The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don’t want philosophies,
tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain
basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more
he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him.
He’s not f---ing me about, he’s not leading me up any garden path, he’s not slipping me a wink, he’s not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he’s not selling me anything I don’t want to buy — he doesn’t give a bollock whether I buy or not — he hasn’t got his hand over his heart. Well, I’ll buy his goods, hook, line and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty.
His work is beautiful.
-- Harold Pinter
is sui generis...He has given a voice to the decrepit and maimed and inarticulate,
men and women at the end of their tether, past pose or pretense, past claim
of meaningful existence. He seems to say that only there and then, as metabolism
lowers, amid God’s paucity, not his plenty, can the core of the human condition
be approached... Yet his musical cadences, his wrought and precise sentences,
cannot help but stave off the void... Like salamanders we survive in his
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Endgame, reviewed by Brooks Atkinson (1958): "Don't expect this column to give a coherent account of what--if anything--happens. Almost nothing happens."
"The prospect of reading Beckett's letters quickens the blood like none other, and one must hope to stay alive until the fourth volume is safely delivered." — Tom Stoppard
"Some of the best material here is Beckett's dyspeptic book talk. He calls Darwin's 'Origin of Species' 'badly written catlap.' Some of Proust's work is 'a maudlin false teeth gobble-gobble discharge from a colic-afflicted belly.' Lawrence is 'a tedious kindling of damp.' ”
From the review: “‘[Beckett writing]: I prefer these letters not to be republished, and quite frankly, dear Alan, I do not want any of my letters to anyone to be published anywhere, either in the petit pendant or the long apres.’ No author better served? This whole book is a betrayal of a wish that could scarcely have been more clearly stated.” Jim paints a somewhat discouraging picture of Sam's letters and missives, at least as presented in this volume.
Update, 2009: From the New York Times review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1: "Beckett, four years before his death , authorized their publication. He wished that only those letters 'having bearing on my work' be printed..."
|“The utter skepticism and despair about relationships in general and sexuality in particular which [Beckett] has explored throughout his life has had as its counterpoint his marriage, which has lasted forty years. But lest one suspect that the continuity and comfort of marriage had tilted the scales so far that the dream of succession had taken root in his mind, ‘No,’ he replied, when I asked him if he had ever wanted children, ‘that's one thing I'm proud of.’”|
After World War II, literary critics in France, for whom war memories were not only painful but also embarrassing given the collaboration of the Vichy government with the Nazis, preferred to read Beckett as addressing "man's alienation" and the "human condition" rather than anything as specific as everyday life in the years of the Resistance. For Beckett, those years leading up to his most productive period had been an elaborate war nightmare — for instance here's where he had to live for six months — a nightmare Beckett never wrote about directly although allusions to it are everywhere in his texts of the postwar decade. The word "war" itself appears nowhere in Godot or in those strange lyrical fictions of 1945-1946 which were published in The Expelled, The Calmant and The End and, in 1955, in Stories and Texts for Nothing. But the very absence of the word has an odd way of insuring its prominence in these stories.
A decidedly illuminating paper.
Mr. Parfitt selects a few of Samuel Beckett's basic concerns, viz., failure; inadequacy; misfortune; illness; pain and/or suffering; isolation; impotence; disillusionment; unrelenting time and, of course, death, and then he goes on to explain various ways that Sam “transmutes the destitution of modern man into his exaltation” (Nobel Prize citation) by, e.g., never quite despairing but always ‘going on’ against insurmountable odds; living life ‘here and now’ and ignoring the unknown ‘beyond’; continuing the (futile) search for hope; turning any bothersome ‘inner fire’ into a burning passion in order to avoid being consumed by it and, of course, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
A neatly packaged introduction to Beckett.
What, if anything, is the meaning of life? What defines "the self"? What truly is the definition of human existence? Here are three 20th century authors' conceptions, as expressed in:
- A Retrievable Essence. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. The self is, at bottom, an essence comprised of layers of hidden memories reflecting past experiences.
- Nothing Matters. The Stranger by Albert Camus. The meaning of life is determined by the event happening at present.
- They Do Not Move. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Human experience is continually waiting for the solution to the problem to present itself.
The Theatre of the Absurd
- Introduction to Absurd Drama by Martin Esslin, Penguin Books, 1965.
- Chapter 1 (partial), Samuel Beckett: The search for the self in Theatre of the Absurd by Martin Esslin, Doubleday & Co., 1961.
- THE ABSURD......AND BECKETT..a brief encounter by Serge Tampalini, Murdoch Univ., Perth, Western Australia.
- Theatre of the Absurd: The West and the East by Jan Culík, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Univ. of Glasgow. A brief analysis of post-World War II European theatre on both sides of the ideological divide.
The Absurdity of Samuel Beckett by Eva Navratilova, Center for Comparitive Cultural Studies, Palacky Univ., Olomouc, Czech Rep.
The feeling of Absurdity as a literary-creative motivation connecting a number of writers and philosophers, and which is evident in Godot, Endgame, Happy Days and Krapp's Last Tape, is dealt with here.
Master's degree thesis: Samuel Beckett's Radio Plays: Music of the Absurd by Stefan-Brook Grant, Department of British and American Studies, University of Oslo.
An erudite thesis analyzing Beckett's radio plays.
Chapter 1: Background
Chapter 2: All That Fall
Chapter 3: Embers
Chapter 4: Words and Music and Cascando
An Appreciation of Samuel Beckett. A rather perceptive piece in a rather small newspaper. Rick Lopez in the Erie (Pennsylvania) Times-News.
With his fiction, Beckett straps us into the front seat of a roller-coaster mind with fifty-mile hills, explosive drops, impossible curves, and tracks that splinter and scream with the constant threat of disaster. All this exhilaration, and beautiful prose to boot. -- Rick Lopez
Wham, bam! Thank you, Sam!
EVERYTHING YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WAITING FOR GODOT BUT...
by Penelope Merritt, Community Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene, Oregon.
Perhaps Penelope feels that the "ungagging" of Beckett and Waiting for Godot is long overdue. In any case, she has posted, utilizing her own analysis and notes drawn from the books of dozens of Beckett scholars, an awesome, almost line-by-line explanation and interpretation of Godot. Included is the entire text of the play (Acts 1 and 2) with reciprocal links to the notes. In addition, most all of her pages are enhanced by some lovely and historical images -- and a few gory ones of the crucifixion.From her introduction: "The following links point to notes that I prepared for a January 2000 college production of Godot in the Pacific Northwest. They were primarily intended for student actors, but I attempted to include information that would be of interest to those who found the play interesting as a purely academic pursuit, whether as a scholar of French or English Literature, the history of Theatre or even the cultural resonances of Existentialist philosophy..."
Traffic of our stage: Why Waiting for Godot? by Normand Berlin in The Massachusetts Review. A lengthy and insightful essay delving into many aspects of the Godot phenomenon.
Waiting for Godot and Endgame: Theatre as Text by Michael Worton. This is a chapter from the book, "The Cambridge Companion to Beckett" (An invaluable addition to Beckett criticism ... an outstanding book, faultlessly edited and superbly presented... —Independent on Sunday). Prof. Worton presents here an extensive and erudite analysis of Beckett's plays and of how the ideas of the many writers that he has drawn upon are both interwoven into his texts or are often dismissed by him.
~~ Approaching 'Waiting for Godot' ~~ by Stacy Tartar Esch, West Chester University of Pennsylvania. An interesting asymptotic approach because:
"All action in Waiting for Godot is mere distraction; it doesn't lead anywhere other than to the central awareness with which it began, though by the play's end we see it all the more distinctly: Nothing to be done."Stacy enlivens his treatise with a few lines from the works of Sam's "dour pessimistic muse", Arthur Schopenhauer:
"Life is a task — drudgery filled with universal need, ceaseless cares, constant pressure, endless strife, compulsory activity requiring extreme exertion of all the powers of body and mind. The tumult is indescribable. And the ultimate aim of it all, what is it? To sustain an ephemeral and tormented individual through a short span of time, in the most fortunate case with endurable want and comparative freedom from pain...and to reproduce the race and its strivings. In this evident disproportion between the trouble and the reward, the will to live appears to us from this point of view, if taken objectively, as a fool's paradise, or subjectively, as a delusion wherein everyone living works with the utmost exertion of his strength for something that is of no value. And when we consider it more closely, we shall find that this will to live is rather a blind pressure, a tendency entirely without ground or motive."
Martin Esslin covers a lot of Godot ground in Waiting for Godot -- Western and Korean
Essay on Waiting for Godot by Jak Peake, Hewett School, Norwich, England. Very fine.
