Malone, the unoriginal centre


Jean Yamasaki Toyama



Like the self the status of the writer can also be conceived within the boundaries of the circle and its centre. Since the author creates his work, he may be considered as the centre or point of origin of that work, whereas the circumference is the world which emanates from him. Malone seems to conform to this representation of the artist, for we see and hear him creating, his fictive world expanding from his imagination. In Malone meurt Beckett explores the problem of writing as creation. Unlike Molloy which appears to be reporting, Malone meurt is creating.1 However, we are dealing with a decentered circle, one in which the centre’s relation to the circumference changes constantly. Therefore, the notion that the writer is the sole source and master of his work becomes untenable.


Pushing a pen whose sound irritates the silence of his room, Malone, the writer, creates, invents, observes, comments, while busying himself until the moment of his imminent death. Unlike Molloy and Moran, who use writing as a means to re-create their past while finding something that is lost, Malone wants to create a world unsullied by his presence: he wants to lose himself. The prospect of writing his memoirs is a joke to him: ‘Quand j’aurais fait mon inventaire, si ma mort n’est pas prête, j’écrirai mes mémoires. Tiens, j’ai dit une plaisanterie’.2 Molloy and Moran have wandered through space and time, giving the impression that they are writing to trace the memory of their journey. Composing as they decompose, they see in bits and pieces the past which might have been present, the present which might be passing. Malone is dying, but he will not watch himself die: `Ça fausserait tout’ (Malone meurt, p. 8). Neither will he watch himself live, if indeed he is living, and this he can never be sure of for his mind is a blank until the moment of his arrival in his room.


Molloy and Moran, who have not totally lost their power to remember, use memories as the basis of their writing. With only intuitions of things which may have happened, including a blow to the head in a forest (Molloy deals a blow to the head of a charcoal burner; Moran falls unconscious during a struggle with a stranger), Malone creates a past as if remembering one. His world stops at the door and at the window’s perimeter; it begins and ends in his room. A couple across the way provide the only vestige of an outside world. Silhouetted against their window they furnish Malone, the voyeur, with tidbits with which to pass the time. In effect the world is his room and his only society a pair of yellowed hands that appear through the door to empty and fill two pots: one for elimination, the other for consumption.


From this enclosed, shrunken world Malone speaks to us, his readers, with a voice cut off from the world, a voice which speaks in order to hear itself speak, completely present to itself (M)alone. Malone’s voice speaks as though the world were absent (Beckett’s original working title for Malone meurt was L’absent).


Malone’s speech is fiction, not communication. He makes no attempt to impart a truth or a fact or to represent a reality. His self-confessed purpose is to play: ‘C’est un jeu maintenant, je vais jouer’ (Malone meurt, p. 9). But this will be a new game, unlike the ones he once played. In the past he played with toys already existing around him, in which everyone participated, even a hunchback. The world was his grab-bag of incidents, accidents, subjects. Like Molloy and Moran he once used to report what he saw as he came upon it. But in this old game he never knew where he was going, having no control over what happened. And after this first game he was deserted, alone. ‘Ça commençait bien/ . . . /Mais je ne tardais pas à me retrouver seul, sans lumière’ (Malone meurt, p. 10). This abortive attempt at curing his solitude left him no alternative but to turn inward, to look for company (cf. the recent Company) inside himself instead of outside. To this end he abandoned the world around him in favour of the world within him: ‘C’est pourquoi j’ai renoncé à vouloir jouer et fait pour toujours miens l’informe et l’inarticulé; les hypothèses incurieuses, l’obscurité, la longue marche les bras en avant la cachette’ (Malone meurt, p. 10). As he now discovers, this commitment to himself and to the unknowable, a strategy inimical to the ‘game’ of ready-made forms, has left him quite as much alone as before. So long as each move is still a search for something other than the pleasure of the search itself, Malone is still playing with and involved in representation.


