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Monday, April 06, 2009

Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989)

Forty years ago, I was kicking around the dorm at SPU one Friday night and picked up a little paperback book I found laying around in my neighbor's room, it had a black and white picture on the cover and a strange title. Took a look at the first page decided to take it somewhere quiet and read it. I walked down the hill to the loop and notice the SUB was more or less empty so I went in and read the book cover to cover in one sitting. It was Samuel Beckett's most famous play.

A few weeks later during Christmas break, I went to the Seattle library and walked off with two arm loads full of Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, ... It was something like a religious conversion. I started reading anarchist poetry in my early teens, my favorite book in the bible was Qoheleth, I read Sophocles in high school, and now I had discovered modern drama.

I was amazed to discover that last fall, a theater company in Seattle had produced a whole series of plays by Beckett. How could anyone in this era be interested in "the last modernist"?



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