Beckett, Samuel (Barclay)


Beckett, Samuel (Barclay)

biographical name

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Samuel Beckett, 1965.—© Gisèle Freund

(born April 13?, 1906, Foxrock, Co. Dublin, Ire.—died Dec. 22, 1989, Paris, France) Irish playwright. After studying in Ireland and traveling, he settled in Paris in 1937. During World War II he supported himself as a farmworker and joined the underground resistance. In the postwar years he wrote, in French, the narrative trilogy Molloy (1951), Malone Dies (1951), and The Unnamable (1953). His play Waiting for Godot (1952) was an immediate success in Paris and gained worldwide acclaim when he translated it into English. Marked by minimal plot and action, existentialist ideas, and humour, it typifies the Theatre of the Absurd. His later plays, also sparsely staged, abstract works that deal with the mystery and despair of human existence, include Endgame (1957), Krapp's Last Tape (1958), and Happy Days (1961). In 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

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