• It has come to our attention that some users may have been "banned" when they tried to change their passwords after the site was hacked due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software. This would have occurred around the end of February and does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you believe you were affected by this, please contact a staff member or use the Contact us link at the bottom of any forum page.

The Making of Samuel Beckett by J. M. Coetzee


greenbacks

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
2,801
I am going through a bit of a Samuel Beckett phase right now and am loving Murphy. I came across this brilliant article from fellow Nobel winner J.M Coetzee on Sam's correspondence between 1929-1940 which was edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck of Cambridge University . It is a great read and I am going to order it in my local or college library. here is an excerpt from the excerpt..Enjoy!


It is only when the subject of Ireland comes up that Beckett now and again allows himself to vent a political opinion. Though McGreevy was an Irish nationalist and a devout Catholic, and Beckett an agnostic cosmopolite, the two rarely allowed politics or religion to come between them. But an essay by McGreevy on Jack Butler Yeats provokes Beckett to a fit of ire.
“For an essay of such brevity the political and social analyses are rather on the long side,” he writes.'
I received almost the impression…that your interest was passing from the man himself to the forces that formed him…. But perhaps that…is the fault of…my chronic inability to understand as member of any proposition a phrase like “the Irish people,” or to imagine that it ever gave a fart in its corduroys for any form of art whatsoever,…or that it was ever capable of any thought or act other than the rudimentary thoughts and acts belted into it by the priests and by the demagogues in service of the priests, or that it will ever care…that there
Read the full piece in the link below.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/apr/30/the-making-of-samuel-beckett/?pagination=false
 
Last edited:

nicht besonders

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
1,471
Thanks for posting this
 

petaljam

Moderator
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
30,607
Thanks for posting this. I love Beckett, an amazing person, and writer. Just recently read Endgame, after seeing the (BBC or RTE??) DVD of it. Stunning.
 

gatsbygirl20

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Messages
22,790
Thanks, Greenbacks.

I recently saw Samuel Beckett's grave (sorry to be morbid) in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. As one would expect, its simplicity and minimalism made it rather difficult to find among all the other more ornate, carved tombstones.

He spent WW2 in France: "I prefer France at war to Ireland at peace"
 

petaljam

Moderator
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
30,607
Thanks, Greenbacks.

I recently saw Samuel Beckett's grave (sorry to be morbid) in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. As one would expect, its simplicity and minimalism made it rather difficult to find among all the other more ornate, carved tombstones.

He spent WW2 in France: "I prefer France at war to Ireland at peace"
Yes. not only that, he was a war hero, something that is often only mentioned about him almost in passing.
 

gatsbygirl20

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Messages
22,790
Yes. not only that, he was a war hero, something that is often only mentioned about him almost in passing.

It is very much recognised in France. I think he got the Croix de Guerre or some such decoration.

He worked with the Resistance in Paris,and then in the Vaucluse in Provence
 

LamportsEdge

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
21,894
Yes. The Croix de Guerre and accompanying citation were found among his possessions when he died. If I recall the details correctly he and Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil were part of the Gloria resistance network with a role in passing messages/intelligence from cell to cell in Paris.

I seem to recall reading that they had a close escape having to flee Paris for the Roussillon as the Gestapo appeared at flats and houses owned by friends who also had resistance connections.

An interesting period in their lives when they had to eke a living by farm labouring in the Roussillon.

Beckett and his work continues to fascinate French students- I know of one lady embarking on a Phd at University in France, thesis proposed on the work of 'Long Oblomov' himself.

That will be some journey and the hard yard. I've often thought of Beckett as perhaps Ireland's bravest intellectual. Those lines on his face did not get there from the farm labouring- I have a notion he went to places in the human mind and experience with no safety net and returned to engrave what he found on the page. I don't think many could have gone where he went and come back sane.

Always truthful and never flinching on the human condition. It is very unlikely we will ever see the like of a mind like that again- not in sheer intelligence terms but in the crucible that formed his mind. He and Joyce between them had a rare polish to their minds from Dante through to post-modernism in many spheres and the insight in the round that they had will not now be available in our specialised era again unless with the wild card, the tyro or the amateur genius.

The hard road indeed and not much travelled.



I keep a photo of Beckett near my desk and rarely a week goes past without my pondering for a while on his reports from the edge of the human condition. Maybe not our first psychonaut but definitely arguable that he was our finest.

The first Irishman into Inner Space.
 
Last edited:

soubresauts

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2007
Messages
3,099
Yes. The Croix de Guerre and accompanying citation were found among his possessions when he died. If I recall the details correctly he and Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil were part of the Gloria resistance network with a role in passing messages/intelligence from cell to cell in Paris.

I seem to recall reading that they had a close escape having to flee Paris for the Roussillon as the Gestapo appeared at flats and houses owned by friends who also had resistance connections...
I'd echo your thoughts on the great man, but one little correction:

They didn't go to the Roussillon region (next to Catalonia) but to the remote village Roussillon, east of Avignon.
 

