Onion on Beckett

Under the banner 'Scholars Discover 23 Blank Pages That May As Well Be Lost Samuel Beckett Play', the IPKat has just been rejoicing in another splendidly pointed piece of satire by The Onion. The feature begins:
"Just weeks after the centennial of the birth of pioneering minimalist playwright Samuel Beckett, archivists analyzing papers from his Paris estate uncovered a small stack of blank paper that scholars are calling "the latest example of the late Irish-born writer's genius".

The 23 blank pages, which literary experts presume is a two-act play composed sometime between 1973 and 1975, are already being heralded as one of the most ambitious works by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Waiting For Godot, and a natural progression from his earlier works, including 1969's Breath, a 30-second play with no characters, and 1972's Not I, in which the only illuminated part of the stage is a floating mouth.

"In what was surely a conscious decision by Mr. Beckett, the white, uniform, non-ruled pages, which symbolize the starkness and emptiness of life, were left unbound, unmarked, and untouched," said Trinity College professor of Irish literature Fintan O'Donoghue. "And, as if to further exemplify the anonymity and facelessness of 20th-century man, they were found, of all places, between other sheets of paper."

"I can only conclude that we have stumbled upon something quite remarkable," O'Donoghue added".
The IPKat is reminded of John Cage's 4' 33", which he believes to be the only entirely blank work in which the author (sic) claims copyright. If the work of John Cage (left) is indeed legally protected, so too could be the spoof Beckett's.

Empty canvas here and here
Blank verse here and here
ONION ON BECKETT ONION ON BECKETT Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, April 27, 2006 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. There even was a case over the illegal use of Cage's work!
    In 2002, a musician "was accused of plagiarism by the publishers of the late US composer John Cage, after placing a silent track on his latest album, Classical Graffiti which was credited to himself and Cage". He settled for... a six-figure sum! (see BBC's website).
    John Lennon recorded the 'Nutopian International Anthem', a 7'' silent song, in 1973. I wonder if this was an illegal copy, or a fair use !


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