The Lost Ones
is the English translation of Le Dépeupleur
, a short story abandoned by Samuel Beckett
in 1966 and completed in 1970. The Lost Ones
was published in French in 1970 and translated by the author in 1971.
In remarkably dense but spare prose, Beckett describes a small world consisting of a flattened cylinder and its pitiable inhabitants. There is no plot, and Beckett frequently repeats certain phrases and bits of information. He abandoned the story in 1966 because of its "intractable complexities", and the basic idea was reused in "Bing" (1966, translated as "Ping
"). Beckett wrote, "'Bing' may be regarded as the result or miniaturization of 'Le Dépeupleur'..." The story comes from a period where Beckett was implementing the architectural theories of Mies van der Rohe
and Adolf Loos
, who said that "ornament is a crime". This post-How It Is
prose is largely fixated on the interior landscape of the mind. As Beckett noted in the typescript for Watt
, "the unconscious mind! What a subject for a short story!". Read more...