By Hugh Kenner
Samuel Beckett, who wrote every little thing either in French and English, really good briefly enigmatic texts, implying big visionary works of which the tales are damaged items. Kenner's consultant is designed to aid readers see past the tale in Beckett to the textual content as an entire and to understand the individuality of every of his works.
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Extra resources for A Reader's Guide to Samuel Beckett (Irish Studies)
That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be? Then he repeats the figure Pozzo used: Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. ) But habit is a great deadener. ) At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on. ) I can't go on! ) What have I said?
A few of the stories will be detaining us, only because they have lately been reprinted. The author's consent to this was extremely reluctant, and the British reprint was hors commerce . The poems in Echo's Bones ( 1936) seem to constitute the only early work he values at all. They may be found in Poems in English ( London, 1961; New York, 1963). Written just before and just after the vagabond years commenced, they preserve complex hermetic miseries. They are strangely frozen poems: a day fixed, a mood fixed, as it were for later thawing.
Unlike his mature writing, which speaks to numerous readers though Beckett himself is apt to be blank about it, the poems are apt to leave a reader blank though for Beckett they fix circumstantial memories: old crises and avulsions of the psyche, tied to times and landscapes. Applying a deft ice-pick with the author's generous help, Professor Lawrence E. Harvey ( Samuel Beckett, Poet and Critic , Princeton, 1970) extracted and put on record the most extensive array of facts we have about Beckett's early life.