Literary Criticism

ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound

By Ezra Pound

This significant paintings, first released in 1934, is a concise assertion of Pound’s aesthetic conception. it's a primer for the reader who desires to preserve an energetic, severe brain and turn into more and more delicate to the sweetness and idea of the world’s most sensible literature. With attribute power and iconoclasm, Pound illustrates his precepts with shows meticulously selected from the classics, and the concluding “Treatise on Meter” offers an illuminating essay for someone meaning to learn and write poetry. ABC of Reading monitors Pound’s nice skill to open new avenues in literature for our time.

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When Clov turns his telescope on the audience and says ‘I see . . a multitude . . in transports . . of joy’ (112), or when Hamm senses being looked at—‘All kinds of fantasies! ’ (142)—Beckett signals, I believe, a sense of our participation and responsibility in this play. The audience in fact enacts the Berkeleyean dictum ‘to be is to be perceived’ by granting painful life to these pained characters. Like Vladimir and Estragon, Hamm and Clov are not merely emblems of Heideggerian ‘thrown’ beings, but they stand as metaphors for the idea that humankind is condemned to act repeatedly in a play not necessarily of its own choosing.

By denying repetition, by hallucinating that this is all happening for the first time, Vladimir and Estragon can believe that this now is singular, unique, as a pure moment of waiting and expectation. Interpretation and self-consciousness But Beckett’s scrutiny of the desire for belief extends as equally to the audience. The critics who read the play as being about God or the salvational moment, as being about power, the Hegelian Master-Slave dialectic, as being about France under Nazi rule, have all fallen into the same belief trap that Vladimir and Estragon find themselves.

5 Beckett has staged a play about uncertainty, waiting, and boredom. Waiting for Godot, from this perspective, begins to look like it may simply be ‘about’ what it says it is about: waiting. For some critics of a more existential bent, thus, Godot becomes a perfect representation of what it means to be, period: we have all waited in anxiety and hope for something. Alain Robbe-Grillet, in an enormously influential early essay on Godot, draws on the existential-phenomenological philosophy of Martin Heidegger, especially Heidegger’s notion of ‘thrownness’.

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