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Matthew Hobson (Florida State University)
Intersecting Multiplicities: Identity and Assemblage in Beckett and Deleuze

Part of the infuriating pleasure of reading Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable involves attempting to sort out the intricate web of voices that constructs the narrative. At times, the voices seem attributable to distinct entities, while at other times the reader is tempted to attach the voices to a single—albeit schizophrenic—source. The narrator (if there is such a thing) is as puzzled as the reader—“I seem to speak, it is not I”—and as unable to stop searching—“where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” The endeavor to fix the voices to one or several sources assumes that there exists a logic of identity. Rather than thinking identity as unification and stability, Gilles Deleuze suggests that we think identity as a multiplicity of “assemblages.” Elucidating this point, Dianne Currier writes, “To approach assemblages and their components as multiplicities offers a strategic means to avoid taking up the logic of identity as the principal explanatory framework of events and objects.” In this paper, I apply Deleuze’s idea of “assemblages” to The Unnamable.

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