Samuel Beckett

Knowledge Identifier: +Samuel_Beckett


Samuel Beckett

Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poetadd

Category: Literature

Born in 1906.

Countries: United Kingdom (28%), United States (15%), Ireland (14%)

Main connections: Waiting for Godot, Michael Gambon, Saint-Lo

Linked to: Campbell College, Company, Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress, Portora Royal School




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Samuel Beckett was born on Good Friday, 13 April 1906 to William Frank Beckett, a 35 year old Civil Engineer, and May Barclay (also 35 at Beckett's birth); they had married in 1901. add something


At the age of five, Beckett attended a local playschool, where he started to learn music, and moved to Earlsfort House School in the city centre near Harcourt Street. add something


In 1919, Beckett went to Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (which Oscar Wilde had attended). add something


Beckett studied French, Italian, and English at Trinity College, Dublin from 1923 to 1927. add something


In 1929, Beckett published his first work, a critical essay entitled "Dante. add something


Beckett's 1930 essay Proust was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer's pessimism and laudatory descriptions of saintly asceticism. add something


In 1930, Beckett returned to Trinity College as a lecturer, though he soon became disillusioned with the post. add something


Lucia Joyce - She started to show signs of mental illness in 1930, around the time she began casually dating Samuel Beckett


He spent some time in London, where in 1931 he published Proust, his critical study of French author Marcel Proust. add something


When Beckett resigned from Trinity at the end of 1931, his brief academic career was terminated. add something


In 1932, he wrote his first novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, but after many rejections from publishers decided to abandon it. add something


Despite his inability to get it published, however, the novel served as a source for many of Beckett's early poems, as well as for his first full-length book, the 1933 short-story collection More Pricks Than Kicks. add something


Beckett, meanwhile, finished Murphy and, in 1936, departed for extensive travel around Germany, during which time he filled several notebooks with lists of noteworthy artwork that he had seen and noted his distaste for the Nazi savagery that was overtaking the country. add something


In mid-1936 he wrote to Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin to offer himself as their apprentices. add something


Hildebrand Gurlitt - In 1936 Gurlitt was visited in Hamburg by Samuel Beckett


Returning to Ireland briefly in 1937, he oversaw the publication of Murphy, which he translated into French the following year. add something


Sometime around December 1937, Beckett had a brief affair with Peggy Guggenheim, who nicknamed him "Oblomov" (after the character in Ivan Goncharov's novel). add something


In January 1938 in Paris , Beckett was stabbed in the chest and nearly killed when he refused the solicitations of a notorious pimp. add something


He fell out with his mother, which contributed to his decision to settle permanently in Paris (where he settled permanently following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, preferring, in his own words, "France at war to Ireland at peace"). add something


Peggy Guggenheim - Starting in late December 1939, she and Samuel Beckett had a brief but intense affair, and he encouraged her to turn exclusively to modern art.


Beckett joined the French Resistance after the 1940 occupation by Germany, in which he worked as a courier. add something


While in hiding in Roussillon, he continued work on the novel Watt (begun in 1941 and completed in 1945, but not published until 1953, though an extract had appeared in the Dublin literary periodical Envoy). add something


In August 1942, his unit was betrayed and he and Suzanne fled south on foot to the safety of the small village of Roussillon, in the Vaucluse departement in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region. add something


Beckett's career as a writer can be roughly divided into three periods: his early works, up until the end of World War II in 1945; his middle period, stretching from 1945 until the early 1960s, during which period he wrote what are probably his best-known works; and his late period, from the early 1960s until Beckett's death in 1989, during which his works tended to become shorter and his style more minimalist. add something


In 1945, Beckett returned to Dublin for a brief visit. add something


In 1946, Jean-Paul_Sartre’s magazine Les Temps Modernes published the first part of Beckett’s short story "Suite" (later to be called "La fin", or "The End"), not realizing that Beckett had only submitted the first half of the story; Simone de Beauvoir refused to publish the second part. add something


Saint-Lo - It was taken over by Samuel Beckett in his text "The Capital of Ruins" of 10 June 1946


Saint-Lo - This "Capital of Ruins" was revived by Samuel Beckett in his text "The Capital of Ruins" of 10 June 1946, which he wrote for Raidió Éireann, proving how much it remained marked by what he had seen and done in Saint-Lô


Beckett worked on the play between October 1948 and January 1949. add something


Saint-Lo - A martyr city of World War II, Saint-Lô was decorated with the Legion of Honour in 1948 and was given the nickname of "Capital of the Ruins", a phrase popularised by Samuel Beckett


