Sunday, February 28, 2010

Samuel Beckett / Conjunctions 53

this week, i returned to the new issue of 'Conjunctions'. the theme of the issue is 'Hybrid Histories'. it starts with a text about Samuel Beckett, written by Barney Rosset, his american editor.

what struck me was that Beckett - an Irish author - wrote in French for a while, including "Waiting for Godot", one of his key works. here some lines from the Rosset's essay, following a letter he wrote to Beckett about an american version of Godot:

"The problem of who was going to translate Godot into English was a thorny one. Perhaps when Beckett wrote in French, no one looked over his shoulder, and he could achieve a more dispassionate purity. Perhaps he was also angry at the British for failing him as publishers. His novel Murphy and a short-story collection had achieved little notice in England. Perhaps Beckett felt he was too lyrical in English. He was always striving to take away as many of his writer's tools as possible before having to cease writing."
- Barney Rosset: Remembering Samuel Beckett

i just looked, here's a note about the Conjunction issue with a passage about the essay:
Source of Lit - Conjunctions 53.

reading the Conjunctions article made me look for a biography of Beckett. so interesting, his life. and again, a life story that is deeply affected by the second world war. like Geneviève de Gaulle Anthonioz (whose book i read in December), Beckett joined a Résistance group in Paris. when Beckett's group is discovered, he can flee, while Geneviève de Gaulle Anthonioz is caught when her group is trapped, and she is arrested, and later deported to a concentration camp. (here the blog note: Crossing the Night).

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