Samuel Beckett in his corner, silent, unlike his characters, who cannot stop the flow of words. On the left, his room in the house in Roussillon. I find this photo of Beckett quite calming and reassuring, although I know from his writing that he "trembled" behind the "thick walls" of the language he created to comfort himself with the "illusion of protection."
It is interesting to see how the photo montage seems to push him further into his corner. In practical terms, this is the only way to fit both images within the constraints of the frame—if Beckett's picture was placed over the image of the room, it would conceal an important part of the scene under a section of white wall. This way, the empty space is filled by images. How curious, that Beckett's writing keeps trying to fill those spaces, those empty gaps, so that he doesn't have to look into the abyss, when everything he does is look into that abyss and "tremble." How curious that the empty room is boxing him into his corner, but there he is, as always, contemplating the human condition with equanimity, even if a little fed up with it (at least in this photo). You box me in and I fill you with words. The space of the blank page, that is.
"Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that's what I've had to make the best of." The Unnamable.
This is how Spanish writer Javier Marias interprets Beckett's photograph in Vidas Escritas (Written Lives):
“[the shoes] are the main object in the photo of Beckett too, except that their owner, seated almost on the floor and in a corner, seems slightly terrified of them. He is another hounded man, but at least he is not surprised by the hounding: he’s ready for it; he is holding a cigarette in his right and his left hand seems to be adorned, incongruously for someone so sober, with a bracelet rather than a wristwatch. His clothes are nothing out of the ordinary, although his cufflinks look like handcuffs. If it weren’t for those large shoes, the only thing that would matter, as in any portrait of Beckett, would be his head and those eagle eyes, which stare straight out with a truly animal expression, as if they did not understand the need for this moment of eternity, or why anyone should want to photograph it…..”
Photo credit: Fung-Lin Hall. Vitro Nasu Blog.
Quotation taken from Vitro Nasu Blog.