Samuel Beckett Info

Samuel Beckett
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Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish writer, dramatist and poet. Beckett's work offers a bleak outlook on human culture, and both formally and philosophically became increasingly minimalist. As a student, assistant, and friend of James Joyce, Beckett is considered by many one of the last modernists; as an inspiration to many later writers, he is sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. He is also considered one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called "Theatre of the Absurd".

Beckett studied French, Italian, and English at Trinity College, Dublin from 1923 to 1927. After leaving Trinity, Beckett began to travel in Europe . He also spent some time in London , where in 1931 he published Proust, his critical study of French author Marcel Proust. In 1932, he wrote his first novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, but after many rejections from publishers decided to abandon it; the book would eventually be published in 1993. Despite his inability to get it published, however, the novel did serve as a source for many of Beckett's early poems, as well as for his first full-length book, the 1933 short-story collection More Pricks Than Kicks. In 1935—the year that Beckett successfully published a book of his poetry, Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates—he was also working on his novel Murphy. Returning to Ireland briefly in 1937, he oversaw the publishing of Murphy (1938), which he himself translated into French the next year. He then decided to settle permanently in Paris . He joined the French Resistance after the 1940 occupation by Germany , working as a courier, and on several occasions was nearly caught by the Gestapo. Beckett was awarded the Croix de guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance by the French government for his efforts in fighting the German occupation. He continued work on the novel Watt (begun in 1941 and completed in 1945, but not published until 1953) while in hiding in Roussillon .

Beckett is publicly most famous for the play Waiting for Godot. Like most of his works after 1947, the play was first written in French with the title En attendant Godot. Beckett worked on the play between October 1948 and January 1949. He published it in 1952, and premiered it in 1953. The success of Waiting for Godot opened up a career in theatre for its author. Beckett went on to write a number of successful full-length plays, including 1957's Endgame, Krapp's Last Tape (written in English), 1960's Happy Days (also written in English), and 1963's Play.

Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 for his "writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". Beckett was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984. He died in Paris of respiratory problems.

Of all the English-language modernists, Beckett's work represents the most sustained attack on the realist tradition. He, more than anyone else, opened up the possibility of drama and fiction that dispense with conventional plot and the unities of place and time in order to focus on essential components of the human condition.
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by seattlenovyi | 2009-02-15 23:50 | Samuel Beckett
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