Among the several results of researches conducted with Literature students across schools is digging out what Samuel Beckett is best known for and also exhuming the exactitude of the number of his works across all genres in the literary world. Unarguably, Samuel is an undeniable novelist, dramatist and poet when discussing Literature, Literature topics, and of course the oeuvres of great writers across the world.
Who is Samuel Beckett?
For those who are not conversant with writings or books especially those who are not engrossed in the culture of reading literary texts, the knowledge of Samuel Beckett may be some rare commodity. But then, that’s not to contend with the possibility that they must have had a glimpse of his fame one or another in the course of their academic or scholarly lives. However, here is an outline of some background information about him:
Samuel Barclay Beckett was born in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock on 13 April 1906. At the age of five, he attended a local playschool in Dublin, where he started to learn music, and then moved to Earlsfort House School near Harcourt Street in Dublin. The Becketts were members of the Church of Ireland; raised as an Anglican, Beckett later became agnostic, a perspective which informed his writing.
Around 1919 or 1920, he went to Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, which Oscar Wilde had also attended. He left in 1923 and entered Trinity College Dublin, where he studied modern literature and Romance languages such as French, Italian, and English at Trinity College Dublin from 1923, and received his bachelor’s degree in 1927.
After teaching briefly at Campbell College in Belfast, took up the post of lecteur d’anglais at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris from November 1928 to 1930.
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. In 1929, Beckett published his first work, a critical essay titled “Dante… Bruno. Vico.. Joyce”. The essay defends Joyce’s work and method, chiefly from allegations of wanton obscurity and dimness.
Beckett’s first short story, “Assumption”, was published in Jolas’s periodical transition. The next year he won a small literary prize for 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.
Since then, he had been publishing several books across genres of course, until he was stabbed in the chest and nearly killed when he refused the solicitations of a notorious pimp (who went by the name of Prudent) in January 1938 in Paris.
A Sport Man
A natural athlete, he excelled at cricket as a left-handed batsman and a left-arm medium-pace bowler. Later, he played for Dublin University and played two first-class games against Northamptonshire. As a result, he became the only Nobel literature laureate to have played first-class cricket.
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Exciting Things to Know About Beckett’s Fame
Here are the best details about what Samuel Beckett is best known for. They are as they happened in his life time:
Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
A seminal work of twentieth-century drama, Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett’s first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater.
The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone or something named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness.
The play ran for 400 performances and enjoyed critical praise.
His Other Books and 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 condemned him for ‘decadent’ lack of realism.
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 licences to productions that do not adhere to the writer’s stage directions.
Beckett’s Participation in the War and Activism
During World War II, Beckett’s Irish citizenship allowed him to remain in Paris as a citizen of a neutral country. He fought in the resistance movement until 1942 when members of his group were arrested by the Gestapo. He and Suzanne fled to the unoccupied zone until the end of the war.
After the war, Beckett was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery during his time in the French resistance. He settled in Paris and began his most prolific period as a writer. In five years, he wrote Eleutheria, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, the novels Malloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, and Mercier et Camier, two books of short stories, and a book of criticism.
Nobel Prize for Literature
Beckett’s plays are not written along traditional lines with conventional plot and time and place references. Instead, he focuses on essential elements of the human condition in dark humorous ways. This style of writing has been called “Theater of the Absurd” by Martin Esslin.
He found great success with this plays across the world. Invitations came to attend rehearsals and performances which led to a career as a theater director.
So, in 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His later works included poetry and short story collections and novellas. Though he declined accepting it personally to avoid making a speech at the ceremonies, yet he was oftentimes met with other artists, scholars and admirers to talk about his work.
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