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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Logical Positivism . . .

I stumbled across Ned Beauman’s (author of the highly entertaining Boxer, Beetle) musings on Heidegger’s Being and Time the other day. Although his approach/reading stems from a rather conservative, logical and staid comfort zone I still found it interesting in its honesty and I’ve always admired people who can form an opinion with conviction and vim. But, it’s still the same old logical positivist’s argument, something I’ve often found to be quite stationary. I like things – including nothing – to be a little bit more malleable, you know.

But that’s by the by, and down to personal opinion. No, the thing that rankled - which is nothing to do with Ned Beauman himself - is this:

“1. I've always disliked Beckett. Then someone told me that to understand Beckett, you have to read Being and Time. So I read Being and Time. Then I read some more Beckett. I still dislike Beckett. But I'm glad I read Being and Time. (There is no primary evidence, by the way, that Beckett himself had any interest in Heidegger.)”

I beg your pardon? Did I read that correctly? I know reading him requires a certain mode of patience but if you really want to understand Samuel Beckett then read, read, read Dante Alighieri. Forget Heidegger immediately. Everything you need to know about Samuel Beckett is right there in The Divine Comedy.

I thought everyone knew that?

Update: Actually, if anyone is interested, some of the best writing on Beckett can be found in Simon Critchley's 'Very Little . . . Almost Nothing'.


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