David Tucker on Samuel Beckett

An interview with the author of Samuel Beckett and Arnold Geulincx
Samuel Beckett at home in his Paris study
Following the publication of his fascinating new book, Samuel Beckett and Arnold Geulincx: Tracing a Literary Fantasia, David Tucker talks to Continuum about his enduring interest in Beckett's work:
What originally inspired you to study Samuel Beckett? What does he mean to you professionally? And personally?

When I first read Beckett I was very suddenly and wholly captivated by what appeared to be somehow impossible objects - his books seemed like they just somehow couldn’t exist, but evidently they did. In 1970 Leo Bersani wrote that “The metaphysical pathos of Beckett’s work is that it exists”, and I’ve wondered if that might get close to the sort of presentiment I had that first time reading Beckett. There was something paradoxical about his major prose works, though not in a solely formal, experimental way, but on an affective level. I was aged about twenty, so there you have it; impossible beauty and outmoded terms like ‘authenticity’.

“Professionally” Beckett means a vibrant and supportive community of scholars, and a lot of high-quality work.

In fifty years time, what will resonate with future generations about the life, works and philosophy of Samuel Beckett?

Tough one. Not least because many other truly great authors, like Dante, Shakespeare or Joyce for instance, often had a wide, inclusive approach to experience and the world. So we can go to them on virtually any topic and find it there somehow. Beckett famously strove, paradoxically, for kinds of incapacity (something that’s also central to Geulincx’s thought). I think he’ll always be a lesson in singular creative vision and originality, and hopefully this would temper any of the broad grey miserablism that sometimes accompanies his reputation. [Read More]
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