Review in The New Yorker
of Worstward Ho
by Samuel Beckett

 
"Briefly Noted" (March, 1984):

WORSTWARD HO
, by Samuel Beckett (Grove; $8.95). These forty-one small pages of very large type extend Beckett's wrestle with the void to the point where less would be nothing. A personless voice, uttering words of mostly one syllable in sentences of rarely more than five words, urges itself onward in a dim but resistant realm where humanoid apparitions fragmentarily loom and then fade. “So leastward on. So long as dim still. Dim undimmed. Or dimmed to dimmer still. To dimmost dim. Leastmost in dimmost dim. Unworsenable worst.” The dim shapes in this environment most minimal are called shades, and we probably would not be entirely wrong to think of it as an old-fashioned Hades that ends in new-style entropy. (“Vast apart. At bounds of boundless void. Whence no farther.”) A sterile, dreadful exercise, it might be said, and one does not, as Dr. Johnson remarked of "Paradise Lost," wish it longer than it is. And yet, the words—“How almost true they sometimes almost ring! How wanting in inanity!”



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