A to Z Challenge: B is for Beckett

Posted by mcm0704 on April 2, 2013 |

Perhaps the best known playwright whose name starts with a “b” is Samuel Barclay Beckett, who was born in Ireland in 1906 and died in 1989. He was a novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life. His stories about human nature were often bleak with black comedy and gallows humor.

Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia

Literary scholars have written that Beckett was influenced by the work of James Joyce, and with Joyce, Beckett is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. I found it interesting to note that Beckett’s work in his later years was minimalistic, like Thornton Wilder. Without a lavish set and many props, it falls upon the writer and the actors to make the characters come alive and move the story along, which is quite a challenge on both sides of the script.

Beckett wrote in French and English and produced four major full-length stage plays: En attendant Godot (written 1948–1949; Waiting for Godot), Fin de partie (1955–1957; Endgame), Krapp’s Last Tape (1958), and Happy Days (1961). These plays deal with the subject of despair and the will to survive in spite of that despair. The characters seem to be living in the face of an uncomprehending and incomprehensible world.

Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature for his entire body of work, which is impressive, as I discovered when I found a list of Beckett’s plays, novels and other works on Wikipedia. I was surprised to see that in addition to his plays and novels, he wrote for radio and television.

I will admit that I have not seen any of his plays, and I have only read one of his novellas, The Lost Ones. What about you? Have you read his work or seen one of his plays?

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