Other Literary Forms
Samuel Beckett is far better known for his fiction and plays than for his poetry, even though it was as a poet that he began his writing career. In fact, Beckett explored almost every literary form, writing in English and in French. His early fiction, the collection of stories More Pricks than Kicks (1934) and the novels Murphy (1938) and Watt (1953), was written originally in English, but his best-known fictions, including the trilogy of Molloy (1951; English translation, 1955), Malone meurt (1951; Malone Dies, 1956), and L’Innomable (1953; The Unnamable, 1958), and Comment c’est (1961; How It Is, 1964) and Le Dèpeupleur (1971; The Lost Ones, 1972) were written and published originally in French. From the beginning, Beckett’s greatest strength was as an innovator, writing prose works which do not seem to fit easily into traditional categories but which extend the possibilities of contemporary fiction and which have had a profound influence on the writers who have followed him.
Beckett was also a writer of plays, and, when his name is mentioned, most people think of En attendant Godot (pb. 1952; Waiting for Godot, 1954). This difficult theatrical work met with astounding success on stages throughout the world, and it is still Beckett’s best-known and most-discussed piece. Other works for the stage, Fin de partie:...
(The entire section is 517 words.)