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Entries in james joyce (6)


In Which Samuel Beckett Didn't Intend To Be A Writer

Someone To Walk With Him Before Dinner


The following recollection of James Joyce is collected from James Knowlson's interviews with Samuel Beckett, which can be found in a volume you can purchase here.

I was introduced to Joyce by Tom MacGreevy. He was very friendly – immediately, to the best of my recollection. I remember coming back very exhausted to the École Normale and as usual, the door was closed and I climbed over the railings. I remember that: coming back from my first meeting with Joyce. I remember walking back. And from then on we saw each other quite often.

I can still remember his telephone number. He was living near the Ecole Militaire. I used to come down sometimes in the morning from the Ecole Normale to the concierge and he used to say Monsieur Joyce a telephone et il vous demande de vous mettre en rapport avec lui. And I remember the concierge, he was a southerner. he used to say Segur quatre-vingt-quinze vingt. And it was always to do with going for a walk or going for dinner. I remember a memorable walk on the Ile des Cygnes with Joyce. And then he'd start his 'tippling.' And we'd have an appointment with Nora at Fouquet's.

beckett at greystone's, 1960sI was very flattered when Joyce dropped the 'Mister.' Everybody was 'Mister'. There were no Christian names, no first names. The nearest you would get to friendly name was to drop the 'Mister'. I was never 'Sam'. I was always Beckett at the best. We'd drink in any old pub or cafe. I dno't remember which.

He was very friendly. He dictated some pages of Finnegan's Wake to me at one stage. That was later on when he was living in that flat. And during the dictation, someone knocked at the door and I said something. I had to interrupt the dictation. But it had nothing to do with the text. And when I read it back with the phrase 'Come in' in it, he said, 'Let it stand.'

with thomas mcgreevey, 1934He was at the National University, of course, and I was at Trinity – but we both took degrees in French and Italian. So that was common ground. It was at his suggestion that I wrote "Dante... Bruno . Vico . . Joyce" because of my Italian. And I spent a lot of time reading Bruno and Vico in the magnificent library, the Bibliotheque of the Ecole Normale. We must have had some talk about the 'Eternal Return', that sort of thing. He liked the essay. But his only comment was that there wasn't enough about Bruno; he found Bruno rather neglected. Bruno and Vico were new figures for me. I hadn't read them. I'd worked on Dante, of course. And we did talk about Dante. But I knew very little of them. I knew more or less what they were about. I remember I read a biography of one of them. I can't remember which.

beckett's letter to cape townI remember going to see Joyce in the hospital. He was lying on the bed, putting drops in his operated eye. I don't remember having read to him though. I used to go there in the evening sometimes, when he had dinner at home. It was at the later stage when he was living in the little impasse off the long street. There wasn't a lot of conversation between us. I was a young man, very devoted to him, and he liked me. And he used to call on me if he needed something. For instance, someone to walk with him before dinner.

on the set of 'Film' in New York, 1964He was a great exploiter. Not perhaps an exploiter of his friends. In the Adrienne Monnier book, it's told how he did the translation of 'Anna Livia Plurabelle', Peron and I. And Joyce liked it. But he organised a committe of five, which used to meet in Paul Leon's house to revise it, including Adrienne Monnier (who was quite unqualified) so that he could talk about his septante, those five and Peron and myself. Why he wanted to talk about his septante devoted to him I don't know. I remember at Adrienne Monnier's a reading of our fragment of 'Anna Livia Plurabelle', Peron's and mine, as corrected, so-called, by the Joyce clan. But there was a reading of this with Joyce in Adrienne's bookshop, a public reading. I remember being there and Joyce was there, Soupault read it, I think.

in ireland after the war And I brought him home drunk one night, but I won't go into that. He drank a lot but in the evenings only. I remember a party. He was a great man for anniversaries. Every year he would celebrate his father's anniversary, "Father forsaken, forgive thy son." On that occasion, he would give me a note, in francs. I don't know how many francs it would be. A note. To give to some poor down-and-out in memory of his father. Towards the end of the year, in December, the date of his father's birth was celebrated and commemorated every year and I was given on several occasions, when I was available, this note to give to some down-and-out in memory of his father. "New life is breathed upon the glass," etc.

directing longtime collaborator Billie WhitelawIt's a poem of Joyce's. It's part of a longer poem but I remember the verse, "A child is born. An old man gone." When his father died, he was very upset.

