Doing Him into the Eye: Samuel Beckett's Rimbaud

Doing Him into the Eye: Samuel Beckett's Rimbaud eckett is in no doubt as to where the new thing has happened: even the best Irish poets are best only because “they have submitted themselves to the influences of those poets least concerned with evading the bankrupt relationship referred to at the opening of this essay—Corbière, Rimbaud, Laforgue, the surréalistes and Mr Eliot.”1 It was poets, and above all French poets, who embodied for Beckett a fundamental idea—“rupture of the lines of communication.” It is not only Denis Devlin and Brian Coffey, we assume, who have “submitted” themselves to these influences, but Mr. Samuel Beckett as well. The early 1930s saw him producing, besides Echo’s Bones, translations of Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Eluard, and Breton. He was not, of course, alone in this allegiance, which is pervasive in the works of Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and other writers of the period. The symbolist legacy had changed the nature of the written word for generations to come. The status of virtual truism now accorded to that fact seems to have deflected specific attention in Beckett’s case. Yet his 1 Samuel Beckett, “Recent Irish Poetry,” in Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, ed. Ruby Cohn (London: Calder, 1983), 75. Modern Language http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History Duke University Press

Doing Him into the Eye: Samuel Beckett's Rimbaud

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2005 by University of Washington
ISSN
0026-7929
eISSN
1527-1943
D.O.I.
10.1215/00267929-66-4-477
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

eckett is in no doubt as to where the new thing has happened: even the best Irish poets are best only because “they have submitted themselves to the influences of those poets least concerned with evading the bankrupt relationship referred to at the opening of this essay—Corbière, Rimbaud, Laforgue, the surréalistes and Mr Eliot.”1 It was poets, and above all French poets, who embodied for Beckett a fundamental idea—“rupture of the lines of communication.” It is not only Denis Devlin and Brian Coffey, we assume, who have “submitted” themselves to these influences, but Mr. Samuel Beckett as well. The early 1930s saw him producing, besides Echo’s Bones, translations of Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Eluard, and Breton. He was not, of course, alone in this allegiance, which is pervasive in the works of Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and other writers of the period. The symbolist legacy had changed the nature of the written word for generations to come. The status of virtual truism now accorded to that fact seems to have deflected specific attention in Beckett’s case. Yet his 1 Samuel Beckett, “Recent Irish Poetry,” in Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, ed. Ruby Cohn (London: Calder, 1983), 75. Modern Language

Journal

Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary HistoryDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2005

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