In (2012)

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This essay argues that the representation of pain in Beckett’s writing exposes the paradox in his work concerning the relationship of the individual suffering subject and the community. Making reference to studies of pain and literature generally and to salient studies of Beckett, the essay shows how the narration of pain in Beckett’s prose works in particular is closely linked to its more general interrogation of subject-object relations. As the preeminent agent, source as well as repository of pain, writing in Beckett itself comes to occupy, in a transpositional manner, the poles of subject, object and work. If ‘pain’ names the subject-object continuum, that very conjunction exposes the co-habitants to their own mutual espacement – qua subject and object. The common feeling is countermanded in advance by separation. The conjunction gives rise to a sapping, devastating and agonising attempt to conjure an image, an image which holds out the possibility of the felicity, or at least palliation, offered by community. The image is, however, both a wounding regime and a generative regime. The two components, pain and community, are illustrated with specific reference to Texts for Nothing, through an analysis of which a new conjuncture of the themes of pain, community and the role of the work of art is proposed.
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Corpus.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2008 - Fordham University Press.

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