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Shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize First published in 1996, this definitive biography received extensive rave reviews
James Knowlson is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Reading where he founded the Beckett Archive (now the Beckett International Foundation). He was a friend of Samuel Beckett for twenty years and is his authorised biographer, publishing Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett with Bloomsbury in 1996. He has written or edited many other books and essays on Beckett and modern drama, including most recently Images of Beckett with theatre photographer John Haynes.
'A landmark in scholarly criticism... Knowlson is the world's largest Beckett scholar. His life is right up there with George Painter's Proust and Richard Ellmann's Joyce in sensitivity and fascination' Daily Telegraph 'Essential, not only for the fact and details it offers, but for emphasising less well-known aspects of Beckett's life... the result is a clear, authoritative and exhaustively annotated biography' Independent on Sunday 'A triumph of scholarship and sympathy... James Knowlson presents us here with a tremendous act of elucidation and synthesis, ballasted with hitherto unseen diaries and underpinned by the bonus of Beckett's own plain reminiscences... Its amplitude, its oceanic research and tireless intelligence, its pacing and verve and critical acuity mark it as one of the great post-war biographies. Whatever celestial or infernal zone he currently occupies, Beckett must be permitting himself a brief wintry smile at last' Independent 'It is hard to imagine a fuller portrait of the man who gave our age some of the myths by which it lives' Evening Standard