The breathless discourse. Narrating death in Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s “Death on Credit,” Samuel Beckett’s “The Unnamable” and Paul Auster’s “4321”

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Jørgen Veisland

Abstract

The article analyzes three modernist novels, Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s “Death on Credit,” Samuel Beckett’s “The Unnamable,” and Paul Auster’s “4321”. The texts examined manifest radical discursive changes that are connected with epistemological and ontological conceptions of mind and being. Modern conceptions of being are seen as being based on the non-concepts of exaiphnes, the timeless instant, as developed by Parmenides, sunyata as defined in Buddhist thought, and the indeterminacy of particles as discovered by quantum physics. The idea of being as a state of infinite potentiality impacts the discourse and the form of the modern novel as it moves in the direction of formlessness, thus mirroring the non-substantiality of the human subject. The narrators of the three novels speak at a breathless pace that punctuates and disrupts the narrative and that inserts death as the agent of the negation of meaning.

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Zitationsvorschlag
[1]
Veisland, J. 2022. The breathless discourse. Narrating death in Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s “Death on Credit,” Samuel Beckett’s “The Unnamable” and Paul Auster’s “4321”. Internationale Zeitschrift für Kulturkomparatistik. 5 (2022), 521-539. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25353/ubtr-izfk-b8eb-5cf1.
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