Essay on Waiting for Godot by Michael Sinclair
Beckett's Godot: "A bundle of broken mirrors" by Robert D. Lane
"Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down: Ropes, Belts and Cords in Waiting for Godot" by Roger Schonfeld, Yale Univ.
Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, but perhaps he should have also received one in another category: physics. In fact, some would contend that he broke more ground in the field of time and space in the real world (human) sense than any physicist squinting into a microscope or astronomer peering into the heavens. Here are three papers which might present some evidence in support of such a preposterous conclusion.
- The Concept of Time and Space in Beckett's Dramas Happy Days and Waiting for Godot by Dong-Ho Sohn, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea.
- Space, Time, and the Self in Beckett's Late Theatre by David Pattie, University College Chester, Cheshire County, England.
- The Meaning of Time as Depicted in Waiting for Godot by Jeffrey Philip Bigham, Princeton Univ.
A Thought (or two) by Jim Nastos, Univ. of Alberta, on Lucky's "thought" after being commanded by Pozzo to "Think, pig!" A nice analysis written by a first year university English class student who found some of Beckett's writings to be a "cryptographic challenge".
The parallels between Christ and Lucky in Waiting for Godot. By Greg Tigani, Yale Univ.
The Second Coming and Mr. Godot by Jeffrey Miller. A paper written for a Contemporary Drama class.
Extremely short (and shortsighted) book review of Godot by "Michael JR Jose", a Top (six star) Scholar (219 reviews) at Allreaders.com, who alleges that the "plot for Godot" [sic] is taken from Macbeth, and that "Shakespeare says in thirty-eight words what Beckett takes a whole play to say." The 38 words? Obviously:
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage andA simplistic notion by Michael JR? He might possibly be somewhat correct.
then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Teaching an Anti-Christian Text from a Christian Perspective: The Case of S. Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" by Gatsinzi Basaninyenzi, Solusi College, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Beckett and Brecht: Keeping the Endgame at a Distance by Jodi Hatzenbeller. A comparative analysis of Brechtian theatre and the themes of Endgame.
So many people have requested a copy of this unpublished article that I have decided to make it generally available via the web. That's the actual title of this web page, and the article itself is called Beckett, Duchamp and Chess in the 1930s by Andrew Hugill, De Montfort University, Leicester, England. In Section 2 he posits some fascinating and plausible connections between Endgame and the real chess, although some of them are a bit of a stretch.
But Not In the Eye: Becketts comedy, by Fintan O'Toole.
Three chapters from The Plays of Samuel Beckett by Eugene Webb.
Reading Beckett's Fiction by R.M. Berry in Context, A Forum for Literary Arts and Culture, Number 1, 1999.
Why does Beckett write [the way he does]? In 1949, Beckett tried to describe a new kind of artistic problem, one in which skill and knowledge and talent had become liabilities and where the task was no longer to do something as well or better than in the past, but rather to meet the obligations of art in full acknowledgement of the absence of anything artistically to be accomplished. Berry attempts to help in understanding some puzzling characteristics of Beckett's fiction in the context of Molloy.
Knowing me, knowing you. Novelist Keith Ridgway re-discovers Beckett's seminal work, Mercier and Camier, and is thrilled — despite other scholars' and crritics' negative judgments — by its early indications of Sam's epiphany, at age forty:
"Put simplistically, he realised that his writing future lay not in the firm ground he knew over his shoulder, but in the darkness facing him, about which he knew nothing. It was time to write from the wordless inside. He would use his confusion and uncertainty where he had previously used his intellect and his wit." The Guardian, Jul. 19, 2003.
From the Princess Grace Irish Library (Monaco): The Beckett Trilogy by Karen Mills.
"Plagued by a depressive condition, left on the unsteady ground of his own uncertainties, Beckett came to believe in an utterly black, utterly futile existence. Disturbing that such a belief is to countenance, it was the sole thought that he had any confidence in. This deeply prejudiced view is manifest in varying degrees in the triumvirate that is The Trilogy."
The Narrative Paradox: The virus of nothingness in Samuel Beckett's Watt by György Dragomán, School of English and American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
After a prefacing caveat from Hugh Kenner that "the [literary] analyst whose stock-in trade is his skill at putting his author's matter before his reader in pithier or less redundant language will find no purchase [with Watt]", Prof. Dragomán nonetheless makes a valiant effort to do just that, with a modicum of success.
Samuel Beckett's Postmodern Fictions by Brian Finney, California State Univ., Long Beach.
Lucky's Bones: A Sense of Starvation in Watt, Waiting for Godot and Oliver Twist, by John Robert Keller in PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for Psychological Study of the Arts. A shrink psychoanalyzes Watt, Didi, Gogo, Oliver and others.
Keywords for this paper: Samuel Beckett; Waiting for Godot; Watt; Charles Dickens;
Oliver Twist; Thomas Hardy; psychoanalysis; object relations; paranoid-schizoid position;
depression; hopelessness; abandonmnent; eating disorders.
Ping... in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Earth edition). Yes, indeed, the Beeb now hosts a real Guide, naming it h2g2 and dividing its sections, as you might expect, into Life, The Universe and Everything. Here is a piece that fearlessly tries to explain a bit of Sam's challenging poem Ping, the first Beckett posting entered under Life / Books & Literature / Authors and Playwrights, written by this category's former Content Producer, Smij, when he was known as "Jimster". You, too, can contribute.
- Read Ping.
- Listen to a reading of Ping by blogger/wastrel Scoot. 8 min., 7 sec., 113 Kbps (requires broadband).
Beckett's Dying Remains: The Process of Playwriting in the Ohio Impromptu Manuscripts by Adam Seelig, poet, playwright, theatre director and founder of One Little Goat Theatre Company.
How Beckett struggled to write himself out of his texts, moving away from self preservation and toward self effacement.
Nothing is More Real: Experiencing Theory in the Texts for Nothing, by Paul Sheehan.
What kind of a theorist is Samuel Beckett, exactly? An artist of impoverishment, a theorist of the end of modernity or a mythologist of psychoanalysis, as three recent titles suggest. Sheehan examines one of Beckett's most overlooked works, the 13 prose fragments published, Sheehan says, almost out of desperation in 1955 as Texts for Nothing.
Editing Beckett, by Stanley Gontarski in Twentieth Century Literature, 1995. An analysis of the inept editing and numerous publication blunders to which Samuel Beckett's work has been subjected.
Revising Himself: Performance as Text in Samuel Beckett's Theatre. How Beckett transformed himself into a producer/director/theatre artist. By Stanley Gontarski in the Journal of Modern Literature.
Beckett, openness and experimental cinema by Michael Schell.
The Joys of Cycling with Beckett by Friedhelm Rathjen, Scheeßel, Germany.
"Beckett's oeuvre is well known to be marked by bleakness and despair. If a bicycle
comes into play, however, there is always a light of hope, joy and even love in these texts."
- More bicycles. A scholarly analysis by Janet Menzies.
Play Analysis. The True-Real Woman: Maddy Rooney as Picara in All That Fall, by Sarah Bryant-Bertail, University of Washington, Seattle.
Beckett Bethicketted. James Joyce's influences on Beckett — and visa versa. By Stephen Dilks, Univ. of Missouri Kansas City.
Samuel Beckett's (linguistic) exile: continuity through separation by Helen Astbury, Université Paris.
Sam left Ireland, but Ireland didn't leave Sam.
Essay on A Piece of Monologue by Hwa Soon Kim, Univ. of Inchon, Korea.
Read A Piece of Monologue.
Samuel Beckett: The Complete Short Prose, 1929-1989 Edited by Stanley Gontarski. Review by Paul West in The Bookery Bookpress.
Eleuthéria, Beckett's first play, written in 1947 (before Godot) and steeped in controversy.
A brief introduction from American Bookseller
Eleutheria Revisited, a 1997 speech by Marius Buning, past president, The Dutch Samuel Beckett Society, recounting the delightful story of the book that Sam didn't want published and the row over its translation into English, pitting Barney Rosset and Michael Brodsky against Jérôme Lindon. Prof. Buning sides against Brodsky, and gives an impassioned defense of the play, declaring it "worth having, worth studying, and — above all — worth seeing."
Film starring Buster Keaton
- On Samuel Beckett's Film by Barney Rosset in , a new publication which features “the best writers writing about what they are most passionate about” for people who are “tired of stuffy, staid literary magazines that go down like cough medicine.” Rosset recounts some fascinating details of the joys and agonies of shooting Film.
- Interview: Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press and the Evergreen Review, talks to Tin House publisher Win McCormack.
