In One Ear and Out the Others: Beckett . . . . Mahon . Muldoon

Adrienne Janus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Critical attention to the Beckettian poetics of silence and babble is divided between French modernists, who hear Beckettian silence and babble as a function of the metaphysics of absence (Bataille), and Irish modernists, who hear Beckettian silence and babble as a function of the politics of presence (W.J. McCormack). This article bridges such critical divisions by proposing a typology of Beckettian modes of listening: listening as a mode of poetic attention to the murmurs of voices which can no longer, or not yet, be fully apprehended (voices caught between the extremes of silence and noise, between absolute absence and full presence). Listening would not only be fundamental to the genealogy of Irish poetics that runs from the bilingual Beckett to his not entirely monolingual successors, Derek Mahon and Paul Muldoon, but fundamental to the critical genealogy that runs from the modernism of Bataille to the post-modern poetics of Jean-Luc Nancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-196
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Modern Literature
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Samuel Beckett
  • Paul Muldoon
  • Derek Mahon
  • murmurs
  • post-modern poetics

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