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Saturday, September 27, 2014

'Hammer hammer adamantine words': Beckett's letters to Barbara Bray


"If it is a trickle of sad phrases it is because I am sad and tired and coming to an end, don't talk to me for God's sake about the duty of happiness, do you want me to put on a black moustache and pad out my cheeks with cotton wool, I'll be very glad if you come over and do all I can and enjoy doing it to give you at least a little of what you want."
  1. The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 3, 1957-1965
  2. by Samuel Beckett

When he wrote this remarkable sentence, in March 1960, Samuel Beckett, supposedly "coming to an end", had nearly 30 more years to live. They would be spent in close company with the woman to whom he was writing here, Barbara Bray, who at this moment was considering quitting London with her young daughters to move to Paris where Beckett had been resident since before the war. The two had become acquainted while working together on Beckett's first radio play, All That Fall, written for the BBC Radio Third Programme; Bray was a script editor there, where she also commissioned and translated many innovative French and Italian writers, such as Marguerite Duras, Robert Pinget, Jean Genet and Luigi Pirandello. Within two years of meeting, Bray had become not just intimate with Beckett, but almost indispensable to him and of invaluable assistance to his work.


Read on HERE

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