I played the piano once at the Joyces'. I forget what I played. But he, when he had enough taken, at these 'at home' parties, receptions at home, with various friends, he would sit down at the piano and, accompanying himself, sing, with his marvellous remains of a tenor voice:

Bid adieu, adieu, adieu
Bid adieu to girlish days.

I remember myself accompanying Giorgio. When he was living with Helen. I remember accompanying him – in what? Ah yes. [He sings part of Schubert's Lieder, An die Musik]. Oh, by the way, I found the name of the street where Joyce lived when I first met him in Paris. Yes, it's a little street off the rue de Grenelle; this goes from the Latin Quarter to the Avenue Bosquet near the Ecole Militaire. It goes through the.... And just before it comes to the end of the Rue de Grenelle near the Avenue Bosquet, before it 'debouches' on the Avenue Bosquet, there' a little street on the right hand side. It was an impasse in those days. It still exists but it's a square. The Square Robiac. I remember it as an impasse. You go in to the right off the Rue de Grenelle. It was very short. And the right-hand side was the house where Joyce had his flat.

beckett with eva-katharina schultzI admired Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man. There was something about it. The end – when he is so self-sufficient in the end. He got pompous about his vocation and his function in life. That was the improved version; he reworked it.

with henri hayden in the early 60sIt was Maurice Nadeau who said it was an influence ab contrario. I realized that Joyce had gone as far as one could in the direction of knowing more, in control of one's material. He was always adding to it; you only have to look at his proofs to see that. I realised that my own way was impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and in taking away, subtracting rather than adding. When I first met Joyce, I didn't intend to be a writer. That only came later when I found out that I was no good at all at teaching. When I found I simply couldn't teach. But I do remember speaking about Joyce's heroic achievement. I had a great admiration for him. That's what it was: epic, heroic, what he achieved. I realized that I couldn't go down that same road.

Samuel Beckett died in December of 1989. You can find Whittaker Chambers' obituary for James Joyce here.

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with his cousins in 1959Why can't you write the way people want?

- Frank Beckett, in a letter to his brother

on the set of 'Godot' in Berlin, 1975


In Which We Piece Together The Last Months of James Joyce

If he was alive, James Joyce would have been 129 yesterday.

Silence, Exile & Death


Last week a little group of people got together in Manhattan in an atmosphere of unaccustomed awe. They were friends of James Joyce — editor Eugene Jolas (transition) and his wife; poet Padraic Colum and his wife; Robert Nathan Kastor, brother of Joyce's daughter-in-law; others. Fortnight before, a terse cable had announced that the author of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake was dead in Zurich. Joyce's friends were forming a committee to aid his widow, daughter and son.

To many a baffled reader of Finnegans Wake, the death of Joyce meant merely that the "cult of unintelligibility" had lost its chief prophet. To his admirers, it meant the loss of the greatest figure in European letters since Marcel Proust. To his friends Joyce's death seemed like some simple lapse in nature, grandly tragic and fitting. Joyce's writings had been the most massive, inclusive, eloquent statement of Europe's intellectual and moral chaos, a chaos now audible and visible in the falling walls of Europe's cities. And Joyce had died in the midst of this downfall — perhaps because of it. There was something about his death that suggested the great Bishop of Hippo, St. Augustine, dying at the close of the Roman world to the echo of Vandal swords against the city gates.

Bit by bit, Joyce's friends in Manhattan pieced together a picture of his last months. It was a picture of monstrous ironies. Joyce, the young man who fled from Ireland to live by "silence, exile and cunning," died a destitute refugee from Paris. The mind that thought history "a nightmare to which I hope never to awaken," was caught in the fall of France. The man who resented even minor Government interference with his affairs, was caught in the wartime red tape of three Governments. The mind that created the Miltonic rhetoric, the subtle architecture, the poly-portmanteau language of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, found its last peace in talking to an eight-year-old child.

lucia joyce by berenice abbott

The Joyces (wife Nora, son Giorgio) lived in Paris. His daughter Lucia, who suffered from a nervous disorder, was in a sanatorium near St. Nazaire. A devoted father, Joyce worried much about Lucia, spent a good part of the income left him by Admirer Harriet Weaver on Lucia's doctor and sanatorium bills. When war broke out, he hurried to St. Nazaire to see her.

