Jump to content

Damned to Fame - a biography of Samuel Beckett


Recommended Posts

Just finished reading the book "Damned to Fame", by James Knowlson, a biography of Samuel Beckett. 

My review of the book is now "live" on Amazon (if "live" is the right word......😀) and here it is:-

I really enjoyed reading this biography of Samuel Beckett. Quite long but for me not a word was wasted. Before reading this I knew only of "Waiting for Godot" and "Krapp's Last Tape" and very little of Samuel Beckett's life story.

This biography attains a fine balance between life story narrative and insight into the works of Beckett. Today, on a Kindle Fire, it is easy to switch from the text of the book to all the presentations of the plays on YouTube, and also to see the many great paintings that influenced Beckett. Quite an education! And I thank Mr Knowlson for sharing his deep knowledge of Becketts work that flows easily from the text.

Samuel Beckett comes across as a fine human being, deeply compassionate in the very best way i.e. without any awareness of it or intent to be so. Just simply "there" for so many friends and even casual acquaintances met with as his life unfolded.

The counterpoint for me is in the "eastern" ways of "emptiness", of "no-self", of the "void", of the creative nihilism that such ways promise to open in contrast to the despairing nihilism of our current "western" world. Given the information of this book, Beckett had no acquaintance with such ways and terms, yet his despair/nihilism was indeed creative and life-giving, with the potential to become so for anyone who absorbs the heart of his many plays of mime and voice, music and movement.

Anyway, whatever, a superb book and one can only feel gratitude toward the learning of James Knowlson - and the life and works of Samuel Beckett. Thank you.

(End of review)

I love finding a book that becomes for me a "page turner" or one that "cannot be put down". Many are described as such on their blurbs, but reality often kicks in and two pages become enough before the book is put down - or turned off if on Kindle. 

But, whatever, as I said in the review, "educational". It has opened up so much, reviving interest in art and music. So much to feed such interest these days, when the whole artistic catalogue of say Rembrandt or Rafael can be had literally for the price of a coffee in McDonald's. Delphi's art series provides this, with indepth commentaries and extras such as pictures of the artists birthplace and even biographies.

But. Beckett. I would love to have met him and sat in silence with him. 


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service