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How it is Again

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Regression as Renewal, Unpleasure as Compensation

image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

This essay examines How It Is in the context of Beckett’s personal creative crisis of the late fifties from which it arose, and also that of his psychoanalysis with Bion, 20 years earlier. Looking at How It Is as a work that tends to collapse the opposition between regression and renewal, the essay also examines the role of unpleasure in the text, as a complication of the oft noted sadism. Finally, the work’s parodic pedagogic episodes of “training” are compared to similar motifs in Murphy and Molloy, in light of Laplanche’s theory of seduction.

Affiliations: 1: Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick


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