In the old game based on ‘vivre et inventer’, `vivre et faire vivre’, Malone tried to compel his playthings to come to life, like a god breathing life into his creatures. No longer, however, does he associate ‘inventer’ with ‘trouver’, the association at the heart of Molloy’s aesthetic (Dire, c’est inventer; inventer, c’est trouver). Malone is a resuscitator: he tries to create a world representing the one in which he lived. As writer, his function is to diminish the difference between the ‘real’ world and his representation of it. He wins, when his copy conforms to the model. ‘Je tournais, battais des mains, courais, criais, me voyais perdre, me voyais gagner, exultant, souffrant’ (Malone meurt, p. 36). He loses, when it does not. He has a criterion by which to measure his success, but he always fails; he is always left alone. His art is not enough to create ‘real’ people who can join him and dispel his loneliness; they are only creatures. Their appearance paradoxically only emphasises their absence in Malone’s life. Prompted by this failure, Malone changes the rules: instead of winning he wants to lose: ‘Après l’échec, la consolation, le repos, je recommençais, à vouloir vivre, faire vivre, être autrui, en moi, en autrui/ . . . / Mais peu à peu dans une autre intention. Non plus celle de réussir, mais celle d’échouer’ (Malone meurt, p. 37). In other words he seeks to fail to live and to fail to make live. Like the artist hypothesised by the Three dialogues he does not wish to represent the existence of something pre­existing his writing.3 By his refusal to represent he may constitute a self that has no previous existence, one which will not signify his inadequacy as a representer. By means of his own method, which consists in failing to create a reflection of his world, this solitary Malone seeks to exercise the language of play, of the game, to lose himself, in order to gain another. He is intent on losing the personality he has received from the world so as to gain the personality unable to exist in that world.


To this end Malone proposes to pass the time until his death by com­pleting a project with five components: a description of his present state, three stories - one about a man and a woman, one about a stone, and the last about a bird - and finally an inventory of his possessions. He never fulfills this project; his project of failure fails. What follows is a discontinuous rambling of stories left hanging, intermixed with digressions of fragmented recollections based on a defective memory, and of descriptions of what is happening across from him as seen through his window. Interjected here and there are comments of the writer at work: ‘Non, ça ne va pas’. (Malone meurt, p. 27 and 193); ‘Quel ennui’ (Malone meurt, p. 22 and 25). The very thin thread which binds Molloy’s and Moran’s tales together (individually but not jointly) is their search. For Malone it is his effort to complete his project. The stories, however, are themselves discontinuous. Malone’s resolution to change his game-plan proves untenable for his stories appear to be just that, stories. Discontinuous as well as meaning­less, the stories unfold but are never finished. Malone does not even begin his initial project of writing about a man and a woman. He writes about a boy.


Faced with failure upon failure, Sapo, the ‘hero’ of the story, first appears with his mother and father. The bourgeois home life is present in its preoccupation with the hope of a successful offspring. A success to be marked with the gift of a pen, a ‘Bird’. Later we inexplicably find Sapo in the midst of another family, the Louis (Lamberts in the English version), a family that specializes in pig slaughtering. Malone never clarifies the connection one story has with the other. He does not even register that he has departed from his plan of speaking about a man and a woman. There is a man and a woman, certainly, even a ‘Bird’, but this is not a story about a man and a woman. This deviation from the project, unnoticed by Malone, already shows the insidious nature of writing: the artist is not in control. Malone does not write what he intends to write; instead the words seem to control him. He omits his story of a stone and allows only a fleeting moment for a swearing parrot (a reappearance of Lousse’s bird in Molloy).


It is striking how little these drastic departures from his self-imposed intention, signs that he is not the origin nor the master of his creation, seem to bother Malone. It is only little details which excite him. When he cannot explain why Sapo was not expelled from school for misconduct, he cannot resist halting and taking stock: ‘Mais je connais l’ombre, elle s’accumule, se fait plus dense, puis soudain éclate et noie tout’ (Malone meurt, p. 28). An inexplicable detail, which any writer ought to be able to clear up as creator of the situation, troubles Malone. As creator of Sapo he should be in full and constant mastery of what he writes, and since he is not dependent upon his memory to supply the detail, he can, in fact must, fictionalize a reason. Yet Malone does not in any meaningful sense make things up. And when a detail escapes him, he is in danger of being engulfed by still more mystery.


Threatened as he is by this menacing darkness, he must take particular care not to allow his fiction to provoke a memory of an event from his ‘real’ life. A memory, irrelevant to the story though prompted by one of its details, may introduce undesirable associations which may completely infect the story. Sapo’s gull eyes, for example, remind Malone of a shipwreck (it is unclear why); the reminiscence gives him pause, since he has no control over it. ‘Je connais ces petites phrases qui n’ont l’air de rien et qui, une fois admises, peuvent vous empester toute une langue. Rien n’est plus réel que rien. Elles sortent de l’abime et n’ont de cesse qu’elles n’y entraînent. Mais cette fois je saurai m’en défendre’ (Malone meurt, p. 32). Malone evidently has no intention of falling victim to the ‘intentional fallacy’.


