, theatre director, and poet
. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic
outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy
and gallows humour
Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by James Joyce
, he is considered one of the last modernists
If by Godot I had meant God I would have said God, and not Godot.
It means what it says.
I grow gnomic. It is the last phase.
I think the next little bit of excitement is ﬂying. I hope I am not too old to take it up seriously, nor too stupid about machines to qualify as a commercial pilot. I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them.
We are no longer the same, you wiser but not sadder, and I sadder but not wiser, for wiser I could hardly become without grave personal inconvenience, whereas sorrow is a thing you can keep adding to all your life long, is it not, like a stamp or an egg collection, without feeling very much the worse for it, is it not.
For the only way one can speak of nothing is to speak of it as though it were something, just as the only way one can speak of God is to speak of him as though he were a man, which to be sure he was, in a sense, for a time, and as the only way one can speak of man, even our anthropologists have realized that, is to speak of him as though he were a termite.
But he had turned, little by little, a disturbance into words, he had made a pillow of old words, for his head.
But he had hardly felt the absurdity of those things, on the one hand, and the necessity of those others, on the other (for it is rare that the feeling of absurdity is not followed by the feeling of necessity), when he felt the absurdity of those things of which he had just felt the necessity (for it is rare that the feeling of necessity is not followed by the feeling of absurdity).
, theatre director, and poet
. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic
outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy
and gallows humour
Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by James Joyce
, he is considered one of the last modernists
. As an inspiration to many later writers, he is also sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists
. He is one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin
called the "Theatre of the Absurd
". His work became increasingly minimalist
in his later career.
Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature
"for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". He was elected Saoi
Early life and educationThe Becketts were members of the Church of Ireland
. The family home, Cooldrinagh in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock
, was a large house and garden complete with tennis court built in 1903 by Samuel's father, William. The house and garden, together with the surrounding countryside where he often went walking with his father, the nearby Leopardstown Racecourse, the Foxrock railway station and Harcourt Street station at the city terminus of the line, all feature in his prose and plays. Beckett's father was a quantity surveyor
and his mother a nurse.
Samuel Beckett was born on Good Friday, 13 April 1906 to William Frank Beckett, a 35 year old Civil Engineer, and May Barclay (also 35 at Beckett's birth); they had married in 1901. Beckett had one older brother, Frank Edward Beckett (born 1902). At the age of five, Beckett attended a local playschool, where he started to learn music, and then moved to Earlsfort House School in the city centre near Harcourt Street. In 1919, Beckett went to Portora Royal School
, County Fermanagh
(which Oscar Wilde
had also attended). A natural athlete, Beckett excelled at cricket as a left-handed batsman and a left-arm medium-pace bowler. Later, he was to play for Dublin University
and played two first-class
games against Northamptonshire
. As a result, he became the only Nobel laureate to have an entry in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
, the "bible" of cricket.
from 1923 to 1927 (one of his tutors was the eminent Berkeley
scholar A. A. Luce
). Beckett graduated with a BA, and—after teaching briefly at Campbell College
in Belfast—took up the post of lecteur d'anglais in the École Normale Supérieure
in Paris. While there, he was introduced to renowned Irish author James Joyce
by Thomas MacGreevy
, a poet and close confidant of Beckett who also worked there. This meeting had a profound effect on the young man. Beckett assisted Joyce in various ways, one of which was research towards the book that became Finnegans Wake
In 1929, Beckett published his first work, a critical essay entitled "Dante... Bruno. Vico.. Joyce". The essay defends Joyce's work and method, chiefly from allegations of wanton obscurity and dimness, and was Beckett's contribution to Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
(a book of essays on Joyce which also included contributions by Eugene Jolas
, Robert McAlmon
, and William Carlos Williams
). Beckett's close relationship with Joyce and his family cooled, however, when he rejected the advances of Joyce's daughter Lucia
owing to her progressing schizophrenia
. Beckett's first short story, "Assumption", was published in Jolas's periodical transition
. The next year he won a small literary prize with his hastily composed poem "Whoroscope", which draws on a biography of René Descartes
that Beckett happened to be reading when he was encouraged to submit.
In 1930, Beckett returned to Trinity College as a lecturer, though he soon became disillusioned with the post. He expressed his aversion by playing a trick on the Modern Language Society of Dublin: he read a learned paper in French on a Toulouse
author named Jean du Chas, founder of a movement called Concentrism; Chas and Concentrism, however, were pure fiction, having been invented by Beckett to mock pedantry. When Beckett resigned from Trinity at the end of 1931, his brief academic career was terminated. He commemorated it with the poem "Gnome", which was inspired by his reading of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
and eventually published in the Dublin Magazine in 1934:
Beckett travelled in Europe. He spent some time in London, where in 1931 he published Proust
, his critical study of French author Marcel Proust
. Two years later, following his father's death, he began two years' treatment with Tavistock Clinic
psychoanalyst Dr. Wilfred Bion
, who took him to hear Carl Jung
's third Tavistock lecture, an event which Beckett still recalled many years later. The lecture focused on the subject of the "never properly born"; aspects of it became evident in Beckett's later works, such as Watt and Waiting for Godot
. In 1932, he wrote his first novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, but after many rejections from publishers decided to abandon it (it was eventually published in 1993). Despite his inability to get it published, however, the novel served as a source for many of Beckett's early poems, as well as for his first full-length book, the 1933 short-story
collection More Pricks Than Kicks
Beckett published a number of essays and reviews, including "Recent Irish Poetry" (in The Bookman, August 1934) and "Humanistic Quietism", a review of his friend Thomas MacGreevy's Poems (in The Dublin Magazine
, July–September 1934). They focused on the work of MacGreevy, Brian Coffey
, Denis Devlin
and Blanaid Salkeld
, despite their slender achievements at the time, comparing them favourably with their Celtic Revival
contemporaries and invoking Ezra Pound
, T. S. Eliot
