Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Die inter- und transdisziplinären Verhältnisse kultureller Vermittlung

Samuel Beckett’s trilogy and cartesian philosophy (Beckett, the philosopher? Descartes, the writer?)

Orsolya Kolozsi (Szeged)



My paper is going to discuss the relationship between literature and philosophy, as a special kind of interdisciplinarity. I will deliver a lecture on Samuel Beckett’s prose, especially on his so called trilogy, three novels written in French (Molloy, Malone meurt, L’Innomable). These texts can be interesting for many reasons, but their outstanding feature is the big number of philosophical references. Despite of that, these novels seem to be very reduced, they imply a lot of interesting intertextual elements. Although Beckett is familiar with contemporary philosophers’ ideas, he prefers the philosophers of the XVII.-XVIII. century.

Descartes is the most important source for him. Beckett is interested in his life (for example lot of his characters having the same attributes as Descartes), but the cartesian notions and approach seem to be more relevant. It is very exciting to see, as one of the most important and representative writers of the twenieth century, begans to argue with Descartes’ ideas (like the well-known "cogito ergo sum” or the dualist idea of the subject).

My paper won’t regard Beckett as a philosopher, but it will give examples how a writer, in a literary text, can reflect on the scholarly philosophy. While I will examine the connection between the trilogy and Descartes’ Discourse of Method, I hope to reveal even the differences and the similarities between philosophical and literary text, and the border between them. I I would also like to show how literary can use and form one of the human sciences, so how one form of interdisciplinarity works.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-10-11