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image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

I have tried to suggest in this essay first that Beckett's construction of rats shows a remarkable familiarity with their biological reality, and, secondly, that this demonstrated familiarity is marked by a distinct lack of 'rattism' (in other words, his approach to rats is more or less prejudice-free). Beckett's rats are not devoid of symbolic status, but this occasional symbolic status is one which takes on a colouring peculiar to Beckett, deriving from his knowledge of rats, and not 'ratified' by popular mythology.In a sense which is different from, but complementary to, the thematic title of this volume, the phenomenon of 'Beckett versus Beckett' finds graphic illustration in those "grey paws in the dust" which counterpoint all human affairs.


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