, and the French symbolists
as their precursors. In describing these poets as forming "the nucleus of a living poetic in Ireland", Beckett was tracing the outlines of an Irish poetic modernist
In 1935—the year that Beckett successfully published a book of his poetry, Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates—Beckett worked on his novel Murphy
. In May, he wrote to MacGreevy that he had been reading about film and wished to go to Moscow to study with Sergei Eisenstein
at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography
in Moscow. In mid-1936 he wrote to Sergei Eisenstein
and Vsevolod Pudovkin
to offer himself as their apprentices. Nothing came of this, however, as Beckett's letter was lost owing to Eisenstein's quarantine during the smallpox outbreak, as well as his focus on a script re-write of his postponed film production. Beckett, meanwhile, finished Murphy and then, in 1936, departed for extensive travel around Germany, during which time he filled several notebooks with lists of noteworthy artwork that he had seen and noted his distaste for the Nazi
savagery that was overtaking the country. Returning to Ireland briefly in 1937, he oversaw the publication of Murphy (1938), which he translated into French the following year. He fell out with his mother, which contributed to his decision to settle permanently in Paris (where he settled permanently following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, preferring, in his own words, "France at war to Ireland at peace"). His was soon a known face in and around Left Bank
cafés, where he strengthened his allegiance with Joyce and forged new ones with artists Alberto Giacometti
and Marcel Duchamp
, with whom he regularly played chess
. Sometime around December 1937, Beckett had a brief affair with Peggy Guggenheim
, who nicknamed him "Oblomov" (after the character in Ivan Goncharov
In January 1938 in Paris, Beckett was stabbed in the chest and nearly killed when he refused the solicitations of a notorious pimp
(who, ironically, went by the name of Prudent). Joyce arranged a private room for Beckett at the hospital. The publicity surrounding the stabbing attracted the attention of Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, who knew Beckett slightly from his first stay in Paris; this time, however, the two would begin a lifelong companionship. At a preliminary hearing, Beckett asked his attacker for the motive behind the stabbing; Prudent replied: "Je ne sais pas, Monsieur. Je m'excuse" ("I do not know, sir. I'm sorry"). Beckett eventually dropped the charges against his attacker—partially to avoid further formalities, partly because he found Prudent likeable and well-mannered. Beckett occasionally recounted the incident in jest.
World War IIBeckett joined the French Resistance
after the 1940 occupation by Germany, in which he worked as a courier. On several occasions over the next two years he was nearly caught by the Gestapo
. In August 1942, his unit was betrayed and he and Suzanne fled south on foot to the safety of the small village of Roussillon
, in the Vaucluse
département in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region. There he continued to assist the Resistance by storing armaments in the back yard of his home. During the two years that Beckett stayed in Roussillon he indirectly helped the Maquis
sabotage the German army in the Vaucluse mountains, though he rarely spoke about his wartime work in later life.
Beckett was awarded the Croix de guerre
and the Médaille de la Résistance
by the French government for his efforts in fighting the German occupation; to the end of his life, however, Beckett would refer to his work with the French Resistance as "boy scout stuff". While in hiding in Roussillon, he continued work on the novel Watt
(begun in 1941 and completed in 1945, but not published until 1953, though an extract had appeared in the Dublin literary periodical Envoy
Fame: novels and the theatreIn 1945, Beckett returned to Dublin for a brief visit. During his stay, he had a revelation in his mother’s room: his entire future direction in literature appeared to him. Beckett had felt that he would remain forever in the shadow of Joyce, certain to never best him at his own game. His revelation prompted him to change direction and to acknowledge both his own stupidity and his interest in ignorance and impotence:
"I realized that Joyce had gone as far as one could in the direction of knowing more, [being] in control of one’s material. He was always adding to it; you only have to look at his proofs to see that. I realized that my own way was in impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and in taking away, in subtracting rather than in adding."
Knowlson argues that "Beckett was rejecting the Joycean principle that knowing more was a way of creatively understanding the world and controlling it ... In future, his work would focus on poverty, failure, exile and loss – as he put it, on man as a 'non-knower' and as a 'non-can-er.'" The revelation "has rightly been regarded as a pivotal moment in his entire career." Beckett fictionalised the experience in his play Krapp's Last Tape
(1958). While listening to a tape he made earlier in his life, Krapp hears his younger self say "clear to me at last that the dark I have always struggled to keep under is in reality my most...", at which point Krapp fast-forwards the tape (before the audience can hear the complete revelation). Beckett later explained to Knowlson that the missing words on the tape are "precious ally".Knowlson (1997) p352–353.
In 1946, Jean-Paul Sartre
’s magazine Les Temps Modernes published the first part of Beckett’s short story "Suite" (later to be called "La fin", or "The End"), not realizing that Beckett had only submitted the first half of the story; Simone de Beauvoir
refused to publish the second part. Beckett also began to write his fourth novel, Mercier et Camier
, which was not published until 1970. The novel presaged his most famous work, the play Waiting for Godot
, which was written not long afterwards. More importantly, the novel was Beckett’s first long work that he wrote in French, the language of most of his subsequent works, including the poioumenon "trilogy" of novels: Molloy
, Malone Dies
and The Unnamable
. Despite being a native English speaker, Beckett wrote in French because—as he himself claimed—it was easier for him thus to write "without style".
Beckett is most famous for his play Waiting for Godot
(1953). In a much-quoted article, the critic Vivian Mercier
wrote that Beckett "has achieved a theoretical impossibility—a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. What's more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, he has written a play in which nothing happens, twice." Like most of his works after 1947, the play was first written in French with the title En attendant Godot. Beckett worked on the play between October 1948 and January 1949. He published it in 1952 and it premièred in 1953; an English translation appeared two years later. The play was a critical, popular, and controversial success in Paris. It opened in London in 1955 to mainly negative reviews, but the tide turned with positive reactions from Harold Hobson in The Sunday Times
and, later, Kenneth Tynan
. In the United States, it flopped in Miami and had a qualified success in New York City. After this, the play became extremely popular, with highly successful performances in the US and Germany. It is frequently performed today.
