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Authors: Samuel Beckett

More Pricks Than Kicks

BOOK: More Pricks Than Kicks
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Works by Samuel Beckett published by Grove Press

C
OLLECTED
P
OEMS IN
E
NGLISH AND
F
RENCH

T
HE
C
OLLECTED
S
HORTER
P
LAYS

(All That Fall, Act Without Words I, Act Without Words II, Krapp's Last Tape, Rough for Theatre I, Rough for Theatre II, Embers, Rough for Radio I, Rough for Radio II, Words and Music, Cascando, Play, Film, The Old Tune, Come and Go, Eh Joe, Breath, Not I, That Time, Footfalls, Ghost Trio, … but the clouds …, A Piece of Monologue, Rockaby, Ohio Impromptu, Quad, Catastrophe, Nacht and Träume, What Where)

T
HE
C
OMPLETE
S
HORT
P
ROSE
: 1929–1989,
edited by S. E. Gontarski

(Assumption, Sedendo et Quiescendo, Text, A Case in a Thousand, First Love, The Expelled, The Calmative, The End, Texts for Nothing 1–13, From an Abandoned Work, The Image, All Strange Away, Imagination Dead Imagine, Enough, Ping, Lessness, The Lost Ones, Fizzles 1–8, Heard in the Dark 1, Heard in the Dark 2, One Evening, As the story was told, The Cliff, neither, Stirrings Still, Variations on a “Still” Point,
Faux Départs
, The Capital of the Ruins)

D
ISJECTA
:
Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment

E
NDGAME AND
A
CT
W
ITHOUT
W
ORDS

F
IRST
L
OVE AND
O
THER
S
HORTS

H
APPY
D
AYS

H
OW
I
T
I
S

I C
AN'T
G
O
O
N
, I'
LL
G
O
O
N
:

A Samuel Beckett Reader

K
RAPP'S
L
AST
T
APE

(All That Fall, Embers, Act Without Words I, Act Without Words II)

M
ERCIER AND
C
AMIER

M
OLLOY

M
ORE
P
RICKS THAN
K
ICKS

(Dante and the Lobster, Fingal, Ding-Dong, A Wet Night, Love and Lethe, Walking Out, What a Misfortune, The Smeraldina's Billet Doux, Yellow, Draff)

M
URPHY

N
OHOW
O
N

(Company, III Seen III Said, Worstward Ho)

T
HE
S
HORTER
P
LAYS
:
Theatrical Notebooks, edited by S. E. Gontarski (Play, Come and Go, Eh Joe, Footfalls, That Time, What Where, Not I)

P
ROUST

S
TORIES AND
T
EXTS FOR
N
OTHING

(The Expelled, The Calmative, The End, Texts for Nothing 1–13)

T
HREE
N
OVELS

(Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable)

W
AITING FOR
G
ODOT

W
ATT

H
APPY
D
AYS
:
Production Notebooks

W
AITING FOR
G
ODOT
:
Theatrical Notebooks

W
AITING FOR
G
ODOT
:
A Bilingual Edition

G
ROVE
C
ENTENARY
E
DITIONS

Volume I: Novels (Murphy, Watt, Mercier and Camier)

Volume II: Novels (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, How It Is)

Volume III: Dramatic Works

Volume IV: Poems, Short Fiction, Criticism

Copyright © 1972 by Grove Press, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, or the facilitation thereof, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Any members of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use, or publishers who would like to obtain permission to include the work in an anthology, should send their inquiries to Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.

First published in Great Britain in 1934 by Chatto and Windus, London.

Published simultaneously in Canada

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 72-119923

ISBN-13: 9780802198372

Grove Press

an imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

841 Broadway

New York, NY 10003

Distributed by Publishers Group West

www.groveatlantic.com

07  08  09  10  LS-0207  20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13

Dante and the Lobster

Fingal

Ding-Dong

A Wet Night

Love and Lethe

Walking Out

What a Misfortune

The Smeraldina's Billet Doux

Yellow

Draff

 
Dante and the Lobster
 

I
T
was morning and Belacqua was stuck in the first of the canti in the moon. He was so bogged that he could move neither backward nor forward. Blissful Beatrice was there, Dante also, and she explained the spots on the moon to him. She shewed him in the first place where he was at fault, then she put up her own explanation. She had it from God, therefore he could rely on its being accurate in every particular. All he had to do was to follow her step by step. Part one, the refutation, was plain sailing. She made her point clearly, she said what she had to say without fuss or loss of time. But part two, the demonstration, was so dense that Belacqua could not make head or tail of it. The disproof, the reproof, that was patent. But then came the proof, a rapid shorthand of the real facts, and Belacqua was bogged indeed. Bored also, impatient to get on to Piccarda. Still he pored over the enigma, he would not concede himself conquered, he would understand at least the meanings of the words, the order in which they were spoken and the nature of the satisfaction that they conferred on the misinformed poet, so that when they were ended he was refreshed and could raise his heavy head, intending to return thanks and make formal retraction of his old opinion.

He was still running his brain against this impenetrable passage when he heard midday strike. At once he switched his mind off its task. He scooped his fingers under the book and shovelled it back till it lay wholly on his palms. The
Divine Comedy
face upward on the lectern of his palms. Thus disposed he raised it under his nose and there he slammed it shut. He held it aloft for a time, squinting at it angrily, pressing the boards inwards with the heels of his hands. Then he laid it aside.

He leaned back in his chair to feel his mind subside and the itch of this mean quodlibet die down. Nothing could be done until his mind got better and was still, which gradually it did and was. Then he ventured to consider what he had to do next. There was always something that one had to do next. Three large obligations presented themselves. First lunch, then the lobster, then the Italian lesson. That would do to be going on with. After the Italian lesson he had no very clear idea. No doubt some niggling curriculum had been drawn up by someone for the late afternoon and evening, but he did not know what. In any case it did not matter. What did matter was: one, lunch; two, the lobster; three, the Italian lesson. That was more than enough to be going on with.

Lunch, to come off at all, was a very nice affair. If his lunch was to be enjoyable, and it could be very enjoyable indeed, he must be left in absolute tranquillity to prepare it. But if he were disturbed now, if some brisk tattler were to come bouncing in now big with a big idea or a petition, he might just as well not eat at all, for the food would turn to bitterness on his palate, or, worse again, taste of nothing. He must be left strictly alone, he must have complete quiet and privacy, to prepare the food for his lunch.

BOOK: More Pricks Than Kicks
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