Samuel Beckett quotes

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Samuel Beckett

Birthdate: 13. April 1906
Date of death: 22. December 1989

Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. A resident of Paris for most of his adult life, he wrote in both French and English.

Beckett's work offers a bleak, tragi-comic outlook on human existence, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour, and became increasingly minimalist in his later career. He is considered one of the last modernist writers, and one of the key figures in what Martin Esslin called the "Theatre of the Absurd".Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation." He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.

Works

Molloy
Molloy
Samuel Beckett
The Unnamable
The Unnamable
Samuel Beckett
Watt
Samuel Beckett
Malone Dies
Malone Dies
Samuel Beckett
Texts for Nothing
Samuel Beckett
Three Dialogues
Samuel Beckett
Krapp's Last Tape
Samuel Beckett
Worstward Ho
Worstward Ho
Samuel Beckett
Murphy
Murphy
Samuel Beckett
Proust
Proust
Samuel Beckett

„I wish them all an atrocious life and then the fires and ice of hell and in the execrable generations to come an honoured name.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Malone Dies

Malone Dies (1951)
Context: Let me say before I go any further that I forgive nobody. I wish them all an atrocious life and then the fires and ice of hell and in the execrable generations to come an honoured name.

„Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Worstward Ho

Worstward Ho (1983)
Context: All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

„Let me cry out then, it's said to be good for you. Yes let me cry out, this time, then another time perhaps, then perhaps a last time.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Molloy

Molloy (1951)
Context: To decompose is to live too, I know, I know, don't torment me, but one sometimes forgets. And of that life too I shall tell you perhaps one day, the day I know that when I thought I knew I was merely existing and that passion without form or stations will have devoured me down to the rotting flesh itself and that when I know that I know nothing, am only crying out as I have always cried out, more or less piercingly, more or less openly. Let me cry out then, it's said to be good for you. Yes let me cry out, this time, then another time perhaps, then perhaps a last time.

„I was not made for the great light that devours, a dim lamp was all I had been given, and patience without end, to shine it on the empty shadows.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Molloy

Molloy (1951)
Context: I was not made for the great light that devours, a dim lamp was all I had been given, and patience without end, to shine it on the empty shadows. I was a solid in the midst of other solids.

„Personally of course I regret everything.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Watt

Part I, p. 37
Watt (1943)
Context: Personally of course I regret everything. Not a word, not a deed, not a thought, not a need, not a grief, not a joy, not a girl, not a boy, not a doubt, not a trust, not a scorn, not a lust, not a hope, not a fear, not a smile, not a tear, not a name, not a face, no time, no place, that I do not regret, exceedingly. An ordure, from beginning to end.

„I simply do not know, perhaps shall never know.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Molloy

Molloy (1951)
Context: What I assert, deny, question, in the present, I still can. But mostly I shall use the various tenses of the past. For mostly I do not know, it is perhaps no longer so, it is too soon to know, I simply do not know, perhaps shall never know.

„Nothing is more real than nothing.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Malone Dies

Malone Dies (1951)
Context: Nothing is more real than nothing. <!-- p, 16

„I am such a good man, at bottom, such a good man, how is it that nobody ever noticed it?“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Malone Dies

Malone Dies (1951)
Context: Or I might be able to catch one, a little girl for example, and half strangle her, three quarters, until she promises to give me my stick, give me soup, empty my pots, kiss me, fondle me, smile to me, give me my hat, stay with me, follow the hearse weeping into her handkerchief, that would be nice. I am such a good man, at bottom, such a good man, how is it that nobody ever noticed it?

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„Living souls, you will see how alike they are.“

—  Samuel Beckett

The Expelled (1946)
Context: I don’t know why I told this story. I could just as well have told another. Perhaps some other time I’ll be able to tell another. Living souls, you will see how alike they are.

„For had I been able to conceive something worse than what I had I would have known no peace until I got it, if I know anything about myself.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Molloy

Molloy (1951)
Context: Anything worse than what I do, without knowing what, or why, I have never been able to conceive, and that doesn’t surprise me, for I never tried. For had I been able to conceive something worse than what I had I would have known no peace until I got it, if I know anything about myself.

„What a joy to know where one is, and where one will stay, without being there. Nothing to do but stretch out comfortably on the rack, in the blissful knowledge you are nobody for all eternity.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book The Unnamable

The Unnamable (1954)
Context: What a joy to know where one is, and where one will stay, without being there. Nothing to do but stretch out comfortably on the rack, in the blissful knowledge you are nobody for all eternity. A pity I should have to give tongue at the same time, it prevents it from bleeding in peace, licking the lips.

„Some of this rubbish has come in handy on occasions, I don’t deny it, on occasions which would never have arisen if they had left me in peace. I use it still, to scratch my arse with.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book The Unnamable

The Unnamable (1954)
Context: What they were most determined for me to swallow was my fellow creatures. In this they were without mercy. I remember little or nothing of these lectures. I cannot have understood a great deal. But I seem to have retained certain descriptions, in spite of myself. They gave me courses on love, on intelligence, most precious, most precious. They also taught me to count, and even to reason. Some of this rubbish has come in handy on occasions, I don’t deny it, on occasions which would never have arisen if they had left me in peace. I use it still, to scratch my arse with.

„What they were most determined for me to swallow was my fellow creatures. In this they were without mercy.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book The Unnamable

The Unnamable (1954)
Context: What they were most determined for me to swallow was my fellow creatures. In this they were without mercy. I remember little or nothing of these lectures. I cannot have understood a great deal. But I seem to have retained certain descriptions, in spite of myself. They gave me courses on love, on intelligence, most precious, most precious. They also taught me to count, and even to reason. Some of this rubbish has come in handy on occasions, I don’t deny it, on occasions which would never have arisen if they had left me in peace. I use it still, to scratch my arse with.

„I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them.“

—  Samuel Beckett

The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1929–1940 (2009), p. 362
Context: I think the next little bit of excitement is flying. I hope I am not too old to take it up seriously, nor too stupid about machines to qualify as a commercial pilot. I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them.

„Strictly speaking I wasn’t there. Strictly speaking I believe I’ve never been anywhere.“

—  Samuel Beckett

The End (1946)
Context: Normally I didn’t see a great deal. I didn’t hear a great deal either. I didn’t pay attention. Strictly speaking I wasn’t there. Strictly speaking I believe I’ve never been anywhere.

„Can it be we are not free? It might be worth looking into.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Molloy

Molloy (1951)
Context: All the things you would do gladly, oh without enthusiasm, but gladly, all the things there seems no reason for your not doing, and that you do not do! Can it be we are not free? It might be worth looking into.

„I did my best to go in a circle, hoping in this way to go in a straight line.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Molloy

Molloy (1951)
Context: Having heard, or more probably read somewhere, in the days when I thought I would be well advised to educate myself, or amuse myself, or stupefy myself, or kill time, that when a man in a forest thinks he is going forward in a straight line, in reality he is going in a circle, I did my best to go in a circle, hoping in this way to go in a straight line. For I stopped being half-witted and became sly, whenever I took the trouble … and if I did not go in a rigorously straight line, with my system of going in a circle, at least I did not go in a circle, and that was something.

„Nohow less. Nohow worse. Nohow naught. Nohow on.“

—  Samuel Beckett, book Worstward Ho

Worstward Ho (1983)
Context: Enough. Sudden enough. Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far. All least. Three pins. One pinhole. In dimmost dim. Vasts apart. At bounds of boundless void. Whence no farther. Best worse no farther. Nohow less. Nohow worse. Nohow naught. Nohow on.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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