Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Act Without Words and Embers



The American critic Hugh Kenner, reviewing Beckett’s How It Is in Spectrum (Spring 1961) notes that “in Beckett’s late dramatic work we find his cosmos dissociating into plays for voices alone, and ‘actes sans paroles.’ This dissociation exactly parallels that between thing and man. The second Mime summarizes for the eye the physical universe a la ‘Molloy’: two men, never present to each other because one of them is always in a sack, alternately carrying one another ceaselessly to no end from right to left across a monolinear expanse of space. By contrast, the second radio play, ‘Embers,’ summarizes for the ear the internal world from which reaches the unique voice. . .”