Samuel Beckett: Poems, short fiction, and criticism

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Grove Press, 2006 - Poetry - 569 pages
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Edited by Paul Auster, this four-volume hardcover set of Beckett's canon has been designed by award-winner Laura Lindgren. Available individually, as well as in a boxed set, these books are specially bound with covers featuring images central to Beckett's works. Typographical errors that remained uncorrected in the various prior editions have now been corrected in consultation with Beckett scholars C. J. Ackerley and S. E. Gontarski.

"[Beckett] settled on philosophical comedy as the medium for his uniquely anguished, arrogant, self-doubting, scrupulous temperament. In the popular mind his name is associated with the mysterious Godot who may or may not come but for whom we wait anyhow. In this he seemed to define the mood of an age. But his range is wider than that, and his achievement far greater. Beckett was an artist possessed by a vision of life without consolation or dignity or promise of grace, in the face of which our only duty is not to lie to ourselves. It was a vision to which he gave expression in language of a virile strength and intellectual subtlety that marks him as one of the great prose stylists of the twentieth century." -- J. M. Coetzee, from his Introduction

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About the author (2006)

Nobel Prize winner (1969) Samuel Beckett was born on April 13, 1906 near Dublin, Ireland into a middle-class Protestant family. As a boy, he studied French and enjoyed cricket, tennis, and boxing. At Trinity College he continued his studies in French and Italian and became interested in theater and film, including American film. After graduation, Beckett taught English in Paris and traveled through France and Germany. While in Paris Beckett met Suzanne Deschevaus-Dusmesnil. During World War II when Paris was invaded, they joined the Resistance. They were later forced to flee Paris after being betrayed to the Gestapo, but returned in 1945. Beckett and Deschevaus-Dusmesnil married in 1961. Samuel Beckett's first novel was Dream of Fair to Middling Women. Among his many works are Murphy; Malone Dies; and The Unnameable. His plays include Endgame, Happy Days, Not I, That Time, and Krapp's Last Tape. In 1953, the production of Waiting For Godot in Paris by director and actor Roger Blin earned Beckett international fame. Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. His style was postmodern minimalist and some of his major themes were imprisonment in one's self, the failure of language, and moral conduct in a godless world. Despite his fame, Samuel Beckett led a secluded life. In his later years he suffered from cataracts and emphysema. His wife Suzanne died on July 17, 1989 and Beckett died on December 22nd of the same year.

Paul Auster was born on February 3, 1947, in Newark, New Jersey. He received a B.A. and a M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. In addition to his career as a writer, Auster has been a census taker, tutor, merchant seaman, little-league baseball coach, and a telephone operator. He started his writing career as a translator. He soon gained popularity for the detective novels that make up his New York Trilogy. His other works include The Invention of Solitude; Leviathan; Moon Palace; Facing the Music; In the Country of Last Things; The Music of Chance; Mr. Vertigo; and The Brooklyn Follies. His latest novels are entitled, Invisible and Sunset Park. In addition to his novels, Auster has written screenplays and directed several films. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a French Prix Medicis for Foreign Literature.

J.M. Coetzee's full name is John Michael Coetzee. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1940, Coetzee is a writer and critic who uses the political situation in his homeland as a backdrop for many of his novels. Coetzee published his first work of fiction, Dusklands, in 1974. Another book, Boyhood, loosely chronicles an unhappy time in Coetzee's childhood when his family moved from Cape Town to the more remote and unenlightened city of Worcester. Other Coetzee novels are In the Heart of the Country and Waiting for the Barbarians. Coetzee's critical works include White Writing and Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship. Coetzee is a two-time recipient of the Booker Prize and in 2003, he won the Nobel Literature Award.

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