Cybernetic Syntax: Beckett’s “Rhythm of Doubt” in JM Coetzee’s Early Novels – Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui – article

Cybernetic Syntax: Beckett’s “Rhythm of Doubt” in JM Coetzee’s Early Novels

Hunter Dukes | Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui

2019-11-01

This article unfolds what J.M. Coetzee terms “the rhythm of doubt” in Watt—a procedure that parallels cybernetic ideas about feedback and control. A careful reading of Coetzee’s doctoral dissertation, a stylostatistic analysis of Beckett’s English fiction, reveals what the young scholar and novelist labels the syntax of “A against B,” which he puts to use in his early novels. The rhythm of doubt ultimately takes on a political slant in these works, as it becomes associated with (potentially) violent actions performed in the service of perceived rationality.

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