Giorgio's son Stephen was at Mrs. Jolas' school at St. Gérand-le-Puy, some eleven miles north of Vichy. The Joyces were invited there for Christmas 1939, had a big party. Even then Joyce was suffering a good deal of pain. For ten or twelve years he had had a mysterious intestinal ailment, which did not trouble him as long as life went smoothly, caused him agony when life did not. During the last year, friends claim, Joyce "ate practically nothing."

After Christmas the Joyces rushed back to Paris. Mrs. Joyce hated the Paris alertes, but Joyce could not stand the tranquillity of village life. They returned to St. Gérand-le-Puy for Joyce's birthday (Feb. 2), remained until the end of March. Joyce took long walks, read Goethe's conversations with Eckermann, occasionally went to a movie. He also read all the newspapers, though he would discuss politics only with close friends. Shortly before the time the Nazis moved to Norway, the Joyces moved to Vichy.

On June 11 Mrs. Jolas phoned Joyce that she had found a two-room flat in St. Gérand-le-Puy, urged him to move there for safety. Joyce refused. He added: "Have you heard anything about that book* that I asked you to get me from the Gotham Book Mart?" Mrs. Jolas said she hadn't. "Well," said Joyce, "it wouldn't hurt to drop a postal card into the box." The Nazis crossed the Marne.

Two days later, Mrs. Jolas phoned Joyce again to say that the Gare de Lyon in Paris was closed. Joyce said that couldn't possibly be true because his friend, Irish Poet Samuel Beckett, had just come from Paris. He added: "Have you heard anything about that book that I asked you to get me from the Gotham Book Mart?" Next day Paris fell. Day after that Mrs. Jolas ran into Giorgio Joyce on the street in St. Gérand-le-Puy, with all the Joyce luggage, looking for a place to stay. So, by then, were hundreds of others.

Zurich in 1938

At 8 the following morning the James Joyces, forced out of Vichy when the army took over, arrived at St. Gérand-lePuy. Joyce was indignant; he was not in the habit of going out before 11. Said Mrs. Joyce of the general situation: "Did you ever hear of such nonsense?" Two hours later friends found Joyce happily listening to the radio. The Joyces were not even disturbed when the Nazis occupied the village for six days. Joyce was a British subject, but they did not arrest him. Friends urged him to go to the Irish Minister in Vichy and change his citizenship. Joyce refused: "It would not be honorable."

A fellow refugee was Paul Léon who had worked with Joyce for ten years. Every afternoon at 4 sharp, Joyce and Léon reread Finnegans Wake. Joyce would sit with his long thin legs wrapped inextricably around each other while he held the book close to his eyes, studied it through a thick lens. Léon read aloud. They would then make corrections. When Mrs. Jolas reached the U. S. last fall, she took 30 pages of typographical corrections for a possible second edition of Finnegans Wake. As she was saying good-by for the last time, Joyce paused, said: "Have you heard anything about that book I asked you to get me from the Gotham Book Mart?"

Joyce made frantic efforts to get an exit visa so that he could take his family to Switzerland, scene of his World War I exile, birthplace of Ulysses. Thanks to influential friends (especially in the U. S. embassy), he finally procured a visa from Vichy. But the Swiss Government was fussier. At one point it refused to admit Joyce on the claim that he was a Jew. Then it demanded a $7,000 bond. The mayor of Zurich got the sum reduced to $3,500, which some Swiss friends got together. But on the day the Swiss entrance visa arrived, the French exit visa expired.

James, Nora, Giorgio and Lucia in Paris, 1924

When Vichy finally granted a second visa, there was no gasoline for the drive from St. Gérand-le-Puy to Vichy. Defying police regulations, Giorgio Joyce bicycled to Vichy, begged every embassy and consulate for gasoline. Finally a bank clerk gave his last gallon of gas, which was enough to take the Joyces to the train.

