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Joseph Chaikin: Beckett, briefly

“This is how it is... When the panting stops. Bids and scraps. What we are tells us... Of him... To his perpetual additions and narrations... Without justice. Without flaw.”

In this recording, Joseph Chaikin reads excerpts from Samuel Beckett's How it is. In the sparsest of prose, the text (i.e. the reader) slogs through a metaphorical world of mud. True to the novel's form, Chaikin theatrically performs the playwright's words, and, as the listener becomes the audience, he or she simultaneously feels the exhaustion of the protagonist and the reader.

How it is was published in 1961 and has been celebrated as a work that predates the novel proper. The texts illustrate a moment trapped in space --a time that predates language, and where birth, life, and death fold into each other on the written page.


Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas


An unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas, and featuring Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others.