Sunday, July 28, 2013

it was raw from trying

If humour is the detection of gaps -- as in tickling: the body writhing as if it is anticipating harm but then a harmless kitty-paw of fingertips, and no hurt, no blood, but an attack nonetheless, this warfare with no blood or cuts -- if humour is the sensation of an incredible lacuna -- if poignancy is likewise the detection of gaps between the desirable and the actual -- then see that the poignancy of the untouchable cows and the humour of the imperfectable hat are living in the same family of conjunctions.

Not peace in these cows, but the stage setting of peace, as established in past writings on the subject, the atmosphere summoned up by the cows and horses in Dorothy Wordworth's Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland for example, so that her sentence about the horses and cattle in the Scottish fields is visible now in its old or new role as the precursor and part cause of Samuel Beckett's cows "chewing in enormous fields, lying and standing, in the evening silence" her work reinforcing the notion that the role of cows in books is to give the audience a sense that this landscape is well-charactered and able to be encompassed by the imagination or the human heart, like the suburban garden in Blue Velvet by David Lynch before the man with the hose has his fatal attack which is followed by shots of the ants in the grass grappling like centurions, acts of miniature warfare that would have been going on, too, among the deep white roots of the paddocks where Dorothy Wordsworth saw her cattle abstracted in their serenity.

Who are the only two friends in Molloy? The mouth and the anus, which are the same sphincter: "a thin red mouth that looked as if it was raw from trying to shit its tongue."


  1. Do you go by a first name?

    Or like Tom, do you prefer a Wuthering?

    Anyhow, I recognized the title of your post right away. I knew to what it referred, with a wee bit of revulsion. "Friendship," if any such thing is possible in Beckett's non-Aristotelian world, would have to occur between first-mouth and second-mouth, a kind of functional handshake. Hello, goodbye. I went camping this weekend, which I enjoyed a lot, but couldn't read, which made me suffer, too. This week I hope to dive into MOLLOY DIES in earnest. K

  2. I thought you would. I remember you quoting the same line. Just 'Pykk' will do fine, for a first name. There aren't too many Pykks.

    A sudden thought: is the anus the same as the mouth in the same way that Moran is the same as Molloy? In that they have a number of points uncannily in common, without actually being synonymous?

    1. Yes, but Pykk is too anonymous. I'm a natural inquirer, you see. Not in a bad way.

      As for whether anus is to mouth what Molloy is to Moran, I'm not sure.

      But it does reinforce the sense of confusion that's prevalent in MOLLOY while identifying the instrument of language, i.e., hole in face, as a source of sound without sense.

      In MALONE DIES, by the way, I've noticed that Malone, like Molloy, starts his storytelling journey in a bed as he deliquesces "toward" death. I use scare quotes because, as you've previously said, locations are funny things. So many uncanny similarities here, too -- beds, gardens, rocks, forests, etc.

      Must go read now.

    2. Well, think of a human-sounding name and call me that. Tom's got it right, with the single syllable. I could be Sam. There aren't any other names that would make me less anonymous. I'm not famous, people don't track me, there are no newspaper articles out there that would tell you what I'm doing when I'm not on the computer. I ain't gettin' any realler.

      Travel in Malone Dies on the whole is a funny thing. (This journeying bedridden stillness is there in the first part of Proust too, it occurs to me.)

  3. And now you're actually reading something that I've read but I'm running from Canberra to Sydney to Melbourne and having no time to have fun on the Internet. I look forward to seeing what you have to say in the fullness of time. I don't remember that anus bit, I have to admit, but I read Molloy and Malone Dies ((plus various plays by SB) when I was sixteen and half my mind was elsewhere most of the time [only a third is now, although possibly another third has ceased to function very effectively])

    1. PS never thought I'd read the question "Is the anus the same as the mouth"

    2. He puts mouths next to anuses a number of times. I understand it as a comment on the nature of speech and language, the most compressed and violent comment like that in the book, therefore the most sweetly poetic.

      I've got to say that running from Canberra to Sydney to Melbourne sounds more fun and varied than reading blog posts. I went to the bank today; does that count? It was baking hot and all the grackles were panting.