Saturday, 10 November 2007

What Matter Who's Speaking

As so often in Beckett’s prose, you’ve no sooner read a sentence one way than you hear it another way. The second reading washes over the first like a wave over sand. Beckett facilitates this kind of thing often by subtraction – syntactic elisions, removal of verbs or conjunctives, which free up otherwise hemmed in voices. In Not I, the very absence of grammatical and orthographic markers forces the reader to make immediate decisions. This is experienced almost as a constraint, a strange transformation of freedom (to interpret, to arrange) into tyranny (the necessity of imposing these so as to suppress dispersal). Or the ambivalence of one sentence will be opened or closed by the sentence following it, endlessly..

I have always being a little intrigued by this:

What matter who's speaking, someone said what matter who's speaking

For it seems to me that this can be inflected numerous ways. For example:

What does it matter who spoke – someone did. What does it matter who.

“what matter who’s speaking” someone said, “what matter who’s speaking”

What does it matter who’s speaking, someone said ‘what matter who’s speaking?’

No sooner is one of these seen that another appears in the corner of vision.

But what's interesting in the sentence is the minmal difference between what matter who's speaking and its reiteration.

1 comment:

pedesou said...

Can you say me where Beckett wrote "What Matter Who's Speaking"
Thank you very much
Pedro de Souza