BIOGRAPHY SAMUEL BECKETT – Irish writer and poet, Samuel Beckett is also a talented playwright. He wrote in English and French. He is the author of the play “Waiting for Godot”, a little gem of absurd theater.
Short biography of Samuel Beckett – Born the April 13, 1906 in Foxrock, a suburb of Dublin in Ireland, Samuel Beckett grew up in a bourgeois Protestant family. Son of a quantity surveyor and a nurse, the young Samuel studied French very early on. A path he pursued when he began studying languages (French, Italian and English) at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1923. Quite lonely, Beckett tended to isolate himself. It was during his studies that he met his first love, and goes through the painful apprenticeship of the breakup. He graduated and was appointed English reader at the ENS in Paris in 1928. At that time, he met the writer James Joyce, with whom he befriended. Influenced by the latter, he wrote his first essay in 1929, Dante … Bruno. Vico … Joyce. The following year, he returned to Dublin where he continued his studies and held the post of French language assistant. With his master’s degree in literature in hand, he left the university in 1931 to travel to Europe.
After traveling, Samuel Beckett returned to Dublin in 1932. His father, whom he was very close to, died the following year. Unstable, isolated and confronted with multiple failures with the editors, the writer follows psychotherapy in London. At the same time, his first collection of short stories was published, but censored in Ireland, the book struggled to gain recognition. He begins writing his book Murphy. Back in Paris in 1937, he was attacked with a knife. Ironically, it is thanks to this aggression that he finds Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, who becomes his companion. Samuel Beckett remained in France during World War II, and participated in the Resistance against the German occupation. This troubled period greatly influenced his writings, marked in particular by the stories of deportation. After 36 refusals, the author finally succeeds in publishing his first novel, Murphy, at Editions Bordas, in 1947. Subsequently, Samuel Beckett decides to write his books in French.
Between 1945 and 1950, Samuel Beckett devoted himself entirely to his writing activity. His bilingual work tends towards abstraction in literature. Deciding to write in French, the author writes the trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable at the end of the 1940s. These books mark a turning point in the writer’s way of writing, with increasingly marked stripping. At the same time, seized with a certain literary frenzy, he wrote his famous absurd play, Waiting for Godot. Staged in 1953, the play brought considerable success to Samuel Beckett. From then on, the writer turns into a playwright, writing several plays, of which Game over (1957). In 1961, he married his partner Suzanne. The room Oh good days is staged the same year.
In 1969, it is the consecration. The lonely writer receives the Nobel prize of literature. Samuel Beckett, who has always refused interviews and shuns journalists, is not going to get his prize. He tries his hand at the cinema, and writes the script for a film, soberly titled Movie. At the end of his life, Samuel Beckett’s writing became even more refined. He never stops digging into language with texts like Jolts. Samuel Beckett, writer and playwright emeritus, dies in a retirement home in Paris, on December 22, 1989. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he died a few months after his wife.
Samuel Beckett: key dates
- April 13, 1906: Birth of Samuel Beckett
- Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin on April 13, 1906. This man of letters, Nobel Prize for literature, writer, poet and playwright wrote in English and French. We associate his name with a certain idea of the theater of the absurd, at the same time austere and minimalist, thinking in particular of the famous play Waiting for Godot written in 1952.
- March 30, 1945: Samuel Beckett rewarded for his acts of resistance
- Samuel Beckett, with his mother when France announces its entry into the war, decides to return immediately to Paris. Volunteering as a paramedic, he does his best to help his adopted country. He leaves the capital with his wife for a while. When they returned to Paris in September 1941, the couple joined the Resistance, within the Gloria network. For his involvement in the Resistance, Samuel Beckett was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medal of the Resistance.
- January 5, 1953: Waiting for Godot arouses passion
- Roger Blin presents for the first time Waiting for Godot, staged by him. The play by writer Samuel Beckett features two vagrants who wait, without even knowing why, for a certain Godot who does not come. The same scenario then occupies the two acts. The reactions are shared but always passionate: some praise the room while others boo it. The theater of the absurd, established by Beckett in the play, has dynamited all the means of the theater since antiquity, starting with action. Everything is erased, even the meaning of language, in the face of the inevitable expectation that continues ad infinitum. But some see in this extreme stripping a modern reinvention of the tragic, in the sense that it questions the meaning of man, of his destiny and of the forces that transcend him.
- December 22, 1989: Death of Samuel Beckett
- The Irish playwright died on December 22, 1989, in the Parisian retirement home, where he had only lived for some time. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, his death comes a few months after that of his wife, Suzanne. He rests alongside his wife in the Montparnasse cemetery.