My essay on Beckett, Lukács and Adorno appears in the latest issue of Static, which is on the theme of 'the general'. Here's the gist:
This paper starts from the proposition that theories of realism have tended to hinge in some sense on the generalizability of the text. In the work of the Marxist critic Georg Lukács, realist texts were valued for the facility that they offered to move from an identification with the specific experiences of their characters to a more general understanding of the social and economic conditions which produce those experiences. This paper makes a contrast between this position and the purportedly anti-realist theories of Theodor Adorno, using the two theorists' polarised reactions to Beckett's Trilogy (and modernism itself) to interrogate the role of generalizability in their aesthetics. In this regard, they are both heritors of a problematic concept of the 'general will' that can be traced back through Marx to Hegel and Rousseau. By focussing on the Trilogy itself, this paper makes the argument that its relation to the general should not be sought in the way that it reflects (Lukács) or mediates (Adorno) general social and political realities. The Trilogy's foregrounding of the materiality of thought and experience and its exploration of immanence suggest that the general is to be found in humankind's shared experience of the material universe.
The full text is available here.