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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

II - New Contexts and Intertexts

  • Edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 85-154


Far from being celebrated, literature in Beckett’s texts represents something to be avoided at all costs. “But it is not at this late stage of my relation,” Moran asserts near the end of Molloy, “that I intend to give way to literature.” What is this thing that Moran, not unlike his “vice-exister” Malone, must be “on [his] guard” against – and that he invokes like a disbeliever muttering a blasphemy? A negative definition of sorts: in this narrative on the verge of self-cancellation, literature would be a clear statement of relation, an account of “how this result was obtained”; specifically, it would relate how the “dim man” whom Moran encounters in the Molloy country comes to be discovered “stretched on the ground, his head in a pulp” – by the speaker who has presumably bludgeoned him to death. And it would provide an experience of a certain value and pleasure: “it would be something worth reading.”