Beckett and Badiou offers a provocative new reading of Samuel Beckett's work on the basis of a full, critical account of the thought of Alain Badiou. Badiou is the most eminent of contemporary French philosophers. His devotion to Beckett's work has been lifelong. Yet for Badiou philosophy must be integrally affirmative, whilst Beckett apparently commits his art to a work of negation. Beckett and Badiou explores the coherences, contradictions, and extreme complexities of the intellectual relationship between the two oeuvres. It examines Badiou's philosophy of being, the event, truth, and the subject and the importance of mathematics within his system. It considers the major features of his politics, ethics, and aesthetics and provides an explanation, interpretation, critique, and radical revision of his work on Beckett. It argues that, once revised, Badiou's version of Beckett offers an extraordinarily powerful tool for understanding his work.
Badiou and Beckett are instances of a vestigial or melancholic modernism; that is, in the teeth of a contemporary culture that dreams ever more ambitiously of plenitude, they commit themselves to a rigorous concept of limit and intermittency. Truth and value are occasional and rare. It is seldom that the chance event arrives to disturb the inertia of the world. For Badiou, however, it is the event and its consequences alone that matter. Beckett rather insists on the common experience of intermittency as destitution. His art is a series of limit-figures, exquisitely subtle and nuanced forms for a world whose state of seemingly rigid paralysis is also always volatile, delicately balanced.
Gibson probably takes us further than any other recent reader of Beckett...is direction of grasping the full social and critical form of his art' David Cunningham, Radical Philosophy Gibson's book, with its intricate layers of theoretical complexity and its vast ambition, is certainly a formidable feat of scholarship. The book is a testimony to its author's intense participation in in a set of intellectual debates and exchanges which are - or at least should be - of the greatest significance in literary studies. English Gibson is masterful in his grasp of Badiou's system (even its more knotty mathematical formulae, and he effortlessly weaves his argument from Badiou's theorems to Beckett's literary texts...By suggesting that Beckett's work describes a waiting for something (the event) as well as an aimless, anxious, endlessly postponed process (of intermittency), Gibson provides an absorbing account of the hesitant expectancy of Beckett's writing. Benjamin Keatinge, Irish University Review scrupulous, immensely well-read Leslie Hill, French Studies Beckett and Badiou is all the better for its inherent difficulties, and even uncertainties, for its ultimate twisting and turning on itself...a nuance and rigour that make it a richly satisfying and productive account of Beckett's oeuvre. Gibson probably takes us further than any other recent reader of Beckett, in the direction of grasping the full social and critical form of his art. David Cunningham, Radical Philosophy Gibson's book, with its intricate layers of theoretical complexity and its vast ambition, is certainly a formidable feat of scholarship [and is] also hugely enjoyable The Journal of the English Association
1: Badiou (i): Being, Event, Subject, Truth
2: Badiou (ii): Politics, Ethics, Aesthetics
3: Badiou, Beckett, and Contemporary Criticism
4: The Break with Doxa: Murphy, Watt
5: The Event of the Event: The Unnamable
6: The Thought of the Good: Enough, The Lost Ones, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho
7: The Sparkle Hid in Ashes: Beckett's Plays
Conclusion: The Pathos of Intermittency