Eugene Ionesco - Like Samuel Beckett, Ionesco began his theatre career late; he did not write his first play until 1948


Tristan Tzara - Around 1949, having read Irish author Samuel Beckett's manuscript of "Waiting for Godot", Tzara facilitated the play's staging by approaching producer Roger Blin


Karl Heinz Stroux - At the Schlosspark, he directed the German premiere of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in 1953 with the author in the audience

Major work

1953 - Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett


Timothy Bateson - Bateson's stage credits included the first British production of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in 1955 at the Arts Theatre in London in a production directed by Peter Hall


John Calder - John Calder was a friend of Samuel Beckett, becoming the main publisher of his prose-texts in Britain after the success of "Waiting for Godot" on the London stage in 1955-56


Peter Hall (director) - In August 1955, he directed the English-language premiere of "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett at the Arts Theatre, London


Peter Bull - Bull was the first actor to portray Pozzo in the English language version of Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot' when it opened on 3 August 1955


In 1956, he had his first commission from the BBC Third Programme for a radio play, All That Fall. add something


Beckett went on to write a number of successful full-length plays, including Endgame, the Krapp's Last Tape, Happy Days, and Play. add something


Marcel Duchamp - Irish playwright Samuel Beckett was an associate of Duchamp, and used the theme as the narrative device for the 1957 play of the same name, Endgame In 1968, Duchamp played an artistically important chess match with avant-garde composer John Cage, at a concert entitled "Reunion.


Barry Humphries - In September 1957, Humphries appeared as Estragon in "Waiting for Godot", in Australia's first production of the Samuel Beckett play at the Arrow Theatre in Melbourne directed by Peter O'Shaughnessy who played Vladamir


Peter O'Shaughnessy - O'Shaughnessy in September 1957 staged the first Australian production of Samuel Beckett's masterpiece "Waiting for Godot" at the Arrow Theatre in Melbourne with himself as Vladimir and Humphries as Estragon


In 1959 he contributed to the British arts review X with L'Image. add something


David Kelly (actor) - He appeared onstage in the original production of Brendan Behan's "The Quare Fellow", and gained his first major career attention in Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape" at the Dublin 's Abbey Theatre in 1959


In 1961, Beckett received the International Publishers' Formentor Prize in recognition of his work, which he shared that year with Jorge Luis Borges. add something


In 1961, he married Suzanne in a secret civil ceremony in England. add something


Jorge Luis Borges - In 1961, he received the first Prix International, which he shared with Samuel Beckett.


Brenda Bruce - She starred as Winnie in the 1962 British premiere of Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days", and in 1977 as Lucilla Edith Cavell Teatime in "Murder Most English"


She first met Beckett in 1963. add something


Billie Whitelaw - In 1963, Billie Whitelaw met Irish playwright Samuel Beckett


Philip Glass - These significant encounters resulted in a collaboration with Breuer for which Glass contributed music for a 1965 staging of Samuel Beckett's "Comédie"


Jack MacGowran - He released an LP record, "MacGowran Speaking Beckett", to coincide with Samuel Beckett's 60th birthday in 1966, and won the 1970-71 Obie for Best Performance By an Actor in the off-Broadway play "MacGowran in the works of Beckett"


In October 1969 while on holiday in Tunis with Suzanne, Beckett heard that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. add something


Joseph Chaikin - In 1969 Open Theatre performed "Endgame" by Samuel Beckett, with Chaikin playing the role of Hamm and Peter Maloney as Clov, at the Cite Universitaire, Paris, and in 1970 at the Grasslands Penitentiary, a fulfillment of Chaikin's desire to experiment with audiences who would be fundamentally and culturally different from cosmopolitan audiences


Beckett began to write his fourth novel, Mercier et Camier, which was not published until 1970. add something


Bjorn Endreson - From 1970 he translated and staged a large number of Samuel Beckett's plays for Det Norske Teatret


Rino Gaetano - However, Rino was a multi-talented performer and during the early 1970s, in addition to gigging, he performed in cabarets and took part in several plays including playing the role of Estragon in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, the Fox in a production of Pinocchio by the legendary Italian director Carmelo Bene and reciting poetry by Majakovsky


Julian Beck - In 1970 Beck's work was denounced alongside Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett by "Nëndori", the literary monthly of Albania, for supposedly being "inundated by mysticism and pornography


Peter O'Toole - O'Toole fulfilled a lifetime ambition when taking to the stage of the Irish capital's Abbey Theatre in 1970, to perform in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" alongside Donal McCann


