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The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940 (The Letters #1)

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  107 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The letters written by Samuel Beckett between 1929 and 1940 provide a vivid and personal view of Western Europe in the 1930s, and mark the gradual emergence of Beckett s unique voice and sensibility. The Cambridge University Press edition of The Letters of Samuel Beckett offers for the first time a comprehensive range of letters of one of the greatest literary figures of ...more
Hardcover, 782 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Cambridge University Press (first published November 30th 2008)
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Aug 22, 2009 Buck rated it it was ok
Samuel Beckett was so full of shit. I say this with all due respect, but I’m not kidding. How else would you characterize a writer who gloomily intones, ‘There is no communication because there are no vehicles of communication’ – and proceeds to test drive every ‘vehicle of communication’ on the lot? Or who constantly bitches and moans about the ‘torture’ of writing a ‘simple sentence’, yet somehow manages to squeeze out eight novels, dozens of dramatic works and about 15 000 letters in his care ...more
Craig Werner
Jan 28, 2012 Craig Werner rated it liked it
You have to love, or at least be profoundly intrigued by, Beckett to take on the (projected) four volumes of his letters. If you are, you have two choices. Start with volume 2, which covers the period when Beckett's genius took form, or start with volume 1 and know that you're in it for the intimations of what's to come. For me, it was worth it. There are a dozen or so letters--msot of them written to Tom McGreevy (Beckett's friend and minor writer) but also a terrific letter (9 Juoy 1937) ...more
James Murphy
Mar 17, 2010 James Murphy rated it it was amazing
This is a complete and comprehensive collections of letters in terms of biography. I'm not sure I've read a better treatment of subject through letters. They concern the young Beckett, up to the age of 34 or so. As letters they're fun because Beckett was an amusing and playful correspondent. His letters are full of puns and gossip verging on cattiness, often about people who've become almost legendary in 20th century literature. The years covered here are those in which he was beginning to ...more
Robert Docking
Sep 22, 2011 Robert Docking rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. This volume covers the years of More Pricks than Kicks, Murphy and the early poetry. More importantly, it cover the years when Beckett suffered the tortured process of becoming the writer who could produce Godot and all the other masterpieces. There is an almost unrelenting struggle to free himself from the ties of his mother, and Joyce and Ireland, the struggle, too, to get beyond or beneath the surface of literature, of language, of life itself, to express what he later referred ...more
Sean Masterson
Jul 17, 2012 Sean Masterson rated it liked it
And you thought his literature was bleak...

There are phrases, a few passages and a thought or two in here so far that I've felt compelled to immediately scribble into a notebook. Beyond that, I don't see myself reading this straight through.
Sam Schulman
Dec 20, 2009 Sam Schulman rated it it was ok
These are surprisingly tedious - arch, juvenile, and concerned with second-rate people. I read and read on thinking I would find something wonderful - but never did. A waste of time, alas.
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Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in France for most of his adult life. He wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.

Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced
More about Samuel Beckett...

Other Books in the Series

The Letters (3 books)
  • The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 2, 1941-1956
  • The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 3, 1957 1965

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“I do nothing, with as little shame as satisfaction. It is the state that suits me best. I write the odd poem when it is there, that is the only thing worth doing. There is an ecstasy of accidia — will-less in a grey tumult of idées obscures. There is an end to the temptation of light, its polite scorchings & consolations. It is good for children & insects. There is an end of making up one's mind, like a pound of tea, an end of patting the butter of consciousness into opinions. The real consciousness is the chaos, a grey commotion of mind, with no premises or conclusions or problems or solutions or cases or judgments.” 5 likes
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