"The acute and increasing anxiety of the relation itself": Beckett, the author-function, and the ethics of enunciation

Russell Smith

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    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    It is widely agreed that Beckett's writing radically destabilizes the enunciation of linguistic subjectivity through the problematic status of the pronoun 'I' in his work. This is often read as an implicit critique of the 'author-function.' In this paper I examine four different formulations of the enunciative relation between author and text - by Beckett himself, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Foucault, and Giorgio Agamben - and argue that Beckett's impossible "obligation to express" corresponds most closely to the theory of testimony outlined by Agamben, in which the shame experienced through an incapacity to speak responds to a post-war historical crisis of enunciation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)341-354
    Number of pages14
    JournalSamuel Beckett Today - Aujourd hui
    Volume18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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