Samuel Beckett's Real Silence (Hardback)Helene L. Baldwin (author)
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Exploring the Christian symbolism throughout a major portion of Beckett's mature work (particularly Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Watt, Not I, The Lost Ones, and Waiting for Godot), this book argues that Beckett is a writer of deep religious concern, not in the orthodox sense but in a sense fully as time honored. The path to "direct experience of Absolute of Unconditional Being" is traced through the classic stages of the quest (detachment, darkness, silence, trance, illumination, and revelation) with examples from both the content and structure of the works. A final chapter distinguishes among the several ironic tones that Beckett employs to reveal the profound reverence that is so often misread as cynicism. It is fitting that an author so frequently discussed in religious terms (his 1969 Nobel award cited him for singing the dies irae of the human race) should finally be read as a religious writer.
Samuel Beckett's writing, with its rich, dark ambiguity, has been widely acknowledged for its brilliance, but variously interpreted in its meaning. Nearly all critics recognize the religious allusions and symbols present throughout the Beckettian oeuvre, but few have attempted to come to terms with them, preferring to regard these recurring themes and images as atheistic irony. This book addresses that deficiency by arguing that Beckett's major works "may be seen as a cumulative metaphor for the mystic quest," specifically the "negative way" of renunciation that stands in contrast to the affirmative orthodoxy of T.S. Eliot, for example. Dr. Baldwin accomplishes this task by citing the many echoes within Beckett's prose of the great Christian mystics of history-Augustine, Pascal, Langland, Dante-many of whom are clearly the sources drawn upon in Beckett's non-stop allusiveness, and by demonstrating Beckett's parallels with modern Christian mystics, especially Simone Weil , whose themes in Waiting for God are hauntingly evoked in Waiting for Godot and much of the rest of the Beckettian canon.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 180
Weight: 376 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 11 mm
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