Think, Pig!

9780823270859: Hardback
Release Date: 1st July 2016

9780823270866: Paperback
Release Date: 1st July 2016

9780823270880: PDF
Release Date: 1st July 2016

9780823270873: EPUB
Release Date: 1st July 2016

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 248

Fordham University Press

Think, Pig!

Beckett at the Limit of the Human

How to explain Beckett’s decision to write in French? This book tackles a program in which form resists and leads to a writing of the generic, while a paradoxical ethics of failure, impotence, and humility displaces avant-garde art and modernism. Bataille, Adorno and Badiou here account for Beckett’s enduring appeal. Beckett never flattered his public and yet gives reasons to keep on living even facing nihilism and despair. His inscription in a French context marked by a “writing degree zero” is not a pretext to minimize his genius—on the contrary, Beckett shines because he went further than his contemporaries in an anti-humanist program playing on the theme of the animal in order to subvert the “human.” His “declaration of inhuman rights” still rings true—and offers the most funny mode of expression available to us today.
Hardback / £79.00
Paperback / £24.99
PDF / £30.00
EPUB / £30.00

This book examines Samuel Beckett’s unique lesson in courage in the wake of humanism’s postwar crisis—the courage to go on living even after experiencing life as a series of catastrophes.

Rabaté, a former president of the Samuel Beckett Society and a leading scholar of modernism, explores the whole range of Beckett’s plays, novels, and essays. He places Beckett in a vital philosophical conversation that runs from Bataille to Adorno, from Kant and Sade to Badiou. At the same time, he stresses Beckett’s inimitable sense of metaphysical comedy.

Foregrounding Beckett’s decision to write in French, Rabaté inscribes him in a continental context marked by a “writing degree zero” while showing the prescience and ethical import of Beckett’s tendency to subvert the “human” through the theme of the animal. Beckett’s “declaration of inhuman rights,” he argues, offers the funniest mode of expression available to us today.

Jean-Michel Rabaté is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has written or edited more than thirty-five books on modernism, psychoanalysis, and philosophy.

Think, Pig! is a playful and incisive guide to Beckett’s work and is sure to be of interest to newcomers and seasoned scholars alike. Rabaté demonstrates an encyclopedic grasp of scholarship in the field, while bringing a personal touch through related anecdotes and an accessible style…It is as fresh, meaty and loaded with ethical predicament as one of Beckett’s carefully folded ham sandwiches.

Rhys Tranter
Times Literary Supplement

Very few critics have all the qualities and competencies required to engage fully with the entirety Beckett’s work in all genres: a detailed familiarity with Beckett’s texts in both English and French; a sensitivity to his linguistic, stylistic and thematic manoeuvres; an encyclopaedic knowledge of his intellectual context; an awareness of the range and detail of Beckett studies; and an ability to write with refinement and wit. It is clear from this remarkable book that Jean-Michel Rabaté is one of those few.

Derek Attridge, University of York

"Think, Pig!" In Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Pozzo fires this command at Lucky, his tethered slave, who responds with an outburst of logorrhea that reduces Western philosophy to gobbledygook. Pozzo's command raises many of the questions that Jean-Michel Rabaté investigates in this learned and inventive study of Beckett among the philosophers.

Modern Philology