In a recently published interview in The Modernist Review, Jonathan McAllister, of the University of Cambridge, discusses the recent publication of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Philosophy Notes’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020) with books editors Steven Matthews and Matthew Feldman.
This fascinating interview is a reflection on Beckett’s relationship to philosophical writing by two scholars who have spent much of their career reading and thinking about Beckett’s oeuvre. Steven Matthew, for example, dispels the idea of Beckett as a kind of anti-Enlightenment writer, an anti-Enlightenment person, stating that:
[…] some of the most incredible sections of the notes are actually those on Kantian and the post-Kantian philosophies. It appears Beckett really knew his enemy: he wrote out page after page after page about the thing-in-itself, etc., etc., using the most abstruse authority figures amongst the philosophers. It is not the case, therefore, that Beckett was simply instinctually against the idea of homo mensura – ‘man is the measure of everything’ – that man is incapable of some kind of illumination, enlightenment. In fact, he had gone through many, presumably quite tedious, hours of working on this stuff to make sure that he had every single detail.
Read the whole interview in The Modernist Review here.