On Directing Samuel Beckett's Film by Alan Schneider. A review: Some favorable comments ("The greatest Irish film") by Katherine Waugh and Fergus Daly in Film West 21, Ireland, 1995. Some unfavorable comments by Ted Sludds in the very next issue, 22: "Film...strikes me as being...a poor attempt by a genuine writer to move into a medium that he simply hadnt the flair or understanding of to make a success."
- Maybe Ted just didn't understand Film. Now (March, 2007) along comes blogger Dennis Grunes who explains it all and calls it "one of the greatest American films of the 1960's".
Brownlow on Beckett (on Keaton). Filmmaker Kevin Brownlow once talked with Sam about Buster. A review, of sorts, in Life Magazine, Aug. 14, 1964. A couple of nice stills of Buster.
- Here's a fine picture of Sam right next to the Brooklyn Bridge on what can loosely be called the set of Film. He appears to be ruminating about the obvious chaos at hand.
- A bit out of the context of Film, but here are two more renowned pictures of Sam , aged 73, photographed by Richard Avedon against his trademark plain white background.
View Film Broadband required.
An analysis and discussion of That Time by Aaron Appel.That Time: A spotlit face is seen listening to its own voice emanating via loudspeaker from different points in the auditorium. The face itself never speaks, and its stage directions consist solely of blinking, breathing audibly and, at the very end, smiling.
Beckett's Fiction in Different Words by Leslie Hill. Reviewed by Alan Astro: "A lively study of incomprehensibilty".
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). A tribute from Leslie Hill.
- Beckett, inconnu et inconnaissable, un bel article par John Montague dans n° 35, Décembre 1969.
Des librairies Initiales: Un Dossier: Samuel Beckett. Editorial / Beckett pour contre-attaquer / Un paysage disparaît / Commencement à toutes fins utiles / plus...
- Dossier II, de Radio France: Cycle Samuel Beckett sur France Culture. Présentation / émissions / la bibliographie / la web beckettien.
Beckett, un écrivain devant Dieu par Jean Onimus."Nous remercions Jean Onimus, Professeur Honoraire de l'Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, d'avoir bien voulu mettre à la disposition de tous les agrégatifs, sur notre serveur, le contenu de son étude sur Beckett publiée aux éditions Desclée de Brouwer dans la collection Les écrivains devant Dieu en 1967. Cet ouvrage est en effet maintenant épuisé." De "France 3 en ligne": une biographie.
www.samuelbeckett.it il sito italiano dedicato a Samuel Beckett. Una brutta fissazione di Federico Fellini Platania, ma completo, impressionante e meraviglioso.
- La poesia di Samuel Beckett 18 poesie.
by Shigeru Ozawa.
Many, actually, very comprehensive Godot and Beckett pages in Japanese, and in addition:
日本サミュエル・ベケット研究会 Samuel Beckett Research Circle of Japan
The Pornographic Imagination in All Strange Away by Graham Fraser, Univ. of Reading, England.
Acting "at the nerve ends": Beckett, Blau, and the Necessary by Phillip Zarrilli, Univ. of Wisconsin.
Has Beckett's Existentialism any roots in Hegel's Philosophy? by Kenneth Knapman. Pseud's Corner: Academicspeak
Michael Guest Between Contiguous Extremes: Beckett and Brunonian Minimalism 32KBytesAn excerpt: The "rumour," as a minimal reduction of all discourse, speaks only of the logos, whose presence is affirmed, in a sense, to the extent that meaning is communicated by Beckett's text. But at the same time, the minimalist reduction of this idea, and its concretion in the "notion" described (both words are used to refer to the same thing), creates an opposite, circular form of reasoning that implies entrapment in a Wake-ian Purgatory of textuality: a pre-cogito, the "rumour," the "notion," speaks the precondition for its own being. Beckett and Foucault: Some Affinities 32KB Act of Creation in Beckett's Catastrophe 40KB
Carla LocatelliBeckett's Stirrings Still 69KBCarla qua Lucky in Godot: This deathbound subject resists the dichotomous thinking of dialectical transcendence and transcendental infinity, by articulating the reminder of "that missing word" (Beckett, 128; emphasis added), a signifier emptied of meaning, similar to the purloined space between words in the sentence, and between letters in the word. Qua signifier emptied of meaning, "a word he could not catch," i.e., "that missing word," disrupts the order of the subject (itself determined by a semantico-representational economy), threatens the teleology of subjective inscriptions, and displaces even the intentionality of Husserlian phenomenology (which would articulate a parenthesized subjectivity): "when to his ears from deep within oh how and here a word he could not catch" (126) Robert Lukehart Reflections on Samuel Beckett: The Subjective Imperative of Voice 42KB
Waiting for Godot: A Synchronicity of Opposites 9.3KB
Russell SmithBeckett, Negativity and Cultural Value 26KB.A paper presented -- after lunch -- at the "Social Justice/Social Judgement" conference, Univ. of Western Sydney, Australia, Saturday, April 25, 1998. Mr. Smith has deduced that Beckett's writings are "a bitterly negative, anti-humanist and even misanthropic body of work".
Other Sites and Pages on Beckett
- A bibliography of Beckett's works.
- Samuel Beckett in the Nobel Prize Internet Archive
When Samuel Beckett's wife heard that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature, she is said to have turned to him and pronounced simply: "Quelle catastrophe!"
Award presentation speech by Karl Ragnar Gierow of the Swedish Academy
Ever see a Nobel Prize diploma? Impressive.
And here's the accompanying medal. Sam might have been pleased — or highly amused — upon reading its inscription.
Beckett Wins Nobel for Literature N. Y. Times, Oct. 24, 1969. Registration required.
Sam won six Village Voice Off-Broadway Theatre Awards ("Obies") but he probably never attended the award ceremonies in New York and he definately didn't appear at any of the pre-ceremony cocktail parties.
- From : Beckett facts
Six years in the making, 98 (of an anticipated 100) nicely illustrated fact pages about Sam, his writings and his (and others') opinions about Life, the Universe and Everything. Many are in groups of ten:
Links to all the facts are on this page. A marvelous work of investigative blogging by “Percy Puthwuth”.
- #72: Ten classical references in Beckett
- #56: Ten diseases in Beckett
- #40: Ten Dante references
- #77: Ten horses or other vaguely equine quadrupeds
- #52: Ten dogs
- #73: Ten mistakes
- #15: Ten obscure texts written by Beckett
- #64: Ten examples of Beckett's “strangely spermatic imagination”
plus several more.
- presents... over 200 quotations by Sam and from his works, from "the largest database of quotations ever published and representing the research of 154 experts". Here's a few, each with its original Bartleby number:
“Birth was the death of him.”
-- The speaker in "A Piece of Monologue". #6252
“No, I regret nothing. All I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business, I always found.”
-- The narrator in From an Abandoned Work. #6314
“It's my dream. A world where all would be silent and still,
and each thing in its last place, under the last dust.”
-- Clov, in Endgame. #6154
“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that...
Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world.”
-- Nell, in Endgame. #6236
“Use your head, can't you, use your head. You're on earth. There's no cure for that.”
-- Hamm, in Endgame. #6176
“When I fall I'll weep for happiness.”
-- Clov's closing prediction in Endgame of when he'll finally be happy: just before he dies. Not in Bartleby database
“They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.”
-- Pozzo's fond farewell in Act 2, Godot. #6238
“We'll sit around talking about the good old days, when we wished we were dead.”
-- Attributed to Sam, describing his vision of the afterlife. Not in any database of quotes.
“It is right that he too should have his little chronicle, his memories, his reason, and be able to recognize the good in the bad, the bad in the worst, and so grow gently old down all the unchanging days, and die one day like any other day, only shorter.”
-- Malone in Malone Dies. Explanation of booby trap.
When asked his idea of God, Samuel Beckett replied without hesitation that he could only imagine him as an insane monster.
-- Attributed to Sam. Not in any database of quotes but referenced here.
“You must go on. I can't go on. I'll go on.”
-- The narrator's closing words in The Unnamable. #6294
- From buddhanet.net, the original buddhist information & education network. Snippets from various Beckett works that Buddhists evidently relate to.
- Think reprehensible. Apple's Samuel Beckett ad unsavoury at core by Vit Wagner in The Toronto Star.
- Apple is also unfriendly to the environment, according to Greenpeace.
- How Beckett Was by Karl Orend in the Times Literary Supplement. Short – and generally favorable – reviews of four books by Beckett critics and/or "scholars":
- How It Was: A memoir of Samuel Beckett by Anne AtikFrom the review: "The critical industry that has grown up around Beckett has reached epidemic proportions... Few critics seem to be aware that they might take a hint from the author himself, and his disdain for academic prose."