In Zurich the Joyces put up at a small pension. They had almost no money. None of Joyce's cables to London for money was answered (even air mail from London to Zurich now takes a month). Moreover, the Germans had canceled the permission (obtained through the Irish Minister at Vichy) to remove Lucia from occupied France. Friends say that the thought of his daughter's spending Christmas in a bombed area intensified Joyce's intestinal pains.

ezra pound visiting joyce's grave

He brooded over what he considered the poor reception of Finnegans Wake. More & more his bitter day dreams took on the prolonged, chaotic misery of the night dreams in his last great book. (A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles and is there one who understands me? One in a thousand of years of the nights?) And as the voices of the awakening children humanize the nightmare in Finnegans Wake, the voice of his eight-year-old Grandson Stephen became Joyce's chief solace. All day he would sit telling the boy (the child we all love to place our hope in forever) stories from Greek and Roman mythology, the Norse sagas, Shakespeare. But when only a small sum of money arrived from the U. S., scarcely enough to pay a part of their debts, Joyce collapsed from worry.

An X-ray showed a malignant ulcer on his duodenum. Joyce at first refused an operation because it would be too expensive. After the operation, he had to have two blood transfusions. He tossed around, worrying about Lucia. Then he had a last brief talk alone with his wife. During the night he began to lose consciousness. (My ho head halls. I feel as heavy as yonder stone. . . . Night now! Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Night night! Telmetale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!) Unlike the Finnegans, Joyce never woke up.

Whittaker Chambers' obituary of James Joyce appeared without a byline in Time.

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In Which It Was As Important To Me As Anything of Mine

Something To Do With the Sofa

The conversations of the critic Mel Gussow and the playwright Harold Pinter are weird mostly because Pinter is an actor, and accustomed to a certain kind of pretension. He was an actor even before he was a playwright, and he never really liked interviews. Gussow feels the need to pin him down on a number of things, and Pinter acts like a terse little ninja. His ejaculations, elicited by one of his greatest admirers in the theatrical world, contain nuggets of prose as self-centered and yet as enduring as any literature has to offer. - A.C.

MEL GUSSOW: Could you trace the genesis of Old Times?

HAROLD PINTER: I think I wrote it last winter. Yes, last winter. About a year ago. Well, there's nothing I can tell you about that because it was just a very odd thing really. It was one of those times when you think you're never going to write again. I was lying on the sofa reading the paper and something flashed in my mind. It wasn't anything to do with the paper.

MG: Something to do with the sofa?

HP: The sofa perhaps, but certainly not the paper. I rushed upstairs to my room. I live in a very tall house. I usually find great difficulty getting to the top. But, like lightning, I was up.

MG: What was the thought?

HP: I think it was the first couple of lines of the play. I don't know if they were actually the first lines. Two people talking about someone else. But then I really went at it. Incidentally, you did ask me for my "fourth." Actually what it is is reading. I read a great deal of poetry.

MG: What poets?

HP: Recently I rediscovered Pope. I haven't read him since school. Lines and verses are always on my mind. Donne. Gerard Manley Hopkins. "Margaret/ Are you grieving/ over Goldengrove/ unleaving." Modern poetry. Philip Larkin. Yeats and Eliot.

MG: Do you still write poetry — as poetry?

HP: Yes. I've written two poems in the last couple of years. Very short. I wrote one about six months ago, about seven lines, but I remember I did 13 drafts of it.

MG: How many drafts of plays do you usually write?

HP: About three. But that was as important to me as anything of mine - that poem. But you know any poem is — emotionally. I used to write a great deal of poetry a long time ago.

MG: It does seem to me, again about the last three plays, that they're more lyrical. Is that something you're aware of?

HP: Yes, I am aware of it. I think it's very dangerous territory.

MG: Why is it dangerous territory?

HP: You can fall on your arse very easily in attempting to express in, if you like, "lyrical" terms what is actually happening to people. You can over ... I did it, in Silence, but I cut it. I had a passage. It was very very interesting, actually. When I wrote it, I sent the play, as I always do, to Samuel Beckett, whose opinion, to put it mildly, I respect. And... I know him.

MG: Do you always send him your plays?

