Samuel Beckett, Pragmatic Contradiction and The Vestiges of Practical Necessity

In Tomas Koblízek & Petr Kotátko (eds.), Chaos and Form. Prague, Czechia: pp. 202-228 (2016)
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This essay examine Samuel Beckett's *Trilogy to specify the conditions under which we could make sense of practical necessity. Among other things, I will show how Ajax' must is connected to Mol/oy's attempt to visit his mother and to the need to keep talking that both Molloy and the Unnamable share. I will conclude that their dislocated pursuit of certainty reveal - among other things - how the conditions under which practical necessity can be properly experienced have been extirpated from our social and cultural context. Still, the fact that its vestiges nevertheless subsist provide some reason to regard practical necessity as a constitutive aspect of our agency. This will provide a particular sense in which the Unnamable may coherently claim: "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 will go on."

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Josep E. Corbi
Universitat de Valencia


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