Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett Intensely private possibly saintly but perhaps misanthropic Samuel Beckett was the most legendary and enigmatic of writers Anthony Cronin s biography is a revelation of this mythical figure as full

  • Title: Samuel Beckett
  • Author: Anthony Cronin
  • ISBN: 9780306808982
  • Page: 127
  • Format: Paperback
  • Intensely private, possibly saintly, but perhaps misanthropic, Samuel Beckett was the most legendary and enigmatic of writers Anthony Cronin s biography is a revelation of this mythical figure as fully human and fallible, while confirming his enormous stature both as a man and a writer Cronin explores how the sporty schoolboy of solid Protestant bourgeois stock became aIntensely private, possibly saintly, but perhaps misanthropic, Samuel Beckett was the most legendary and enigmatic of writers Anthony Cronin s biography is a revelation of this mythical figure as fully human and fallible, while confirming his enormous stature both as a man and a writer Cronin explores how the sporty schoolboy of solid Protestant bourgeois stock became a prizewinning student at Trinity, flirted with scholarship, and, in Paris, found himself at the center of its literary avant garde as an intimate friend of James Joyce But he was a young man who struggled with complexities in his own nature as well as with problems of literary expression In the small provincial city of Kassel, Germany, the cosmopolitan Beckett experienced a faltering entanglement with his cousin one of the first in a series of problematic encounters with women The war years, which he spent as a member of the Resistance and a refugee in the South of France, brought Beckett the self probings and discoveries that led to the great works Then, with his sudden and astonishing fame, the balloons of myth began to inflate and a stereotype was born frozen in exile and enigma, solemnity and sanctity Anthony Cronin bursts these balloons to see clearly what lies behind Without moralizing or psychologizing, without pretensions or piety, he uncovers the real Beckett, the way the life was lived, the way the art was made.

    One thought on “Samuel Beckett”

    1. Cronin’s Flann O’Brien bio, No Laughing Matter, was a superlative work. This bio, if not reaching similar heights, is liable to remain one of the tippest toppest studies of the moodiest modernist around. From Sam’s meandering beginnings, mooching around his mother’s house, waiting for the Second World War to make a writer of him, to his sluggish slouch towards success and worldwide acclaim, this bio leaves no crevice unprobed. The finest stretch of the bio is Sam’s earlier years, to wh [...]

    2. Cronin is to be commended for providing an unmaudlin look at an artist's life which by all accounts is anything but. Beckett's various pains in the world - whether psychosomatic or real - are well-accounted for, and one cannot help but think that the shy and bitter recluse of Beckett was indeed reaching for a world in which he imagined some form of happiness for himself, but could not articulate it. Cronin (blessed with an excellent vocabulary which he uses to great effect to support the book bu [...]

    3. This book opened my mind up to Sarte and Schopenhauer and instilled further regret that I did not visit Beckett in Paris in 1986

    4. One imagines Beckett might have offered - as Cronin says he did in regards to Ellmann's Oscar Wilde - that the current work "too long and too detailed, as indeed most modern biographies are." I hope Cronin includes this thought on page 587 for it's ironic value. Cronin' book IS thorough. He takes us with detail from cradle to grave with few excursions that don't shed light on Beckett's development as a man and as a writer. Certainly worth the investment of time for someone already interested in [...]

    5. This started out as a very readable biography; however, occasionally quite speculative. While I was drawn to the book for the potential discussion of modernism, I abandoned the book when Cronin began to use fiction to fill in details of life. Yes an author can base a character on someone s/he knows, but s/he will most likely tweak details. Therefore to trek to biography from fiction is fraught with errors.

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