John Caird (director) - Caird was an Associate Director of Contact Theatre for two years from 1973-1975 where he directed plays by Shakespeare, Chris Bond, John Osborne, James Saunders, Samuel Beckett, wrote and acted in Theatre in Education programmes for Manchester's schools and prisons, and was an actor and musician in plays by Brecht, Goldoni and Jellicoe


Walter D. Asmus - There he met Samuel Beckett in 1974 and was assistant for the author's renowned production of "Waiting for Godot", 1975


Beckett's prose pieces during the late period were not so prolific as his theatre, as suggested by the title of the 1976 collection of short prose texts Fizzles (which the American artist Jasper Johns illustrated). add something


Roger Michell - After graduating from Cambridge in 1977, he moved to London and began an apprenticeship at the Royal Court Theatre and worked as assistant director to noted British playwright John Osborne and Irish playwright Samuel Beckett


Morton Feldman - In 1977, he wrote the opera "Neither" with original text by Samuel Beckett


Tan Swie Hian - In 1978, Tan was conferred the Chavalier de I'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by French Government for his initiatory Chinese translations of works by Beckett and Romanian writer Marin Sorescu


Max Wall - He secured television appearances and, having attracted Samuel Beckett's attention, he won parts in "Waiting for Godot" in 1979 and "Krapp's Last Tape" in 1984


Tom Alter - Their first play was Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot, which was staged at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai on 29 July 1979


Some of the best-known pictures of Beckett were taken by photographer John Minihan, who photographed him between 1980 and 1985 and developed such a good relationship with the writer that he became, in effect, his official photographer. add something


Benoit Duteurtre - In 1982, he sent Samuel Beckett a text called "Nuit" ; Beckett later convinced Duteurtre to publish it in "La Revue des Editions de Minuit"


Manoel de Oliveira - In 1986 Oliveira made one of his most experimental films, "My Case" , partially based on José Régio's one act play "O Meu Caso", although the film takes inspiration from Samuel Beckett's "Fizzles" and the Book of Job


Michael Mantler - His 1987 recording, "Many Have No Speech", an album of songs in English, German, and French, was based on the poetry of Samuel Beckett, Ernst Meister, and Philippe Soupault


In the hospital and nursing home where he spent his final days, Beckett wrote his last work, the 1988 poem "What is the Word" ("Comment dire"). add something


Lukas Haas - On stage in 1988, he performed in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" at Lincoln Center in New York City


Samuel Beckett died in 1989 add something


Reri Grist - De Nederlandse Opera - Grist ended her operatic career in 1991 at De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam in the one-woman opera, "Neither" composed by Morton Feldman to a text by Samuel Beckett and directed by Pierre Audi


Philip Jackson (actor) - His stage work includes Pozzo in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" at the Queen's Theatre in the West End in 1991 and Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds in 2010


Dean Gaffney - In 1991, Gaffney played the Boy in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in the West End, alongside Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson


Michael Colgan (director) - The first Beckett Festival was produced at the Gate in 1991, in which the theatre presented all nineteen of Samuel Beckett's stage plays in Dublin over a three-week period


Alexander Arotin - His work includes a representation of García Lorca's "Amor de Don Perlimpín con Belisa en su jardín" in the 1992 Salzburg Festival, and a theatrical inauguration event at the Stadthaus Ulm inspired by Beckett's "Happy Days", Traces Installation at Macba Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona


Ross Perot - On May 25, 1992 he was featured on the cover of "Time" with the title "Waiting for Perot," an allusion to Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot"


Alexander Arotin - Arotin studied composition and piano at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna at 16 and in 1994 earned a diploma on Beckett from the &University_of_Applied_Arts_Vienna


John Minihan (photographer) - His book of photographs of Samuel Beckett was published in 1995


Rosaleen Linehan - She starred as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days" on stage and on screen as part of the "Beckett on Film" project, having already played the role in a 1996 production at The Gate Theatre opposite Barry McGovern


Michael Colgan (director) - In 1999, with Alan Moloney, he formed Blue Angel Films specifically to produce the Beckett on Film project in which all nineteen of Beckett's plays were filmed using internationally-renowned directors and actors


Reminiscent of a harp on its side, it was designed by the celebrated Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who had designed the James Joyce Bridge further upstream opened on Bloomsday 2003 add something


Historians interested in tracing Beckett's blood line were, in 2004, granted access to confirmed trace samples of his DNA to conduct molecular genealogical studies to facilitate precise lineage determination add something


