SAMUEL BECKETT Biography - Writers


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The Irish genius Samuel Barclay Beckett was born of a Protestant family in Dublin on 13 April 1906. The dramatist was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. After 1937 Samuel Beckett primarily lived in France. He was close to James Joyce, and sometimes took down passages of Finnegan’s Wake for him.


During World War II Samuel Beckett was a member of the Resistance. In the end he had to flee occupied France.


Beckett wrote in French to avoid lapsing into rhetoric, although his manner and material was essentially Irish. He often translated his own works. For example, ‘En attendant Godot’ was published in Paris in 1952 and translated by him as ‘Waiting for Godot’ and published as such in London in 1956.


Many of his writings deal with the ‘absurdity of existence’, and somehow manage to be simultaneously comic and bleak.


Beckett is quoted as saying in 1961 in conversation with Tom Driver (in Samuel Beckett, a Biography by Danielle Barr): “To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”