Samuel Beckett painted from life in Paris by Reginald Grey, 1961
“You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on”—The Unnamable
The great Irish modernist/minimalist writer Samuel Beckett was born on this day, April 13th, 106 years ago. Greatly influenced by his friend and mentor James Joyce, with plays like Krapp’s Last Tape, Waiting for Godot and Endgame; and his novels Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, Beckett established himself as the last of the great 20th century modernist writers.
Much of Beckett’s work dealt with the breakdown of communication, repetitive, pointless activities, hopelessness, loneliness and the general shitty bleakness of the human condition. He was closely associated with the post-war dramatic movement that the influential critic Martin Esslin dubbed “The Theatre of the Absurd” which also included Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Edward Albee and others. Samuel Beckett died on December 22, 1989 at the age of 83.
The late Anthony Minghella’s superb interpretation of Beckett’s Play from the 4-disc Beckett on Film set featured Harry Potter’s Alan Rickman in, uh, urn-ist with Kristen Scott Thomas and Juliet Stevenson. If you’ve never sampled Beckett’s work before, I reckon this Play is a great place to… hit “play”!