Introduction to the Prelude

The following documents constitute my annotation of Samuel Beckett’s Memory, Habit, Time, specifically relating to Beckett’s exploration of the Proustian Equation leading to Proustian Revelation (theoretical content), as well as the Proustian Demonstration of the Equation and the Revelation (form, medium, representation, the mutual inclusivity of form/content). This annotation was compiled in support of the creation of a self-reflection piece, which utilizes elements of the theories, structures, and methodologies [read: “literary geometries” (Beckett 17)] of both Beckett and Proust as a lens with which to investigate my subjective placement in my life and career in relation to these theories and these artists, as well as to myself and my own work.

This annotation consists of several components which, while each individual component developed simultaneously as they influenced and informed one another, are presented in the following order, which is roughly representative of their chronological completion:

  1. Terms, References, and Allusions in Beckett’s Memory, Habit, Time (pp. 3 – 30).
  2. Annotation of Theories I: The Proustian Equation and Revelation (pp. 27 – 36).
  3. Annotations of Theories II: The Proustian Demonstration (pp. 37 – 44).
    1. “An Annotation of Space, or, a Voluntary Memory” (pp. 45 – 49)

The subsection of third component of this document, titled “An Annotation of Space, or, a Voluntary Memory”, is the manifestation of the self-reflection aspect of the Master’s Report question; this component is a digi-physical interactive performance piece, instructions and materials for which are included alongside these documents (please do not open the included materials until instructed to do so). The fourth and final component of my annotation is a facsimile of my personal copy of Beckett’s essay as it existed at the time of the submission of this project, as a further illustration of my dramaturgical process.

            My methodology in approaching this annotation consisted of the following: read Beckett’s Memory, Habit, Time, then read the first section of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time Volume I: Swann’s Way for context; then, revisit the Beckett to extract points of clarification (elucidated by the first component, essentially a conventional dramaturgical gloss) and identify main ideas relating to theories of content and form; then, articulate my thoughts; then, repeat all of the above ad nauseum until a step forward in the creation of a self-reflection became apparent (or, until I saw myself and knew how to make others see it). The ideas of relativism of this document), perspectivism, and Kantian transcendental apperception lent some clarity, in the form of a sudden realization (upon perhaps the fourth or fifth repetition of this process) of my position in relation to these two writers, their subjects, and their forms.

            Namely: in In Search of Lost Time (ISOLT), Proust writes from the perspective of the experience of the Narrator, which is commonly perceived to be Proust’s own experience, though there is no direct nor explicit statement of this fact. In Memory, Habit, Time (MHT), Beckett writes about Proust and the Narrator, though at times it is unclear about which individual he is speaking; Beckett’s essay is also commonly thought to be an articulation of his own theory and aesthetic values, perhaps similarly to the relationship between the Narrator and Proust. However, again, there is no direct nor explicit statement of this illustrative quality, no demonstration of their own apperceptions. This annotation intends to be fully apperceptive: where Beckett speaks about theory embodied by Proust through the Narrator, I speak of myself, through myself, within a perspective framework explicitly relative to Beckett and Proust. So now, the event…