Beckett translated all of his works into English himself, with the exception of Molloy, for which he collaborated with Patrick Bowles. The success of Waiting for Godot opened up a career in theatre for its author. Beckett went on to write a number of successful full-length plays, including Endgame
(1957), the Krapp's Last Tape (1958, written in English), Happy Days
(1961, also written in English), and Play
(1963). In 1961, Beckett received the International Publishers' Formentor Prize in recognition of his work, which he shared that year with Jorge Luis Borges
Later life and death
for a radio play, All That Fall
. He continued writing sporadically for radio and extended his scope to include cinema and television. He began to write in English again, although he also wrote in French until the end of his life.
From the late 1950s until his death, Beckett had a relationship with Barbara Bray
, a widow who worked as a script editor for the BBC
. Knowlson wrote of them: "She was small and attractive, but, above all, keenly intelligent and well-read. Beckett seems to have been immediately attracted by her and she to him. Their encounter was highly significant for them both, for it represented the beginning of a relationship that was to last, in parallel with that with Suzanne, for the rest of his life".
In October 1969 while on holiday in Tunis
with Suzanne, Beckett heard that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Anticipating that her intensely private husband would be saddled with fame from that moment on, Suzanne called the award a "catastrophe". In true ascetic fashion, he gave away all of the prize money. While Beckett did not devote much time to interviews, he sometimes met the artists, scholars, and admirers who sought him out in the anonymous lobby of the Hotel PLM St. Jacques in Paris near his Montparnasse home.
Suzanne died on 17 July 1989. Confined to a nursing home and suffering from emphysema
and possibly Parkinson's disease
, Beckett died on 22 December of the same year. The two were interred together in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris and share a simple granite gravestone that follows Beckett's directive that it should be "any colour, so long as it's grey."
WorksBeckett's career as a writer can be roughly divided into three periods: his early works, up until the end of World War II in 1945; his middle period, stretching from 1945 until the early 1960s, during which period he wrote what are probably his best-known works; and his late period, from the early 1960s until Beckett's death in 1989, during which his works tended to become shorter and his style more minimalist
Early worksBeckett's earliest works are generally considered to have been strongly influenced by the work of his friend James Joyce. They are erudite and seem to display the author's learning merely for its own sake, resulting in several obscure passages. The opening phrases of the short-story collection More Pricks than Kicks
(1934) affords a representative sample of this style:
It was morning and Belacqua was stuck in the first of the canti in the moon. He was so bogged that he could move neither backward nor forward. Blissful Beatrice was there, Dante also, and she explained the spots on the moon to him. She shewed him in the first place where he was at fault, then she put up her own explanation. She had it from God, therefore he could rely on its being accurate in every particular.
The passage makes reference to Dante
, which can serve to confuse readers not familiar with that work. It also anticipates aspects of Beckett's later work: the physical inactivity of the character Belacqua; the character's immersion in his own head and thoughts; the somewhat irreverent comedy of the final sentence.
Similar elements are present in Beckett's first published novel, Murphy (1938), which also explores the themes of insanity and chess (both of which would be recurrent elements in Beckett's later works). The novel's opening sentence hints at the somewhat pessimistic undertones and black
that animate many of Beckett's works: "The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new". Watt, written while Beckett was in hiding in Roussillon during World War II, is similar in terms of themes but less exuberant in its style. It explores human movement as if it were a mathematical permutation
, presaging Beckett's later preoccupation—in both his novels and dramatic works—with precise movement.
Beckett's 1930 essay Proust
was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer
's pessimism and laudatory descriptions of saintly asceticism. At this time Beckett began to write creatively in the French language. In the late 1930s, he wrote a number of short poems in that language and their sparseness—in contrast to the density of his English poems of roughly the same period, collected in Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates (1935)—seems to show that Beckett, albeit through the medium of another language, was in process of simplifying his style, a change also evidenced in Watt.
Middle periodAfter World War II, Beckett turned definitively to the French language as a vehicle. It was this, together with the "revelation" experienced in his mother's room in Dublin—in which he realized that his art must be subjective and drawn wholly from his own inner world—that would result in the works for which Beckett is best remembered today.
During the 15 years following the war, Beckett produced four major full-length stage plays: En attendant Godot (written 1948–1949; Waiting for Godot
), Fin de partie (1955–1957; Endgame
), Krapp's Last Tape
(1958), and Happy Days
(1961). These plays—which are often considered, rightly or wrongly, to have been instrumental in the so-called "Theatre of the Absurd
"—deal in a very blackly humorous
way with themes similar to those of the roughly contemporary existentialist thinkers
. The term "Theatre of the Absurd" was coined by Martin Esslin in a book of the same name; Beckett and Godot were centerpieces of the book. Esslin claimed these plays were the fulfillment of Albert Camus
's concept of "the absurd"; this is one reason Beckett is often falsely labeled as an existentialist (this is based on the assumption that Camus was an existentialist, though he in fact broke off from the existentialist movement and founded his own philosophy
). Though many of the themes are similar, Beckett had little affinity for existentialism as a whole.
Broadly speaking, the plays deal with the subject of despair and the will to survive in spite of that despair, in the face of an uncomprehending and incomprehensible world. The words of Nell—one of the two characters in Endgame who are trapped in ashbins, from which they occasionally peek their heads to speak—can best summarize the themes of the plays of Beckett's middle period: "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. ... Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it's always the same thing. Yes, it's like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don't laugh any more."
Beckett's outstanding achievements in prose during the period were the three novels Molloy
(1951), Malone meurt (1951; Malone Dies
) and L'innommable (1953: The Unnamable
). In these novels—sometimes referred to as a "trilogy", though this is against the author's own explicit wishes—the prose becomes increasingly bare and stripped down. Molloy, for instance, still retains many of the characteristics of a conventional novel (time, place, movement, and plot) and it makes use of the structure of a detective novel. In Malone Dies, however, movement and plot are largely dispensed with, though there is still some indication of place and the passage of time; the "action" of the book takes the form of an interior monologue. Finally, in The Unnamable, almost all sense of place and time are done abolished and the essential theme seems to be the conflict between the voice's drive to continue speaking so as to continue existing and its almost equally strong urge towards silence and oblivion. Despite the widely held view that Beckett's work, as exemplified by the novels of this period, is essentially pessimistic, the will to live seems to win out in the end; witness, for instance, the famous final phrase of The Unnamable: 'I can't go on, I'll go on'.
