chapter  XVII
Beckett, Snow, and Pure Poverty
Pages 9

Beckett has published important work, and the Proust not only shows his talent at a formative stage but discusses what the important work is forbidden to discuss, namely ideas. In Beckett's plays the theatrical demand for communicable rhythms and relatively crude satisfactions has had a beneficent effect. The later Beckett is much easier to understand if one recalls musings on Time and Habit, the inaccessibility of value, the falsity and terror of man's world, the expiatory nature of human life. The Beckett hero is what Wallace Stevens, another Bergsonian, called 'The prince of the proverbs of pure poverty'. Apart from C. P. Snow and Beckett admiring Proust, there are no resemblances, only interesting differences, between them. Snow, for all his gifts of pathos, is, like most scientists, a meliorist at least, and when he speaks of the 'resonance between what Lewis Eliot sees and what he feels' he is not thinking of the inner Eliot as a subman.