This article unfolds what J.M. Coetzee terms “the rhythm of doubt” in Watt—a procedure that parallels cybernetic ideas about feedback and control. A careful reading of Coetzee’s doctoral dissertation, a stylostatistic analysis of Beckett’s English fiction, reveals what the young scholar and novelist labels the syntax of “A against B,” which he puts to use in his early novels. The rhythm of doubt ultimately takes on a political slant in these works, as it becomes associated with (potentially) violent actions performed in the service of perceived rationality.
Coetzee, John M., The English Fiction of Samuel Beckett: An Essay in Stylistic Analysis, Ph.D. dissertation (Austin: U of Texas, 1969) ProQuest: https://search.proquest.com/docview/54353717?accountid=9851.
Coetzee, J.M., “Samuel Beckett’s ‘Lessness’: An Exercise in Decomposition,” in Computers and the Humanities 7.4 (1973), 195–198.
Coetzee, J.M., Dusklands (London: Penguin, 1982).
Coetzee, J.M., Foe (New York: Penguin, 1987).
Coetzee, J.M., Life & Times of Michael K (London: Secker and Warburg, 1983).
Coetzee, J.M., Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews, ed. David Attwell (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992).
Coetzee, J.M., In The Heart of The Country (London: Vintage, 1999).
Coetzee, J.M., Youth (London: Vintage, 2003).
Coetzee, J.M., Diary of a Bad Year (London: Harvill Secker, 2007).