After these three novels, Beckett struggled for many years to produce a sustained work of prose, a struggle evidenced by the brief "stories" later collected as Texts for Nothing. In the late 1950s, however, he created one of his most radical prose works, Comment c'est (1961; How It Is). This work relates the adventures of an unnamed narrator crawling through the mud while dragging a sack of canned food. It was written as a sequence of unpunctuated paragraphs in a style approaching telegraphese: "You are there somewhere alive somewhere vast stretch of time then it's over you are there no more alive no more than again you are there again alive again it wasn't over an error you begin again all over more or less in the same place or in another as when another image above in the light you come to in hospital in the dark" Following this work, it would be almost another decade before Beckett produced a work of non-dramatic prose. How It Is is generally considered to mark the end of his middle period as a writer. In 1959 he contributed to the British arts review X (magazine)
Late worksThroughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, Beckett's works exhibited an increasing tendency—already evident in much of his work of the 1950s—towards compactness. This has led to his work sometimes being described as minimalist
. The extreme example of this, among his dramatic works, is the 1969 piece Breath
, which lasts for only 35 seconds and has no characters (though it was likely intended to offer ironic comment on Oh! Calcutta!
, the theatrical revue
for which it served as an introductory piece).
In his theatre of the late period, Beckett's characters—already few in number in the earlier plays—are whittled down to essential elements. The ironically titled Play (1962), for instance, consists of three characters immersed up to their necks in large funeral urns. The television drama Eh Joe (1963), which was written for the actor Jack MacGowran
, is animated by a camera that steadily closes in to a tight focus upon the face of the title character. The play Not I (1972) consists almost solely of, in Beckett's words, "a moving mouth with the rest of the stage in darkness". Following from Krapp's Last Tape, many of these later plays explore memory, often in the form of a forced recollection of haunting past events in a moment of stillness in the present. They also deal with the theme of the self confined and observed, with a voice that either comes from outside into the protagonist's head (as in Eh Joe) or else another character comments on the protagonist silently, by means of gesture (as in Not I). Beckett's most politically charged play, Catastrophe
(1982), which was dedicated to Václav Havel
, deals relatively explicitly with the idea of dictatorship
. After a long period of inactivity, Beckett's poetry experienced a revival during this period in the ultra-terse French poems of mirlitonnades, with some as short as six words long. These defied Beckett's usual scrupulous concern to translate his work from its original into the other of his two languages; several writers, including Derek Mahon, have attempted translations, but no complete version of the sequence has been published in English.
Beckett's prose pieces during the late period were not so prolific as his theatre, as suggested by the title of the 1976 collection of short prose texts Fizzles (which the American artist Jasper Johns
illustrated). Beckett experienced something of a renaissance, however, with the novella Company
(1980), which continued with Ill Seen Ill Said
(1982) and Worstward Ho
(1984), which was later collected in Nohow On
. In these three "'closed space' stories", Beckett continued his preoccupation with memory and its effect on the confined and observed self, as well as with the positioning of bodies in space, as the opening phrases of Company make clear: "A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine." "To one on his back in the dark. This he can tell by the pressure on his hind parts and by how the dark changes when he shuts his eyes and again when he opens them again. Only a small part of what is said can be verified. As for example when he hears, You are on your back in the dark. Then he must acknowledge the truth of what is said."
In the hospital and nursing home where he spent his final days, Beckett wrote his last work, the 1988 poem "What is the Word" ("Comment dire"). The poem grapples with an inability to find words to express oneself, a theme echoing Beckett's earlier work, though possibly amplified by the sickness he experienced late in life.
Billie WhitelawBillie Whitelaw
worked with Beckett for 25 years on such plays as Not I
, Eh Joe
, Krapp's Last Tape
, and Footfalls
. She first met Beckett in 1963. In her autobiography she describes their first meeting in 1963 was "trust at first sight". Beckett went on to write many of his experimental theatre works for her. She came to be regarded as his muse, the "supreme interpreter of his work", perhaps most famous for her role as the mouth in Not I
. She said of the play Rockabye
: "I put the tape in my head. And I sort of look in a particular way, but not at the audience. Sometimes as a director Beckett comes out with absolute gems and I use them a lot in other areas. We were doing Happy Days and I just did not know where in the theatre to look during this particular section. And I asked, and he thought for a bit and then said, 'Inward' ". She said of her role in Footfalls: "I felt like a moving, musical Edvard Munch
painting and, in fact, when Beckett was directing Footfalls he was not only using me to play the notes but I almost felt that he did have the paintbrush out and was painting." "Sam knew that I would turn myself inside out to give him what he wanted", she explained; "With all of Sam's work, the scream was there, my task was to try to get it out." She stopped performing his plays in 1989 when he died.
Jocelyn HerbertThe seminal English stage designer Jocelyn Herbert
was a close friend and influence on Beckett until his death. She worked with him on such plays as Happy Days
(their third project) and Krapp's Last Tape
at the Royal Court Theatre
. Beckett said that Herbert became his closest friend in England: "She has a great feeling for the work and is very sensitive and doesn't want to bang the nail on the head. Generally speaking, there is a tendency on the part of designers to overstate, and this has never been the case with Jocelyn."
LegacyOf all the English-language modernists
, Beckett's work represents the most sustained attack on the realist tradition. He opened up the possibility of theatre and fiction that dispense with conventional plot and the unities of time and place in order to focus on essential components of the human condition. Václav Havel
, John Banville
, Aidan Higgins
, Tom Stoppard
, and Harold Pinter
have publicly stated their indebtedness to Beckett's example. He has had a wider influence on experimental writing
since the 1950s, from the Beat generation
to the happenings of the 1960s and after. In an Irish context, he has exerted great influence on poets such as John Banville
, Derek Mahon, Thomas Kinsella
, as well as writers like Trevor Joyce
and Catherine Walsh
who proclaim their adherence to the modernist tradition as an alternative to the dominant realist mainstream.
