Terms, References, and Allusions in Beckett’s Memory, Habit, Time
This glossary was compiled in support of my understanding and analysis of Beckett’s thoughts regarding the Proustian Equation (i.e. theories of Time, Space, Memory, etc.) as well as the Proustian Demonstration (i.e. aesthetics, form, representation, etc.). While clarifying the details of unknown as well as some fundamental terms, this glossary assumes my previous understanding of all terminology and references which do not appear in the following entries. Additionally, this glossary does not include terms, references, or allusions specific to the narrative of in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (i.e. characters, locations, events, etc.). In short, this resource is far from comprehensive. This glossary is organized in the following format:
PAGE #. PARAGRAPH #
“Quote(s) from Beckett Essay, if necessary, to further clarify the meaning or contextualize the subsequently defined term or terms, which are indicated in bold.”
term: definition, information, and/or further resources (Relevant citations).
[see also, other term; also appears in PAGE #. PARAGRAPH #]
dualism: the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the
state of being so divided. In Philosophy: a theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles, especially mind and matter (i.e. Cartesian dualism). On Cartesian Dualism: “‘all things are either bodies or minds, substances are either spatial or conscious […]’ […]. The relation is disjunctive, so that what is spatial is not conscious, and vice versa. The world thus falls into two separate realms, bodies and minds; the Cartesian split underlies the paradox of what SB [Samuel Beckett] called in his early writing “self-extension”; and the problem of being may be rephrased as that of spatio-temporal integration. […] Schopenhauer considers the object immediate to the subject, his own body. The body, for the pure and knowing subject, is an idea like any other idea, an object among objects […]; yet that subject of knowledge becomes an individual only through his identity within the body, which thus becomes known in two different ways: as an object among objects and immediately known, as will” (Ackerly and Gontarski 64).
mulitiplicity: the quality or state of being multiple or various; a great number.
perspectivism: the theory that knowledge of a subject is inevitably partial and limited by the individual perspective from which it is viewed; the practice of regarding and analyzing a situation or work of art from different points of view.
Spear of Telephus: Telephus – figure in Greek Mythology; son of Heracles, later King of Mysia. Telephus’ kingdom is mistaken for Troy and in battle he is wounded by Achilles’ spear. After his wound will not heal, Telephus receives an oracle which states “your assailant will heal you.” Telephus seeks Achilles and is healed in return for guiding Achilles to Troy; rust from the same spear which wounded Telephus is scraped into the wound, and he is healed (Gantz 579).
subject: a being with individual consciousness and experiences, often in relationship with external entities (i.e. objects). Descartes equates the mind and thought with subjectivity, and space and matter with objectivity (Descartes LIII).
“The immediate joys and sorrows of the body and the intelligence are so many superfoetations. Such as it was, it has been assimilated to the only world that has reality and significance, the world of our own latent consciousness, and its cosmography has suffered a dislocation. So that we are rather in the position of Tantalus, with this difference, that we allow ourselves to be tantalized. And possibly the perpetuum mobile of our disillusions is subject to more variety” (Beckett 18).
cosmography: the science that deals with the general features of the universe, including the earth. The branches of cosmography include astronomy, geography, and geology (but is often more spiritual than scientific, focusing on dominions such as Heaven, Earth, and Hell).
disillusion: disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be.
ego: in pyschoanalysis, the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity; in philosophy, a conscious thinking subject; “the largely conscious controller or decision-maker of personality” (Walinga).
latent consciousness: “Consciousness is the awareness of the self in space and time. It can be defined as human awareness of both internal and external stimuli. […] Consciousness varies in both arousal and content, and there are two types of conscious experience: phenomenal, or in the moment, and access, which recalls experiences from memory. […] Freud divided human consciousness into three levels of awareness: the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. […] Latent content relates to deep unconscious wishes or fantasies while manifest content is superficial and meaningless” (Walinga). Possibly inferring a lack of awareness.
perpetuum mobile: perpetual motion; in music, a piece of fast-moving instrumental music consisting mainly of notes of equal length.
superfoetations: superfetation: a fetus conceived and developed in the midst of the development of another fetus.
