The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 2, 1941-1956

In just ten days this vital book will be published in the US. From the Cambridge University Press website:

This second volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett opens with the War years, when it was often impossible or too dangerous to correspond. The surge of letters beginning in 1945, and their variety, are matched by the outpouring and the range of Beckett’s published work. Primarily written in French and later translated by the author, the work includes stories, a series of novels (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable), essays and plays – most notably Waiting for Godot. The letters chronicle a passionately committed but little known writer evolving into a figure of international reputation, and his response to such fame. The volume provides detailed introductions which discuss Beckett’s situation during the War and his crucial move into the French language, as well as translations of the letters, explanatory notes, year-by-year chronologies, profiles of correspondents and other contextual information.

Beckett talks about his relationship with James Joyce in one of the letters:

“We very seldom talked literature, he didn’t like doing it, neither did I. He showed me the greatest kindness and generosity…I believe I felt very early on that the thing that drew me and the means I could call on were virtually the opposite of his thing and his means. He had a very strong moral influence on me. He gave me, without in the least wishing to do so, an insight into what the words “to be an artist” mean.”

A review from the London Evening Standard



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