Many major 20th-century composers, including Luciano Berio
, György Kurtág
, Morton Feldman
, Pascal Dusapin
, Scott Fields
, Philip Glass
, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati
and Heinz Holliger
have created musical works based on his texts. Beckett's work was also an influence on many visual artists, including Bruce Nauman
, Douglas Gordon
, Alexander Arotin
, and Avigdor Arikha
; Arikha, as well as some short film makers, like Leila Newton-Fox,has been inspired by his play 'Endgame' created a short film 'Stalemate'. In addition to being inspired by Beckett's literary world, also drew a number of portraits of Beckett and illustrated several of his works.
Beckett is one of the most widely discussed and highly prized of 20th-century authors, inspiring a critical industry to rival that which has sprung up around James Joyce. He has divided critical opinion. Some early philosophical critics, such as Sartre
and Theodor Adorno, praised him, one for his revelation of absurdity, the other for his works' critical refusal of simplicities; others such as Georg Lukács
condemn for 'decadent' lack of realism
. American critic Harold Bloom
pays attention to his atheism of Anglican
source, compared with James Joyce
's, former Catholic bent, noting:
As for Christianity and Waiting for Godot, Beckett was [...] definitive: «Christianity is a mythology with which I am perfectly familiar and so I use it. But not in this case.» It is always worth remembering that Beckett more than shared Joyce's distaste for Christianity and for Ireland. Both men chose unbelief and Paris.
Since Beckett's death, all rights for performance of his plays are handled by the Beckett estate, currently managed by Edward Beckett (the author's nephew). The estate has a controversial reputation for maintaining firm control over how Beckett's plays are performed and does not grant licenses to productions that do not adhere strictly to the writer's stage directions.
Historians interested in tracing Beckett's blood line were, in 2004, granted access to confirmed trace samples of his DNA
to conduct molecular genealogical studies to facilitate precise lineage determination.
Some of the best-known pictures of Beckett were taken by photographer John Minihan
, who photographed him between 1980 and 1985 and developed such a good relationship with the writer that he became, in effect, his official photographer. Some consider one of these to be among the top three photographs of the 20th century. It was the theater photographer John Haynes, however, who took possibly the most widely reproduced image of Beckett: it is used on the cover of the Knowlson biography, for instance. This portrait was taken during rehearsals of the San Quentin Drama Workshop at the Royal Court Theatre in London, where Haynes photographed many productions of Beckett's work.
On 10 December 2009, the newest bridge across the River Liffey
in Dublin was opened and named the Samuel Beckett Bridge
in his honour. Reminiscent of a harp on its side, it was designed by the celebrated Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava
, who had also designed the James Joyce Bridge
further upstream opened on Bloomsday
(16 June) 2003. Attendees at the official opening ceremony included Beckett’s niece Caroline Murphy, his nephew Edward Beckett, poet Seamus Heaney
and Barry McGovern
Honours and awards
- Croix de guerreCroix de guerreThe Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...
- Médaille de la RésistanceMédaille de la RésistanceThe French Médaille de la Résistance was awarded by General Charles de Gaulle "to recognise the remarkable acts of faith and of courage that, in France, in the empire and abroad, have contributed to the resistance of the French people against the enemy and against its accomplices since June 18,...
- 1959 honorary doctorate from Trinity College, DublinTrinity College, DublinTrinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...
- 1961 International Publishers' Formentor Prize (shared with Jorge Luis BorgesJorge Luis BorgesJorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...
- 1968 Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and SciencesAmerican Academy of Arts and SciencesThe American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...
- 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature.
- EleutheriaEleutheria (play)Eleutheria is a play by Samuel Beckett, written in French in 1947. It was his first completed dramatic endeavor . Roger Blin considered staging it in the early fifties, but opted for Waiting for Godot, because it was easier to stage...
(1940s; published 1995)
- Waiting for GodotWaiting for GodotWaiting for Godot is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's...
- Act Without Words IAct Without Words IAct Without Words I is a short play by Samuel Beckett. It is a mime, Beckett's first . Like many of Beckett's works, the play was originally written in French , being translated into English by Beckett himself...
- Act Without Words IIAct Without Words IIAct Without Words II is a short mime play by Samuel Beckett, his second . Like many of Beckett's works, the piece was originally composed in French , then translated into English by Beckett himself. Written in the late fifties it opened at the Calderon Press Institute in Oxford and was directed by...
- EndgameEndgame (play)Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, is a one-act play with four characters, written in a style associated with the Theatre of the Absurd. It was originally written in French ; as was his custom, Beckett himself translated it into English. The play was first performed in a French-language production at the...
- Krapp's Last TapeKrapp's Last TapeKrapp's Last Tape is a one-act play, written in English, by Samuel Beckett. Consisting of a cast of one man, it was originally written for Northern Irish actor Patrick Magee and first titled "Magee monologue"...
- Rough for Theatre IRough for Theatre IRough for Theatre I is a one-act theatrical sketch by Samuel Beckett. Also known simply as Theatre I it began life originally in French in the late fifties as Fragment de théâtre and was later translated into English by Beckett himself. The first production was at the Schiller Theatre, Hamburg in...
- Rough for Theatre IIRough for Theatre IIRough for Theatre II is a short play by Samuel Beckett. “Although this discarded piece of theatre is dated ‘circa 1960’ in End and Odds, a manuscript from two years earlier exists in Trinity College, Dublin, Library...
- Happy DaysHappy Days (play)Happy Days is a play in two acts, written in English, by Samuel Beckett. He began the play on 8 October 1960 and it was completed on 14 May 1961. Beckett finished the translation into French by November 1962 but amended the title...
- PlayPlay (play)Play is a one-act play by Samuel Beckett. It was written between 1962 and 1963 and first produced in German as Spiel on 14 June 1963 at the Ulmer Theatre in Ulm-Donau, Germany, directed by Deryk Mendel, with Nancy Illig , Sigfrid Pfeiffer and Gerhard Winter...
