||Samuel Barclay Beckett was born April 13, 1906, at his family's home
in Foxrock, south of Dublin. He was educated at Miss Ida Elsner's Academy in
Stillorgan, the Earlsfort House School in Dublin, and the Portora Royal School
in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland (1919-23). He began his law studies at Trinity
College in order to become an accountant in his family's architectural
surveyance firm, but in his third year he started studying modern languages,
particularly French. His studies improved so markedly that he won a scholarship
to pass the summer in France before his senior year, and he graduated first in
his class in modern languages in 1927.
||Following his graduation, Beckett taught at Campbell College in
Belfast (1927-1928) and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (1928-1930).
During his stay in Paris, he established relationships with many important
literary figures of his day, including Thomas MacGreevy, Richard Aldington,
Brian Coffey, Denis Devlin, George Reavey, Samuel Putnam, Nancy Cunard, Sylvia
Beach, and, most significantly for Beckett, James Joyce.
writings such as
More Pricks than Kicks (1934),
Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates(1935),
Murphy (1938) won him neither fame nor
money. Despite his love for Paris and his periodic stays in Germany, France,
and London, Beckett's financial straits repeatedly constrained him to return to
live with his disapproving family in Dublin, where he became subject to mental
breakdowns and frequent, severe bouts of depression.
||Throughout the 1930s
and early 1940s, Beckett worked as a reviewer and translator for various
magazines and projects, including Nancy Cunard's
Negro Anthology (1934). He became
increasingly interested in modern drama as he observed productions of the
Dramiks, a Dublin troupe, and contemplated writing his own dramas. In October
1940, he became a member of the French Resistance, and he and Suzanne
Deschevaux-Dumesnil (whom he married in 1961) were forced to flee to unoccupied
France in August 1942. The French rewarded his resistance in 1945 with the
Croix de Guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance.
||During the late 1940s,
Beckett began to write many of his works in French, including
Malone meurt (1951), and the play that
finally won him international fame,
En attendant Godot (1952). Other works
that helped to establish Beckett's reputation include
Fin de partie (1957), and
Krapp's Last Tape (1960). After 1960, Beckett's works
became increasingly brief, but he remained prolific until his death on December
22, 1989. Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1969.
||The two Beckett
scholars John Fletcher and Raymond Federman spent a decade compiling the first
large-scale bibliography of their subject, Samuel Beckett: his works and his
critics; an essay in bibliography (1970), with Beckett's personal