By David Kleinberg-Levin
At stake during this booklet is a fight with language in a time whilst our previous religion within the redeeming of the word-and the word's energy to redeem-has virtually been destroyed. Drawing on Benjamin's political theology, his interpretation of the German Baroque mourning play, and Adorno's serious aesthetic idea, but in addition at the considered poets and lots of different philosophers, specifically Hegel's phenomenology of spirit, Nietzsche's research of nihilism, and Derrida's writings on language, Kleinberg-Levin indicates how, due to its communicative and revelatory powers, language bears the utopian "promise of happiness," the belief of a mundane redemption of humanity, on the very middle of which has to be the fulfillment of common justice. In an unique examining of Beckett's performs, novels and brief tales, Kleinberg-Levin indicates how, regardless of inheriting a language broken, corrupted and commodified, Beckett redeems useless or demise phrases and wrests from this language new percentages for the expression of that means. with no denying Beckett's nihilism, his photograph of a greatly upset international, Kleinberg-Levin calls recognition to moments while his phrases unexpectedly ignite and cut loose in their melancholy and soreness, taking form within the fantastic thing about an austere but joyous lyricism, suggesting that, in the end, that means remains to be attainable.
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Extra resources for Beckett's Words: The Promise of Happiness in a Time of Mourning
For them, the inherited language of quotidian use is perfect just as it is: the language we use is in need of no radical improvement or reconstruction. And in fact, don’t we all have stories drawn from the events of our daily lives to tell? Aren’t these stories of ours, recounting some experience, occasionally memorable, more often banal, the very substance of social life? And aren’t they imparted without undue difficulty, accepting and appropriating the words our language provides? Why, then, are writers such as Beckett unable to express what they mean using the potential inherent in the language they inherited?
Following Derrida, John Caputo has proposed an audaciously “modernist” way to think about language, literature and our world as the light of transcendence, figured here as the God of theology, fades away: The name of God is the name of a promise—and a promise cannot be made safe from a threat without being turned into a sure thing, a guarantee. ]. ]. The figures of transcendence, which readily assume the form of literature or mythology, of dreams or desires, are ways of retracing the lines of immanence in imaginative form, ways of reclaiming immanence in all its richness and intensity.
Was it not noticeable at the end of the war that men returned from the battlefield grown silent—not richer, but poorer in communicable experience [Erfahrung]? What ten years later was poured out in a flood of war books was anything but experience that goes from mouth to mouth. And there was nothing remarkable about that. For never has experience been contradicted more thoroughly than strategic experience by tactical warfare, economic experience by inflation, bodily experience by mechanical warfare, moral experience by those in power.