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This review is taken from PN Review 10, Volume 6 Number 2, November - December 1979.

FIZZLES Samuel Beckett, For to End Yet Again & Other Fizzles (Calder) £1.95

Beckett's besetting fault has always been a kind of inverted sentimentality. His best bits preserve a certain austerity, a freedom from emotional incontinence, and in this respect For to End Yet Again rates very highly indeed.

"For to End Yet Again", the title piece, is a late addition to "Fizzles" or "Foirades" (variously "squitters", "jitters" or "flops")-"shorts" of various genesis written between 1960 and 1975. What a good title it is: the imminent dissolution is announced in a tone almost perky with self-parody. In a cognate way, the label "Fizzles" is a way of trussing the critic, just as Tom Stoppard's title, Travesties, intends, less legitimately, to forestall the accusation that comes readiest to hand. "Why, it's a travesty (a fizzle)"-"Precisely". Beckett has always found ways of not being the creature of the critic.

"For to End Yet Again", the first piece, applies a kind of panning and tracking technique to a quasi-surrealist scene ("Grey cloudless sky grey sand as far as eye can see long desert to begin"), recorded in the flickering consciousness of "skull alone in a dark place", its prose poetic because the nexus of relationships set up by the syntax leaves lots of room for altering perspectives, the relation between its parts being so indeterminate, provisional, even fortuitous. It might well be called an exercise in the decreation of concepts. Its recurrent components, releasing different shades of meaning according to their contexts but also creating a pervasive tone, are not merely ...
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