"The prospect of reading Beckett’s letters quickens the blood like none other's," wrote Tom Stoppard. "One must hope to stay alive until the fourth volume is safely delivered."
The first volume of Samuel Beckett's letters, spanning 1929-40, was published to great acclaim in 2009. Now the second volume appears, covering 1941-56—from World War II to the debut of Waiting for Godot.
In a preview of their talk, editors Fehsenfeld and Overbeck write, "After World War II, Beckett is a changed man: his work shifts from the parameters of self to the wider boundaries of all humanity. Watt is written in the early forties out of the absurd and often impossible situations imposed by the war. Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable are forged from isolation and loss. Waiting for Godot offers a stark reminder of the responsibility of survival—'was I sleeping when the others suffered?'"
"From 1946, Beckett begins to write in French. He writes plays and becomes involved in their production. In letters to friends, publishers, actors, translators, interpreters and critics, we witness Beckett honing his aesthetic—particularly through the incomparably intense series of letters to George Duthuit. From 1941 to 1956, Beckett’s work emerges from virtual obscurity to achieve international recognition and Beckett must learn to protect his work and writing life from the encroachments of literary renown."
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