Samuel Beckett

Novelist, Author

1906 – 1989


Who was Samuel Beckett?

Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.

Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is considered one of the last modernists. As an inspiration to many later writers, he is also sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. He is one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called the "Theatre of the Absurd". His work became increasingly minimalist in his later career.

Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.

Famous Quotes:

  • Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world.
  • Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful.
  • There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the fault of his feet.
  • How can one better magnify the Almighty than by sniggering with him at his little jokes, particularly the poorer ones.
  • To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.
  • Words are all we have.
  • The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.
  • Habit is a great deadener.
  • We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?
  • We are all born mad. Some remain so.

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Apr 13, 1906
Also known as
  • Samuel Barclay Beckett
  • Andrew Belis
  • Agnosticism
  • Atheism
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Bachelor's degree, Trinity College, Dublin
    English Literature
    (1923 - 1927)
  • Italian Language
  • French Language
  • Portora Royal School
  • University of Dublin
  • École Normale Supérieure
Lived in
  • County Dublin
  • Paris
Dec 22, 1989

on July 23, 2013


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