If he wishes to avoid being overcome by darkness, it is clear that Malone must be careful not to let the story get out of hand. To facilitate this he labours at all times to dispel any mystery concerning the lives of his creatures. And yet all is mysterious. For in spite of his fastidiousness Malone’s stories provoke only questions. Who is Sapo? Why is he at the Louis’? What is the plot? What are the motivations? These questions, which remain unanswered, appear almost irrelevant to Malone’s business. His concern is with the strategies that will enable him to succeed in his enterprise. And yet his precautions against failure seem to cause him to forfeit more power. One tactic is to concentrate on what has already been said, as if the memory of the details were homing devices to keep him on the right track. Also, when he discovers himself slipping out of control, he scrutinizes his present state, as if the action of looking at the present could prevent him from getting sucked up into his story. This self-scrutiny he calls a mud-bath. ‘Après ce bain de boue je saurais mieux admettre un monde où je ne fasse pas tâche’ (Malone meurt, p. 26). If he were to be too sullied by his plunge into the mud of the self, Malone would be unable to re-enter his created world. If, however, the mud-bath should fail to bring about the desired outcome, Malone’s last recourse is his pos­sessions. Seeing his things piled up helps him heap together the debris called Malone and so to distinguish himself from his story.


Malone attempts to constitute a self by piling up his possessions and by concentrating on his present life largely because he suffers from symptoms of deterioration similar to Molloy’s. Like Molloy he sees himself in ruins: ‘L’esprit errant, loin d’ici, parmi ses ruines’ (Malone meurt, p. 77); the image is one of pieces scattered about, worn by age and weather, indicating a past that once was whole, but is whole no longer. With his possessions shored against his ruins, Malone can pile up a self and separate that self from the one in his story. However, it is this very piling ­up which prevent him from dying, for the heap thus created becomes synonymous with being. If Malone could be thoroughly scattered, ground into dust and thrown into the wind, never to be gathered up, he could perhaps die, leaving not a wrack behind. But he is obliged to work at cross purposes: to die he must promote the scattering of his being; to prevent his appearance in his stories he must heap it up. His complete dispersal is in any case further prevented by an ‘other’ who raises his head silently to disturb the rhythm of Malone’s existence. It is this ‘other’ who becomes Malone’s primary concern. ‘Ce n’est pas de moi qu’il s’agit mais d’un autre, qui ne me vaut pas et que j’essaie d’envier, dont je suis enfin à même de raconter les plates aventures, je ne sais comment./ . . ./ Me montrer maintenant, à la veille de disparaître, en même temps que l’étranger, grâce, voilà qui ne serait pas dépourvu de piquant. Puis vivre, le temps de sentir derrière mes yeux fermés, se fermer d’autres yeux’ (Malone meurt, p. 38). Moreover, the action of piling up as a way of preserving the self inhibits not only Malone’s own death but also the death of this mysterious ‘other’ who lurks behind his eyes. On the other hand, not preserving the self assures their simultaneous deaths. The existence of this stranger whose crass exploits Malone can now recount complicates, if not compounds, his dying. Perhaps this other is the ‘moi profond’ - the real source of artistic creation. But if so, this other obviously cannot fully explain the creative process, for he too is separated from the self, existing only in shadows, cut off from the world.


