David Murray’s new white paper prompts one to ask, is he the Samuel Beckett of employee communications?
Early in his career, Irish writer Samuel Beckett published Proust, an essay on the writings of (you guessed it) Marcel Proust. Beckett’s critical examination of the iconic French novelist focused on how he revealed the workings of human memory.
Proust’s trademark literary technique is known by movie buffs as the “Proustian flashback”—that moment in time when a minor event in the present can trigger a rush of lost old memories that come suddenly to life and take on new meaning for the protagonist. Proust’s famous book is aptly named “Remembrances of Things Past,” and an analysis of that jarring moment of remembrance is the starting point for Beckett’s essay.
When I read it as a young university student, it blew my mind. The essay was about Proust, but it was really a springboard that allowed Beckett to lay out his own uncompromising, darkly comic worldview. Beckett’s ideas would congeal in my post-adolescent brain and influence me for the rest of my life.