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BECKETT AND BERKELEY: A Reconsideration

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image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

No one doubts that Beckett was influenced by the skepticism of the eighteenth-century Irish philosopher George Berkeley; what is not appreciated, however, is the influence of the form of Berkeley's less well-known writings. Of particular importance are his youthful Philosophical Commentaries (kept in 1707-08), and his late, apparently incomplete Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tar-Water (published in 1744). Beckett knew both of these works and in them seems to have discovered formal models for the personal, tentative, philosophical fiction of the 'trilogy' and How It Is. In Beckett as in Berkeley, language and writing become not only the means but also the greatest impediment to understanding.

10.1163/18757405-90000104
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/content/journals/10.1163/18757405-90000104
1998-12-08
2017-11-22

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