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Thread: The Making of Samuel Beckett by J. M. Coetzee

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    Default The Making of Samuel Beckett by J. M. Coetzee

    I am going through a bit of a Samuel Beckett phase right now and am loving Murphy. I came across this brilliant article from fellow Nobel winner J.M Coetzee on Sam's correspondence between 1929-1940 which was edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck of Cambridge University . It is a great read and I am going to order it in my local or college library. here is an excerpt from the excerpt..Enjoy!


    It is only when the subject of Ireland comes up that Beckett now and again allows himself to vent a political opinion. Though McGreevy was an Irish nationalist and a devout Catholic, and Beckett an agnostic cosmopolite, the two rarely allowed politics or religion to come between them. But an essay by McGreevy on Jack Butler Yeats provokes Beckett to a fit of ire.
    “For an essay of such brevity the political and social analyses are rather on the long side,” he writes.'
    I received almost the impression…that your interest was passing from the man himself to the forces that formed him…. But perhaps that…is the fault of…my chronic inability to understand as member of any proposition a phrase like “the Irish people,” or to imagine that it ever gave a fart in its corduroys for any form of art whatsoever,…or that it was ever capable of any thought or act other than the rudimentary thoughts and acts belted into it by the priests and by the demagogues in service of the priests, or that it will ever care…that there
    Read the full piece in the link below.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/arch...gination=false
    Last edited by greenbacks; 9th March 2013 at 07:11 AM.

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    Thank you so much
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    Politics.ie Member nicht besonders's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this
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    Thanks for posting this. I love Beckett, an amazing person, and writer. Just recently read Endgame, after seeing the (BBC or RTE??) DVD of it. Stunning.

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    Thanks, Greenbacks.

    I recently saw Samuel Beckett's grave (sorry to be morbid) in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. As one would expect, its simplicity and minimalism made it rather difficult to find among all the other more ornate, carved tombstones.

    He spent WW2 in France: "I prefer France at war to Ireland at peace"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gatsbygirl20 View Post
    Thanks, Greenbacks.

    I recently saw Samuel Beckett's grave (sorry to be morbid) in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. As one would expect, its simplicity and minimalism made it rather difficult to find among all the other more ornate, carved tombstones.

    He spent WW2 in France: "I prefer France at war to Ireland at peace"
    Yes. not only that, he was a war hero, something that is often only mentioned about him almost in passing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by petaljam View Post
    Yes. not only that, he was a war hero, something that is often only mentioned about him almost in passing.

    It is very much recognised in France. I think he got the Croix de Guerre or some such decoration.

    He worked with the Resistance in Paris,and then in the Vaucluse in Provence

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    Politics.ie Member LamportsEdge's Avatar
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    Yes. The Croix de Guerre and accompanying citation were found among his possessions when he died. If I recall the details correctly he and Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil were part of the Gloria resistance network with a role in passing messages/intelligence from cell to cell in Paris.

    I seem to recall reading that they had a close escape having to flee Paris for the Roussillon as the Gestapo appeared at flats and houses owned by friends who also had resistance connections.

    An interesting period in their lives when they had to eke a living by farm labouring in the Roussillon.

    Beckett and his work continues to fascinate French students- I know of one lady embarking on a Phd at University in France, thesis proposed on the work of 'Long Oblomov' himself.

    That will be some journey and the hard yard. I've often thought of Beckett as perhaps Ireland's bravest intellectual. Those lines on his face did not get there from the farm labouring- I have a notion he went to places in the human mind and experience with no safety net and returned to engrave what he found on the page. I don't think many could have gone where he went and come back sane.

    Always truthful and never flinching on the human condition. It is very unlikely we will ever see the like of a mind like that again- not in sheer intelligence terms but in the crucible that formed his mind. He and Joyce between them had a rare polish to their minds from Dante through to post-modernism in many spheres and the insight in the round that they had will not now be available in our specialised era again unless with the wild card, the tyro or the amateur genius.

    The hard road indeed and not much travelled.



    I keep a photo of Beckett near my desk and rarely a week goes past without my pondering for a while on his reports from the edge of the human condition. Maybe not our first psychonaut but definitely arguable that he was our finest.

    The first Irishman into Inner Space.
    Last edited by LamportsEdge; 9th March 2013 at 02:19 PM.
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    Politics.ie Member soubresauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LamportsEdge View Post
    Yes. The Croix de Guerre and accompanying citation were found among his possessions when he died. If I recall the details correctly he and Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil were part of the Gloria resistance network with a role in passing messages/intelligence from cell to cell in Paris.

    I seem to recall reading that they had a close escape having to flee Paris for the Roussillon as the Gestapo appeared at flats and houses owned by friends who also had resistance connections...
    I'd echo your thoughts on the great man, but one little correction:

    They didn't go to the Roussillon region (next to Catalonia) but to the remote village Roussillon, east of Avignon.
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    Politics.ie Member LamportsEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soubresauts View Post
    I'd echo your thoughts on the great man, but one little correction:

    They didn't go to the Roussillon region (next to Catalonia) but to the remote village Roussillon, east of Avignon.
    Yes, thanks Soubresaults. It has been a while since I read Knowlson's excellent biography 'Damned to Fame'. Funnily enough the lady I know of who is embarking on her PhD on the work of Beckett is from the Roussillon and I was only talking to her boyfriend last week and they are from the Roussillon region which is what I suspect set me off the geographic track.
    Whenever understanding exists, accepting or rejecting is unnecessary. (Fundamentals of a Gnostic Education).

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