Long Series of Negations to Not Express

In three dialogues with Georges Duthuit in Transition ’49 no. 5 Samuel Beckett takes up three painters (Tal Coat, Masson, Bram van Velde) in light of a problematic of expression. In the first dialogue on Tal Coat this is expressed in an apophatic fashion:

The expression that there is nothing to express, nothing with which to express, nothing from which to express, no power to express, no desire to express, together with the obligation to express.

The impossibility alongside the obligation. Or rather a host of impossiblities bundled together before the obligation. It loses its rhetorical force if the order is inverted. The culmination is in obligation. It’s not a starting point. But it is not not one either.

And so for day 1340

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