"I can't go on, I'll go on."
BECKETT, Samuel. L'Innommable. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1953.
8vo., original printed wrappers with glassine; pp. 262, [ii]; a near-fine unopened copy.
First edition, no. 43 of 50 copies printed on velin superieur. The final volume in the 'Molloy,' 'Malone Dies,' 'Unnamable' trilogy.
The Unnamable continues the general focus of the trilogy—the search for the self within the tragic realm of human suffering. The opening lines; “Where now? Who now? When now?” come from the perspective of a disembodied protagonist, living in a large jar in a restaurant window in Paris. This is followed by a mix of recollections and existential musings, and concludes with the desire to continue living despite an inescapable sense of anguish and entropy: “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
As Stephen Spender wrote of Beckett: "Mr. Beckett has not remained in obscurity. He has turned frustration into its opposite: the theme of the lifelong ordeal of suffocation, which cannot stop. He has discovered the other side of negativism, the strange joy of the man who lives in a darkened cave and watches the images of life outside reflected dancing on the wall."