- Reading "Godot" by Lois Gordon
- Beckett's Eighteenth Century by Frederik N. Smith
- A Beckett Canon by Ruby Cohn.
- Relatively recent books
- The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett by John Calder. The first study of the thinking and influences which lie behind the philosophy that motivated Beckett's work. 22 out of 22 readers at Amazon.com found a review of this book to be "helpful".
Beckett in Black and Red: The Translations for Nancy Cunard's Negro, edited by Alan Friedman.
"Friedman demands a complete and utter revision of the position of Samuel Beckett, as a writer and a man, in this history of modern letters." —Jane Marcus2 translations:
"Opens up a whole new view of Beckett. The strong mutual attraction between Beckett and Cunard may help explain the leftist political views he expressed both in these superb and long-neglected translations for Negro and elsewhere in his work." —Barney Rosset
- Samuel Beckett and the Arts: Music, Visual Arts, and Non-Print Media, edited by Lois Oppenheim. A "comprehensive presentation of Samuel Beckett's use of the musical and visual arts." Twenty essays and analyses, some by well-known Beckettians. Hardcover, 416 pages (according to Barnes & Noble -- Amazon says 389), $99. Read one essay.
- Brief book descriptions
- Directing Beckett by Lois Oppenheim
- The World of Samuel Beckett by Lois Gordon
- Reading Godot by Lois Gordon
- Book review: Conversations with Samuel Beckett and Bram van Velde by Charles Juliet. Reviewed by Mark Finch in contemporary visual arts, Britain, who refers to these conversations as "interviews".
- Two samples of Sam's somewhat illegible handwriting deciphered and translated by Prof. Hans Hiebel, Graz, Austria.
- The handwritten first page of the translation of Godot into English.
- The first page of the Endgame manuscript, possibly typed by Sam, including — definately — his signature.
- Waiting for Beckett, an award winning television documentary from Global Village but given only a tepid review by Walter Goodman in the New York Times. (Other distinctly different opinions are voiced here.) Read additional comments by the producer/director or buy the video.
Hear Sam's voice.
View a 6 minute clip from Waiting for Beckett of him watching, and speaking about, his "dramaticule" What Where.
- Sir Peter Hall looks back at the first performances of Godot in English, which he directed.
- Godotmania. Hall's reflections upon the 50th anniversary date. "Theatre has never been the same." The Guardian, Jan. 4, 2003.
More from The Guardian/Observer:
- Godot almighty I. Simon Callow, July, 2005. "On the eve of its 50th anniversary [English language] production, Simon Callow traces the influence of Samuel Beckett's masterpiece."
- Godot almighty II. Peter Hall, August, 2005. "Exactly 50 years after its premiere, Samuel Beckett's timeless masterpiece can still transcend all barriers and nationalities."
- In Godot we trust. David Smith, March, 2009. "[Beckett's] genius lay in creating a work that, more than half a century on, still speaks to audiences, particularly in troubled times." Includes comments by those involved in some landmark performances.
- 16 questions of a theological nature that preoccupied Jacques Moran in Molloy (pp. 166-7).
- How one person researched, produced and directed a performance of Endgame. Seven phases, 46 very short pages which could stand a bit of proofreading. A master's thesis by Leon Ingulsrud, theatre artist.
- Read about The Old Tune, performed by the Tübingen, Germany Anglo-Irish Theatre Group. Amusing, but not pure Beckett.
Listen to the Gare St Lazare Players radio dramatization on RTE.
- Company on stage at Williams College, by Lawrence Graver
- Interactive Beckett (real, not virtual), from no less than The Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Virtual (not real) Beckett. Play as seen through i-glasses. We must be in Kansas (at the University).
- Waiting for Godot in various modes by "Richard Harter, Human Being?". Commentaries on Godot by: a preacher; Marxist; Freudian; pseudo-intellectual; feminist; evolutionary psychologist; Zen Buddhist; and deconstructionist.
- Amazon.com Customers' Comments about Waiting for Godot.
Avg. Customer Review: Number of Reviews: 170 (as of May, 2010)
One entire review by a reader from Newark, New Jersey: "If Read Properly... This Book Will Save Your Life".
- Striking – mostly – scenes from shorter plays: Act Without Words 1; Act Without Words 2; Breath; Come and Go1; Come and Go2; Eh Joe!1; Eh Joe!2; Footfalls; Ohio Impromptu; Play1; Play2; That Time; Not I; Rockaby; Rough for Theatre 2; Ghost Trio; Quad II; Catastrophe; All Strange Away (monologue); Happy Days; Krapp's Last Tape; and Endgame.
- Images (not "portraits", but "identities in motion") of Sam by artist Louis Le Brocquy in 1987, again in 1987, 1989, 1992 and 1994. Really striking."Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." David Levine tries in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1978, 1981 and 1986. Does he fail better? You decide.
- The Samuel Beckett Endpage A comprehensive Beckett site devoted to the author and his works. Many interesting pages including:
- A photo gallery
- A short biography
- Timeline A chronology of his life and works in the context of his times.
- Beckett on Stage Current and upcoming productions, world wide.
- The Beckett Bulletin Board -- A Miscellany of News and Inquiry.
- The official page of The Samuel Beckett Society
- And much more.
- The Dutch Samuel Beckett Foundationand Het Beckett blad (The Beckett Sheet), its semi-annual Newsletter.
- The Maison Samuel-Beckett Association
An association created in 1997 for the purpose of purchasing the house in Roussillon where Beckett lived during World War II and opening it to the public as a cultural center and a "Writers Home".
- Forums, Discussions, Blogs
- Yahoo eGroups beckettlist mailing list. This group was once the most interesting forum but not any more. It was basically a medium of exchange for people already conversant in Beckett but now it's been almost totally taken over by spammers. Still, some of the messages in the archives, going back to June of 1999, provide an interesting historical perspective. To browse [sic] over them, click here, scroll down to "Message History" and pick a nice month and year.
- Here's another Yahoo Beckett group, Samuel Beckett DialogNet, that hasn't yet been discovered by the spammers nor, unfortunately, by hardly anyone else. 38 messages in nine years. To even read the messages you've got to have a Yahoo ID and be approved for membership by the group "owner".
- It took a while, but the always sparse Samuel Beckett group has now been taken over by the spammers. No matter, because...
- The Samuel Beckett provides thousands of links to blogs in at least 43 languages.
- Waiting for Godot colorful message board.. 174 threads, hundreds of messages dating back to 2001.
- The New Café Literature Conference Samuel Beckett topic. Registration required to even have a look at this moribund board.
- Yes, newsgroups are still around.
- Newsgroup postings with "Samuel Beckett" in the subject (hundreds)
- Newsgroup postings with "Samuel Beckett" in the text (thousands)
- Color coded essays and research papers, many quite good, from (so help me) .
Red essays: Free. Orange Yellow Purple Blue Aqua Green essays and papers: Not free, each color being better than the previous one, culminating with Green: “Research Paper” (formerly “Fantastic Essay”).
- Full list of Beckett related essays.
- Three of the lengthier Red essays:
- Technology and Ethics as Depicted in Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five
- Waiting for Godot: Clear Criticism of Christianity. This was borrowed from The parallels between Christ and Lucky, a link posted in the Papers on Beckett section, above. It originally appeared — and was promptly removed from — here.
- Comparing Synge’s Riders to the Sea and Beckett’s Endgame
- Waiting for Godot Online Study Guide. Click on the Act I and Act II topics to view Summaries and Commentaries. "Cliff Notes™ cost money but SparkNotes are FREE".
- Literature Guides
eNotes are content-rich study guides that include an introduction to the work, an author biography, a plot summary to help readers unravel and understand the events in the work, and stuff like that. eNotes cost money.
- Lecture time at : English 2302, Lesson 6: Waiting for Godot. Study these notes and then write an essay (but "avoid plot summary").
- Still confused? Why not enroll in a one year, full time M.A. course in Beckett Studies at the University of Reading, England. Requires writing a 20,000 word dissertation and taking a viva voce examination.
- The Beckett International Foundation at the Univ. of Reading.
- The Beckett Collection at the Univ. of Reading. Over 750 books and documents.
- First click on Quick Login.
- In "Search Options" box, click on "Author/Title Search"
- Enter Samuel Beckett in "author" space
- For library: Select "Search Special Collections Service"
- For language: Select ANY, English or another
- For material: Select ANY, printed text or another
- For collection: Select "Beckett Collection"
- Click on Search
- Are you a Beckettian? If so, you should have no trouble correctly answering at least ten of The Guardian's twelve multiple choice quiz questions about Sam and his works. Fill in the answers, then either click on Submit or view the correct answers here. 2003.
