As much as any body of writing this century, the works of Samuel Beckett reflect an unflinching,
even obsessive flirtation with universal void. His literary and dramatic accounts of skirmishes with
nothingness portray human beings (generally beings, at least, beings more or less human and intact)
situated in paradoxical, impossibly absurd circumstances.
Samuel Barclay Beckett was born in the comfortable Dublin suburb of Foxrock in 1906, on the 13th
either of April, which was Good Friday that year, or else of May-he and his birth certificate always
disagreed on this point. He was the second son of a fairly prosperous, middle-class, Protestant couple:
his father was a contractor and his mother a former nurse. Beckett's education was conventional. When
he was thirteen, his parents sent him to boarding school at the Portora Royal in Enniskillen, Northern
Ireland. He studied classics, and was also quite successful at cricket, rugby, and swimming. In 1923, he
entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he read Modern Languages. He was honored for high scholastic
achievement upon receiving his BA degree in December 1927.
In 1928 he began a literary career as a professor and critic. He tutored French for two terms at
Campbell College, Belfast, and later that year he began a two-year exchange fellowship at the École
Normal Supérieure in Paris. While in Paris he met his mentor-to-be, James Joyce, and he began to write
and publish criticism and poetry. He returned to Dublin, where between 1930 and 1932 he took his MA
degree and lectured in French at Trinity College. For the next several years, he wrote and ...
... middle of paper ...
..., Deirdre. Samuel Beckett: A Biography. New York: Summit, 1990.
Beckett Festival: Dublin 1-20 October. Official program book of the Beckett Festival, in conjunction with
the 1991 Dublin Theatre Festival. Dublin: Beckett Festival, 1991.
Beckett, Samuel. The Complete Dramatic Works. London: Faber and Faber, 1986.
Beckett, Samuel. "Three Dialogues," transition 49, 5 (December 1949), pp. 97-103. In Samuel Beckett, A
Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Martin Esslin (New York: Prentice Hall, 1965), 16-22; also in Ruby Cohn, Disjecta (New York, 1984), 138-45.
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. New York: Vintage, 1955.
Esslin, Martin. The Theatre of the Absurd. New York: Anchor, 1969.
Kennedy, Andrew K. Samuel Beckett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Lyons, Charles R. Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove, 1983.
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