Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


Leave a comment

This is entry #23 in our ongoing 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Jim Hamilton (Kansas State University)

Artwork: Not I (1973) by Samuel Beckett. First performed by Billie Whitelaw at the Royal Court Theatre, January 1973, directed by Anthony Page. [That attached video begins, and ends, with some unnecessary and egregious hagiography. And the performance omits the silent and mostly still figure barely visible downstage. Still, it is the best performance I have yet found online.]

100 words: The old woman – I think of her as an old woman – can barely speak and yet speaks rapidly and nervously, repeating and repeating a worried, worrisome, story of what she can and cannot tell. About what? Something that happened. Although it was not preceded by family warmth, spared that, nor consolations of a merciful God, spared that too. But something happened. And she cannot speak about it. But she cannot stop speaking. I think we have no reason to believe it is literally unspeakable. Nor metaphorically. I cannot tell it anymore than she. But I cannot stop thinking about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s