Samuel Beckett: Sans [Lessness]

(851 words)

Written at the end of the 1960s, this short text is one of the most experimental of Samuel Beckett’s pieces of fiction. It was originally written in French, entitled Sans (“without”), and translated by Beckett himself as Lessness (New Statesman, 1 May 1970). Partly inspired by experimental music by John Cage and other 1960s compositions, Beckett created a rigid framework within which he allows chance to be the main structuring principle of his text.

The ingredients are two times sixty sentences, one character, grey light, and a setting of ruins, which are referred to as “true refuge”. Beckett’s structuring tools are the main numbers of man’s conventions to systematise …

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Van Hulle, Dirk. "Sans". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 March 2004
[, accessed 24 November 2015.]