Tantalus: figure in Greek mythology; punished by Zeus for, among other things, theft, cannibalism, and filicide; the punishment was to stand in water beneath a fruit tree for eternity – neither the satisfaction of thirst nor hunger within reach (Pindar).
ad nauseam: referring to something that has been done or repeated so often that it has become annoying or tiresome.
Borgian Virtue: relating to Lucrezia Borgia, “‘niece’ [read: illegitimate daughter] of Pope Alexander VI and an [alleged] infamous poisoner” (Ackerly and Gontarski 71). “Celebrated in a play by the French writer Victor Hugo, a major opera by Donizetti, and the inspiration for many movies, Lucrezia’s life has long fascinated storytellers, who have depicted her as a femme fatale—a seductive woman who poisoned those whom she could not manipulate and who attended orgies and had incestuous relations with members of her family. Most of these characterizations have little or no basis in fact, and many historians now see Lucrezia as a victim of her own family’s machinations for power. Her life serves as a vivid insight into the torrid world of papal politics at the height of the Italian Renaissance and during the tumultuous years leading up to the Protestant Reformation” (Orta).
aperient: a laxative (Shepherd’s Purse is an herbal laxative).
annexations: additional or subordinate parts of something; something one has taken/appropriated.
Brahma: a creator god in the Hindu religion; also known as Svayambhu (self-born), the creative extension of Vishnu, the principal deity of truth and being; creator of the Vedas, a large body of Hindu religious texts (Coulter 240).
Leopardi: Giacomo Leopardi, 18th Century Italian philosopher and poet; principal figure of literary Romanticism. Beckett quotes the following from Leopardi’s “To Himself”:
In noi di cari inganni,
Non che la speme, il desiderio è spento.
In us the sweet illusions,
Nothing but ash, desire burned out.
Full text of poem (Leopardi):
A se stesso (Italian)
Or poserai per sempre,
Stanco mio cor. Perì l’inganno estremo,
Ch’eterno io mi credei. Perì. Ben sento,
In noi di cari inganni,
Non che la speme, il desiderio è spento.
Posa per sempre. Assai
Palpitasti. Non val cosa nessuna
I moti tuoi, nè di sospiri è degna
La terra. Amaro e noia
La vita, altro mai nulla; e fango è il mondo
T’acqueta omai. Dispera
L’ultima volta. Al gener nostro il fato
Non donò che il morire. Omai disprezza
Te, la natura, il brutto
Poter che, ascoso, a comun danno impera
E l’infinita vanità del tutto.
To himself (English)
Now will you rest forever,
My tired heart. Dead is the last deception,
That I thought eternal. Dead. Well I feel
In us the sweet illusions,
Nothing but ash, desire burned out.
Rest forever. You have
Trembled enough. Nothing is worth
Thy beats, nor does the earth deserve
Thy sighs. Bitter and dull
Is life, there is nought else. The world is clay.
Rest now. Despair
For the last time. To our kind, Fate
Gives but death. Now despise
Yourself, nature, the sinister
Power that secretly commands our common ruin,
And the infinite vanity of everything.
Schopenhauer: Arthur Schopenhauer – 19th Century German philosopher, major work on phenomenology, subjectivity, causality, and perception in The World as Will and Representation.
