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Friday, December 02, 2011
92Y Podcast: From the Poetry Center Archive: The Letters of Samuel Beckett

Upon the publication, in 2009, of the first volume of the Letters of Samuel Beckett, editors Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck visited 92Y to speak about the influence of music on his art. In anticipation of the editors’ return visit on December 18 (the second volume is just published), here is an audio recording of their earlier presentation.

Volume II covers the years 1941-1956, and in a preview of their upcoming talk, Fehsenfeld and Overbeck write: “After World War II, Beckett is a changed man: his work shifts from the parameters of self to the wider boundaries of all humanity. Watt is written in the early forties out of the absurd and often impossible situations imposed by the war. Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable are forged from isolation and loss. Waiting for Godot offers a stark reminder of the responsibility of survival—’was I sleeping when the others suffered?’

“From 1946, Beckett begins to write in French. He writes plays and becomes involved in their production. In letters to friends, publishers, actors, translators, interpreters and critics, we witness Beckett honing his aesthetic—particularly through the incomparably intense series of letters to George Duthuit. From 1941 to 1956, Beckett’s work emerges from virtual obscurity to achieve international recognition and Beckett must learn to protect his work and writing life from the encroachments of literary renown.”

To purchase tickets to the event, which takes place as part of the Unterberg Poetry Center’s Books and Bagels series, please click here.

In an ongoing effort to share with our readers some of the great literary moments which the Poetry Center has presented across the decades, this blog has begun to feature regular postings of archival recordings. For access to other recordings, please click here.

You can also download the MP3.

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Unterberg Poetry Center webcasts and access to our archive are made possible in part by the generous support of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation.

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