Beckett's Words: The Promise of Happiness in a Time of by David Kleinberg-Levin

By David Kleinberg-Levin

At stake during this booklet is a fight with language in a time whilst our previous religion within the redeeming of the word-and the word's energy to redeem-has virtually been destroyed. Drawing on Benjamin's political theology, his interpretation of the German Baroque mourning play, and Adorno's serious aesthetic conception, but additionally at the considered poets and lots of different philosophers, particularly Hegel's phenomenology of spirit, Nietzsche's research of nihilism, and Derrida's writings on language, Kleinberg-Levin indicates how, as a result of its communicative and revelatory powers, language bears the utopian "promise of happiness," the belief of an earthly redemption of humanity, on the very middle of which needs to be the fulfillment of common justice. In an unique examining of Beckett's performs, novels and brief tales, Kleinberg-Levin exhibits how, regardless of inheriting a language broken, corrupted and commodified, Beckett redeems lifeless or loss of life phrases and wrests from this language new chances for the expression of that means. with out denying Beckett's nihilism, his photograph of a notably upset international, Kleinberg-Levin calls consciousness to moments while his phrases all at once ignite and cut loose in their depression and ache, taking form within the fantastic thing about an austere but joyous lyricism, suggesting that, finally, that means continues to be attainable.

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And what is literature to make, in a time of extreme disenchantment, of the promise of happiness, versions of which first appeared in the texts of faith that formed our culture? How can literature redeem the promise with its weak and paltry words? 103 §3 Beckett often felt he could not talk—could not find the right words, or the right way, to talk about our experience of living in a time bereft, without a god, without the justifications and consolations of theodicy, and without any absolute grounding.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. 108 There is peaceful resignation in these words, but also a youthful spirit of faith and hope, dissipating despair. Words matter. Writing may be “a sin against speechlessness,” but what would silence be, what meaning could it have, if there were no interruptions in its reign and no words to name and evoke it? 109 Philosophers have also sought to learn the “truth” held in silence; but the silence their words assume is nothing but an artifice of thought.

Carnap, intensely interested in working through what he perceived to be a crisis in the sciences related to the looseness of language, joined Schlick and his colleagues in the “Vienna Circle,” and in 1928 he published The Logical Construction of the World, in which he undertook to construct out of a phenomenalist language, and according to the strict laws of logic, all the terms required by the physical sciences. The publication of this work followed by just a few years Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), a wildly bold attempt, inspired by Mauthner’s project, to reconstruct language, rendering it in the purity and transparency of logical form.

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