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Waiting for Godot : A Tragicomedy in Two Acts - Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot

A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Paperback

Published: 19th January 2011
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Subtitled 'A tragicomedy in two Acts', and famously described by the Irish critic Vivien Mercier as a play in which 'nothing happens, twice', En attendant Godot was first performed at the Theatre de Babylone in Paris in 1953. It was translated into English by Samuel Beckett, and Waiting for Godot opened at the Arts Theatre in London in 1955.

Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett 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 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.

The Beckett family (originally Becquet) were rumoured to be of Huguenot stock and to have moved to Ireland from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, though this theory has been criticised as unlikely. The Becketts were members of the Church of Ireland. The family home, Cooldrinagh in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock, was a large house and garden complete with tennis court built in 1903 by Samuel's father William. The house and garden, together with the surrounding countryside where he often went walking with his father, the nearby Leopardstown Racecourse, the Foxrock railway station and Harcourt Street station at the city terminus of the line, all feature in his prose and plays. Beckett's father was a quantity surveyor and his mother a nurse.

At the age of five, Beckett attended a local playschool, where he started to learn music, and then moved to Earlsford House School in the city centre near Harcourt Street. In 1919, Beckett went to Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh—the school Oscar Wilde attended. A natural athlete, Beckett excelled at cricket as a left-handed batsman and a left-arm medium-pace bowler. Later, he was to play for Dublin University and played two first-class games against Northamptonshire. As a result, he became the only Nobel laureate to have an entry in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, the "bible" of cricket.

Beckett studied French, Italian, and English at Trinity College, Dublin from 1923 to 1927. While at Trinity, one of his tutors was the eminent Berkeley scholar and Berkelian Dr. A. A. Luce. Beckett graduated with a B.A., and—after teaching briefly at Campbell College in Belfast—took up the post of lecteur d'anglais in the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. While there, he was introduced to renowned Irish author James Joyce by Thomas MacGreevy, a poet and close confidant of Beckett who also worked there. This meeting was soon to have a profound effect on the young man, and Beckett assisted Joyce in various ways, most particularly by helping him research the book that would eventually become Finnegans Wake.

In 1929, Beckett published his first work, a critical essay entitled Dante...Bruno. Vico..Joyce. The essay defends Joyce's work and method, chiefly from allegations of wanton obscurity and dimness, and was Beckett's contribution to Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress, a book of essays on Joyce which also included contributions by Eugene Jolas, Robert McAlmon, and William Carlos Williams, among others. Beckett's close relationship with Joyce and his family, however, cooled when he rejected the advances of Joyce's daughter Lucia. It was also during this period that Beckett's first short story, "Assumption", was published in Jolas' periodical transition. The next year he won a small literary prize with his hastily composed poem "Whoroscope", which draws from a biography of René Descartes that Beckett happened to be reading when he was encouraged to submit.

In 1930, Beckett returned to Trinity College as a lecturer. He soon became disillusioned with his chosen academic vocation, however. He expressed his aversion by playing

Visit Samuel Beckett's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780571244591
ISBN-10: 0571244599
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 128
Published: 19th January 2011
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.4 x 13.8  x 0.8
Weight (kg): 0.1
Edition Number: 2