On hosting and Beckett

Thanks for all the suggestions about my hosting woes, everybody. If I haven’t written you back yet, I will.

After corresponding with a friend yesterday, I think the problem must be script-based (whatever that means, exactly), rather than traffic-based. I’m still awaiting word from Dreamhost.

Last night I had an epic phone conversation with an old friend from Miami. He tried to buck up my enthusiasm for reading aloud by offering an interpretation of a lengthy and foul-mouthed passage from Samuel Beckett’s critically panned Mercier and Camier.

Keith Ridgway thumbed his nose at the book’s detractors and penned an appreciation for the Guardian in June 2003:

Beckett’s concentration of the human voice led him, perhaps inevitably, to the stage. By 1953 his boiling down of confusion and memory had revealed the sharp gleaming bone of Waiting For Godot. But before doing any of that, before altering forever the way we think about the novel and the play, he did something that has annoyed Beckett scholars and biographers ever since – he wrote Mercier and Camier.

They’ll try to tell you that it’s not a good book. That it doesn’t fit into the great Beckett canon. That its omnipotent narrator and the jokesy tone are throwbacks to the earlier, less interesting author of Murphy and Watt. They may be right. It’s certainly true that Beckett had begun the book before his trip back to Ireland – before his “revelation”. Perhaps he just wanted to clear his desk, get it out of the way before embarking on his new idea.

The book’s detractors certainly comfort themselves with the fact that Beckett refused permission for its publication until 1970, and did not bother translating it into English until 1974. Nevertheless, Mercier and Camier remains, even in the face of what came afterwards, perhaps because of what came afterwards, one of my favourite pieces of Beckett writing.

Things are spiraling out of control at the day job, but I’ll try to post more later today. Meanwhile, if you’re a Beckett fan, check out these old interviews.


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