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Damned to Fame
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Samuel Beckett's long-standing friend, James Knowlson, recreates Beckett's youth in Ireland, his studies at Trinity College, Dublin in the early 1920s and from there to the Continent, where he plunged into the multicultural literary society of late-1920s Paris. The biography throws new light on Beckett's stormy relationship with his mother, the psychotherapy he received after the death of his father and his crucial relationship with James Joyce. There is also material on Beckett's six-month visit to Germany as the Nazi's tightened their grip. The book includes unpublished material on Beckett's personal life after he chose to live in France, including his own account of his work for a Resistance cell during the war, his escape from the Gestapo and his retreat into hiding. Obsessively private, Beckett was wholly committed to the work which eventually brought his public fame, beginning with the controversial success of "Waiting for Godot" in 1953, and culminating in the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. James Knowlson is the general editor of "The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett".
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Promotional Information

Shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize First published in 1996, this definitive biography received extensive rave reviews

About the Author

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.

Reviews

'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

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