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By R. Federman, L. Graver

Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). Irish dramatist and poet. His use of the degree and dramatic narrative and symbolism has revolutionalized drama in England.

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Following the fiasco in Miami, performances scheduled for Washington, Boston, Philadelphia and New York were cancelled and the original cast disbanded. Plans for a New York production were revived, however, with a different director and four new actors. After opening at the John Golden Theatre in April 1956, ‘Godot’ received as many different notices as there were critics to respond to it. Brooks Atkinson’s ‘New York Times’ review (20 April) was breezy, generally positive, evasive and misleading.

Beckett was becoming internationally famous but the ambiguities of his work, the controversies that surrounded it, and his extreme personal reticence SAMUEL BECKETT : THE CRITICAL HERITAGE 15 gave his name a significant aura of mystery. Having previously refused to be interviewed, Beckett relented once in the spring of 1956. The intensity of public interest and hunger for words in the author’s own voice can be measured by the fact that every one of the remarks by Beckett reported by Israel Shenker (No.

As one further index of the success of ‘Godot,’ Grove Press announced in March 1975 that the American paperback edition had sold more than one million copies and was still selling at the rate of 2,500 a week. IV In 1953, however, Beckett was still very much an Irishman writing in French whose earlier accomplishments were forgotten, minimized, or seen simply as preparations for the major work in his adopted language. More than a hundred reviews and essays had already been devoted to ‘Molloy,’ ‘Malone meurt’ and ‘En attendant Godot,’ and many of the issues raised by those radical experiments in fiction and drama, and by Beckett’s frightening vision of the world, were regularly discussed in French periodicals.

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