With Joyce the difference is that Joyce was a superb manipulator of material – perhaps the greatest. He was making words do the absolute maximum of work. There isn’t a syllable that’s superfluous. The kind of work I do is one in which I’m not master of my material. The more Joyce knew the more he could. He’s tending toward omniscience and omnipotence as an artist. I’m working with impotence and ignorance. I don’t think impotence has been exploited in the past. My little exploration is that little zone of being that has always been set aside by artists as something unusable – as something by definition incomparable with art.

— Beckett, New York Times interview, 1956

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