HP: I began, I think, with The Homecoming. Yes, I do always. And he writes the most succinct observations. He liked Silence very much. He wrote, I remember, one very short remark, something to the effect, 'Suggest you examine or reconsider speech, fourth speech, page five.' Or whatever it was. So I looked at this speech immediately, and thought, well, I don't see anything wrong with that. What do I have to reconsider? It seems to me perfectly in order. But I'll keep it in mind. I will bear this matter in mind. I wrote to him and said, thank you, but about this speech I'll listen to it in rehearsals, and see what I think of it. Rehearsals started, and I heard it, and I thought it was perfectly all right. Then, after about two week's rehearsal, Peter Hall came up to me — I hadn't been around for a few days — and said, 'There's one speech in this play that I do not think is working at all.' And that was that speech. Off I went and heard it properly again and realized that, of course, Beckett was totally right.

with james fox & joseph losey

MG: Why wasn't it working?

HP: Well, because...it simply went over the top in lyricism. The trouble was that it was basically inaccurate and non-specific and, I think, that is the problem trying to use language in this way. It has to be absolutely specific. If it's at all generalized then it's nothing else but indulgence and it's illegitimate. This applies to the use of any kind of language in any kind of context, but particularly the kind of language you were referring to in these latest plays.

MG: Do you feel that you have to guard against emotion?

HP: I don't quite understand you.

MG: Do you not want to get carried away by something you don't control? Something you cannot do with the accuracy you demand? Silence. The idea of lyricism denotes to me a kind of emotion.

HP: What I'm interested in is emotion which is contained, and felt very, very deeply. Jesus, I really don't want to make a categorical statement about this. But, perhaps, it is ultimately inexpressible. Because I think we express our emotions in so many small ways, all over the place - or can't express them in any other way.

MG: This would seem to be a lesson to be learned from Beckett, who without demonstrating obvious emotion can be quite emotional.

HP: Yes, with such simplicity of means.

MG: I remember years ago when you wrote about how much Beckett meant to you, at the time you were referring to his novels. How do you feel about his plays?

HP: What can I say?

MG: Do you feel at all as pupil to master?

HP: No, not as pupil to master. I think he's the most remarkable writer in the world, that's what I feel. I don't feel pupil to master, for a start, because I don't see where I relate to him at all.

performing 'Krapp's Last Tape' 

MG: Some people think you do, particularly in the last three plays.

HP: Well, let them say...this terrible business of categorizing. I don't feel that on just one letter alone, apart from anything else. I feel that his achievements, what he's been able to do in his life, in his writing, are so far beyond my own that I don't see any kind of comparison at all. I think he's a great writer. And I'm certainly not that in the way I understand the term, and I do understand the term. The term has a very clear meaning to me. I can tell you who I think are great writers very simply. They're so evident. They're obvious.

MG: Name some obvious.

HP: Well, Doestoevski. This is in my mind. Joyce, Proust. They haven't got their names for nothing. And Beckett. Silence.

MG: It is something to strive for, isn't it?

HP: I don't see it in those terms. I don't have that kind of ambition. I mean you can't strive to be a Great Writer.

beckett with buster keaton

MG: You can strive to be better.

HP: Always strive to be better. One curious element I find in what is called 'literary life' which I notice. I must say particularly in New York — there's an extraordinary competitiveness. But I must say quite honestly that it is something I have never felt remotely. I'm just not an ambitious person.

MG: What first set you to writing plays? Was there something specific that kicked off The Room, your very first play?

HP: Oh, yes. I know the image. I know what happened. I was at a party in a house and I was taken for some reason or other to be introduced to a man who lived on the top floor, or an upper floor, and went into his room. He was a slender, middle-aged man in his bare feet who was walking about the room. Very sociable and pleasant, and he was making bacon and eggs, and cut bread, and poured tea and gave it to this fellow who was reading a comic. And in the meantime he was talking to us - very, very quickly and lightly. We only had about five minutes but something like that remained. I told a friend I'd like to write a play, there's some play here. And then it all happened. I used to write a great deal of prose in the past, when I was young. And a lot of it, including a novel [The Dwarfs] was in dialogue.

MG: To go back, for a minute, what did Beckett say about Old Times?

HP: Well, he was...very much in favor of it. He did have one reservation, one speech. No, I'm not going to tell which one it was.

MG: Is it still in?

HP: It's in.

MG: Same reason?

HP: No, not the same reason. But I stuck with it. I've no alternative but to stick with it.

MG: Peter Hall didn't spot it?

HP: No. Mind you, it hasn't been an easy one. I must confess that.

MG: Does Beckett send you his plays?