LamportsEdge

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
21,894
I'd echo your thoughts on the great man, but one little correction:

They didn't go to the Roussillon region (next to Catalonia) but to the remote village Roussillon, east of Avignon.
Yes, thanks Soubresaults. It has been a while since I read Knowlson's excellent biography 'Damned to Fame'. Funnily enough the lady I know of who is embarking on her PhD on the work of Beckett is from the Roussillon and I was only talking to her boyfriend last week and they are from the Roussillon region which is what I suspect set me off the geographic track.
 

Seanie Lemass

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
20,159
'Krapps' Last Tape' - with John Hurt - is coming to The Gate soon. Anyone who has never seen a Beckett on stage does not know what they are missing. The prose is brilliant but you really have to hear it spoken to realise its full power.

He was an incredibly brave man as well who was a genuine hero diring the German ocupation of France even though he never gave any indication that he was interested in politics of any kind. Seems to have been motivated by loyalty to his Parisian friends and perhaps his own fatalistic attitude to life that made him reject the option of a safe passage from danger.
 

LamportsEdge

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
21,894
I agree. I had the privilege of seeing Hurt's performance in London some five or six years back.

Unfortunately I had done that thing of assuming it would make an ideal date opportunity- if the date didn't go well at least I'd have enjoyed Krapp's Last Tape. Emerging from the theatre afterwards lost in thought I recall the lady pausing and then asking 'What the hell was all that about?'

Beckett would have been pleased:)
 

Seanie Lemass

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
20,159
I agree. I had the privilege of seeing Hurt's performance in London some five or six years back.

Unfortunately I had done that thing of assuming it would make an ideal date opportunity- if the date didn't go well at least I'd have enjoyed Krapp's Last Tape. Emerging from the theatre afterwards lost in thought I recall the lady pausing and then asking 'What the hell was all that about?'

Beckett would have been pleased:)

Hah! I had exact same experience when Michael Gambon was in same play in The Gate a few years back. It was exacerbated by the fact that my hearing is not great and she would every now and again ask me if there was anyone else going to be in the play :)
 

LamportsEdge

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
21,894
'What's with the bananas anyway. Couldn't he have made a sandwich.'

Yup. Never mix romance with Beckett.
 

statsman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
56,230
I am going through a bit of a Samuel Beckett phase right now and am loving Murphy. I came across this brilliant article from fellow Nobel winner J.M Coetzee on Sam's correspondence between 1929-1940 which was edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck of Cambridge University . It is a great read and I am going to order it in my local or college library. here is an excerpt from the excerpt..Enjoy!






Read the full piece in the link below.

The Making of Samuel Beckett by J. M. Coetzee | The New York Review of Books
Thanks. Looks very interesting. I love Beckett.
 

Seanie Lemass

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
20,159
Endgame is my favourite. I made sure and saw that on my own and had a front row seat, feet away from where Rosleen Linehan and Des whatshisface were in the bins. I have never seen Godot in the flesh and am hoping someone puts it on here again someday.
 

statsman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
56,230
'Krapps' Last Tape' - with John Hurt - is coming to The Gate soon. Anyone who has never seen a Beckett on stage does not know what they are missing. The prose is brilliant but you really have to hear it spoken to realise its full power.

He was an incredibly brave man as well who was a genuine hero diring the German ocupation of France even though he never gave any indication that he was interested in politics of any kind. Seems to have been motivated by loyalty to his Parisian friends and perhaps his own fatalistic attitude to life that made him reject the option of a safe passage from danger.
There are moments when he revealed his politics. The famous 'Up the Republic' contribution to a call for messages of support to the Spanish Republic, for instance.
 

Seanie Lemass

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
20,159
There are moments when he revealed his politics. The famous 'Up the Republic' contribution to a call for messages of support to the Spanish Republic, for instance.


Fair enough. I imagine that post 1945 when the French intelligentsia was dominated to a large extent by the CP that he was regualry asked to support 'peace' and whatever other snake oil they were selling but I don't recall that he ever prostituted himself in the embarrassing way that Sartre and Beauvoir did.

In contrast O'Casey from the safety of Devon was a rabid Stalinist who made a total fool of himself defending the Moscow trials and the alliance with Hitler.
 

LamportsEdge

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
21,894
Aye ... a gentle character was Sam and not really of this world. Lived so in the mind and had a majestic view of the human condition and its native absurdity. Politics to him must have looked like so much irrelevance. I'd say he had a point. But when he was forced to take note of it he came down firmly against tyranny.

That peculiar period in Paris when he was stabbed in the street by a pimp and almost died. Due to the peculiarities of the French justice system he subsequently found himself sat with his assailant in an ante-room of the magistrate's offices. Turning to the man he asked why he had stabbed him. The answer from the pimp 'I don't know'...

Now there's a scene from a Beckett play played out in real life. I'd say it occurred to Sam alright at the time.

In Knowlson's book there was that scene as well where Girodias(?) was at home and heard a knock on the door, opened it to find Long Oblomov standing there dripping from the heavy rain and a somewhat soggy manuscript under his arm. Handed it to Girodias with as few words as could be managed and trudged off into the night.

To be handed the manuscript of 'Waiting For Godot' that was just about to change theatre itself must have been some moment.
 
Top