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Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

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Andonian, Cathleen Culotta. Samuel Beckett: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989. A comprehensive, annotated bibliography, well indexed. The critical reception of Waiting for Godot can be traced through its listings.

Bair, Deirdre. Samuel Beckett. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978. Original, full-length biography, drawing on hundreds of interviews with Beckett’s friends and acquaintances. Provides much interesting circumstantial information on the genesis of the play, its controversial early productions, and its translations.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Waiting for Godot: Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. The eight representative selections by leading interpreters of Beckett’s work (including Ruby Cohn, Martin Esslin, John Fletcher, and Hugh Kenner) consider the theatrical, religious, and philosophical implications of Waiting for Godot.

Connor, Steven, ed. “Waiting for Godot” and “Endgame.” New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. Four of the eleven interrelated essays deal with Waiting for Godot in terms drawn from contemporary theory. They range from the liberal humanist reading of Andrew Kennedy on action and theatricality to Jeffrey Nealon’s definition of a postmodernist culture that validates the self through the playing of serious games.

Cousineau, Thomas. “Waiting for Godot”: Form in Movement. Boston: Twayne, 1990. A theoretically informed student guide to the play. Contends that concrete scenic language and physical movement displaces narrow notions of text. Also contains discussions of various themes and techniques. Annotated bibliography.

Esslin, Martin. The Theatre of the Absurd. 3d ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. Highly influential for its famous definition and its lucid study of the movement of which Waiting for Godot is a classic part. Focusing on existential elements, the analysis attempts to account for the complexity of the effect of the play.

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Essays and Criticism