Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-8zwnf Total loading time: 0.244 Render date: 2022-12-01T15:13:55.578Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2010

Get access

Summary

Beckett at eighty plus is eminently visible – a face and a name appropriated by the world – as the leading non-realist Western writer of the second half of our century. This visibility is itself ironic, for he had chosen reclusive privacy in living, and the isolation of the self as an obsessive subject. The narrators of his fiction and the protagonists of most of his plays are incurable soliloquisers. The most memorable image in his only film is a man (played by Buster Keaton) for ever in retreat from a potential observer. The writings of his youth and early manhood were mostly neglected in the thirties and forties and are, with the exception of Murphy, not widely read today. Again, the ageing writer of the seventies has produced perfect yet highly compressed ‘minimalist’ texts which are not likely to become familiar, in the literal as well as in the literary sense – preserving their strangeness beyond reading and performance.

The fame of Waiting for Godot (written in 1948 but first performed only in 1953 in Paris and 1955 in London) began to transform Beckett's situation – from the obscure avant-garde writer to the world figure. That particular play, performed everywhere from the San Quentin penitentiary to colleges of education, had become a set book in secondary schools and a relative best-seller by the 1970s. Gradually the more elusive plays and novels also came to attract world-wide attention and – a significant fact for new readers and their guide – a vast array of criticism, comparable only to the industry devoted to major writers of the past.

Type
Chapter
Information
Samuel Beckett , pp. 1 - 16
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1989

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×