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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sticky fudge, 23 April 2009
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back to basics (Glasgow - Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency (Hardcover)
Alain Badiou's various writings on Beckett are translated and gathered in a luminous small volume, entitled "On Beckett", which is only flawed by the inclusion as an afterword of a wearisome postscript by one Andrew Gibson. Now, here, that tedious little essay is awarded grotesque inflation, entwining and shrouding Badiou's piercing insights in lengthy and tedious pomposity. For instance, Badiou advances the startling and compelling claim that Beckett's writings from the mid-1950s onwards become resonant and haunting because they rest on "a latent poem of love". Through quotation and analysis Badiou demonstrates convincingly how this is so. But by contrast, Gibson's lugubrious commentary delivers a long muddled account of what it takes to be Badiou's thought, which it at once tries to "relate" to Beckett and to quarrel with, all at the same time.

From his readings of Beckett, Badiou draws a theory of sex and sexuation, and a philosophical account of love and its poetry. His is probably the freshest and most challenging take there's been on Beckett in years. But before anyone gets too excited, it had better be said that poor old Gibson doesn't register much about either sex or love or poetry. Instead he busies himself elaborating unenlightening accounts of Cantor and Heidegger, among others. Whom Badiou has elsewhere expounded on with exemplary clarity. All in all, this is a fine lesson in how to miss the point, again and again, at length.

It's not evident what's driving either Gibson's quarrel with Badiou or his intermittent efforts to comment on Beckett. Is it because he's some kind of wishy-washy liberal, to whom Beckett's starkness and Badiou's force are equally offensive? Is it because Badiou is on the side of emancipation and creativity, whereas Gibson is on the pretentious side of academic careerism? Or that Gibson just can't help himself from having horrible twitchiness over anything and everything French? Whatever, his is the pathos, and what a shame it'd be if this fearsome travesty were to put anyone off reading for themselves Badiou's wondrous commentary on Beckett.
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Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency
Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency by Andrew Gibson (Hardcover - 11 Jan 2007)
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