This chapter looks at how the few quotations—and occasionally, sustained allusions—challenge ideas of origin, ending and depth in Novellas and Texts for Nothing. It focuses on English and French titles and quotations, which are prioritised according to the critical focus of the argument instead of the chronology of composition. It considers the calming effects of classic works and shows how the ‘sky’, ‘earth’ and the ‘sea’ are secondary elements that ‘create the armosphere’.
This chapter addresses the argument that How It Is mobilises Inferno VII to produce a notion of reality as the unreliable outcome of repetition. It studies the canto where Virgil translates the incomprehensible gurgling that is coming from the bubbles on the surface of the river Styx into the ‘hymn’ sung by the invisible slothful damned. This discussion shows that this illustrates how ‘credence’ for the reality of such scenes is taken from the quickly diminishing ‘incontrovertibility’ of Virgil's authority. This chapter also shows that the mud in How It Is is what allows the passing of the murmuring and what prevents it.
This chapter studies the issue of visibility, which is considered central to both Beckett and intertextuality. It introduces The Lost Ones, a text that alternates between claiming to be the recording of a visual experience and the creation of a fiction that is based on ‘notions’. It shows that this text uses the last lines of Dante's Comedy to question, through Dante, the very process of the construction of fictional spaces and of ways out.
This concluding chapter discusses the figure of Dante that can be found in Beckett. It demonstrates the way Dante continually changes the Beckett oeuvre and presents a destabilising view of Dante and an understanding of the Dante intertexts as part of a larger economy of gain and loss. A brief summary of the texts that were studied in the previous chapters is also included.