Still pursuing the enterprise of coming to an end, Malone recounts a moment of imagined release. Without his pencil he has spent two days unable to write a word, a respite that gives him the impression that he has solved his problem. ‘Je viens de passer deux journées inoubliables dont nous ne saurons jamais rien/ . . . / sinon qu’elles m’ont permis de tout résoudre et de tout achever, je veux dire tout ce qui touche à Malone (c’est en effet ainsi que je m’appelle à présent) et à l’autre . . . (Malone meurt, pp. 88-89). This enables him to see himself and the ‘other’ as two mounds of sand, dust or ashes blown by the wind until all that remains of them is their absence: ‘. . . et laissant derrière eux, chacun en son lieu et place, la chère chose qu’est l’absence’ (Malone meurt, p. 89). And by liquidifying the image, he can imagine himself passing through sluices and emptying out, delivered from the curse of substantiality: ‘Tout glissait et se vidait comme à travers des vannes, à ma grande joie, jusqu’ à ce que finalement il ne restât plus rien, ni de Malone ne de l’autre’ (Malone meurt, p. 92). But such a deliverance is only temporary; precisely because Malone is in two diminishing heaps, he cannot not be. Like Zeno’s unequal mounds of millet reduced in proportion to each other (and appearing in Sapo’s story), he continues ad infinitum.4 Malone’s dilemma is caused by his inability to grasp the true nature of his ‘absurd tribulations’, Knowledge of who he is, what he is and where he comes from, as well as knowledge of the ‘other’ in him, would facilitate the project of bringing everything to an end. At least this is what Malone himself believes. Yet he can offer no answers concerning himself and his stories and his and their origin and meaning.


This is why his problems multiply: not only is there an ‘other’ in him but also one outside. According to Malone, he may be inside another’s head. Vous direz que c’est clans ma tête, et il me semble souvent en effet que je suis clans une tête . . .’ (Malone meurt, p. 87). This head, a cage which allows the circulation of air, protects its prisoner from the outside, from sensation: ‘. . . c’est sur moi que mes sens sont braqués. Muet, obscur et fade, je ne suis pas pour eux. Je suis loin des bruits de sang et de souffle, au secret. Je ne parlerai pas de mes souffrances. Enfoui au plus profond d’elles je ne sens rien. C’est là où je meurs, à l’insu de ma chair stupide’ (Malone meurt, p. 21). Fragmented Malone experiences the Cartesian duality of mind and body. But his self inhabits neither the mind nor the body; he is elsewhere. Believing himself to be neither inside nor outside, Malone treats his outer shell, that stupid flesh, with the same disdain that he visit upon the ‘other’ unworthy of him, inside him.


Malone is, in spite of his beliefs, both inside and outside, a paradox also found in Molloy. For if Malone feels he is inside one head, he also thinks himself as outside another: ‘Je dois entendre cette miniscule tête de lard, enfouie quelque part clans ma vraie tête je crois, qui ne s’est pas inclinée encore, clans les dècombres de ma tête inclinée’ (Malone meurt, p. 114, omitted in the English version). Inside and outside may in effect be meaningless terms, rendered useless by the shifting of the self, a move­ment which prevents the location of a self, a centre: the artistic source.


Although separate and strangers, these different selves or parts of the self seek out each other. Having played Malone’s game of meaningless stories, we see that in reality the aim of his new game is to arrive at the ‘other’: ‘Ce à quoi je voulais arriver, en me hissant hors de mon tou d’abord / . . . / c’était / . . . / à la maison, à celui qui m’attendait toujours, qui avait besoin de moi et dont moi j’avais besoin . . .’ (Malone meurt, pp. 37-38). Writing he thinks of as a means whereby he may arrive at the ‘other’. But the arrival is as unsure as the departure is hesitant. Instead of writing directly about this other, Malone finds pretexts to avoid that other: ‘Tout est prétexte, Sapo et les oiseaux, Moll, les paysans, ceux qui clans les villes se cherchent et se fuient, mes doutes qui ne m’intéressent pas, ma situation, mes possessions, prétexte pour ne pas en venir au fait. . .’ (Malone meurt, p. 195). He feels compelled to create intermediaries and puppet imitations because direct representation could only, in his view, be a falsification. Hence the ‘other’ must remain nameless, or hidden behind disguises which, though eventually shed, lead to no one and nowhere.


For although he plays the roles of creator and writer, Malone himself is a creature. He is someone else’s invention. We may never hear the voice of this inventor, though we may glimpse him in the phrase: ‘. . . the business of Malone (since that is what I am called now)’.5 The passive voice, more evident in the English version, indicates another who has named Malone. This ‘other’ is not actually present; his presence is marked by the passive voice, a sign of his absence. Malone points out that he has had other names at other times and admits that he as been manipulated by another. And it is with the voice of this primal originator/ creature that Malone says: ‘A ce moment-là c’en sera fait des Murphy, Mercier, Molloy, Moran et autres Malone, à moins que ça ne continue dans I’autre-tombe’ (Malone meurt, p. 116). (In Molloy, Moran says: ‘Quelle tourbe dans ma tête, quelle galerie de crevés. Murphy, Watt, Yerk, Mercier et tant d’autres’).6 Malone’s dual position makes him both creature and creator, manipulator and manipulated, occupying both centre and circumference, turning as he makes turn.