19.2 (continued) (Schopenhauer continued)
Ackerly and Gontarski’s notes on Schopenhauer from The Grove Companion:
“SB commented: “his intellectual justification of unhappiness – the greatest that has ever been attempted – is worth the examination.” He added, with reference to his own essay on Proust, “Schopenhauer says ‘defunctus’ is a beautiful word – as long as one does not suicide.” […]
Schopenhauer underwrote SB’s view that suffering is the norm, that Will represents an unwelcome intrusion, and that real consciousness lies beyond human understanding. […] [Schopenhauer’s writing considers] (1) the world as an idea – that the entire world is only object in relation to subject, to perception; that is, phenomenon, or idea, subjectively perceived, no object without its subject; (2) the equal and contradictory truth, the world as Will, which Schopenhauer identifies with the Kantian Ding-an-sich, one vast force in nature, which Schopenhauer does not equate with a pantheistic God; (3) the world as Idea, in the Platonic sense, by means of which ideas become objects of knowledge, and the importance of aesthetic contemplation with respect to architecture, art, poetry, and music; and (4) the assertion and denial of the will, whereby that blind incessant force is considered in relation to the state of nothing from which things are born and to which they return, with no fixed end or purpose, but only suffering and extinction. These certainties may be palliated by attaining the state of will-lessnes, surrender or abnegation of the will. […]
According to Schopenhauer, in every act of perception the mind treats sense data as effect and tries to explain cause by ordering the data within a spatiotemporal framework. Space, time, and causality are the three forms of perception without which sense data would remain undifferentiated in Kantian terms, “time, space, and causality do not belong to the thing-in-itself, but only to its phenomena, of which they are the form.” The world is thus “idea”: sense data perceived under the forms. But the world is also Will: an implacable driving force working”
within the individual, forcing one to survive, to propogate, to seek pleasure and avoid pain. […] The doctrine is pessimistic, asserting the impossibility of true knowledge and lack of ultimate”
19.2 (continued) (Schopenhauer continued)
“purpose […] Schopenhauer suggests that limited transcendence may be attained through aesthetic contemplation. Some of SB’s dramatic moments are rooted in this paradox, in his acceptance of the experience, as at the end of Proust […].
[…] McQueeny notes Schopenhauer’s refutation of Kant’s position that for human cognition there is no existence, essence, or reality except in time, by the doctrine of the eternity of the present: “As the ideal limit from which separates the past from the future the present is as unreal
for the senses as a point in mathematics. But if it is inaccessible to empirical consciousness it can be seen as the superior reality for the metaphysician” (McQueeney, 133). This informs SB’s Proust, as the French Writer is scrutinized through a lens of pessimism, an element SB later admitted he might have overstated. The debt to Schopenhauer is real but not overwhelming, as SB suggests, as in this respect the essay reveals more of SB’s thought. The paradigm of pessimism is apparent in the image of present consciousness as decantation from the fluid of future time to that of the past […].
Proust first mentions Schopenhauer with reference to the world as a projection of individual consciousness, “and objectivation of the individuals will, Schopenhauer would say” but his presence is marked in the final section. Here the artist’s role is considered in terms primarily derived from Schopenhauer, with Proust’s romanticism, relativism, and impressionism having their roots in the doctrine of pessimism. This leads to a definition of the artistic procedure as “the contemplation of the world independently of the principle of reason” based on three key principles. First, the indifference of nature to moral values, as in the sentiment, “Flower and plant have no conscious will. They are shameless, exposing their genitals.” The image arises directly out of WWI. […] Second, the definition of Proust as the subject of pure will, but exemplifying no collapse of the will: “The Proustian stasis is contemplative, a pure act of understanding, will-less, the ‘amabilis insania’ and the ‘holder Wahnsinn’’. These terms, referring to Horace and Wieland, are taken directly from Schopenhauer. Third, music: “the influence of Schopenhauer on this aspect of the Proustian demonstration is unquestionable”.
19.2 (continued) (Schopenhauer continued)
“Music is “the Idea itself, unaware of the world of phenomena, existing ideally outside the universe, apprehended not in Space but in Time only.” However, it is distorted by the listener who, being an impure subject, unable to apprehend to ding-an-sich, insists on incarnating this Idea into “what he perceives to be an appropriate paradigm” (Ackerly and Gontarski 509-512)
analogivorous: feeding only on analogies.
corzya: inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose, caused especially by a cold or by hay fever.
