964. Kenner, Hugh. Samuel Beckett* A C r i t i c a l Study. New York* Grove Press I n c . , I 9 6 I . Kern, E d i t h . "Moran-Molloy* The Hero as Author." P e r s p e c t i v e . 11 (Autumn 1959), PP« 183-93. K r i s t e v a , J u l i a . "Le Pere, 1'amour, 1 ' e x i l . " L'Herne. No. 31 (1976), pp. 2k6^52. L e v e n t h a l , A.J. "The Beckett Hero." I n Samuel Beckett* A  C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. M a r t i n E s s l i n . Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.* Pre n t i c e - - H a l l , 1965, pp. 37 -51. Levy, E r i c . Beckett and the Voice of Species* A Study of the Prose F i c t i o n . Totowa, N.J.* Barnes and Noble Books, I98O. M e r c i e r , V i v i a n . B e c k e t t / Beckett. New York* Oxford Univ. Press, 1977. 110 Moorjani, Angela B. Abysmal Games i n the Novels of Samuel  Beckett. Chapel H i l l , N.C.i Univ. of North C a r o l i n a Press, 1982. Morot-Sir, Edouard, et a l . eds. Samuel B e c k e t t i The Art o f Rh e t o r i c . Chapel H i l l t North C a r o l i n a Studies i n the Romance Languages and L i t e r a t u r e s , 1 9 7 6 . "Samuel Beckett and C a r t e s i a n Emblems." I n Samuel  Beckett1 The Art of R h e t o r i c , pp. 25-104. Nadeau, Maurice. "Samuel B e c k e t t i Humor and the Void." Trans. Barbara Bray. I n Samuel B e c k e t t i A C o l l e c t i o n  of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. M a r t i n E s s l i n . Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.i P r e n t i c e - H a l l , I965, pp. 33-36. Nores, Dominique, ed. Les C r i t i q u e s de notre temps et Beckett. P a r i s 1 Garnier, 1971. 0•Hara, J.D., ed. Twentieth Century I n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of "Molloy," "Malone Dies," "The Unnamable"! A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l  Essays. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.i P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1970. P i l l i n g , John. Samuel Beckett. Londoni Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1976. Robinson, Michael. The Long Sonata of the Deadt A Study of  Samuel B e c k e t t . N e w Yorki Grove Press I nc., 1969. Rosen, Steven J . Samuel Beckett and the P e s s i m i s t i c T r a d i t i o n . New Brunswick, N.J.t Rudgers Univ. Press, 1976. Schulz, Hans-Joachim. This H e l l o f S t o r i e s i A Hegelian Approach  to the Novels of Samuel Beckett. The Haguei Mouton, 1973. S c o t t , Nathan A. Samuel Beckett; Londoni Bowes and Bowes, 1965. Thiher, A l l e n . " W i t t g e n s t e i n , Heidegger, The Unnamable, and Some Thoughts on the Status of Voice i n F i c t i o n . " I n Samuel B e c k e t t i Humanistic P e r s p e c t i v e s . Eds. Morris Beja et a l . Ohiot Ohio State Univ. Press, 1983, pp. 80-90. Webb, Eugene. Samuel B e c k e t t i A Study o f His Novels. S e a t t l e : Univ. o f Washington Press; London: Peter Owen, 1970. W e l l e r s h o f f , D i e t e r . " F a i l u r e of an Attempt at De-Mythologization: Samuel Beckett's Novels." Trans. M a r t i n E s s l i n . I n Samuel Beckett: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. M. E s s l i n . Englewood C l i f f s , N.J . t P r e n t i c e - H a l l , I965, pp. 92-107. Worth, Katharine, ed. Beckett the Shape Changeri A Symposium. Bostont Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1975« I l l Other C r i t i c a l and Theoretical Studies Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S.H. Butcher. New Yorkt H i l l and Wang Inc., 1961. Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Trans. Stephen Heath. New Yorkt H i l l and Wang Inc., 1974 . . Image Music Text. Trans. Richard Miller. New Yorkt H i l l and Wang Inc., 1 9 7 7 . Bloom, Harold. Poetry and Repression. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1 9 7 6 . , et al.,eds. Deconstruction and Criticism. New Yorkt The Seabury Press, 1979• de Man, Paul. Blindness and Insight t Essays in the Rhetoric  of Contemporary Criticism. New Yorkt Oxford Univ. Press, 1 9 7 1 . Derrida, Jacques. Speech and Phenomena. Trans. David Allison. Evanston, 1 1 1 . t Northwestern Univ. Press, 1 9 7 3 . Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore! The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1 9 7 6 . Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago* Chicago Univ. Press, 1 9 7 8 . "Coming Into One's Own." Trans. James Hulbert. In Psychoanalysis and the Question of the Text. Ed. Geoffrey Hartman. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1 9 7 8 , pp. 114-148. . Positions. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicagot Univ. of Chicago Press, I98I. Dissemination. Trans. Barbara Johnson. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1981. Frye, Northrop. Spiritus Mundi. Indianat Fitzhenry and Whiteside, I9W. Foucault, Michel. The Archeology of Knowledge. Trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith. New York: Pantheon Books, 1 9 7 2 . Gardiner, Sir Alan. The Theory of Proper Names. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1954 . Harari, Josue V. ed. Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1979 . 112 Hartman, Geoffrey, ed. Psychoanalysis and the Question of the Text. Baltimore; The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1 9 7 8 . "Preface." I n p e c o n s t r u c t i o n and C r i t i c i s m . Eds. Harold Bloom et a l . New York* The Seabury P r e s s , 1 9 7 9 , pp. v i i - i x . Heidegger, M a r t i n . Poetry Language Thought. Trans. A l b e r t Hofstadter. New York: Harper Colohpon Books, 1 9 7 5 . Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies i n the Theory  of F i c t i o n . New York: Oxford Univ. P r e s s , 1 9 6 7 . Lacan, Jacques. E c r i t s t A S e l e c t i o n . Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1 9 7 7 . L e n t r i c e i a , Frank. A f t e r the New C r i t i c i s m . Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1 9 3 0 . M i l l e r , J . H i l l i s . "The C r i t i c as Host." I n P e c o n s t r u c t i o n  and C r i t i c i s m . Eds. Harold Bloom et a l . New York: The Seabury P r e s s , 1 9 7 9 . PP« 2 1 7 - 2 5 3 . Nietzsche, F r i e d r i c h . The W i l l to Power. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House Inc., 1 9 6 7 . S a i d , Edward. Beginnings: I n t e n t i o n and Method. New York: B a s i c Books Inc., 1975* S a r t r e , Jean Paul. Being and Nothingness. Trans. Hazel E. Barnes. New York: Pocket Books, Inc., 1 9 6 6 . Scholes, Robert and Robert K e l l o g g . The Nature o f N a r r a t i v e . New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 196"6". S e a r l e , John. Speech Acts: An Essay on the Philosophy of  Language. London: Cambridge Univ. P r e s s , 1 9 6 9 . Spivak, G a y a t r i Chakravorty. " T r a n s l a t o r ' s Preface." I n Of Grammatology. By Jacques D e r r i d a . Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. P r e s s , 1 9 7 6 , pp. i x - x c . 

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