This paradox is given an added dimension by the analogies between Malone and Christ.7 Projecting his possible death to Easter, Malone conjoins his fate to one who died ‘twenty centuries in advance’. Being God as Man, Christ is, in a sense, the ultimate paradox in that he possesses qualities which are altogether incompatible, and yet, as Christian dogma goes, necessary. Fully man and yet completely God, Christ has the double status of creature and creator. Malone has a similarly double status. Such a paradox is possible, one might observe, not only because a Samuel Beckett has written Malone meurt and because he feels himself the creation of another, but also because the text is proof of his creating and his being created. It reveals the interplay of the writer and his text, the centre and its circumference within a demoniac circle. The writer writes the text, but in turn is written by that very text. In this sense writing is not so much a birth as a death, the death of the writer who gives birth to the text and dies in the writing. ‘I am being given, if I may venture the expression, birth to death’ (Malone dies, p. 114; the English is more dramatic than the French: ‘Je nais dans la mort, si j’ose dire’ p. 208).8 Malone reverses the act of Christ, who died to be born again; Malone must be born in order to die. For the former, the reward is eternal life; for the latter, oblivion. The text is not preserver of the self, offering immortality to its author, but a tomb marking his disintegration.


Although the creator/creature paradox does not render problematical the status of God within the Christian circle (the centre being accepted through faith as the source) it seriously undermines the conventional position of the writer as source of what is written. Having little control over his creation and becoming in fact that creation, the writer, as Malone demonstrates, must lose. He cannot be found among his words; he cannot be reconstructed from his ruins.


The Christ optic also discloses the relative poverty of the writer in Malone’s story of Macmann. Here the lens distorts: the image that arises is grotesque. In it we find Sapo, if one may suppose it to be he, trans­formed into Macmann, a name ironically echoing Christ’s ‘Son of Man’. Whether this Macmann remains the same or is replaced by others during the course of the story is unknown to Malone, whose power to know dwindles.9 Writhing under a pelting rain, hands outstretched like Christ on the cross, Macmann squirms in the mud. In this position he conjures up ‘feelings of guilt, sin and atonement’ (Malone meurt, p. 123). However, unlike Christ (who died to atone for man’s sin), Macmann suspects that his living is not atonement enough, indeed, is arguably yet one more sin to be expiated. The allusion to Christ is further reinforced by the appear­ance of Moll, a woman who takes care of and cares for Macmann and whose name is a corruption of Mary. She wears earrings made of crosses, but the two on her ears only represent the robbers dying with Christ. Christ himself occupies the centre, in her mouth, represented by her only remaining rotten tooth. The proliferation of Christ-like figures -a doctor with a beard, a young messiah-like patient - is a way of simultaneously suggesting and denying their difference from the originating model. But the final effect is to attenuate the power of the initial image. Instead of confirming these characters as representations of Christ, the text shows them to be simulacra which mock the model. By such means may the centre be dislodged from its privileged position. But it is not only Christ who is thus impugned; it is the writer also. The writer/Malone and Christ are alike in that within their own circle each can be said to occupy the centre of originating, original power. Resembling both Christ and Malone, Macmann in his parody devalues both. In as much as he sullies the one, he besmirches the other.


In the event Macmann usurps Malone’s position as principal character. By effectively relinquishing the pronoun ‘I’, an act of effacement, Malone allows Macmann to replace him. And the latter’s story seems to fill in some of the gaps created by the former’s. The house which Malone has assured us is not a hospital becomes more specifically an asylum, the House of Saint John of God. Like Sapo transformed into Macmann, Malone, too, melts into him: ‘Je me glisse dans lui, dans l’espoir sans doute d’apprendre quelque chose. Mais ce sont des terrains sans débris ni empreintes, à première vue’ (Malone meurt, p. 96). By merging into Macmann, Malone enters into a more solid territory; he is no longer debris but a person with a past. By losing himself Malone gains a history, an identity. Ironically, in his effort to lose himself, he seems to have found a self. Intent on frustrating any return to himself, Malone becomes Macmann. But in the exchange Macmann also becomes Malone. This is a double becoming.