exhort: strongly encourage or urge to do something
Gidean: Andre Gide: “French novelist whom SB studied at Trinity and later taught […]. Gide’s novels are intensely patterned, their complex formal symmetries intimating the conflict between the world and its representation (Ackerly and Gontarski 227). Gide offers a definition of classicism: “that classical art embraces totality although it is expressed by an individual artist, taking Ancient Greece as the main paradigm” (Foehn 26). “Proust’s work is classical in a very Gidean sense for Beckett. In his absolute mastery of language, the author can delve into the very depths of being and reveal essential truths, ‘capturing without the sentiment the essence’. This is in keeping with Beckett’s rejection of Naturalism as a partial, limited expression of human reality. Indeed, he never fails to point out that writers such as Zola overlook that same human complexity that is present in Gide and Racine because they treat the subject matter of their work scientifically, in an attempt to impose structure upon the inexplicable and to exclude the irrational. In Proust, Beckett also discards the ‘realists and naturalists’ for their excessive reliance on description” (Foehn 43).
transubstantiation: (especially in the Roman Catholic Church) the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine still remaining.
Baedeker: a 19th Century travel guide, created by Karl Baedeker.
laws of dynamics: the effect of force on motion.
microcosm: “man as a ‘little world’, the ‘imprisoned microcosm’ of individual experience, opposed to the macrocosm or big world. The laws regulating the one are reflected in the other, so the microcosm is, said Leibniz, a monad or living mirror of the universe; by understanding the self, one becomes conscious of the divine” (Ackerly and Gontarski 369).
pleonasm: the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning, either as fault of style or for emphasis.
Paradise Lost: 17th-century epic poem by John Milton; biblical story of the Fall of Man.
Cocteau: Jean Cocteau, “French poet, playwright, filmmaker, enfant terrible of the avant-garde” (Ackerly and Gontarski 100). The Human Voice (La Voix humaine) is an emotional monodrama in which a young woman loses her lover over the telephone.
supererogation: the performance of more work than duty requires.
nox vomica: a toxic plant used for, among other medicinal purposes, rat poison (Grieve).
adamantine: unbreakable; referring to adamant, a mythical material.
Beatrice and Faust and the “azur du ciel immense et ronde”: (the huge and round blue sky); a reference to Dante (Beatrice, Beckett’s “beatific vision, ‘blissful Beatrice’ the usual tautology
the distinction between the sacred and the profane); Goethe (Faust); and Baudelaire (“azur…” translated roughly to “the blue of the vast round” is from Baudelaire’s poem La Chevelure, “the gulf whence involuntary memory might rise”) (Ackerly and Gontarski 39-40).
dolorous: feeling or expressing great sorrow or distress.
interloper: someone or something who becomes unwelcome or does not belong in a place or situation.
presentification: making somethingpresent through interaction.
“To the Moon” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth, —
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
Thou chosen sister of the Spirit,
That gazes on thee till in thee it pities …
sterile lucidity: relating to the Suffering of Being: “When I remembered what Bergotte had said to me: “You are ill but one cannot be sorry for you because you possess the delights of the mind,” I saw how much he had been mistaken. How little delight I got out of this sterile lucidity” (Proust, Time Regained). lucidity: clear, easy to understand, especially between moments of confusion; in psychology: a dream experienced with the dreamer feeling awake and aware of dreaming, able to control events consciously.
tautology: a phrase or expression in which the same thing twice in different words; repetition; in logic, a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.
intellection: process of understanding, as opposed to imagination.
neuralgia: intense, intermittent headaches
agglomeration: a collection or assemblage of thing.
a priori: presupposed by experience; derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions.
extratemporal: outside of time.
reduplication: in linguistics,a word-formation process in which meaning is expressed by repeating all or part of a word.
