10 Great Quotes from “Molloy” by Samuel Beckett (1951)

I recently read Samuel Beckett’s 1951 novel, Molloy. This is the first part of his Trilogy, written in Paris between 1947 and 1950. Reading it was also one of my most haunting literary experience of the year. Here are ten quotes from the book that particularly stood out to me.

“What I’d like now is to speak of the things that are left, say my goodbyes, finish dying. They don’t want that. Yes, there is more than one, apparently. But it’s always the same one that comes. You’ll do that later, he says.”

“Let me hear nothing of the moon, in my night there is no moon, and if it happens that I speak of the stars it is by mistake.”

“Unfortunately it is not of them I have to speak, but of her who brought me into the world, through the hole in her arse if my memory is correct. First taste of the shit.”

“To him who has nothing it is forbidden not to relish filth.”

“It was she made me acquainted with love. She went by the peaceful name of Ruth I think, but I can’t say for certain. Perhaps the name was Edith. She had a hole between her legs, oh not the bunghole I had always imagined, but a slit, and in this I put, or rather she put, my so-called virile member, not without difficulty, and I toiled and moiled until I discharged or gave up trying or was begged by her to stop. A mug’s game in my opinion and tiring on top of that, in the long run. But I lent myself to it with a good enough grace, knowing it was love, for she had told me so. She bent over the …more”

“She had no time to lose, I had nothing to lose, I would have made love with a goat, to know what love was.”

“And yet I did dream of it, for an instant I amused myself dreaming of it, imagining myself in a world less ill-contrived and wondering how, having nothing more than a simple chain, without collar or band or gyves or fetters of any kind, I could chain my son to me in such a way as to prevent him from ever shaking me off again.”

“I managed finally to articulate, Are you capable of following me? He did not answer. But I seized his thoughts as clearly as if he had spoken them, namely, And you, are you capable of leading me?”

“I had to suffer other molestations than this, other offences, but I shall not record them. Let us be content with paradigms. I may have to suffer others in the future. This is not certain. But they will never be known. This is certain.”

“Then I went back into the house and wrote, It is midnight. The rain is beating on the windows. It was not midnight. It was not raining.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: