Samuel Beckett

Watt is the what


Paul Auster on Watt, and laughter in Beckett‘s writing.

Turd and fart…” You are breathing again, and an instant later you find yourself laughing. Schoolboy humor surging up through the fake-scholarly discourse of the opening sentences, an utter surprise in the context of what came earlier, and then, before you can fully adjust, you understand that Beckett is talking about Ireland and the music of the English language when it comes out of the mouth of a working-class Irishman. “Turd and fart, he said, for third and fourth.” And indeed, it is a fair rendering of that music, you say to yourself, even as you go on laughing at Beckett’s prank.

(Via @seanjcostello.) See also, Auster’s Beckett lecture .



New documentary on Samuel Beckett‘s Film.

In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on his only journey to America, to undertake one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history: his collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on a short, almost-silent avant-garde film. The production FILM BY SAMUEL BECKETT, was beset with trouble from the start. The entire first scene was unhappily eliminated, and Keaton suffered terribly in the hottest days of a blistering Manhattan summer. The soon-to-be Nobel laureate Beckett never saw eye-to-eye with the legendary slapstick star, and the film they made – along with theater director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman – opened at the Venice and New York Film Festivals to a bewildered reception. In the decades since, it’s been the subject of praise, condemnation, and ongoing controversy. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches back to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself.