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A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: From Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape

By Norman Lock


“But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.”

Krapp’s Last Tape, by Samuel Beckett


Even now, forty years after my eyes first fell upon some words of Samuel Beckett’s put into the mouth of Krapp, in the play by that name, even now that memory’s sponge is starting to ossify, I cannot forget this passage, the loveliest of all those I remember having read—lovelier even than T. S. Eliot’s “And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow” from the “Journey of the Magi”—Beckett’s sentence, by its measure, movement, repetition, and cunning placement of commas, reproducing the sensation described by Krapp within the somatic cavity where the soul (to speak in the old style) is pitched to pleasure’s sweetest frequency.

Norman Lock

About Norman Lock

Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage, radio, and screenplays. His many books include The Wreckage of Eden, A Fugitive in Walden Woods, The Port-Wine Stain, American Meteor, The Boy in His Winter, Love Among the Particles, Escher’s Journal, Pieces for Small Orchestra & Other Fictions, Shadowplay, The King of Sweden, The Long Rowing Unto Morning, A History of the Imagination, and Grim Tales. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey.
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