The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946 by Professor Lois Gordon

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Samuel Beckett, whose play "Waiting for Godot" was one of the most influential works for the post-World War II generation, has long been identified with the debilitated and impotent characters he created. In this book, Lois Gordon offers a new perspective on Beckett, challenging the prevalent image of him as reclusive, self-absorbed and disturbed. Gordon investigates the first 40 years of Beckett's life and finds that he was, on the contrary, a kind and generous man who responded sensitively and even heroically to the world around him. Gordon describes the various places and events that affected Beckett during this formative period: war-torn Dublin during the Easter Uprising and World War I, where he spent his childhood and student days; Belfast and Paris in the 1920s and London during the Depression, where he lived and worked; Germany in 1937, where he travelled and witnessed Hitler's domestic policies; prewar and occupied France, where he was active in the Resistance (for which he was later decorated); and the war-ravaged town of Saint-Lo in Normandy, which he helped to restore following the liberation. Gordon also portrays the individuals who were important to Beckett, including Jack B. Yeats, Alfred Peron, Thomas McGreevy, and, most significantly, James Joyce, who was a model for Beckett personally, artistically and politically. Gordon argues that Beckett was very much aware of the political and cultural turmoil of this period and that the creative works he wrote after World War II can, in fact, be viewed as a product of and testament to those tumultuous times.

About Professor Lois Gordon

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Lois Gordon is professor of English and comparative literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Published February 21, 1996 by Yale University Press. 264 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Rather than argue at length with biographers who have presented Beckett in a different light, she seeks to put us in his shoes by describing in detail, for example, the probable impact on Beckett of his close friendship with James Joyce in terms that help us to feel it, and the political-cultural...

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