›Ping‹

›Ping‹ is a French prose work by the Irish writer Samuel Beckett, published in 1966 under the original title ›Bing‹. Initially, it was entitled ›Blanc‹, which refers to the white space in which the work is situated. Later Beckett himself translated it into his mother tongue, as he did with many of his works.

The work is characterised by an absence of verbs, commas and clear syntactic structures. The reader is left searching and never finding a subject, the protagonist of the story. This makes for a text hard to read, when read in silence. The interpretation of this piece seem to change with each reader. Some believe it is about a dying man, others believe its about remembering someone. The onomatopoeic word ›ping‹ has been taken, here, either as a signal of ›Time’s up‹, or the return of a typewriter carriage. 

Read out loud the text gains a certain musicality, a certain hypnotic rhythm. The few words Becket restricts himself to, he repeats again and again, most obviously the word ›white‹, resulting in a particular pattern. The distinction between the body and the white room that he mentions slowly begins to dissolve.