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Ilan Safit (Pace University)
A Literature of Movement

In contrast with the habitual designation of Beckett’s drama and prose as a literature of stasis, I would like to present Beckett’s work and thought as focused on movement. In both drama and prose, Beckett’s work demonstrates a Cartesian attempt to reduce movement to null, yet always facing the movement of life, language, and thought as an irreducible element. The reduction of physical movement is often affiliated with the reduction of speech in Beckett’s work, where stillness is equivocated with silence. Yet the logorrhea of Beckett’s characters and voices stands as a testimony to the irreducibility of movement. This paper offers a survey and an analysis of movement as a dramatic, linguistic, and epistemological structure in Beckett’s writing, focusing on the way the impetus of speech overcomes the blockades of logic in the later prose. By tampering with the rule of non-contradiction, Beckett’s prose from the Unnamable onwards, demonstrates how narrative, meaning, and thought can move on beyond the contradictions that logic holds as a stop sign.

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