Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Beckett, Buddhism & the Void": my article


"Beckett, Buddhism & the Void": Horizon Review 4(2010). "Always the big questions," that writer sighed. Posed in front of Niagara Falls, as close to the abyss as I dared, my squinting self introduces this reflection on not only the great Irish writer, but scattered allusions (if not his!) to dharma, as well as 'brane' theory and cosmological speculations that hearken back-- before even the Big Bang. I try to tackle one Big Question, if in three thousand words, as edited in the Arts Section by Dr. Mark A. Williams of Cambridge (now at Oxford) for this fine production helmed by Jane Holland.

There's a lot more to educate and entertain. Here's issue four's Table of Contents. Roam freely on this Horizon into literary and artistic realms of poetry, translations, short stories, interviews, reviews, and essays. In her introduction to this "little magazine" in the spirit of Cyril Connolly's effort, Holland concludes:
I intend Horizon to be like that thin steely line of the literal horizon, a place of new exchanges and opportunities, occupying both sides of the argument, an alluring view of the future, where one thing is always ending and another just beginning, where anything could happen — and definitely will.

I'd concur that this enterprise sustains that elegant, refined, slightly chilled or gently acerbic register of good-natured, grousingly erudite British-style criticism. Not clotted with theoretical jargon or tarred by score setting. Please visit Horizon Review yourself. I'm happy to be among such distinguished peers.

P.S. As adapted to that article, I've reviewed Paul Foster's Beckett & Zen. My 2005 chapter (In: "Beckett, Joyce, and the Art of the Negative," European Joyce Studies 16, ed. Colleen Jaurretche. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 109-24) on "Beckett's Purgatories" alluded therein can be linked to for $20 (royalties to not me, but publisher) via Ingenta or High Beam portals. Google Books previews/chops it. When I wrote this, I'd found its pdf online--I'll send it to you gratis--but no more when I checked in 2012 to update this footnote. You have to return and try, try again, fail, fail harder, as Beckett would phrase it. Somehow fitting, this repetition, this return to where we begin, and before it, and after.

Photo: Wild card image search result. Barbara Gosza's album titled "Beckett & Buddha." LastFM compares this Chicago-born singer-songwriter of Czech parentage "with plaintive but intense songs sung in a touchingly fragile luminous voice" to Rickie Lee Jones or Townes Van Zandt "whilst evoking a Germanic world-weary angst reminiscent of Marianne Faithfull." She reminds me of one of Kafka's lovers. Figured you'd rather look at her face than mine. Or the Void.

2 comments:

Bo said...

Many many thanks for doing this! It's a splendid piece.

Fionnchú said...

I return my thanks for your guiding me to Horizon Review.