- Come and GoCome and GoCome and Go is a short play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English in January 1965 and first performed at the Schillertheater, Berlin on 14 January 1966...
- BreathBreath (play)Breath is a notably short stage work by Samuel Beckett. An altered version was first included in Kenneth Tynan's revue Oh! Calcutta!, at the Eden Theatre in New York City on June 16, 1969. The UK premiere was at the Close Theatre Club in Glasgow in October 1969; this was the first performance of...
- Not INot INot I is a twenty-minute dramatic monologue written in 1972 by Samuel Beckett, translated as Pas Moi; premiere at the “Samuel Beckett Festival” by the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, New York , directed by Alan Schneider, with Jessica Tandy and Henderson Forsythe .-Synopsis:Not I takes place...
- That TimeThat TimeFor the song "That Time" by Regina Spektor see Begin to HopeThat Time is a one-act play by Samuel Beckett, written in English between 8 June 1974 and August 1975...
- FootfallsFootfallsFootfalls is a play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English, between 2 March and December 1975 and was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre as part of the Samuel Beckett Festival, on May 20, 1976 directed by Beckett himself. Billie Whitelaw, for whom the piece had been written, played...
- A Piece of MonologueA Piece of MonologueA Piece of Monologue is a fifteen-minute play by Samuel Beckett. Written between 2 October 1977 and 28 April 1979 it followed a request for a “play about death” by the actor David Warrilow who starred in the premiere in the Annex at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, New York on 14 December...
- RockabyRockabyRockaby is a short one-woman play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English in 1980, at the request of Daniel Labeille, who produced it on behalf of Programs in the Arts, State University of New York, for a festival and symposium in commemoration of Beckett's 75th birthday...
- Ohio ImpromptuOhio ImpromptuOhio Impromptu is a “playlet” by Samuel Beckett.Written in English in 1980, it began as a favour to S.E. Gontarski, who requested a dramatic piece to be performed at an academic symposium in Columbus, Ohio in honour of Beckett’s seventy-fifth birthday. Beckett was uncomfortable writing to order and...
- CatastropheCatastrophe (play)Catastrophe is a short play by Samuel Beckett, written in French in 1982 at the invitation of A.I.D.A. and “[f]irst produced in the Avignon Festival … Beckett considered it ‘massacred.’” It is one of his few plays to deal with a political theme and, arguably, holds the title of Beckett's most...
- What WhereWhat WhereWhat Where is Samuel Beckett's last play produced following a request for a new work for the 1983 Autumn Festival in Graz, Austria. It was written between February and March 1983 initially in French as Quoi où and translated by Beckett himself....
- All That FallAll That FallAll That Fall is a one-act radio play by Samuel Beckett produced following a request from the BBC. It was written in English and completed in September 1956. The autograph copy is titled Lovely Day for the Races...
- From an Abandoned WorkFrom an Abandoned WorkFrom An Abandoned Work, a “meditation for radio” by Samuel Beckett, was first broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Third Programme on Saturday 14 December 1957 along with a selection from Molloy...
- EmbersEmbersEmbers is a radio play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English in 1957 and first broadcast on the BBC Third Programme on 24 June 1959. Donald McWhinnie directed Jack MacGowran – for whom the play was specially written – as “Henry”, Kathleen Michael as “Ada” and Patrick Magee as “Riding Master”...
- Rough for Radio IRough for Radio IRough for Radio I is a short radio play by Samuel Beckett, written in French in 1961 and first published in Minuit 5 in September 1973 as Esquisse radiophinique. Its first English publication as Sketch for Radio Play was in Stereo Headphones 7...
- Rough for Radio IIRough for Radio IIRough for Radio II is a radio play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in French in 1961 as Pochade radiophonique and published in Minuit 16, November 1975. Beckett translated the work into English shortly before its broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 13 April 1976. Martin Esslin directed Harold Pinter ,...
- Words and MusicWords and Music (play)Samuel Beckett wrote the radio play, Words and Music between November and December 1961. It was recorded and broadcast on the BBC Third Programme on 13 November 1962. Patrick Magee played Words and Felix Felton, Croak. Music was composed especially by John Beckett. The play first appeared in print...
- CascandoCascandoCascando is a radio play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in French in December 1961, subtitled Invention radiophonique pour musique et voix, with music by the Franco-Romanian composer Marcel Mihalovici. It was first broadcast on France Culture on 13 October 1963 with Roger Blin and Jean Martin...
- Eh JoeEh JoeEh Joe is a piece for television, written in English by Samuel Beckett, his first work for the medium. It was begun on the author’s fifty-ninth birthday, 13 April 1965, and completed by 1 May...
- Beginning To End with Jack MacGowranJack MacGowranJohn Joseph "Jack" MacGowran was an Irish character actor, whose last film role was as the alcoholic director Burke Dennings in The Exorcist. He was probably best known for his work with Samuel Beckett.-Stage career:...
- Ghost TrioGhost Trio (play)Ghost Trio is a television play, written in English by Samuel Beckett. It was written in 1975, taped in October 1976 and the first broadcast was on BBC2 on 17 April 1977 as part of the Lively Arts programme Beckett himself entitled Shades. Donald McWhinnie directed with Ronald Pickup and Billie...
- ... but the clouds ... (1976)
- Quad I + IIQuad (play)Samuel Beckett’s Quad was written in 1981 and first appeared in print in 1984 where the work is described as “[a] piece for four players, light and percussion” and has also been called a “ballet for four people.” It resembles something the shape-theatre ensemble Mummenschanz might have conceived,...
- Nacht und TräumeNacht und Träume (play)Nacht und Träume is the last television play written and directed by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English for Süddeutscher Rundfunk, recorded in October 1982 and broadcast on 19 May 1983 where it attracted “an audience of two million viewers.” The mime artist Helfrid Foron playing both...
