Download PDF by John Fletcher: About Beckett. The Playwright and the Work

By John Fletcher

ISBN-10: 0571318878

ISBN-13: 9780571318872

In About Beckett Emeritus Professor John Fletcher has compiled a radical and available quantity that explains why Beckett's paintings is so major and enduring. Professor Fletcher first met Beckett in 1961 and his booklet is stuffed not just with insights into the paintings but in addition interviews with Beckett and first-hand tales and observations via those that helped to place his paintings at the degree, together with Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Roger Blin, Peter corridor, Max Wall and George Devine. As an advent to Beckett and his paintings, Professor Fletcher's ebook is incomparable.

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Molière did write a few traditional plays – in his case, knockabout, vulgar farces – until his own particular genius for the more serious and socially aware type of comedy (which he largely invented) asserted itself. The Misanthrope (1666) still retains elements of farce, but they are subordinated to the portrayal of a man who, by obstinately maintaining that total candour is not only desirable but perfectly feasible, finds himself comically at odds with a society that knows only too well that neither is the case: there would be anarchy, murder and worse if everybody spoke their mind with complete frankness.

How much would we know – or care – about the little princesses who lived at the Spanish court in the 1650s if the great painter Velasquez had not been commissioned to do their portraits? So, long after the Ceauşescus have been relegated to a footnote in the history books, Beckett’s plays will still be performed around the world and studied in schools and universities everywhere. Even as I write, Channel 4 is screening specially made television versions of the complete dramatic works, and this means, of course, that they will reach a mass audience for the first time.

There is a marked difference in setting, of course: the estates of the declining nobility in pre-Revolutionary Russia are a far cry from the seedy bed-and-breakfasts or the trendy modernized farmhouses in which Harold Pinter’s characters, from The Birthday Party (1957) to Old Times (1971), tear each other apart; but both are the authentic locales of their respective periods. Long after the last derelict London mansion has been erased by the developer’s JCBs as irrevocably as Madame Ranyevskaia’s cherry orchard has been cut down by its new owner’s axemen, Pinter’s people, like Chekhov’s, will still be probing the resources of speech in order to find loopholes through which to escape from their truths, signalling as they go messages of hostility and repressed antagonism, either by the use of inappropriate discourse (like Mick’s assertion to the tramp Davies in The Caretaker: ‘I understood you were an experienced first-class professional interior and exterior decorator … You mean you wouldn’t know how to fit teal-blue, copper and parchment linoleum squares and have those colours re-echoed in the walls?

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About Beckett. The Playwright and the Work by John Fletcher


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