- Answers to 20-question Beckett quiz (one of which is wrong, and another questionable). The winner's choice of books was Samuel Beckett and the Arts edited by Lois Oppenheim.
- Yet another quiz, this one from "Braingle". It's so easy you should get 9 out of 10, yet half the people who tried missed five. Probably Americans, who make up 70% of his visitors.
- Beckett the first class cricketer. He was an opening left hand batsman and left arm medium pace bowler, and once went wicketless for 64 runs.
Sam in Heaven? Oil painting by Brian O'Toole of 1920's cricket pitch scene.
Sam as Palliaci? Pastel painting by Moya Acton
- Godot parodies
Waiting for the Unknown
Waiting for Gatchaman
Waiting For Krapp
Waiting for Merlin
Waiting for 501
Waiting for Sam
Waiting for Godot Pastiche
Waiting for the Toad. Didi's and Gogo's alter egos guest star in
"Waiting for Godot", performed by the Guinea Pig Theatre (2 min. 24 sec.).
Flash animation. Download Flash player
"Since guinea pigs excel at waiting (among other things),
who better to bring this masterpiece to life than Guinea Pig Theater!"
- Samuel Beckett as Inspiration
- to the Oregon State Archives.
- to a South African management consultant firm.
- to an artist, Marc Snyder, who perceives Godot as Nightmare
- to the composer, Michael Mantler, who was especially impressed by Watt.
- to Jim Poyser, Zeitguy, who sat down and composed a satire of culture and journalism, Just Ask Buckett.
- to Francis Warner, who established The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust.
- The 2003 Theatre Trust Award winner.
- The 2004 Theatre Trust Award winner.
- The 2005 Theatre Trust Award winner.
- The 2006 Theatre Trust Award winner.
- The 2007 Theatre Trust Award winner.
- The 2008 Theatre Trust Award winner
- The 2009 Theatre Trust Award winner
- The 2010 Theatre Trust Award winner
- to the whimsical administration of St. James's Hospital, Dublin, naming their psychiatric ward after Sam.
- to the city Fathers (and, presumably, Mothers) of Dublin who have decided to name a stunning new span over the Liffey River
The Samuel Beckett BridgeSee full size imagesHere are several views of it sitting on barges as it arrived in Dublin from its construction site in Holland. There's probably a memorial plaque honoring Sam placed on or next to it. However his famous tribute to Ireland which he related to Israel Shenker, on why he had departed for France in 1940, is probably not included in the text: "I preferred France in war to Ireland at peace."
- Ireland, right up to the present day, has maintained a Censorship of Publications Board.
- Here are some of the many authors who have been banned in Ireland over the years, Sam amongst them, of course. And here is a list of individual books and magazines which the censors haven't liked very much. Finally, a book on films focuses on the 1920-70 period when Irish censors banned 3,000 films and made cuts to an additional 10,000.
- Any information or counselling regarding abortion still cannot advocate encouraging or promoting it. Violators are subject to a fine not exceeding £1500 (€1900). However any such information involving anti-abortion advocacy is perfectly legal.
- THE GIST OF IT, a publication of anyman.com Sam played out his endgame just before the Coming of the Internet, but here's a page that might have brightened up his day.
- Sam's dog, a Kerry Blue terrier, allegedly the breed of dog referred to in Krapp's Last Tape.
- Sam's car
A 1963 Citroen 2CV, the beloved French "people's car" (called "Deux Chevaux", Two Horses, in France). Originally advertised on the Internet on Oct. 12, 1998, but has now been sold. Don't feel bad, it was obviously "not cheap".
- From , Smithville, New Jersey
- A tee shirt. Front: Back: $22.
- From the Shop, Shrewsbury, New Jersey.
- A 5 inch bronze bust statue. $40.
- Beckett's Dublin Beer. No comment.
Samuel Beckett's Hamburg Diary, October-December, 1936
From the » Beckett in Town « website: The posthumous discovery of Beckett's "German Diaries 1936/37" brought to light that he had a fairly substantial connection with Hamburg, and as a young man on educational travels, he observed the city's cultural and political goings on from early October to early December 1936.Excerpts from each day's diary entry, from October 2 to December 4, 1936, can be found beginning here. (Oct. 3 & 4 are missing.) Each page also contains a brief annotation in English, plus thumbnails of mostly pre-war photos of Hamburg that can be enlarged by clicking on them. To go to the next or previous date, click on the left or right arrow of , or to proceed directly to a particular date, click on that date at the bottom of the screen. Attempting to improve his German, Beckett wrote many diary entries fully or partially in that language, but here the supplementary annotation always supplies clarity.
In his diary, he recorded all of his visits to the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Arts Center) and he commented on the increasingly restrictive national-socialist [Nazi] culture politics in artistic circles, as experienced by the "Hamburg Secession" group which was already forbidden in 1936. It was thanks to private contacts that he gained access to the closed-off sections of the Kunsthalle and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Arts and Trades). He was further confronted with national-socialist ideology in everyday life, on his walking tours through the city, in the boarding house, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper and while drinking his evening beer.
Wikipedia / Beckett Interviews
- "This article is on the writer Samuel Barclay Beckett (April 13, 1906–December 22, 1989). For [Dr. Sam Beckett], the TV series fictional scientist, see Quantum Leap.
Other Wikipedia Beckett sites:
- The Hapless Dilettante News The Samuel Beckett Interviews
Some posted without explicit permission.
- Act Without Words.
Graphics by Kristina Pugliese, Illinois State Univ.
- Act Without Words II
- Breath ("Inspiration" = Inhalation, "Expiration" = Exhalation)
Londoners gasp at Beckett's 35-second play by Paul Keller, Reuters.
- Come and Go
- Eh, Joe
- Fizzle 3 and Fizzle 4
- Texts for Nothing #4
- Imagination Dead Imagine
- Here's one example of why scholars and intellectuals — in this case a computer scientist and a student of English and International Affairs — are drawn to Sam:Lessness: Randomness, Consciousness and Meaning by Elizabeth Drew and Mads Haahr, Trinity College, Univ. of Dublin.
From a previous abstract: "Lessness is a prose piece in which Beckett used random permutation to order 60 sentences... and is comprised of two of the approximately 8.3 x 1081 possible orderings of these sentences. The authors have developed a web site that generates versions of Lessness, exploring the effects of the capabilities of computing in the creation and exploration of art."
Keywords: chaos, randomness, Samuel Beckett, postmodern fiction, permutation, consciousness
- Sing (or hum) a bit of Lessness along with the Andy Laster Quartet, who have captured "something of Beckett's...obtuse, oddly-vaudevillian humor".
- Dante and the Lobster
- Not I
- A Piece of Monologue
Listen to Ronald Pickup read it. (128 Kbps broadband)
- Stirrings Still
- Company (excerpts)
- The sucking stones sequence from Molloy.
"An activity which, in Beckett, is not so meaningless as it first appears; it involves thinking about
life, about order and chaos — and the everlasting human longing to escape entropy."
- The "conceptual writing" in Watt. Footwear, movements around the room, and furniture positions including chairs.
Spend the years of learning squandering
courage for the years of wandering
through a world politely turning
from the loutishness of learning.
... I would like my love to die
and the rain to be falling on the graveyard
and on me walking the streets
mourning the first and last to love me.
Cascando [Beckett later used this name for a radio play he wrote.]
- Another slice: what would I do without this world
Apprehensions of Reality by Elmer G. Wiens, Univ. of British Columbia. Read an engrossing comparison of "Cascando" with the poetry of T. S. Eliot, in particular his "Burnt Norton", both poets expressing a desire for love and union, albeit of differing types.Echo's Bones
The Vulture / Enueg I / Enueg II / Alba / Dortmunder / Sanies I / Sanies IIRoundelay
Serena I / Serena II / Serena III / Malacoda / Da Tage Es / Echo's Bones
One evening (Prose poem)
All dream all away Sam's shortest work.
What is the Word. Sam's very last work.
- Two texts, nicely parsed and punctuated by Colin Greenlaw:
- The Unnamable The last sentence.
- Most of Worstward Ho. The original, interspersed with Colin's "elaborated version...a guide to a beautiful but complex narrative."
Brief review in The New Yorker (1984)
- Krapp's Last Tape
Endgame in Finnish
- Waiting for Godot
To both read and listen to a fine, two-part live staged reading of Act 1 by the Stratford Festival players as recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio, click here. Pozzo is superb.Annotated version by Penelope Merritt
If you don't own any books by Beckett, acquiring this "classic tragicomedy" is one of the best ways to get started. In the U.S., the Grove Press paperback edition can be ordered online by clicking here: ($9.62) or here: ($11.70).
