The Spatiotemporal Dimension of “After” in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame


In After Fukushima Jean-Luc Nancy examines the nature of the Fukushima nuclear disaster through what he terms “the equivalence of catastrophes” which involves “the complexity of interdependent systems (ecological or economic, sociopolitico-ideologic, technoscientific, cultural, logical, etc.).” Thinking that this “equivalence of catastrophes” is closely connected with “finality itself – aiming, planning, and projecting a future in general,” he asserts that without emerging from the finality itself, we will not be able to turn away from “the equivalence of catastrophes.” He understands Fukushima as a demand for us to emerge from “finality itself” and “work with other futures,” that is to say, to “open other paths.” What does it mean to emerge from “finality itself” and “work with other futures”? The analysis of Samuel Beckett’s post-apocalyptic play, Endgame is helpful in thinking of this question. Endgame presents us with a vision of the world after a catastrophic disaster of sorts. It is set in a room with two small windows, looking out onto a grey, lifeless world where all is gone. Not only the characters on the stage but also the audience are exposed to the spatiotemporal dimension of “after.” In this paper, focusing on this dimension of “after,” I try to explore how this play indicates the possibility of finding a way out of the impasse of human existence. I will examine this in light of Nancy’s observation in After Fukushima (especially his understanding of “after” in “after Fukushima” as rupture or suspense) and The Inoperative Community.

Author Information
Michiko Tsushima, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2019
Stream: Literary Studies / All genres/ Theory

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