Stories of White World. Samuel Beckett’s Posthuman Authorship

Avant, Vol. XII, No. 2,
published under license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Michał Kisiel orcid-id
Tischner European University

Received 23 April 2021; accepted 10 November 2021; published Online First 28 December 2021.
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Abstract: The article focuses on the posthuman authorship in the late short stories of Samuel Beckett in relation to the recent developments in new materialism and material ecology. Beckett’s works insist on the distinctive signature of their author, joining together his trademark minimalist style with his persistence in retelling the same narrative situations over and over again. At the same time, hardly ever does Beckett cease to deprive his narrators of their voices, forcing them to stammer, to struggle with their speech, to be betrayed by it, or to remain completely mute. His hardly readable later short stories seem to abandon any form of the sentient narrator in favour of treating language as self-sufficient matter his abstract spaces consist of, albeit in a manner different from that adopted by the concrete literature. These circumstances interestingly correspond to Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann’s notion of storied matter which emphasises the textual capacities of non-human actors, blurs human and non-human readerships/authorships, and affirms the narratives embedded in the material, understood – after Jane Bennett – as the realm of vibrant entities. In my reading, I analyse how these concepts might allow us to rethink those “materialist works” of Beckett and the possible non-human agencies they are entangled in.

Keywords: new materialism; posthumanism; Samuel Beckett; author; end of the world


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