Unreal Nature

January 8, 2016

My Handful of Bees

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:29 am

[I]t is useless not to seek, not to want, for when you cease to seek you start to find, and when you cease to want, then life begins to ram her fish and chips down our gullet until you puke, and then the puke down your gullet until you puke the puke, and then the puked puke until you begin to like it.Samuel Beckett, Watt

The quote above, which I give out of context, and the following, below, is found in Beckett, Modernism and the Material Imagination by Steven Connor (2014):

… Two of the most beautiful associations between flies and dust are to be found in Moran’s narrative in Molloy. The first is Moran’s memory of seeing the minimal breath of a fly’s passage: ‘And I note here the little beat my heart once missed, in my home, when a fly, flying low above my ash-tray, raised a little ash, with the beat of its wings.’

[line break added] The second is the little cluster of decomposed bees that Moran finds in his hive at the end of his disastrous journey — though bees evolved from wasps and were thought of for centuries as a kind of fly, bees are in fact, as the French miel-mouche confirms, hymenoptera and not diptera — an experience analogous, perhaps, to the discovery of the neglected hedgehog in Company:

I put my hand in the hive, moved it among the empty trays, felt along the bottom. It encountered, in a corner, a dry light ball. It crumbled under my fingers. They had clustered together for a little warmth, to try and sleep. I took out a handful. It was too dark to see, I put it in my pocket. It weighed nothing … The next day I looked at my handful of bees. A little dust of annulets and wings.

… Insects are of a piece with Beckett’s highly developed feeling for the pulverous or particulate, which is drawn to and organizes itself around the diffuse movements and massings of comminated matter, its siftings, shiftings, slippages, stirrings, swellings, erosions, undulations, dissolutions, agglomerations and agitations. A particular mass is a mixed body, a median form between a body and the space it occupies — it is a body suffused by space, and a space saturated by bodies, which has its outside on its inside and whose inside is all outerness.

My most recent previous post from Connor’s book is here.

-Julie

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