Dante, Aligheri: “Italian poet, whose childhood love for Beatrice Portinari was his lifelong inspiration. […] Dante’s masterpiece is the Commedia, […] [which] recounts Dante’s journey from the ‘dark wood’ of the world and self through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise” (Ackerly and Gontarski 118). Beckett refers to Dante throughout Proust, both in the discussion of Proustian Memory and the Proustian Demonstration (i.e. form). In 29.1: “ingegni storti e loschi”, or, “crooked and shady wits”; “Ponete mente almen com’io son bella”, or, “Take mind as I am beautiful” [this relates to form]. “Dante’s line is included in Beckett’s [in connection with] Marcel’s recognition of the ‘necessity of art’” (Caselli 25).
equilibrium: a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced; a calm state; in chemistry, a state in which a process and its reverse are occurring at equal rates so that no overall change is taking place. “SB commented […]: ‘Comic resolution is establishment of equilibrium. Tragic resolution is the abolition of any need for equilibrium’” (Ackerly and Gontarski 181).
exaltation: extreme happiness; elevating someone in status; praising someone/thing highly.
Baudelaire, Charles: “French poet. In Proust, one who defines reality as ‘adequate union of subject and object’; hence allegorical, unlike Proust, who pursues the Ideal by the concrete” (Ackerly and Gontarski 39).
Dante quote: “e qual piu pazienza avea neglie atti / Piangendo parea dicer: piu non posso”, or “and he who showed the most suffering in his looks, seemed to say, weeping, I can no more.” This relates to “Marcel’s [realization] that only art can reproduce the ‘bounty of a subject’ and therefore capture – in Beckettian terms – the ‘negation of time’ […].” The experience of Proustian Revelation [i.e. “the time made flesh”, “giants plunged through the years”] is illustrated in this quote from Dante (Casselli 26).
affectivist: focused on the affect the work of art has on its perceiver (Mansell).
Apollo flaying Marsysas: Marsyas, a figure in Greek Mythology; a satyr who challenged Apollo on the lyre and was killed as punishment;also, a painting by Titian (Atsma).
autosymbolism: “immediate and fortuitous [experiences or extratemporal objects] of perception [i.e. the madeleine] [which] manifest no concept but rather the affective states suggested in them. Nor can they be discussed or cross related by means of concepts, whether philosophical or physcological. They are revealed in themselves but “stand for,” or refer to, nothing outside of themselves. […] The allegorical mode cannot bear the weight of phenomenological reality” (Shir).
discursive: digressing from subject to subject; fluent and expansive rather than formulaic or abbreviated; relating to discourse; proceeding by argument or reasoning rather than by intuition.
offal: internal organs of animal used as food; refuse or waste material; refuse from a process.
Paduan Frescoes: painted by Giotto di Bondone in the Arena Chapel in Italy, these frescoes are known for their religious iconography and innovative use of form and composition (Allen).
plurality: a large number of people or things; a condition in which two or more things coexist; in philosophy, a theory or system that recognizes more than one ultimate principle.
post rem: Latin, “after the thing”; in law, a term used for a declaration that is made after a transaction has been completed (Black’s Law Dictionary). “The Baudelarian unity is a unity ‘post rem,’ a unity abstracted from plurality” (Beckett 30).
prostrate: lying face down on the ground, especially in reverence or submission; completely helpless.
sepulchral: relating to a tomb; gloomy, dismal.
Spenser’s Allegory: likely referring to The Faerie Queene, a late 14th Century epic poem written by English writer Edmund Spenser. The poem is an allegory to communicate noble virtues, also functioning as a critique of Queen Elizabeth I (Spenser).
Symbolism: 19th century art movement related to Romanticism and Impressionism; Baudelaire instigates style. Reaction against naturalism/realism; preferring spirituality and the imagination.
Dante’s allegorical figures: Beckett’s reference to these figures is “an instrument to extend Schopenhauer’s critique of allegory in the pictorial and plastic arts to poetics as well” (Casselli 26).
Vision of Mirza: allegory by 16th century English writer Joseph Addison; associated with the later palatability of Spenser’s allegories in The Faerie Queene (Addison).
Cellinesque pommels: pommel: a rounded knob on the end of the handle of a sword, dagger, or old-fashioned gun; the upward curving or projecting part of a saddle in front of the rider. Relating to Cellini, Benvenuto: “Florentine goldsmith. […] His technique differs from that of Proust by its emphasis on the external” (Ackerly and Gontarski 88). Associated with Mannerism (exaggerated form and high intellection).
