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  • Watt
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am 24. März 1999
Watt is ..... We feel a need to know --- isn't that LIFE, the human experience? To accept the unacceptable .... our existence......the realization..... of our existence......... and that...that.... existance will end. To me, this is Beckett ....life without an answer ..... or life with a trillion answers ........ it all comes to the same thing .... accepting the unacceptable ....... the fact that we exist ......and the fact that we will not exist......... Beckett has the unique genus ...... repetitive of course .....since we repeat ..... in ... out...breath after breath after breath .....until no breath. WE want more ....We want an answer ..... an Beckett answers .......without a "PLOT AND THEME" .............................................................................................................................................................................. eternity ......then an existence ...... your existence...........an then eternity
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am 5. April 2000
This is my favorite of Beckett's novels--many of the images and scenes are still etched in my mind.
If you haven't read Beckett's first full novel, Murphy, you shouldn't read Watt. Read Murphy first.
Watt serves as a bridge of sorts between Murphy and the trilogy. Murphy is more like other Modernist novels; the trilogy seems (to me, at least) more like Beckett's plays.
If you read Molloy, Malone Dies, or the Unnamable, and you found it a tad opaque, you may enjoy Watt more.
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am 29. April 1998
"Watt" is probably the most difficult text of Beckett's to get through-the apparent banality of plot and theme, the confusion of voice and later of language(by Watt at least, if not the reader), the rhythmic yet maddening combinatory inventories of personal posessions (a hallmark of "Molloy" in the trilogy to come) that comprises much of the dense often paragraphless prose, the fundamental personality-lessness of the titualar character, the novels appendix that hints at what might have been included but was not(except, of course, as an appendix, which ultimately includes it), all make the experience of Watt at times incredibly trying to get through. But it has beautiful, wise, and enigmatic passages enough to goad continued reading. Written while Beckett was active in the French Resistance during WWII, often while in hiding or on the run and always at night, the peculiarly drawn out trivialities of the life of the servant Watt become zen reflections on a life that cannot be lived with introspection, for that might yield the madness that is for this reader suggested by the seeming (if shadowy and vague) incarceration of Watt and Sam the narrator. Beckett is often accused of being too negative in his art, of aligning himself with the dread of the existentialists who shared his experience and context in midcentury France. I find that Beckett's dread is not some heroic answer to a banal and futile existence, but the only honest response one can have to an acknowledgement of "existence-in-itself"(whatever that means):to record a life of unknowing, to fail to represent it faithfully, to record the tension between the necessity of the record and its failure to be faithfully displayed, all with the "mirthless laugh...,the saluting of the highest joke,...the laugh that laughs--silence please--at that which is unhappy"(Watt,p.48). Desparate expression, with only the will to laugh, if lacking the joke.
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am 12. September 1998
I took a ziplock-enclosed copy of WATT with me on a climb of Denali and found it a challenge at 17,000 feet. Given its shortage of bite-sized paragraphs and abundance of permutational phrasing, perhaps it wasn't the best choice for high-altitude reading. Fortunately, a few weatherbound days at basecamp on the way out provided the time for a second look. At more oxygen-rich elevations I was better able to follow its convoluted and repetitious style. In the end, I was surprised that I could warm up to something as strange as WATT. And -- to make completely manifest my ignorance about the work -- just what is wrong with Watt? What is his malady?
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am 5. März 2000
While a personal favorite of mine, Watt is not the easiest Beckett, nor the best introduction to his writing. If you love Beckett as much as I do, and have read other works, especially the closed-space works, then this book helps to chart Beckett's growth, as a kind of bridge between Murphy and Molloy. If you are new to Beckett, or have some deep need to see the sad yet oddly funny absurdity of life, get the Trilogy.
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am 22. August 1999
Formally impressive, but devoid of content or meaning
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