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
"An Outsider in His Own Life". The Last Modernist by Anthony Cronin (1997). Reviewed by Morris Dickstein. Read Chapter 1 here or here.
Endgame, reviewed by Brooks Atkinson (1958): "Don't expect this column to give a coherent account of what--if anything--happens. Almost nothing happens."
Happy Days, reviewed by Howard Taubman, 1961.
Happy Days in Boston, 1997. Reviewed by The Boston Phoenix.
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.”
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
What, if anything, is the meaning of life? What defines "the self"? What truly is the definition of human existence? Three 20th century authors and their conceptions of human existence, 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.
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..."
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.
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, he says, almost out of desperation in 1955 as Texts for Nothing.
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, inconnu et inconnaissable, un bel article par John Montague dans n° 35, Décembre 1969.
Samuel Beckett raconté par les siens dans n° 372, Janvier 1999.
"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."
Párrafo introductario: El Sentido profundo de toda la obra literaria de Samuel Beckett, el Premio Nobel de Literatura de 1969, lo resume Pozzo en las últimas palabras que pronuncia en Esperando a Godot, antes de hacer mutis con Lucky en el segundo acto de la pieza: «Ellas paren a horcajadas sobre una tumba, la luz brilla un instante; luego, otra vez la noche.»
An 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.
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".
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.
"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.
- David! Look at this. Then try again.
Lessness: Randomness, Consciousness and Meaning by Elizabeth Drew and
Mads Haahr, Trinity College, Univ. of Dublin.
From the 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
Sechs Gedichte (Six Poems)
que ferais-je sans ce monde (poème)
Krepp utolsó szalagja (Krapp's Last Tape)
Esperando a Godot
Sobresaltos (Stirrings Still)
Azkenburuko bulkadak (Stirrings Still)
Waiting for Godot
Amazon.fr: Livres en français
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.
In the U.S., the PBS program Stage on Screen will air, on New Year's Day, 2003 at 9:30 PM, the entire Waiting for Godot.
The boxed set is now available for purchase, all 19 plays on four DVDs.
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.
Prices include public perfomance rights. Substantially less if purchased for private viewing.
Three Plays: Eh Joe, Footfalls and Rockaby. "Special studio recordings" featuring Billie Whitelaw. 80 minutes, black and white. $149.
Silence to Silence Portrait of Beckett's artistic life, seen through his works. Selected scenes from plays, acted by his well known interpreters. 80 minutes, color. $149.
As the Story Was Told BBC profile of Beckett from his childhood to old age. "A rare glimpse into the reclusive world of this literary giant." 2 parts, 55 minutes each, colour. $259.
On DVD "Region 1" (North America) On VHS NTSC videocasette.
DVD also available at Amazon.com. $22.46 new, $17.02 used.
DVD also available at Amazon.com. $22.46 new, $17.02 used.
Beckett's most famous plays on video, presented by the San Quentin Drama Workshop using Beckett's stage directions, are frequently available on video cassette (please inquire), and there are tentative plans to eventually release them on DVD. Here's a nice Beckett Directs Beckett website, including clips, from the producer of the films, Mitchell Lifton.
If you've got broadband (or else if you're very patient) download and view a 42 second Quicktime movie of a scene from the BDB Godot, 3.775 megabytes, in colour.
The complete unabridged text on six CDs, $50.00. ($70 from Amazon.) Available at no cost to prisons.
Listen to six Sections -- more than an hour -- in streaming broadband mp3 (160Kbps).
"This exhibition represents a first attempt to bring together the writer Samuel Beckett and the artist Bruce Nauman, two unique, intense and highly complex artists in one concept and space. More than any other artists, Beckett and Nauman offer an experience that stimulates the public to detach itself from its familiar modes of perception and of thought, to open itself to other conceptions of space."The Beckett/Nauman Nexus
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. A call for papers has been announced and the deadline for submission of proposals is July 15, 2002.
2003 DATES: "The Beckett Trilogy" continues to tour intermittently.
On Jan 27 & 28, 2003, 2.30pm, at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin.
For info e-mail Conor.
You can even try it yourself...
And for what it's worth, "Samuel Beckett" in Google newsgroups (English only)