Was würde ich tun ohne diese Welt (Gedicht)
que ferais-je sans ce monde (poème)
Due poesie: cosa farei senza questo mondo / Nel morto d'una notte.
У чаканьні Гадо (Waiting for Godot)
Czekajac na Godot (Akt 1 tylko)
Krepp utolsó szalagja (Krapp's Last Tape)
Azkenburuko bulkadak (Stirrings Still)
Esperando a Godot
Textos para Nada (1)
Una tarde (One evening)
Sobresaltos (Stirrings Still)
Waiting for Godot
On-Line Bookstores and Book Sets
- Books by Beckett
- Books about Beckett.
Amazon.fr: Livres en français
- Books by
- Books about
- Barnes and Noble
- Books by
- Books about
- Powell's Books
- Books by
- Books about
- W. H. Smith ("At the frontiers of technology and customer service").
- Books by.
- Books about.
- Calder Publications
A brief personal memoir, followed by a list of books published by Beckett's friend, John Calder, some of which are available nowhere else. Included in this list are Beckett Shorts, a series of twelve shorter writings, the best known being First Love, Worstward Ho and Three Novellas (The Expelled, The Calmative and The End). All twelve are available individually or together as a boxed set. All have covers with photographs of Sam caught in different moods.
- SAMUEL BECKETT: The Grove Centenary Edition.
In commemoration of the centenary of his birth, April 13, 2006, Grove Press has published a special four-volume edition of Beckett's collected works, with introductory comment by Edward Albee, J. M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie and Colm Tóibín. There is also a new bilingual edition of Waiting for Godot. More information is available on the Grove Press website. However, Grove (inadvertently?) forgot to post which works are included in each volume, so as a public service, here are the complete Tables of Contents.
- A review in the Globe & Mail, Toronto:
"Say it again and again and again, Sam. Could there be a better way to spend a rainy day than reading one of the greatest writers in the English language? Thirteen pages into the newly collected four-volume set of the perversely difficult Samuel Beckett, IAN BROWN had his answer. The pressure, the pain... the punctuation!"
- Beckett the Difficult, Beckett the Brash, Beckett the Prolific. Jonathan Kalb in the New York Times, realizing he couldn't review all of the 105 works in these volumes, concentrated instead on the introductory comments of the four famous authors. Quite sensible. Registration required.
Film and Video
The Beckett Film Project. A new filming of all 19 plays, starring Jeremy Irons, Julianne Moore, Barry McGovern, Harold Pinter, John Gielgud (in his last acting appearance) and others. The entire program of films is being shown on Britain's Channel 4 and on RTE in Ireland (the co-producers), and has now been released as a boxed video set.
Channel 4's Beckett on Film website. A lovely, comprehensive site encompassing dozens of pages including a brief critical introduction to the plays, a chronology of Beckett's life, information about the origins of the project and the films' producers, synopses about each film and stills and clips from the films. Quite impressive.
The boxed set is now available for purchase, all 19 plays on four DVDs.
- In the UK/Ireland from Amazon.co.uk, £85.
- In the US from Documentary-Video ($130) or Ambrose Video ($150).
On videocasette and DVD
- Four are individually for sale from Canada on DVD and VHS NTSC.
Beckett goes to Hollywood by Tillmann Allmer in The Observer, Nov. 19, 2000. An excellent summation of the entire project that follows an unfortunate headline, given the fact that none of these plays were filmed in Hollywood. Indeed, one (Happy Days) was shot outdoors on a volcano in the Canary Islands.
Stardust Melancholy. Jonathan Kalb asks: Does the filming of Samuel Beckett's complete works compromise his theatrical legacy? On the Theatre Communications Group website.
Blobs, babble and blackness. Adrian Searle is overwhelmed by Comedie (Play). In The Guardian, Dec. 9, 2000.
Short reviews of several of the films by Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Sept. 15, 2000.
- has evidently given permission for at least seven of the Beckett on Film plays to be uploaded to its website. View each and every one here...while they remain available:
Other Beckett YouTube videos include Film, and Not I (featuring Billie Whitelaw's mouth, 1973).
- What Where Part 1 Part 2
- Ohio Impromptu Legendado em Português
- Act Without Words 1 Part 1 Part 2
- Act Without Words 2
- Come and Go
- Scathing critiques of David Mamet, the director of Catastrophe, by two out of three crritics who evidently know the play well and feel that David got it all wrong.
- Play Google video
- Clip: Act 1 of Waiting for Godot. The opening 9 minutes, 39 seconds.
- Clip: 57 seconds from Waiting for Godot. Somber lament by a confused Vladimir (Barry McGovern).
- Film, black and white, silent, 24 minutes, divided into three parts: 1 2 3.
Packed into a single part from UbuWeb, 24 minutes, but digitized rather poorly.
- Not I, black and white, 15 minutes.
- Damned to Fame...with Love. A five minute video tribute to Sam by Joanna Oliveira ("GalaSmile"), Portugal.
View Beckett's most famous stage plays captured on film and converted to video, presented by the San Quentin Drama Workshop using Beckett's stage directions.
Takes up to a minute to build a starting buffer, and if it comes up in Pause mode, click on Play.
- Waiting for Godot, colour, 137 minutes.
- Endgame, colour. 96 minutes.
- Krapp's Last Tape, colour, 46 minutes.
There are also several Beckett Directs Beckett clips elsewhere on the Web, as follows:
- Lucky's speech is here, 5 minutes, 10 seconds.
- NPR has posted two clips, 5 minutes and 1 minute, from Krapp's Last Tape.
- The humorous (click to see why) Godot carrot banter is here on YouTube, 3 min., 53 sec. YouTube has some additional San Quentin Drama Workshop short clips here, including a number of Beckett Directs Beckett excerpts.
Sketch by Tom Phillips of Beckett directing the San Quentin group in a rehearsal of Godot.
- Evergreen Review videos
Waiting for Godot (the version with Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith, 1961) 102 min., B&W
- View 45 seconds of Pozzo's famous (and here a bit melodramatic) exit from Godot, Act 2. From an as yet unidentified video. Requires broadband.
- Happy Days
A video of the original airing of Happy Days, June 25, 1980 on WNET/13, New York, in their Great Performances series. Distributed by The Broadway Theatre Archive.
Starring Irene Worth as Winnie and George Voskovec as Willie. Directed by David Heeley and produced by Joseph Papp. DVD, 90 minutes, color. $24.95.
- From facets video, a non-profit media arts organization.
Krapp's Last Tape starring Jack MacGowran, about whom Beckett once said, "I didn't have to talk to him; I didn't have to direct him. He just knew." A 1971 recording. $59.95 DVD.
- Global Village videos
- Waiting for Beckett
View a 6 minute clip of Sam speaking.
- Peephole Art: Beckett for Television
Quad I & II
- View 64 seconds of a Quad I performance. From Media Art Net, Germany. If it comes up in Pause mode, click on Play.
- British Universities Film and Video Council
(Available in PAL or NTSC format).
Eh, Joe! Beckett's first play written specifically for television. Original 1972 taping. 25 minutes.
What?...Who?...No!...She! Renowned Beckett scholar and biographer James Knowlson discusses with Billie Whitelaw the background to her performances of several of his works. 34 minutes.
Thirty-nine today Max Wall, the actor and former music-hall comedian, discusses with James Knowlson his experiences acting Krapp. 21 minutes.
- Samuel Beckett Radio Plays
The original plays produced by the BBC, 1957-1976. Distributed by the British Library as a 4-CD set, £40.
- CD 1: All That Fall
- CD 2: From an Abandoned Work / Embers
- CD 3: The Old Tune / Words and Music
- CD 4: Cascando / Rough for Radio II
Produced by Voices International, 1986-89, and distributed by Evergreen Review.
Each CD is $20.
- All That Fall, 2 CDs.
- Words and Music. Music composed by Morton Feldman.
- Rough for Radio II
Performed by the Gare St Lazare Players on RTE Ireland as part of the 2006 Beckett Centenary Festival.
Listen to them here, free of charge. All are RealAudio. Broadband NOT required.
- Embers 37:38. Begins after an introduction to the series by its producer, Aidin Mathews (19 min.).
- Words and Music 32:38. Try figuring it out with the text and perhaps even sing along with "Words", or go here for an explanation.
- Rough for Radio I 27:31.
- Rough for Radio II 29:58.
- The Old Tune 29:58.
- All That Fall 1:14:58.
- Cascando 27:58.
- From , Britain. Listen to a two part interview with Samuel Beckett's biographer, James Knowlson.
- Waiting for Godot
A live staged reading by the Stratford Festival players recorded by CBC Radio.
On two audio casettes from the CBC. $15.95 US.
