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Samuel Beckett

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of the author of Waiting for Godot, who lived in Paris and wrote in French as he found that more difficult than writing in English

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989), who lived in Paris and wrote his plays and novels in French, not because his French was better than his English, but because it was worse. In works such as Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Molloy and Malone Dies, he wanted to show the limitations of language, what words could not do, together with the absurdity and humour of the human condition. In part he was reacting to the verbal omnipotence of James Joyce, with whom he’d worked in Paris, and in part to his experience in the French Resistance during World War 2, when he used code, writing not to reveal meaning but to conceal it.

With

Steven Connor
Professor of English at the University of Cambridge

Laura Salisbury
Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Exeter

And

Mark Nixon
Associate Professor in Modern Literature at the University of Reading and co-director of the Beckett International Foundation

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

49 minutes

Last on

Thursday 21:30

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

Steven Connor at the University of Cambridge

Laura Salisbury at the University of Exeter

Mark Nixon at the University of Reading

The Samuel Beckett Society

Samuel Beckett - The British Library

Samuel Beckett Endpage – University of Antwerp

Samuel Beckett – Wikipedia

 

READING LIST:

Samuel Beckett, Texts for Nothing and other Shorter Prose, 1950-1976 (Faber & Faber, 2010)

Samuel Beckett, Murphy (first published 1938; Faber & Faber, 2009)

George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck (eds.), The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 2. 1941–1956 (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck (eds.), The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 3. 1957–1965 (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck (eds.), The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 4. 1966–1989 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck (eds.), The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1. 1929–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Andrew Gibson, Samuel Beckett (Reaktion Books, 2010)

S. E. Gontarski, A Companion to Samuel Beckett (Blackwell, 2010)

Hugh Kenner, A Reader’s Guide to Samuel Beckett (Syracuse University Press, 1996)

James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (Bloomsbury, 1997)

James Knowlson and John Haynes, Images of Beckett (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Christopher Ricks, Beckett’s Dying Words (Clarendon, 1990)

Laura Salisbury, Samuel Beckett: Laughing Matters, Comic Timing (Edinburgh University Press, 2015)

Dirk Van Hulle and Mark Nixon, Samuel Beckett's Library (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

 

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