Coppée: late 19th century French poet and novelist, member of the Parnassians, “he drew upon the descriptive realism he admired in Parnassian poetry to create a picturesque, idealized representation of working-class Paris which helped to establish a tradition of popular poetry” (Oxford). “French poet and dramatist who idealized the working class, the ‘ineffable gutter-snippets’ dismissed in Proust” (Ackerly and Gontarski 111).
Daudet and the Goncourts: referring to a community of 17th century French writers, whose exploits are detailed in a diary written by Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, which was published in the 1950s. “Two brothers, Edmond and Jules, aesthetes devoted to art and literature, whose Journal offers a fascinating portrait of their age, but whose ‘notes d’apres nature’ SB casually dismisses. The Prix Goncourt becomes the Pulitzer Prize” (Ackerly and Gontarski 233).
Hugo, Victor: “The great poet, novelist, and dramatist of his age; brilliant, erratic, conceited, and egotistical; the massif central of Romanticism. His work was lyricism, beauty, and strength, but also bombast and vulgarity. […] In Proust, Hugo is said to be one receding rather than proceeding, returning to an outmoded romanticism” (Ackerly and Gontarski 263).
Huysmans, Joris Karl: “French novelist, author of A rebours (1884) and La-bas (1891), which promoted an aestheticism expressing itself in luxurious symbolism, paradox, and perverse eroticism, as in the paintings of Gustave Moreau, which he admired and imitated. […] In Proust, SB senses within Huysmans something of a “retrogressive tendency” he detects in Proust, but loathed and repressed, so that while speaking of the “ineluctable gangrene of Romanticism” he can yet create Des Esseintes (the aesthete and hero of A rebours) as “a fabulous creature” who wages war on nature by re-creating the artificiality of his pleasures” (Ackerly and Gontarski 267).
Marmorean modes: marmorean: resembling marble; referring to external, superficial modes of expression i.e. Romantic sculpture.
pari passu: side by side, at the same rate
Parnassians: Parnassianism: a French literary style associated with Positivism as well as the philosophy of Shopenhauer, rejecting sentiments of Romanticism and serving as a precursor to Symbolism; incorporates the idea of “Art for Art’s Sake”; named for Mount Parnassus, where Muses of Greek Mythology lived (Brereton 288). The Parnassians “sought restraint, precision, and objectivity in poetry, in reaction to the emotional extravagances of Romanticism’ (Oxford).
Romanticism: “Despite dismissing the “ineluctable gangrene of Romanticism”, […] and a determination not to move back to the elegant skepticism and Marmorean modes of Laforgue and Malarme […], SB shared with Proust a strain that neither quite lost. While SB shared the modernist suspicion of Romantic excess, throttled the lyric impulse, and trampled the blue flower of beauty, he retained an attraction to the mystical, a recognition of the need to express, and the voice within too strong ultimately to be denied” (Ackerly and Gontarski 486).
Amiel, Henri-Frederic: “Professor of aesthetics and philosophy at Geneva, his Journal intime (1883) a model of Romantic introspection. Linked with Chateaubriand as a ‘melancholy Pantheist’ who cannot match Proust’s ‘pathological power’” (Ackerly and Gontarski 12-13).
“c’est toi qui dors dans l’ombre / O sacre souvenir!”: “It’s you who sleep in the shadow, sacred memory.” Part of the last lines of Hugo’s Tristesse d’Olympio, a poem from Les Rayons et les Ombres (“Beams and Shadows”), his final collection of poetry published before his exile. The poem entails a man recalling memories of a former love (Hugo). (For link to full poem, see Works Cited).
Chateaubriand, Francois Auguste Rene: “Romantic poet. Cited in Praz as fascinated by the pleasure of melancholy and as ‘epicurien a l’amagination catholique’” (Ackerly and Gontarski 93).
concatenation: a series of interconnected things or events.
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Russian novelist who employed themes of conflicted human psychology, philosophy (most notably existentialism) and the sociocultural climate of 19th century Russia. SB admired his writing style, with which he compares the style of Proust (Ackerly and Gontarski 148).
