As They Lay Dying “Rotting with Solitude”: Endgame in Beckett’s Trilogy

  • Edward Engelberg


Beckett’s treatment of solitude, throughout his work, pushes the issue of the solitary state to its limits: a Self without identity, with crippled or amputated body parts, a consciousness (barely), and words. It is difficult to imagine taking exilic solitude beyond this, except to begin again with variations of previous versions. In Beckett’s three-part novel, Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable—commonly referred to as the “trilogy”—all the narrators lie dying, “rotting with solitude,” or living out what one critic, quoting Husserl, calls “‘das einsame Seelenleben’ [the solitary life of the soul].”1 The Unnamable insists, with bitter wit, that whatever may happen to the body, the soul survives, it “being notoriously immune from deterioration and dismemberment.”2


Horse Chestnut Solitary Confinement Solitary Life Sentimental Communalism Solitary State 
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© Edward Engelberg 2001

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  • Edward Engelberg

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