About the Book
In life, Beckett was notoriously reticent, preferring to let his work speak for itself. In the first half of this collection, he reveals many of his inner thoughts and honest opinions about his life, writing, friends, and colleagues in candid interviews published for the first time in this book. He discusses his friendship with James Joyce and his role in the Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France. Also included are newly discovered photographs of Beckett--as a young boy, as a teacher, as best man at a friend's wedding, and with painter Henri Hayden. In the second half, friends and colleagues share their memories of Beckett as a schoolboy, a teacher, a struggling young writer, and a sudden success in 1953 with the appearance of Waiting for Godot. Readers will be enchanted by the poignant remembrances by those who knew him best, worked with him most closely, or admired him for his enduring influence: including actors Hume Cronyn, Jean Martin, Jessica Tandy, and Billie Whitelaw and fellow playwrights and authors Edward Albee, Paul Auster, E. M. Cioran, J. M. Coetzee, Eugène Ionesco, Edna O'Brien, and Tom Stoppard.
About the Author: Samuel Beckett was born in Foxrock, Ireland, in 1906. His plays Waiting for Godot and Endgame revolutionized modern theater, and his trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable ranks among the major works of twentieth-century fiction. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. He died in Paris in 1989.
James Knowlson is also the author of Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett, among many others. He is professor emeritus at the University of Reading, and, in 2011, he was awarded the title of Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by former French president Sarkozy for "his eminent career devoted to an understanding of European theatre, specifically for his numerous publications on the life and work of the Nobel Prize-winner Samuel Beckett, a friend of many years standing."
Elizabeth Knowlson lectured in French at the University of Glasgow from 1961 to 1969. After having three children, she resumed her university career as an administrator at the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Reading. She left her post in order to aid her husband with his biography of Beckett and his later books and essays.