31. 2 (continued)
Musset-Pathay, Alfred Louis Charles de: “French poet who edged Romanticism with irony; described in proust as lacking any real cohesion” (Ackerly and Gontarski 396).
spasmodic: occurring or done in brief, irregular bursts.
fandango: something foolish/useless; an upbeat Spanish dance for two.
Noailles, Comtesse Anna de: “poet whose Romantic pantheism earned Proust’s approbation but SB’s contempt” (Ackerly and Gontarski 407).
Pantheism: the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god.
Saperlipopette: “goodness me!”
coefficients of penetration: coefficient: a constant quantity which multiplies a variable; a multiplier which measures some property. penetration/permeability coefficient: amount of substance reduced from passing through a filtering substance.
copiable: able to be copied
radiographical: of a device to measure sunshine, or later, making images.
vitiated: spoiled or impaired quality/efficiency/validity
Zut Alors: French; “Damn them”, “shucks”.
anti–intellectualism: against the “blithely theorizing intellectuals who undeservedly claim ownership” over knowledge and the power obtained via its ownership (Lecklider).
Blickpinkt: German; focal point, center of vision.
Curtius, Ernst: “German Scholar who specialized in the impact of French Literature on European Culture. Author of Marcel Proust (1928). SB […] borrows his notion of Proust’s perspectivism, notably, his identification of Proust’s readings of Schopenhauer” (Ackerly and Gontarski 116)
impressionism: style characterized by capturing a feeling or experience rather than achieving accurate description/representation; in music, a style in which clarity of structure and theme is suborndinate to harmonic effects. “By his impressionism I mean his nonlogical statement of phenomena in the order and exactitude of their perception, before theyhave been distorted intelligently in order to be forced into a chain of cause and effect, […] stating what he sees and not what he ought to see” (Beckett 33)
negative relativism: “suspicion of the possibility of objectivity but their insistence on the role of socio-historical, psychological and textual contexts in accounts of ‘truth’ and ‘knowledge’ claims” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
perspectivism: the theory that knowledge of a subject is inevitably partial and limited by the individual perspective from which it is viewed; the practice of regarding and analyzing a situation or work of art from different points of view; Nietzchean term “used to characterize the epistemology [the theory of knowledge (and its methodology and validity)] and narrative techniques of Proust (Large 217).
positive relativism: all truth relative to a person, place, or time; perhaps also related to reduplication or tautology in form and content: “dwelling upon one linguistic form so as to invoke a range of attendant contents, versus cycling through a range of possible linguistic incarnations in order to deduce the existence of an underlying centre of meaning” (McMurren 114).
relativism: the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.
Renan, Joseph Ernest: French linguist and philosopher.
skepticism: doubt; in philosophy, the theory that certain knowledge is impossible.
periphrasis: the use of indirect and circumlocutory speech or writing.
apperception: after Kant’s transcendental apperception, meaning “how, through understanding, we come to know the object we are affected by in sensibility”, or subjects interrogate and unpack objects via their own subjectivity (leading to self-consciousness) (Schulting 20-21). “The active process of the mind reflecting on itself, its perception of itself as a conscious agent, the consciousness of being conscious” (Ackerly and Gontarski 16).
fecundation: fertilization; impregnation.
Primula veris and Lythrum salicaria: scientific names for specific flowering plants.
transcendentalism: idealistic philosophical movement influenced by Romanticism and Kantian philosophy which emphasis a divine presence in all of nature and humanity; a system developed by Immanuel Kant, based on the idea that, in order to understand the nature of reality, one must first examine and analyze the reasoning process which governs the nature of experience [see apperception, 35.1]
amabilis insania and holder Wahnsinn: divine madness, after Horace and Schopenhauer. Beckett is directly quoting Schopenhauer here. (Gosling, Pothast 111).
