The only Miserere Beckett has ever uttered is for those burdened with the compulsion to write, the only liberation he is interested in is from the oppression of language.
A. Alvarez, Beckett
Upon finishing (for the second time in a decade, i.e. since my BA dissertation) Alvarez’s little tome on Beckett, here a few (barely) summarising thoughts I seem to have somehow scribbled down while reading:
In Beckett’s world, what the mind seems to want is to immobilise (as much as possible) the body in a state of quiet despair, removing from the human duet the corporeal voice, so as to focus entirely on the mind’s voice, for whom there is no greater spur to keep talking than to hear itself speak.
Thus, with a defunct body finally retired from the attempt to make itself heard, one is locked inside purgatory with that which, unlike the body, will never die, not, at least, of its own accord: the endlessly, vigorously chattering mind. The mind who whips up the past again and again, adding to it only more and more frantic strokes, muddling and tangling its concerns.
The body’s quest, if it is allowed to have one, is easily vanquished, extinguished by its own fruitlessness.
The mind’s quest is indefatigable; because the mind does not lie outside itself, will not allow itself to believe it is bound to the corporeal, the mind is stuck and rewarded with permanence at the same time. Its quest is nothing but to simply keep going, keep talking, fulfilling itself as it formulates itself.
Who knows if this is true, but it seems that Beckett constantly renews an attempt at vanquishing this need (which is abstract, born from the psyche) by destroying the form, or the container (the form of the novel, for instance), reducing it to the bare necessities before crippling it further with more and more intense constraints, like those he imposes upon the bodies of his heroes, legless, kneeless, incapable of forward/upward movement, buried in bins and heaps of sand.
The need to go on does nothing but go on and on.