By T. S. Eliot

Pertaining to everybody from Marlowe to Middleton, Essays on Elizabethan Drama is a rigorous number of Eliot’s works at the nice dramatists of the sixteenth century.

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Beckett 1981, 24) These are comparatively clean breaks, after which the narrator hastens on. Other gaps are everywhere in the later work, as are representations of nothing, as is the theme of our collective ignorance, the immediate and sustained experience of which was earlier so fully enabled by Beckett’s exploitation of the egregious narrative gap. Beckett is an artist of such great range because he is so adept at controlling for different forms and different effects. As I argued at the outset, it is easy to overlook just how precisely he controls his art, inviting us to fill with comparable precision those gaps that are the life of any narrative.

A girl in a shabby green coat, on a railway-station platform? No? 14 The biographer James Knowlson also suggests that Hamm’s intercalated lament in Endgame (the heavily rhetorical ‘Can there be misery – [he yawns] – loftier than mine? No doubt. Formerly. 15 The intrepid Winnie, too, carries with her handbag in Happy Days – the French translation is called, slyly (pace Verlaine), Oh les beaux jours – some remarkable Yeatsian associations. Move over, Molly Bloom. 18 Scenically, however, we may be on much firmer and far more practical ground.

These exist, as Voice informs us, as ‘three cases,’ each one assigned its distinctive temporality. Sometimes they appear in the blink of an eye (‘2 seconds’), sometimes as a lingering pose (‘5 seconds’), sometimes long enough for the mouth to form in silence, after a moment, the words ‘. . clouds . . but the clouds . . of the sky . . ’ In this third case V murmurs, synchronous with W’s lips, ‘. but the clouds’ during the mouth’s second movement on the screen. The reverse lip-synch allows us to hear, intertextually, Yeats in silence and Yeats in fact.

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