The woman whom Malone vaguely remembers in the recollection of his own life, is here given a name, Moll. Writing about Macmann is a real collecting of the pieces, a heaping of the details of their affair, her death, and the appearance of her replacement, Lemuel. And his second ‘care­taker’ figure assumes the function of the first. But instead of wearing crucifix earrings, he actually mortifies his body. Only his own physical pain can abate his moral anguish. ‘Ecorché vif du souvenir, l’esprit grouillant de cobras, n’osant ni rêver ni penser et en même temps impuissant à s’en défendre . . .’. (Malone meurt, p. 177). Lemuel resembles Macmann in that while he himself is filled with serpents, his ward pos­sesses serpent-like qualities: ‘Et à vrai dire il était par son tempérament plus près des reptiles que des oiseaux et pouvait subir sans succomber des mutilations massives’ (Malone meurt, p. 129). Lemuel maims himself by banging his head with a hammer; Macmann undergoes a similar mutilation of identity and yet survives like a snake, shedding his former skins and becoming another.


Macmann survives because he is written in a text. The written text, the escape from faulty memory, preserves in words. At first Malone only talked, but he explains that this method offered no permanent record. ‘Au début je n’écrivais pas, je disais seulement. Puis j’oubliais ce que j’avais dit’ (Malone meurt, p. 61). However, concomitant with the promise of permanence is the fact of change, for words are not absolutes, and Macmann’s durability is precisely dependent upon his changeability. Malone dies ends with the image of the writer as destroyer.


Emblematic of this mutilation is the butchering of the goats, pigs, and other animals in the Louis’ story and also in Lemuel’s slaughter of the sailors on the picnic. While Lemuel wields a hatchet, Malone pushes a pencil. The latter, like the former, has the power of death. Malone tells of the many people he has killed in his writing; we even see him plotting Moll’s demise. God and writer have the same power. And it is as they begin to merge, in our mind that we witness the transformations of the hatchet to hammer, to club, to pencil (Malone meurt, pp. 216-217). In order to survive Macmann must be written, but by being written he is also mutilated. For writing is the act of mutilation. The man with the stick is the writer.


Malone meurt marks the pivotal point at which merge three crucial Beckett metaphors, philosophical, esthetic, and religious. The inner and the outer self conjoin with the two sides of the author (i.e. the creator and creature) and with the two sides of Christ (i.e. God and man). Beckett’s explanation of this analogy in no way resembles previous attempts to equate writer and creator through the agency of the circle. And yet it would be folly for us to label the tactic original, for Malone meurt is a subversion of our very notions of creation and originality and Malone is the unoriginal centre.








1 H. Porter Abbott, The fiction of Samuel Beckett. form and effect, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973, pp. 110-123.


2 Samuel Beckett, Malone meurt, Paris: les Editions de Minuit, 1951, p. 16. All subsequent quotes from Malone meurt will appear in the text.


3 For a discussion of the problem of representation as it is presented in Three dialogues, refer to my article, ‘Beckett’s success/critics’ failure’, in Proceedings Pacific Northwest Council on Foreign Languages, Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting, April, 1979 pp. 45-47.


4 Richard Coe makes reference to Zeno’s paradox in his book: Samuel Beckett New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1964, p. 89.


5 Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies, New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1956, p. 48. All subsequent quotes from the English version will appear in the text.


6 Samuel Beckett, Molloy, Paris: les Edition de Minuit, 1951, pp. 212-213.


7 Dieter Wellershoff discusses the use of not only the Christian myth but also other myths in his study of Beckett’s novels in his article, ‘Failure of an attempt at de­mythologization: Samuel Beckett’s novels’. Der Gleichgültige, 1963, rpt. in and trans. by Martin Esslin, ed., Samuel Beckett, a collection of critical essays, Twentieth Century Views, Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965, p. 96.


8 A. J. Leventhal compares the foetus image with that of Worm in L’innommable. Here, however, the foetus is waiting to be born into language. His article `The Beckett hero’, a lecture delivered at Trinity College, Dublin, June 1963, is rpt. in Martin Esslin, ed., Samuel Beckett, a collection of critical essays, Twentieth Century Views, Englewood Cliff, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965, p. 42.


9 Abbott, p. 119.