- Beckett Directs Beckett (1988/92) The San Quentin Drama Workshop
- FilmFilm (film)Film is a film written by Samuel Beckett, his only screenplay. It was commissioned by Barney Rosset of Grove Press. Writing began on 5 April 1963 with a first draft completed within four days. A second draft was produced by 22 May and a forty-leaf shooting script followed thereafter...
Prose collections and longer worksNovels
- Dream of Fair to Middling WomenDream of Fair to Middling WomenDream of Fair to Middling Women is Samuel Beckett’s first novel. Written in English "in a matter of weeks" in 1932 when Beckett was only 26 and living in Paris, the clearly autobiographical novel was rejected by publishers and shelved by the author. It was eventually published in 1992, three years...
(1932; published 1992)
- MurphyMurphy (novel)Murphy, first published in 1938, is a novel as well as the third work of prose fiction by the Irish author and dramatist Samuel Beckett. The book was Beckett's second published prose work after the short-story collection More Pricks than Kicks and his unpublished first novel Dream of Fair to...
- WattWatt (novel)Watt was Samuel Beckett's second published novel in English, largely written on the run in the south of France during the Second World War and published by Maurice Girodias's Olympia Press in 1953...
(1945; published 1953)
- Mercier and CamierMercier and CamierMercier and Camier is a novel by Samuel Beckett.Written immediately before his celebrated 'trilogy' of Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, Mercier et Camier was Beckett's first attempt at extended prose fiction in French...
(1946; published 1974)
- MolloyMolloy (novel)Molloy is a novel by Samuel Beckett. The English translation is by Beckett and Patrick Bowles.-Plot introduction:On first appearance the book concerns two different characters, both of whom have interior monologues in the book. As the story moves along the two characters are distinguished by name...
- Malone DiesMalone DiesMalone Dies is a novel by Samuel Beckett. It was first published in 1951, in French, as Malone Meurt, and later translated into English by the author....
- The UnnamableThe Unnamable (novel)The Unnamable is a 1953 novel by Samuel Beckett. It is the third and final entry in Beckett's "Trilogy" of novels, which begins with Molloy followed by Malone Dies. It was originally published in French as L'Innommable and later adapted by the author into English...
- How It IsHow It IsHow It Is is a novel by Samuel Beckett first published in French as Comment c'est by Les Editions de Minuit in 1961. The Grove Press published Beckett's English translation in 1964...
- The Expelled (1946)
- The Calmative (1946)
- The End (1946)
- The Lost Ones (1971)
- Company (1980)
- Ill Seen Ill SaidIll Seen Ill SaidIll Seen Ill Said is a short novel by Samuel Beckett. It was first published in French as Mal vu mal dit in 1981, and was then translated in English by the author in 1982....
- Worstward HoWorstward HoWorstward Ho is a prose piece by Samuel Beckett the title of which is a parody of Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho!. Written in English in 1983, it is the penultimate novella by Beckett....
- As the Story was Told (1990)
- More Pricks Than KicksMore Pricks Than KicksMore Pricks Than Kicks is a collection of short prose by Samuel Beckett, first published in 1934. It contains extracts from his earlier novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women , as well as other short stories....
- First Love (1945)
- Stories and Texts for NothingStories and Texts for NothingStories and Texts for Nothing is a collection of stories by Samuel Beckett. It gathers three of Beckett's short stories and the thirteen short prose pieces he named "Texts for Nothing"...
- FizzlesFizzlesSamuel Beckett used the word "fizzles" to describe eight short prose pieces written between 1973-1975.Most fizzles are unnamed, and identified by their numbers or first few words:* Fizzle 1 [He is barehead]* Fizzle 2 [Horn came always]* Fizzle 3 Afar a Bird...
- Stirrings StillStirrings StillStirrings Still is the final prose piece by Samuel Beckett. Written 1986-9 to give his American publisher, Barney Rosset, something to publish. First published in a signed limited edition, it was later republished in the posthumous edition As The Story Was Told...
- ProustProust (Beckett essay)Samuel Beckett's essay Proust, from 1930, is an aesthetic and epistemological manifesto, which is more concerned with Beckett's influences and preoccupations than with its ostensible subject.-History:...
- Three DialoguesThree DialoguesOriginally published in transition 49 in 1949, Three Dialogues represents a small part of a correspondence between Samuel Beckett and Georges Duthuit about the nature of contemporary art, with particular reference to the work of Pierre Tal-Coat, André Masson and Bram van Velde...
(with Georges Duthuit and Jacques Putnam) (1949)
- DisjectaDisjecta (Beckett essay)Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment is a collection of previously uncollected writings by Samuel Beckett, spanning his entire career...
- L'Image (1959)
- Dante...Bruno. Vico..JoyceOur Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in ProgressOur Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress is a 1929 collection of critical essays, and two letters, on the subject of James Joyce's book Finnegans Wake, then being published in discrete sections under the title Work in Progress...
- Whoroscope (1930)
- Echo's Bones and other Precipitates (1935)
- Collected Poems in English (1961)
- Collected Poems in English and French (1977)
- What is the Word (1989)
- Selected Poems 1930–1989 (2009)
Translation collections and long works
- Anna Livia Plurabelle (James Joyce, French translation by Beckett and others) (1931)
- Negro: an Anthology (Nancy Cunard, editor) (1934)
- Anthology of Mexican Poems (Octavio PazOctavio PazOctavio Paz Lozano was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.-Early life and writings:...
, editor) (1958)
- The Old Tune (Robert PingetRobert PingetRobert Pinget was a major avant-garde French writer, born in Switzerland, who wrote several novels and other prose pieces that drew comparison to Beckett and other major Modernist writers...
- What Is Surrealism?: Selected Essays (André BretonAndré BretonAndré Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism"....
) (various short pieces in the collection)
- As the Story was Told: Uncollected and Later Prose. London: Calder Publications, 1990
- Collected Poems in English and French. New York: Grove PressGrove PressGrove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1951. Imprints include: Black Cat, Evergreen, Venus Library, Zebra. Barney Rosset purchased the company in 1951 and turned it into an alternative book press in the United States. The Atlantic Monthly Press, under the aegis of its...