HP: He isn't writing any. He sends me his books, but I never - I'm not in the same position at all. In other words, I don't send him back my notes. I'm very happy to have his. I wouldn't dream of it. Anyway, I have no notes, no notes at all.

MG: When did you first meet Beckett?

HP: From about the age of 19 I started to read him, the novels, and I was quite bowled over by those novels. When we did The Caretaker in Paris in 1961, Roger Blin was in it, and one day he said, 'Would you like to meet Beckett?' It was almost too much for me — the thought of such a thing. I had written to him. Eventually. You can imagine. It was 1949 when I started to read Beckett and I didn't manage to write to him until about 1959 — when I wrote him just a short note trying to say what I - something. And got an extremely nice letter back. So then I was in a position of meeting him. The longshot of it is that I came into this hotel and he was very vigorous and chatty and extremely affable and extremely friendly and we spent the whole night together. And that was really...very good. And since then, we've really seen quite a lot of one another.

MG: How do you feel about other playwrights?

HP: Well, my taste is quite catholic. I do enjoy a great deal of writers. I think...Edward Bond is a very good writer...I've always liked Edward Albee's work. I like Heathcote Williams. When you ask me that kind of question, there are people I could tell you but they suddenly slip my mind.

MG: Kafka's on your list with Joyce, Proust, and Doestoevski.

HP: Oh, yes. Definitely. I'd like to have had a drink with Kafka, too.

MG: What novelists?

HP: I don't read many modern novels. I do find my reading goes back to Nazi Germany. I read a lot about Nazi Germany. At the moment I'm reading a biography of Heidegger. It's not my field, but I take an interest. Before that, I read a biography of Wittgenstein, which just came out. Heidegger became a Nazi apologist. He was a Nazi. I think the whole period is probably the worst thing that ever happened.

MG: Reunion is the only time you've dealt even indirectly with the Holocaust?

HP: Yes.

MG: Would you ever write about it?

HP: I don't know. There's something in me that wants to do something about it. It's so difficult.

MG: Do you go to the movies often?

HP: Not often. You know American movies meant an awful lot to me. I was brought up on them. I had a very rich cinematic education, much more than the theatre. I never went to the theatre.

MG: What movies did you see?

HP: I'm talking about the 1940s. I saw all the American black and white gangster films, which were great.

MG: Your next project is writing a screenplay of Kafka's The Trial. Why The Trial at this time?

HP: I read The Trial when I was a lad of 18, in 1948. It's been with me ever since. I don't think anyone who reads The Trial - it ever leaves them, although it can be curiously distorted by time. Speaking to a number of people, who remember having read it when they were young, they look back and think it's a political book. They rather tend to think it's like Arthur Koestler. In my view, it isn't at all. I admire Koestler, but I wouldn't be interested in writing a screenplay of Darkness at Noon, because it's so specifically of its time and place. But The Trial is not that case at all. I find it very difficult to talk about, except that it has been with me for 40 years, and I've had a whale of a time over the last few months entering into Kafka's world. The nightmare of that world is precisely in its ordinariness. That is what is so frightening and strong.

MG: And you are certainly aware of Orson Welles' film.

HP: Yes. Orson Welles was a genius but I think his film was quite wrong because he made it into an incoherent nightmare of spasmodic half-adjusted lines, images, effects in fact. As I said, I don't think Kafka is at all about effect, effect, but about something that happens on Monday, and then on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday and then right through the week. This man in The Trial is arrested one morning in his bed by two people and he is then let out, he goes to his job, a case is taking place. There seems to be a kind of implacable but invisible force and he is finally executed. The important thing about it is that he fights like hell all the way along the line. It reminded me of the shot in John Ford's film The Grapes of Wrath, when the man is protecting his shack when the tractor comes up: 'If you go any further, I'll shoot your head off.' The fellow takes off his goggles and says, 'There's no point doing that because I'm going to knock your house down. I'm getting paid for that and if I don't do it there'll be another guy who will.' He says, 'I'll still knock your head off.' 'Then you'll have to shoot the other guy's head off. you've got to go to the bank in Oklahoma City, and you'll have to shoot all of them. Then you'll have to go to the bank in New York. How many people can you shoot?' He says, 'Get out of my damn way,' and he knocks the house down. One of the most terrible sequences in cinema, in a wonderful film. That's what Kafka's looking at: who do you shoot?

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