Perceiving Rockaby - As a Text, As a Text by Samuel Beckett, As a Text for Performance


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Most of Beckett's images of human character confront fundamental epistomological questions, often with a high degree of self-consciousness. Typically the character poses opinions or perceptions about his environment, history, and the co-ordinates of his experience and then questions those judgments or perceptions. Statements of assertion, qualification, and denial mark the texts. Beckett, as author, also undermines his authority as he establishes images of character and then diminishes those images, questioning their stability. In the trilogy he reveals the presence of Molloy, Moran, and Malone as writer-protagonists who create the pages of the text in a daily activity of writing.1 As readers we are uncertain about the authenticity of their writing as history or memory, but initially we accept the fictional given of their roles as narrators. However, in the third novel, the strange creature in a jar-sometimes Mahood-suggests that these writers are not real within the fictional world of the trilogy but are, rather, personae possessing his imagination. We do not need to believe him, but the doubt his comment stimulates qualifies the imagined presence of the other narrators. Like his characters, Beckett makes an assertion and then questions its validity.

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