- Endgame and Act Without Words. New York: Grove Press, 1958.
- How It Is. New York: Grove Press, 1964.
- More Pricks than Kicks. New York: Grove Press, 1972.
- Murphy. New York: Grove Press, 1957.
- Nohow On: Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho. Ed. S.E. Gontarski. New York: Grove Press, 1996.
- Three Novels: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable. New York: Grove Press, 1995.
- Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts. New York: Grove Press, 1954.
- Ackerley, C. J. and S. E. Gontarski, ed. (2004). The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove Press
- Badiou, AlainAlain BadiouAlain Badiou is a French philosopher, professor at European Graduate School, formerly chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure . Along with Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Žižek, Badiou is a prominent figure in an anti-postmodern strand of continental philosophy...
(2003). On Beckett, transl. and ed. by Alberto ToscanoAlberto ToscanoAlberto Toscano is a cultural critic, social theorist, philosopher and translator best known to the English-speaking world for his translations of the work of Alain Badiou, including Badiou’s The Century and Logics of Worlds...
and Nina PowerNina PowerNina Power is a British philosopher, writer, journalist and academic. She is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Roehampton University. She is the co-editor of Alain Badiou's On Samuel Beckett and his Political Writings....
. London: Clinamen Press.
- Bair, DeirdreDeirdre BairDeirdre Bair is the critically acclaimed author of five works of nonfiction. She received the National Book Award for Samuel Beckett: A Biography. Her biographies of Simone de Beauvoir and C. G. Jung were finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize...
(1978). Samuel Beckett: A Biography. Vintage/Ebury ISBN 009980070-5.
- Casanova, Pascale (2007). Beckett. Anatomy of a Literary Revolution. Introduction by Terry Eagleton. Londres / New York : Verso Books
- Caselli, Daniela. Beckett's Dantes: Intertextuality in the Fiction and Criticism. ISBN 0719071569.
- Cronin, AnthonyAnthony CroninAnthony Cronin is an Irish poet. He received the Marten Toonder Award for his contribution to Irish literature....
(1997). Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist. New York: Da Capo Press
- Esslin, Martin (1969). The Theatre of the Absurd. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books
- Fleming, JustinJustin FlemingJustin Fleming , born Sydney, Australia is a playwright and author. He has written for theatre, music theatre, television and cinema and his works have been produced and published in Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, Belgium, Poland and France...
(2007). Coup d'État & Other Plays Burnt Piano. Xlibris
- Fletcher, John (2006). About Beckett. Faber and Faber, London ISBN 9780571230112.
- Gussow, MelMel GussowMelvyn H. Gussow was an American theater critic, movie critic, and author who wrote for The New York Times for 35 years.-Biography:...
. "Samuel Beckett Is Dead at 83; His 'Godot' Changed Theater." The New York TimesThe New York TimesThe New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...
, 27 December 1989.
- Harvey, RobertRobert Harvey (literary theorist)Robert Harvey is a literary scholar and academic. He is Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he teaches comparative literature, literatures written in French, and theory...
(2010), "Witnessness: Beckett, Levi, Dante and the Foundations of Ethics". Continuum. ISBN 9781441124241
- Igoe, Vivien (2000). A Literary Guide to Dublin. Methuen Publishing ISBN 0413691209.
- Kelleter, Frank (1998). Die Moderne und der Tod: Edgar Allan Poe–T. S. Eliot–Samuel Beckett. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang
- Knowlson, James (1997). Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove Press
- Mercier, Vivian (1977). Beckett/Beckett. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192812696.
- Murray, Christopher, ed. (2009). Samuel Beckett: Playwright & Poet. New York: Pegasus Books ISBN 9781605980027
- O'Brien, Eoin. The Beckett Country. ISBN 0571146678.
- Ricks, Christopher (1995). Beckett's Dying Words. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192824074.
- Ryan, JohnJohn Ryan (Dublin artist)John Ryan Dublin, Ireland was an Artist, broadcaster, publisher, critic, editor, patron and publican.John Ryan was many things but primarily a key figure in Bohemian Dublin for many years. He knew nearly every artist of note that lived in, or passed through, Dublin from the 1940s onwards...
, ed. (1970). A Bash In The Tunnel. Brighton: Clifton Books, 1970. Essays on James Joyce by Beckett, Flann O’Brien & Patrick KavanaghPatrick KavanaghPatrick Kavanagh was an Irish poet and novelist. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems Raglan Road and The Great Hunger...
- L’image, by Samuel Beckett, ‘X’ magazineX (magazine)X, A Quarterly Review was a British arts review published in London which ran for seven issues between 1959-1962. It was founded and co-edited by Patrick Swift and David Wright...
; An Anthology from X (Oxford University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-19-212266-5); First appeared in X, 1959.
- Simpson, Alan (1962). Beckett and Behan and a Theatre in Dublin. Routledge and Kegan Paul
- The Irishman who Translated Mexican Poetry by Jaime Perales Contreras in Americas Magazine, Jan–Feb 2007
- Guardian Article by Peter Hall. 4 January 2003. "Godotmania". Accessed 2010-08-24
- University of Texas online exhibition of Beckett at the Harry Ransom Center. Accessed 2010-08-24
- "The Making of Samuel Beckett" by J.M. Coetzee. The New York Review of Books 30 April 2009. Accessed 2010-08-24
- The Samuel Beckett Papers at Washington University in St. Louis. Accessed 2010-08-24
- "Sam I Am – Beckett’s private purgatories" by Benjamin Kunkel in The New Yorker. 7, August 2006. Accessed 2010-08-24
- Keith Ridgway considers Beckett's Mercier and Camier. "Knowing me, knowing you". The Guardian 19 July 2003 Accessed 2010-08-24
- The Beckett International Foundation, University of Reading. Accessed 2010-08-24
- The Samuel Beckett Society Accessed 2010-08-24
- The Journal of Beckett Studies. Edinburgh University Press. Accessed 2010-08-24
- Nick Mount on Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot. Video lecture. University of Toronto. Accessed 2010-08-24