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Alea : Estudos Neolatinos

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Abstract

MARTINS, Helena. Saying-showing strangeness. Alea [online]. 2012, vol.14, n.1, pp. 93-105. ISSN 1517-106X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-106X2012000100007.

This paper explores the contemporary strength of two of last century's most emphatic voices: Ludwig Wittgenstein and Samuel Beckett. The following mottos are brought together with special attention: nothing is hidden, by Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigations, §435); and nothing to express, by Beckett (Three dialogues with Georges Duthuit, I). Wittgenstein's saying is frequently taken as indication that he renounces his earlier distinction between what can be said and what can only be shown (Tractatus, Preface, 6.522). Beckett's saying is, in turn, often seen as evidence of a skeptical take on language, whereas it is, so to speak, doomed to self-reference. These interpretations tend to be linked to the widespread perceptions that Wittgenstein writes the ordinary, whereas Beckett writes the absurd. I question some aspects of these two productive readings, arguing that, in a somewhat debilitating manner, they tend to ignore, or perhaps pacify, a strangeness that insists in saying-showing itself in the poetic prose of both authors.

Keywords : Wittgenstein; Beckett; saying and showing; strangeness.

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