On another day I’ll read László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below hungrily. After an intensely beautiful first chapter, the second chapter begins with an untranslated Italian crossword. This, and the sections being arranged according to the Fibonacci sequence, struck me as overly pretentious, and I set the book aside for another day when I can see these experimentations as audacious and playful, or better, as the integral scaffolding of the book.
Krasznahorkai’s earlier books, especially War & War, have rare brilliance, so I’ll undoubtedly return to Seiobo There Below. In the meantime, after almost reading Ivan Vladislavic, Elfriede Jelinek and Blanchot, I’m heading back to Sam Beckett.
I’ve still two volumes of Beckett’s letters to read; as preparation I glanced over the passages I marked in the first volume. Beside the passage below I have pencilled the impossibility of connection.
Samuel Beckett writing to his aunt of his love to the paintings of Jack Yeats:
The way he puts down a man’s head & a woman’s head side by side, or face to face, is terrifying, two irreducible singlenesses & the impassable immensity between. I suppose that is what gives the stillness to his pictures, as though the convention were suddenly suspended, the convention & performance of love & hate, joy & pain, giving & being given, taking & being taken. A kind of petrified insight into one’s ultimate hard irreducible inorganic singleness.
Letter to Cissie Sinclair, 14th [August 1937], in Beckett 2009: 536
Sometimes a book just has to find us in the right frame of mind for it…
Very true, particularly with writers that whose other work you love.
“Inorganic” – that’s great – it could almost start a war among certain types of academics. I’ve a neighbor who’s also in the middle of reading Beckett’s letters; I’ll point him to your site.
Thanks, Scott, the 4th volume must be due sometime soon. You remind me to ask CUP.
I think I could quite happily just read Beckett for the rest of my life.
I feel the same way, Alain, one day I might decide just that.