Shorts -- the word has never been more operative -- consists of five soliloquy-sketches, the play Not I which was briefly...

READ REVIEW

FIRST LOVE AND OTHER SHORTS

Shorts -- the word has never been more operative -- consists of five soliloquy-sketches, the play Not I which was briefly produced at Lincoln Center two years ago consisting of the nonstop monologue of the single character Mouth, and a curtain closer which was originally the curtain opener of O Calcutta -- some stage directions and seven lines articulated by four characters, Rubbish, Cry, Breath and Maximum Light. In other words, residuals. Beckett admirers will no doubt devote themselves to the earlier shorts and from the first one will remember the paradigmatic epitaph ""Hereunder lies the above who up below/ So hourly died that he survived till now."" Death of course -- in fact the constant dream of annihilation--is the key to the closed universe which was Beckett's world; here in this story, both the most scatological and necrotic, he records his ""First Love"" bedded in a byre, her name inscribed on a cowpat. This was written in the '40's -- the other pieces are undated and include the precis of suffering in ""From an Abandoned Work"" and the two almost look-alikes -- ""Imagination Dead Imagine"" and ""Ping"" -- both designs in white and black and light and dark. ""Enough"" is not much of anything. . . ""All is mental, figments"" is often remarkably reified in graphic terms (as critic Ruby Cohn said, the Beckett soliloquy consists ""of 'fact' in tension with fiction""). It also represents his limiting view of a ""dispeopled kingdom"" which excludes for the most part a common humanity -- hypocrite lecteur, unlikely semblable or frere?

Pub Date: April 5, 1974

ISBN: 0802151310

Page Count: -

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974