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The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 2, 1941-1956 Hardcover – 12 Sep 2011


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The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 2, 1941-1956 + The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940: v. 1 + Three Novels: Molloy, Malone Dies, the Unnamable
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 886 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (12 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521867940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521867948
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 5.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He was educated at Portora Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1927. His made his poetry debut in 1930 with Whoroscope and followed it with essays and two novels before World War Two. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, in 1949 but it wasn't published in English until 1954. Waiting for Godot brought Beckett international fame and firmly established him as a leading figure in the Theatre of the Absurd. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. Beckett continued to write prolifically for radio, TV and the theatre until his death in 1989.

Product Description

Review

'[A] magnificent volume of letters … painstakingly prepared by the editors.' Irish Times

'Not to beat about the bush, here's the book of the year … Beckett's is the most significant literary correspondence of its time … a marvellous book.' Evening Standard

'The waiting is over … as painstakingly researched and rewarding as the first volume … This meticulous, all-encompassing collection is the sweetest of treats for Beckett fans.' Sunday Times Ireland

'It is hard … to read this 800-page tome and not come away rather liking Sam Beckett.' Irish Daily Mail

'The best news is there are still two volumes left to come … this project should constitute one of the most valuable feats of literary scholarship to appear in the past fifty years.' Sunday Times

'With the publication of this second exhaustively-accoutred volume, The Cambridge University Press edition of Samuel Beckett's letters is shaping up to be an imposing edifice of literary scholarship … Beckett's letters are a joy to read.' Sunday Business Post

'It sheds a lot of light on his friendships, and more generally. It's illuminating, even for people who knew him very well.' Edward Beckett, Irish Times

'Despite the size of the book, every effort has been expended by the editors to assist the reader. Almost every detail has been helpfully annotated; a precise chronology for each year has been provided, noting the main events in Beckett's career and the principal current events … This is a book to treasure.' The Irish Independent

'Speaks volumes about Beckett … A fascinating aspect of the letters is witnessing the emergence of an artist, and the inward turn necessary to fulfil his great vision … Perhaps the chief pleasure of this volume is the cliché-busting Beckett that emerges.' Irish Examiner

'A sequel much richer than the first, retracing Beckett's core literary output. And what majestic, impassioned letters! The editorial team hits the right notes: useful supporting apparatus; extensive translations from French; but best of all, selections of Beckett often at his best, 'searching for a way of capitulating without giving up utterance - entirely'.' Matthew Feldman, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'Beckett lovers … will give thanks for the concerted scholarship of this perfectly pitched quartet of editor-translator-chroniclers.' Independent on Sunday

'The second volume of what looks set to be a major achievement of 21st century publishing, an astonishing work of scholarship, appraisal and documentation … The erudite and indefatigable editors have put together an outstanding and illuminating selection from Beckett's correspondence with friends, acquaintances, publishers, translators, all kinds of business associates - all having a bearing, in some sense or other, on the imperishable work.' The Independent

'Anybody unfamiliar with the life of writings of Beckett would be well advised to go for a biography of the man first. But for anyone who wishes to go beyond that stage, this generous volume will prove a very full and rewarding read.' The Bookbag

'These letters … remind us how indomitable and irresistible [Beckett] was.' The Spectator

'Letter by letter, Beckett's genius is revealed … a marvellous book.' The Scotsman

Book Description

The Letters of Samuel Beckett makes available for the first time a comprehensive range of letters of one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. This volume covers the writing of his greatest works, including Waiting for Godot.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Post Scriptum VINE VOICE on 16 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This second volume of correspondence covers the years from 1941 to 1956, and includes the author's various artistic, commercial and legal concerns relating to the evolution and assimilation of some of his most important and interesting works, such as Watt, Mercier and Camier, The End, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable and, of course, Waiting for Godot. There are also many insights into the 'ordinary' life of the man as well as the writer, as he discusses everything from nagging colds to exciting excursions to the music hall and the theatre. One cannot really summarise such a vast range of letters to so many different kinds of correspondents, but one can certainly confirm that any reader will encounter innumerable fascinating details as he or she moves from page to page. One little piece of trivia, for example, occurs in a letter written in 1955, when Beckett relates, with a hint of excitement, that a New York promoter was attempting to stage Godot on Broadway with Buster Keaton as Vladimir and Marlon Brando as Estragon. Another tiny but intriguing remark occurs in a letter dated the following year, when (eight years before the making of Film) the author expresses his disenchantment with the cinema, writing: 'The cinema was killed in the cradle and if ever there is an Elijah to lie himself down on the corpse I won't be there to profit by it'. There are also many passages when, during the course of accounting the prosaic details of his everyday life, his style, his syntax, is the most interesting aspect of the discussion (e.g. 'I'm writing one short act straight into English. Nothing better to do here. I've planted some trees, including a cedar of Lebanon. I've seen no-one').Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Just William on 18 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's a huge book so I shall be brief. A book for Beckett enthusiasts rather than general readers and continuing on from the well-received first volume, this collection of Beckett's letters covers the period that saw him achieve success with some of his most famous work including the classic play, Waiting for Godot. Beckett only allowed letters that directly related to his work to be published so those in search of something more intimate will be disappointed. But for those with a keen interest in the man and his work there will doubtless be plenty in here to satisfy as well as the pleasure that comes from having such an exhaustive reference on the shelf for years to come.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Nadim Bakhshov VINE VOICE on 14 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are points in the letters which open up insights into Beckett's world that justify hours of hunting but there is also a lot of literary superfluity here.

The question anyone has to ask is: whether someone were to publish Beckett's shopping list, or jobs to do at home list - would that be of interest, or value?

There is a curious contradiction in our grasp of literature and the notion of authorship. From the extremity of denying the subject as author to the other extreme of reading a writer's life retrospectively through the great works they produce. Did Beckett know what he was producing? I think we have to be cautious here - you write out of necessity, of some compulsion that has its roots just out of sight. As a writer you try to reach in and grasp that root, to find what burns you, compels you to put pen to paper and articulate what seems worthless. But you do it anyway. Is there a clue in your outward life or do you write letters semi-consciously? Do you suspect that what you are writing has something more - possibly.

This is the conundrum at the heart of these letters. Did Beckett know his place? Or did this acute awareness shadow these letters and make them semi-literary products in their own right?

You decide.
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By Brown Owl on 20 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book jacket arrived slightly creased which is a pity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Connelly on 2 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Third of what will likely be four volumes of letters. A different side of Beckett. A must for the Beckett scholar or for readers of non-professional stripe.
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