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Beckett im Labor

Zur Grammatik des exakten Nicht-Wissens

Bexte, Peter

Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Bd. 57 (2012), Iss. 2: S. 56–67

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Bexte, Peter


What Samuel Beckett did in art seems to be far away from what Hans-Jörg Rheinberger did in the history of science. Surprisingly enough both share a fascination for a quite special grammatical form: the future perfect. Using the future perfect touches upon Freud’s tricky notion of deferred action (»Nachträglichkeit«). A certain skepticism concerning the structure of a series is implied whenever an observer tries to look back at what he/she is still doing – for instance living (Beckett) or experimenting (Rheinberger). In all these cases it is principally impossible to know if a certain series is finished or is still going on. It may be a typical problem of Beckett’s; but Rheinberger has raised it for writing history of science. The conclusion is simple: »In the end« the history of science will have taken the appearance of a Beckett story.