Laughter in the dark

Beckett_1 SAMUEL BECKETT (1906-1989)

“When you are in the ditch, there’s nothing left to do but sing.”

Dublin, Ireland

Trinity College, Dublin; Ecole Normale, Paris

Other jobs
Attempted academia and fled after four terms of lecturing at TCD, after which he refused, impressively, to do anything but write (though research for Murphy necessitated a spell as an orderly in a mental asylum).

Did you know?
Beckett’s most worldly enthusiasms were for horses’ buttocks, 2CVs and liver.

Critical verdict
He survived two decades of being ignored, ignored further years of bemusement after the play in which “nothing happens – twice” brought him to prominence, and spent the rest of his life in grand isolation from increasing academic sainthood. “He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him,” gushed Harold Pinter. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 “for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation” and the Croix de Guerre for his Resistance work.

From The Guardian. More here.