- Known as: Irish Novelist and Playwright
- Born: 13/04/1906, Foxrock, County Dublin, Ireland
- Birthname: Samuel Barclay Beckett
- Date of death: 22/12/1989, Paris, France (emphysema)
- Buried: Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France
- Smaller Text
< < S a m u e l B e c k e t t > >
< < W a i t i n g f o r G o d o t > >
"Have you not done tormenting me with your
accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day, is
that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day
I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were
born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same
second, is that not enough for you?."
~ Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
- I admired Samuel Beckett since I found out how much he loved Buster Keaton. Thus I came to Beckett via the 20-minute short Film (1965) which Beckett wrote and which Keaton, then 70, starred. Directed by Beckett's frequent stage collaborator Alan Schneider, it was a departure for the writer as he usually wrote for the stage. But it is an outstanding film and Keaton draws from his tragic past for the part of The Man. The silent comic is a man from another time, another place ... a man as old as time, his face withered by too many years, his hands gnarled by age. Keaton is The Man. Though he later admitted to not entirely understanding what Beckett was trying to get at, it didn't matter for he had a face that entirely understood every word for him.
On a superficial level, or my level, no film resonates more for me than Film. It is the film for the shy guy. Keaton can't make eye contact with anyone! Am I the only person out there who knows exactly how he feels? Aren't there days when you don't want to look at anyone? Your eyes move anywhere than settle on another pair of eyes. Everyone, it seems, wants your eyes: the woman on the high street with her questionnaire; the post office clerk, the friend, the mother, the lover. Yet, you don't want anyone to see your face, see your ugliness, judge your ugliness, make comment to another on your ugliness. You want to be free of everything and everyone and your face to be the face you want it to be. Oh time, will you not let me be?
Is it running away or coming home, I wonder?
Beckett said the movie was "about a man trying to escape from perception of all kinds-- from all perceivers --even divine perceivers." Escape. Escaping. I understand that. I also understand that the writer of Film had faced a loneliness that I know too. But there the similarity ends for Beckett could articulate that loneliness like no other and I'm no other.
© ~ Paul Page for Lenin
- Beckett had the most incredible head of any writer you'll ever see. Long as long can be, with piercing eyes and aquiline nose, it could almost have been carved from stone. Once seen, never forgotten. It's no wonder that as a young man he had women swarming around him like bees to honey.
- Astonishingly, the Irish Beckett wrote much of his best work originally in French. I've always wondered what language the great man originally thought in?
© ~ Paul Page for Lenin
Samuel Beckett was born in Foxrock, Dublin. He would later insist that he was born on Good Friday,13 April 1906, although his birth certficate puts the date a month later. The Becketts were of French Huguenot descent and, after a distinguished career at Trinity College, Dublin, he was to spend much of his life in France. His cricketing prowess earned him a mention in Wisden (the only Nobel Prize winner there), while he topped his year in modern languages. In 1928, he was appointed to an exchange lectureship in Paris, where he met and helped James Joyce
before returning to TCD in 1930.
A critical study of Marcel Proust (1931) pointed to an academic career, but Beckett
chose to become a full-time writer. He travelled widely, living rather precariously, before settling in Montparnasse in Paris in 1937. His comic novel Murphy
was published in 1938. He also met Suzanne Dumesnil, when she helped him to hospital after a street stabbing; they were to marry in 1961.
Beckett was in Dublin at the outbreak of World War II, but 'preferred France at war to Ireland at peace'. He worked for the French Resistance, narrowly escaped the Gestapo, then moved to unoccupied France, where he wrote his novel Watt.
In 1947, he returned to Paris, where within two years he wrote his trilogy of novels. Molloy,
Malone Dies and The Unnameable, and the
play Waiting for Godot.
By now, he was writing in French, then translating into English. Godot
had its first production in 1953, and its success made the reclusive Beckett an international figure. In this innovative tragi-comedy, the tramps Vladimir and Estragon
await someone they have never met and who may not exist. 'If I knew who Godot was,' said Beckett, 'I would have said so in the play'.
Other bleakly comic plays followed. 'Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, ' says Nell
in Endgame, speaking from a dustbin. In Happy Days, the heroine is buried in sand.
Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, but shunned the presentation ceremony. He died in Paris on 22 December 1989, a few months after his wife.
The two were interred together in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris, and share a simple marble gravestone.
Famous Irish Lives
- A Samuel Beckett Reader
Russell Mills (1983)
- Many of these official prints are available at Allposters.com
//INDEX// //SEARCH THIS SITE//
//TOP OF PAGE//
© 2008 by the appropriate owners of the included material