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See What Was On Samuel Beckett’s Nightstand


As befits an obsessive writer, Beckett read everything he could get his hands on, and of course had opinions on everything. The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Vol. 2 , recently published by Cambridge University Press, sheds light on Beckett’s correspondence from 1941 – 1956, and is, of course, fascinating. To whet your appetite (if you don’t have a copy of the book yet), CUP has published a partial list of books mentioned by Beckett in his personal letters, some even with a few choice words of derision or approval, so we can get an idea of what he was reading in those fifteen years. Click through to see Beckett’s reading list, and then make sure to pick up a copy of the book for even more.

Andromaque by Jean Racine: “I read Andromaque again with greater admiration than ever and I think more understanding, at least more understanding of the chances of the theatre today.”

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne: “It is lively stuff.”

The Castle by Franz Kafka: “I felt at home, too much so – perhaps that is what stopped me from reading on. Case closed there and then.”

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: “I liked it very much indeed, more than anything for a long time.”

Crooked House by Agatha Christie: “very tired Christie”

Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane: “I read it for the fourth time the other day with the same old tears in the same old places.”

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Lautreamont and Sade by Maurice Blanchot: “Some excellent ideas, or rather starting-points for ideas, and a fair bit of verbiage, to be read quickly, not as a translator does. What emerges from it though is a truly gigantic Sade, jealous of Satan and of his eternal torments, and confronting nature more than with humankind.”

Man’s Fate by Andre Malraux

Mosquitoes by William Faulkner: “with a preface by Queneau that would make an ostrich puke”

Repeat Performance by William O’Farrell: “Excellent, once past the beginning.”

The Stranger by Albert Camus: “Try and read it, I think it is important.”

The Temptation to Exist by Emil Cioran: “Great stuff here and there. Must reread his first.”

The 628-E8 by Octave Mirbeau: “Damned good piece of work.”

[via The Millions ]