"...the form, structure and mood of an artistic statement cannot be separated from its meaning, its conceptual content; simply because the work of art as a whole, is its meaning, what is said in it is indissolubly linked with the manner in which it is said, and cannot be said any other way..." Samuel Beckett - Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
1906-89, Irish Poet, novelist and playwright
The work Beckett is most widely known for is significant because it eliminates plot, and iterative, discursive thought lines. He asks the question "Who am I?" and rather than answer the question, he leaves the conclusion up to the audience. The characters are disconnected from their past and from each other.
When he moved to Paris he met and made friends with James Joyce who had great influence on him. It was Joyce who introduced him to his future wife.
He began his writing career in English, but one day decided it would be better to write in French instead. When asked why he replied that this eliminated the temptation to concentrate on style. He himself translated all his own works back into English.
He worked in many different literary forms including novels, film, short stories, poetry, radio and television scripts.
He won the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature. His novels, e.g., Murphy 1938 and Molloy 1951, portray an individual's entrapment by grotesque situations in an apparently normal world. In his Theatre of the Absurd, typified by the popular but controversial Waiting for Godot 1952 and "Endgame" 1957, Beckett combined poignant humor with an overwhelming sense of anguish and loss.
His most famous works include:
Esslin, Martin, "The Theatre of the Absurd", Doubleday, NY, 1969
Beckett, Samuel, "More Pricks Than Kicks", Grove Press, NY, 1972
Beckett, Samuel, "Happy Days", Grove Press, NY, 1961
Last Updated 05.14.04