d’Annunzio, Gabrielle: Italian writer, poet, journalist, playwright; associated with Symbolism and the Decadent Movement (see Huysmans). Wrote Il Fuoco (The Flame), a “lush glorification of Venice” (Ackerly and Gontarski 117). “SB, unimpressed, implicitly agreed with Praz that he was the Hug of Decadence. He condemns the misunderstanding of the Proustian statis: ‘D’A seems to think they are merely pausing between fucks. Horrible. He has a dirty, squelchy mind, bleeding and bursting like his celebrated pomegranates’[…]” (Ackerly and Gontarski 117). “ma se io penso alle sue mani nascoste, le immagino nell’atto di frangere le foglie del lauro per profumarsene le dita: Italian, “but if I think of his hidden hands, I imagine them in the act of breaking the leaves of the laurel to scent their fingers”, d’Annunzio describing Giorgione’s painting Tempesta.
Giorgione, Giorgio Barbarelli: “Italian painter of the Venetian school, whose landscapes such as the Tempesta and Sleeping Venus contributed a new unity of figure and setting through their use of color, atmosphere, and proportion. The first two are cited in Proust. SB took angry exception to D’Annunzio’s dismissal of Proust’s ‘floral obsessions’ and his vulgar misreading of Giorgione’s rapt figures” (Ackerly and Gontarski 227).
Leander: figure in Greek mythology, who had a somewhat coercive summer love-affair with Hero; allusions to the story of Hero and Leander are found throughout many eras and styles of literature and art, including the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare (Marlowe).
Keats, John: English Romantic Poet; “drowsed with fume of poppies” is
from his poem To Autumn:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage tree,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows
twitter in the skies
concomitant: naturally accompanying, associated with, or following.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm: “German mathematician and philosopher, who invented calculus [and precursors to binary] […]. His theory of the monad described simple being. Monads are indestructible, uncreated, and inimitable elements, whose essence is activity (motion); although they develop they do not effect one another. The world is an infinite set of independent monads, which precludes causation, that being merely coincidence in time and space. The mutual accommodation of each monad to every other, effected by preestablished harmony, causes each to express all others and so ‘to be a perpetual living mirror of the universe’” (Ackerly and Gontarski 314). Leibniz’s descrition of music as occult arithmetic: “The beauty of music lies in the congruity of numerical relations, and aesthetic pleasure derives from the pleasure for the proportions among things; […] in perceiving the beauty of chords our soul is not aware of being counting, music is an occult arithmetic exercise: […]. When a painful event appears to us as an insurmountable objection against the harmony of the world, it means that in us the unaware counting of the convenient proportions of the whole (within which dissonances are essential) stops resounding” (Paltrinieri).
Schopenhauer and music: “Beckett’s comments on music as a paradigm of art clearly relate to Schopenhauer’s influential account of music […], while again carving out an independent and even more pessimistic position. […] In Schopenhauer’s theory, melody, with its ‘constant digression and deviation from the keynote in a thousand ways,’ expresses ‘the many different forms of the will’s efforts, but also its satisfaction by ultimately finding again a harmonious interval, and still more the keynote’. For Schopenhauer, it is the very completeness of melodic progression that makes music a copy of the Will, enabling this art to transcend the phenomenal realm by depicting desire and its attendant sufferings […]. Beckett, by contrast, finds in some favored pieces […] a principle of internal disintegration, one that may negatively project, but still fails to achieve, the incursion of a final Silence. […] Again, Beckett’s focus is firmly placed upon the drama of breakdown and failure enacted in and through a particular artistic language.” (Tonning, 39).
da capo: Italian musical term used to repeat music “from the beginning”
defunctus: dead, deceased, defunct [see entry on Schopenhauer]
Mantegna, Andrea: “quattrocento painter. His Assunta or Assumption of the Virgin, a [Paduan Frescoe], is referred to in Proust” (Ackerly and Gontarski 345).
sine materia: Latin: “without cause”
teleological: in philosophy, relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise; in theology, relating to the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.Vendome column: “the obelisk which throughout the 19th century was seen as the most important symbol of Paris and upon which each government attempted to make its mark” (Huguenaud).