Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist (a person who introduces new and experimental ideas and methods in art, music, or literature.), playwright, theatre director, and poet. Best known for his play GoDot he is sometimes considered the last of the Modernists as well as the father of the Postmodernist movement due to the influence his work had on many writers.
Samuel Beckett was born on Good Friday, April 13, 1906, near Dublin, Ireland. He was the younger of the two sons born to William Frank Beckett, a quantity surveyor, and May Barclay who was a nurse. He was raised in a middle class home with a protestant background and at the age of five he attended a local playschool. Not long after he moved to Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, the same school that Oscar Wilde attended.
Beckett later attended Trinity College in Dublin from 1923-1927, during his time there he excelled in his studies of the modern languages, English, French and Italian. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in French and Italian he started teaching at Campbell College in Belfast for two terms before moving to Paris. Arriving in Paris in 1928 he became a lecteur d’anglais at the École Normale Supérieure, it was at this moment in time that Beckett would meet lifelong friend James Joyce, an Irish novelist. Beckett went on to publish his first work in 1929, a critical essay called “Dante…Bruno. Vico… Joyce,” in which he defends James Joyce’s work.
Beckett returned to Dublin from Paris to accept a lecturing position at Trinity College. He graduated from Trinity College earning a Master of Arts degree; he resigned from his job at the College and went traveling through Europe and Britain. During his travels he came across many tramps and wanderers w...
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...ould (referring to his contribution as “boy scout stuff”, and continued working on the novel Watt.
As the war was drawing to a close Beckett returned to Paris in 1945. He then revisited Dublin for a short visit, whilst in his mother’s room he had an epiphany which would have a dramatic impact on his future work. Dreading the consequence of being in James Joyce’s shadow, Beckett realised it was time to change the path that he was following which forced him to acknowledge both his interests and stupidity, which the following quote highlights.
"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."
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