On Music in Samuel Beckett

Abstract

What is the importance of music in Samuel Beckett’s aesthetics? This essay discusses Samuel Beckett’s writings from the perspective of music as a thought-mechanism. The main focus of my essay lies in the subtle meanings contained in the trope “music”, rather than any specific musical composition. I shall start by reading closely the coda of Beckett’s Proust and formulate several key elements in defining the Beckettian “music”. The following Interlude on John Keats’s To Autumn discusses the relationship between language and the imagination of “music”. The poem can help us better understand Beckett’s aesthetics. Then with reference to Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou, I offer an analysis of three specific kinds of languages Beckett uses to process the “music” in his writings – the language of cutting, the language of blending, and the language of gap, each of them as a stride closer to the imagination of “music”.

Keywords

music, Alain Badiou, Gilles Deleuze, Samuel Beckett

How to Cite

Shen, X., (2012) “On Music in Samuel Beckett”, Opticon1826 14, p.4-20.

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Xuyan Shen (UCL (alumni))

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