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Samuel Beckett

(1906-1989), Irish


Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He befriended the famous Irish novelist James Joyce, and his first published work was an essay on Joyce. Between 1951 and 1953, Beckett wrote his most famous novels, the trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnameable.

Waiting for Godot, Beckett's first play, was written originally in French in 1948 (Beckett himself subsequently translated the play into English). It premiered at a tiny theater in Paris in 1953. This play began Beckett's association with the Theatre of the Absurd, which influenced later playwrights like Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard.

The most famous of Beckett's subsequent plays include Endgame (1958) and Krapp's Last Tape (1959). He also wrote several even more experimental plays, like Breath (1969), a thirty-second play. Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1969 and died in 1989 in Paris.

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Samuel Beckett Quotes

If by Godot I had meant God I would have said God, and not Godot.

It means what it says.

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  • Human Wishes

    (c. 1936; published 1984)

  • Eleutheria

    (written 1947 in French; published in French 1995, and English 1996)

  • En attendant Godot

    (published 1952, performed,1953)

  • Acte sans Paroles I

    (1956; Act Without Words I)

  • Acte sans Paroles II

    (1956; Act Without Words II)

  • Fin de partie

    (published 1957; Endgame)

  • Krapp's Last Tape

    (first performed 1958)

  • Fragment de théâtre I

    (late 1950s; Rough for Theatre I)

  • Fragment de théâtre II

    (late 1950s; Rough for Theatre II)

  • Happy Days

    (first performed 1961; Oh les beaux jours)

  • Play

    (performed in German, as Spiel, 1963; English version 1964)

  • Come and Go

    (first performed in German, then English, 1966)

  • Breath

    (first performed 1969)

  • Not I

    (first performed 1972)

  • That Time

    (first performed 1976)

  • Footfalls

    (first performed 1976)

  • Neither


  • A Piece of Monologue

    (first performed 1979)

  • Rockaby

    (first performed 1981)

  • Ohio Impromptu

    (first performed 1981)

  • Catastrophe

    (Catastrophe et autres dramatiques, first performed 1982)

  • What Where

    (first performed 1983)


  • Molloy

    (1951; English version)

  • Malone meurt

    (1951; Malone Dies)

  • L'innommable

    (1953; The Unnamable)

  • Comment c'est

    (1961; How It Is)

  • Mercier and Camier

    (written 1946, published 1970; English translation)