From Textbookx.com $13.72.
- Listen to the entire Act 1 in Real Audio.
- Listen to Vladimir sing, in German, "A dog came in the kitchen" at the beginning of Act 2. From a 1981 Deutsche Grammophon recording of the play.
On . Beckett's comic masterpiece about "romantic entanglements that foil the search for metaphysical certitude". Narrated by Fionnula Flanagan and featuring 20 of the finest English and Irish voices. Produced in association with Viper Records, TZ Entertainment and The San Quentin Drama Workshop.
The complete unabridged text on six CDs, $50.00. Available at no cost to prisons.
Listen to six Sections -- more than an hour -- in streaming broadband mp3 (160Kbps).
- Molloy, performed on audio CD by Conor Lovett. A Gare St Lazare Players production.
From the reviews of Conor Lovett's stage performance: "Masterly" The Irish Times "Magnificent" The Sunday Times "Beautiful" The Independent "Pure Brilliance" The Stage.
View a taste of Conor's performance (2 minutes), perhaps enough to discover why he merits these accolades.
- Readings and performances from , Britain, and , USA. Audio samples from most of these Beckett works can be heard.
- Waiting for Godot. An audio performance by Sean Barrett, David Burke, Terence Rigby and Nigel Anthony, and directed by John Tydeman, for many years head of BBC Radio Drama. On two CDs, approx. 2 hours.
- Four dramatic performances. Krapp's Last Tape, read by Jim Norton, Not I, read by Juliet Stevenson, That Time, read by John Moffat and A Piece of Monologue, read by Peter Marinker. Two CDs, approx. 2-1/2 hours.
- Molloy, read in its entirety by Dermot Crowley and Sean Barrett. On seven CDs. Running time: approx. 7 hours.
- Malone Dies, read in its entirety by Sean Barrett. Five CDs. Running time: approx. 6 hours.
- The Unnamable, read in its entirety by Sean Barrett. Five CDs. Running time: approx. 6 hours.
- CD of Words and Music. A 1987 radio play collaboration between Beckett and composer Morton Feldman. Performed by the Ensemble Recherche on a Disques Montaigne CD.
- Listen to Ubu Web Sounds. All are in MP3 at broadband speed.
- A Piece of Monologue read by Ronald Pickup. Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, has added a nice “sound installation” background (electronic music). To read along, here's the text.
- Krapp's Last Tape, performed by Donald Davis. MP3, 224Kbps.
A bit of ephemera from the record jacket:Sleep is lovely, death is better still
Not to have been born is of course
the miracle. Entire jacket...
- To both read and listen to this splendid, 2-part performance, click here.
- Text for Nothing #8, read by Jack MacGowran. MP3.
- ...the whole thing's coming out of the dark Beckett used this terminology to describe the origin and quality of his radio plays. Three texts are read here by the actress Natasha Parry, the actor Barry McGovern and the American author Raymond Federman. The playing directions for the instrumentalist on this CD (Uwe Dieksen) are allegedly derived directly from the so-called sucking stones sequence in Beckett's novel Molloy. Intermedium Records. Order it (new, from eBay Germany) or go to Ubu Web and listen here (to yes, the whole thing) in MP3.
- France Culture broadcasts. Écouter eux: L'Image / Malone Meurt / Le Depeupleur / Cindres / L'expulsé / Actes san paroles / Bing. Très bon.
- EPISODE 7: SAMUEL BECKETT, YOUR RIDE IS HERE Listen
Sci Fi audio drama, featuring Bill Irwin as Carlyle & John Turturro as Benjamin. 23 minutes. Fairly clever and witty.
- Listen to a reading of Ping by blogger/wastrel Scoot. 8 min., 7 sec.
- MacGowran Speaking Beckett. Jack MacGowran speaks extracts from seven of Beckett's works. On Claddagh Records.
- Billie Whitelaw, actress, lecturer and author, describes "the pleasure (mostly) and pain (only a little)" of working with Beckett. Hear it in Real Audio (10 min.). Registration required.
Beckett Festivals and Events
- Beckett Festival and Symposium, The Hague, 1992
- The Beckett Festival, Lincoln Center, 1996, in a piece by Louis Menand in Slate entitled "Now What I Wonder Do I Mean By That: Interpreting Beckett".
- Dispelling the Gloom. Richard Corliss's report on it in Time magazine.
Mini-Festival, Chicago, June, 2000.
QUAD / PLAY / ACT WITHOUT WORDS 2 / KRAPP'S LAST TAPE
Cryptic Productions Samuel Beckett Festival
Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 13-22, 2000. A ten day Scottish-led international event that took an "innovative and radical approach" to Beckett in presenting a programme of theatre, dance, film and educational events, and a new contemporary chamber opera.
- Beckett on Film, Nederland 3 television. April 30 - August 27, 2002, The Netherlands. All 19 plays.
- Beckett on Film, PBS, USA. Sunday, September 15, 2002, 10 PM. Seven of the shorter works, and on Jan. 1, 2003 at 9:30 PM, Waiting for Godot.
- Samuel Beckett Symposium
Sydney, Australia, Jan. 6-10, 2003
A CELEBRATION OF THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF WAITING FOR GODOTSydney will host a series of events including premieres of new productions of Godot and Endgame, cultural events exploring the diversity of Beckett's artistic influence, radio broadcasts of his works, visual arts exhibitions and a likely screening of the Beckett on Film plays. In addition, a conference will gather leading academics and practitioners in the fields of Beckett studies and theatre performance from around the world.
- Images of Beckett: Photographs by John Haynes
At the National Theatre, London, September 22 to November 8, 2003. A collection of photos of Beckett's works in preparation and performance, and newly exhibited photos of the playwright himself.
- Hardback book from Cambridge University Press.
- Newark, Delaware, USA.
A celebration on the occasion of the University Library's exhibition of the Sir Joseph Gold collection of works by and about Samuel Beckett. Includes performances by Billie Whitelaw and Pierre Chabret, and an inaugural lecture by Ruby Cohn. Open to the public. Billie Whitelaw performance $10, all other events are free of charge. Complete schedule.
- Blessed Unrest - An Evening of Samuel Beckett
Play, Rockaby and That Time, presented by the Chaikin Memorial Theater, a new performing arts organization.
New York City, January 14-25, 2004.
- A moving, two-part tribute in the Village Voice to Joseph Chaikin (1935-2003), the highly acclaimed and much admired actor and director.
- , New York City, starring Tony Roberts, Adam Heller, Kathryn Grody and Alvin Epstein. At the Irish Repertory Theatre, Feb. 15-Apr. 10, 2005.
- Access All Beckett with Conor Lovett and The Gare St Lazare Players
A suite of 5 recitals of classic Beckett prose pieces touring as a package for 2005 and 2006.
- Texts for Nothing and Worstward Ho, March 9/10, 2005, at the Irish Cultural Centre, Paris.
- Texts for Nothing, Enough and Worstward Ho, April 4-16, 2005, at the Cork 2005 Festival, Cork, Ireland.
- PRÉSENCE DE SAMUEL BECKETT, August 1-August 11, 2005. An 11 day Beckett colloquium at Le Centre Culturel International de Cerisy la Salle, Basse-Normandie, France.Ce colloque se propose, à la veille du centenaire de la naissance de l’auteur, de faire le point sur son importance en tenant compte de l’apport de la recherche internationale. Il proposera des lectures et des sujets de discussion autour des thèmes majeurs de l’œuvre beckettienne: ses racines dans le passé, sa portée culturelle et artistique, sa dimension philosophique et esthétique, ses interférences avec d’autres cultures et d’autres formes d’art, son influence enfin sur les générations suivantes en France et à l’étranger. La langue de travail sera le français mais on ne négligera pas évidemment le côté bilingue. (The working language will be French but the bilingual side will obviously not be neglected.)
- At the Centre Culturel Irlandais , Paris.
- Thursday, April 13, 2006: The first of several Beckett centenary events, a discussion with Irish author John Banville.
- Friday, May 19: A reading of Samuel Beckett's Textes pour Rien by the famous "Lecteurs sonores" Les Livreurs.
- Friday, July 7: The Godot Company presents Beckett's Outbursts, a 75-minute compilation focusing on the comic sections of Watt.
- Wednesday, October 4: A talk on wine and the heritage of the Roussillon region so beloved by Sam.
- Tuesday, October 10: John Calder recalls Samuel Beckett: "A combination lecture and theatrical performance."
- Monday-Friday, November 13-17: A staged reading by Alexandre Fabre of Premier Amour.
- Thursday-Friday, May 3-4, 2007: Beckett's Ghosts. "Durational" (continuous, repeated every 20 minutes) performances of Not I and Breath.