Michael Gambon - In 2004, Gambon played the lead role in Samuel Beckett's post-apocalyptic play "Endgame" at the Albery Theatre, London


Geoffrey Hutchings - In 2004, he played Nagg in Samuel Beckett's "Endgame" at the Albery Theatre alongside Sir Michael Gambon, Lee Evans and Liz Smith


David J - In 2005 he composed the original music for a stage production of Samuel Beckett's "Cascando"


Anthony Minghella - He returned to radio drama in 2006 with "Eyes Down Looking" on BBC Radio 3, starring Jude Law, Juliet Stevenson and David Threlfall to mark Samuel Beckett's 100th birthday celebrations


Michael Gambon - In 2006 he played Henry in Stephen Rea's play about Samuel Beckett's "Embers" for Radio 3


Jude Law - In 2006, he starred in an anthology of Samuel Beckett readings and performances directed by director Anthony Minghella


Michael Colgan (director) - In April 2006, to mark the centenary of Beckett's birth, the Gate produced a month-long festival which ran simultaneously in Dublin and at the Barbican in London and, in January 2007, presented the Beckett Season to acclaim at the Sydney Festival where Michael Colgan directed Ralph Fiennes in a stage adaptation of Beckett's novella "First Love"


Alan Schneider - Schneider directed Samuel Beckett's only direct foray into the world of film, entitled "Film " The short subject starred Buster Keaton and its direction is often mis-attributed to Samuel Beckett himself, notably during an exhibit at the Louvre in November 2006


Mikhail Baryshnikov - In a run ending just short of his 60th birthday in 2007, he appeared in a production of four short plays by Samuel Beckett staged by avant-garde director JoAnne Akalaitis


Brian Dennehy - Stratford Shakespeare Festival - In 2008, Dennehy appeared at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, appearing in All's Well That Ends Well as the King of France, and a double bill of plays, one by Samuel Beckett, "Krapp's Last Tape" and Eugene O'Neill's play "Hughie", where Dennehy reprised the role of Erie Smith


On 10 December 2009, the newest bridge across the River Liffey in Dublin was opened and named the Samuel Beckett Bridge in his honour add something


Sean Mathias - He directed McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", which toured the UK in early 2009 before opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London in May 2009


Ronald Pickup - Between March and August 2009, he starred as Lucky in Sean Mathias' production of "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett opposite Sir Ian McKellen , Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow


Simon Callow - Between March and August 2009, he starred as Pozzo in Sean Mathias's production of "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett opposite Sir Ian McKellen , Sir Patrick Stewart and Ronald Pickup


Barbara Bray died in Edinburgh on 25 February 2010 add something


Michael Gambon - In April 2010, Gambon returned once again to the Gate Theatre Dublin to appear in Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape", which transferred to London's Duchess Theatre in October 2010


Alberto Giacometti - According to Dr. Michael Peppiatt in a lecture at Cambridge University on July 8, 2010, Giacometti, who had a friendship with author/playwright Samuel Beckett, created a tree for the set of a 1961 Paris production of "Waiting For Godot"


Although Beckett was an intensely private man, a review of the second volume of his letters by Roy Foster in the 15 December 2011 issue of "The New Republic", reveals Beckett to be not only unexpectedly amiable but frequently prepared to talk about his work and the process behind it add something


Hugo Weaving - He rounded out 2013 co-starring with Richard Roxburgh and Philip Quast in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting For Godot", for the Sydney Theatre Company


Philip Quast - In November 2013 he is set to join Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh in Sydney Theatre Company's production of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting For Godot"


The Irish Navy Service vessel, LÉ Samuel Beckett , commissioned in 2014, is named after the writer add something


Jan Malmsjo - Malmsjö is still as active as ever and in the summer of 2017, aged 85, was rehearsing the title role of "Krapp's Last Tape" by Samuel Beckett, at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre


Maxine Peake - Peake will star as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days at the Royal Exchange Theatre from may 2018


Maxine Peake - Peake will star as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days at the Royal Exchange Theatre from May 2018


Gyorgy Kurtag - Kurtág's first opera, based on Samuel Beckett's "Endgame", is set to premiere at La Scala in November 2018


Gyorgy Kurtag - Scènes et monologues, opéra en un acte", based on Samuel Beckett's "Endgame", was premiered at La Scala on 15 November 2018, eight years after the original commission


BBC Radio 4 - In January 2019 Beckett was the subject of the BBC Radio 4 programme "In Our Time" add something