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.
Beckett’s plays became the cornerstone of 20th-century theater beginning with ”Waiting for Godot,” which was first produced in 1953. As the play’s two tramps wait for a salvation that never comes, they exchange vaudeville routines and metaphysical musings – and comedy rises to tragedy.
Before Beckett there was a naturalistic tradition. After him, scores of playwrights were encouraged to experiment with the underlying meaning of their work as well as with an absurdist style. As the Beckett scholar Ruby Cohn wrote: “After ‘Godot,’ plots could be minimal; exposition, expendable; characters, contradictory; settings, unlocalized, and dialogue, unpredictable. Blatant farce could jostle tragedy.”
For his accomplishments in both drama and fiction, the Irish author, who wrote first in English and later in French, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. At the root of his art was a philosophy of the deepest yet most courageous pessimism, exploring man’s relationship with his God… As illustrated by the final words of his novel, “The Unnamable”: “You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” Or as he later wrote: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”