- Tuesday-Wednesday, October 21-22, 2008: First Love. Conor Lovett of the Gare St Lazare Players recites in its entirety this Samuel Beckett novella.
- Thursday, March 12, 2009: The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1. Two of its associate editors will discuss the Parisian launch of this volume.
- Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies, 2007
A seminar at Oxford University, April-June, 2007.
Nine Beckett scholars will reassess Beckett's bi-directional position by examining some of the recently uncovered influences that shaped his own unique writings, and by scrutinizing, in turn, how his image and his work influenced other authors, thinkers, composers and visual artists.
- Fragments at the Young Vic, London. 15 September 2007 – 6 October 2007.
Rockaby / Rough for Theatre I / Act Without Words II / Come and Go / Neither
Directed by Peter Brook
“Five little known plays by the greatest theatre poet since Aeschylus [ESS kih las 525-456 BC].”
- 5th Annual Samuel Beckett Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 21 - December 15, 2007. Act Without Words I & II and Happy Days
- Baryshnikov Speaks (but not very much)
BECKETT SHORTS at the , 79 East 4th St. in the East Village.
First previews, December 5, 2007. Performances, December 16, 2007 – January 20, 2008. Tickets on sale starting Nov. 2.
- Big Fun in Purgatory Review in .
- Performances in Europe, Turkey and the USA, May 7 - July 28, 2008.
First Love by Samuel Beckett is a novella. In Gare St Lazare Players's production it is recited in its entirety by Conor Lovett with direction by Judy Hegarty Lovett. On Tour in five European cities (Athens, Bucharest, Geneva, Sofia and Lille), Turkey (Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir) and Ventura, California, Spring and Summer, 2008.The cracked and crackling narrator of First Love tells of how he met a woman on a bench, went back to live with her and left her as she was giving birth to his child. He has all the pertinacity of that bonedeep fatigue which gives Beckett’s decrepit figures their ruthless strength.Christopher Ricks
One could hardly come up with a better human instrument to intone the sonorous waves of Beckett’s blasphemous comic prose than Conor Lovett. Los Angeles Times
- Performances in New York City, January 9 - 18, 2009
- 32-county tour waiting for 'Godot'
Sept./Oct., 2008 The Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot is to go on the biggest tour ever seen in the country [Ireland].
Actors will bring the production to 40 venues across 32 counties during eight weeks in September and October.
The gruelling all-island tour is being organised by Dublin's Gate Theatre to mark its 80th anniversary.
The actors include Alan Stanford, Barry McGovern and Stephen Brennan who were also featured in the original Gate performance of the Beckett classic 20 years ago. [..more]
- Britain's turn.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to boldly Godot
March - June, 2009
Waiting for Godot will be turning up in British theatres in 2009, courtesy of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.
The two venerable stage actors will be taking a new production of Godot on a short regional tour (Great Malvern, Milton Keynes, Brighton, Bath, Norwich, Edinburgh, Newcastle) in the new year before opening for a longer run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London's West End.
Details, tour dates at the official website.
- Where from? Where now? Mapping Samuel Beckett“This series of nine monthly evening readings explores the work of Beckett in relation to Europe's history of ideas reflected in the landmarks of its literary landscape... The series takes key thinkers and writers country by country, exploring Beckett as the principle literary intelligence of post-war Europe, picking through the debris of ideas for sure routes to a humane future at a time when a traumatised Europe was literally having to think for its life.”
Wednesday 9th September, 2009 The Bible - "The bastard, he doesn't exist!"
Wednesday 21st October The Greeks
Wednesday 4th November The Italians: Dante, Ovid, Pirandello
Wednesday 16th Dec The Philosophers: Guelincx, Descartes, Schopenhauer
Wednesday 13th Jan, 2010 The English: Shakespeare
Wednesday 3rd Feb The French: Rabelais, Racine, Rimbaud, Proust...
Wednesday 3rd Mar The Irish: Yeats, Joyce
Yeats, Joyce, censorship and self-imposed exile will be the stuff of the evening, followed by another stimulating discussion with the Godot Company of actors.Wednesday 7th April The Man Himself
Wednesday 5th May The successors
2006 Centennial Festivities
- Beckett Paris Festival Season 2006-2007 (Archived)
For the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett, a huge festival has been organised to celebrate his masterpieces. 19 plays will be presented and various other dance, music and artistic events will take place.
From September to December 2006 : Plays at La Comédie Française, Bouffes du Nord, Théâtre de la Ville, Théâtre de l’Athénée-Louis Jouvet, Grand Parquet, Théâtre Silvia Monfort, Théâtre Paris-Villette, Théâtre du Rond-Point, Bibliothèque Nationale de France...
From March to June 2007, Samuel Beckett exhibition at Centre Pompidou and at other venues.
Festival Paris Beckett full program En français (pdf) (Archived). Downloads very slowly but worth the wait, even if you don't speak French.
beckett centenary festival 2006
at the barbican centre, London.
- Spanning 40 days and 40 nights in March, April and May, a cornucopia of Beckett performances and events:
- 69 stage performances, featuring a celebrated production by the Gate Theatre, Dublin, of Waiting for Godot, directed by Walter Asmus.
- 15 film showings.
- 6 prose and poetry readings.
- 4 panel discussions.
beckett centenary festival 2006 (Archived)
in Dublin at the Gate Theatre and other venues
- Gare St Lazare Players Ireland and RTE Radio One (Irish national radio) are co-producing new versions of the Beckett Radio Plays for broadcast during the Beckett Centenary Festival, April 10-16, 2006. Listen to any or all of them, free of charge.
- Beckett at Reading UK 2006 (Archived)
- SAMUEL BECKETT IN KASSEL, GERMANY. Beckett-Jahr 2006: Das Kasseler Programm, Mai-Juli, 2006.
- Kulturstiftung des Bundes - Samuel Beckett: Residua. Berlin, Tel Aviv, Krakau, February-April, 2006.
- FESTIVAL BECKETT BUENOS AIRES Abril/Mayo/Junio 2006.
- Sofia, BulgariaSamuel Beckett Festival, 27 April-12 May.
Complete Beckett on Film screenings; centenary exhibition; performance of Not I; lecture.
- Beckett at 100: New Perspectives. An International Conference
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, Feb. 9-11, 2006.
- Red Bank, New Jersey, to Host 2006 Festival Celebrating Samuel Beckett on his Centennial. At the Two River Theatre Company, Mar.16-Apr. 8, 2006.
- The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the Univ. of Texas will commemorate the centenary with a Web exhibition.
- Centennial inspired Symposia, Conferences, Seminars, Colloquiums, Palaver
from June to December, 2006
- Aix-en-Provence, Université de Provence. 14, 15 et 16 juin: Samuel Beckett et les quatre éléments.
- Rio de Janeiro, Centro Cultural Telemar. July 11 to 23: Festival Beckett 100 Años.
- Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Sept. 20-Oct. 19: Samuel Beckett: Obra para cine y television. (pdf)
- Tokyo,Waseda University. Sept. 29-Oct. 1: Int'l. Samuel Beckett Symposium. 国 際サミュエル・ベケットシンポジウム 東京
- London, Birbeck and Goldsmiths Colleges, Tate Modern. 5-7 October: Beckett & Company.
- Paris, École Normale Supérieure. 20-21 Octobre: Beckett and the Thirties.
- Hamburg, Hauptgebäude der Universität Hamburg, Hörsaal B. 10-12 November: Beckett in Town: Die Stadt al Inspirationsquelle.
- Northampton, Univ. of Northampton Avenue Campus. 1st-3rd December: Birth was the death of him.
- Lille, Université Charles-de-Gaulle. 8-9 December: Beckett's Traces.
- Not very much and besides, it's finished, it must be nearly finished. But no matter. Try again (in 2106).
The Beeb did, however, on Centennial Day post a very short page to which a few comments by readers were added.
- Here's one: What was it he said about the prospect of raising a child? "Neither I nor my wife can bear the thought of committing a child to death." Brilliant. ---Matthew Christopher, London.
- Here's another: Beckett the comedian: "I cursed the day I was born, and, in a bold flashback, the night I was conceived." ---Daniel Roy Connelly, Cambridge. [Sam didn't actually say this. His character Neary did, in the novel "Murphy".]
- Next: I suffered Waiting for Godot at school. Why do we venerate such pointless dross? ---Andre, residence not revealed.
- Moving right along: Waiting for Godot - the finest play of the twentieth century. Possibly, just the finest play. ---Brian, Bradford, W Yorks.
- Finally: I believe Beckett was the best, better than Shakespeare. --- Matthew, S Wales.
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- Death, a poem.