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.

Samuel Beckett Quotes

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

It means what it says.


Human Wishes
c. 1936; published 1984
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
performed in German, as Spiel, 1963; English version 1964
Come and Go
first performed in German, then English, 1966
first performed 1969
Not I
first performed 1972
That Time
first performed 1976
first performed 1976
A Piece of Monologue
first performed 1979
first performed 1981
Ohio Impromptu
first performed 1981
Catastrophe et autres dramatiques, first performed 1982
What Where
first performed 1983


1951; English version
Malone meurt
1951; Malone Dies
1953; The Unnamable
Comment c'est
1961; How It Is
Mercier and Camier
written 1946, published 1970; English translation