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Samuel Beckett Died on 22 December 1989 + His Fascination with Chess and Endgame

  • Samuel Becket at 73 1AvedonBeckett
    by Richard Avedon

    Samuel Beckett Died on 22 December 1989.

  • Samuel Beckett Draws Doodles of Charlie Chaplin, James Joyce & Hats

    Samuel Beckett discusses forms with Harold Pinter.

    Beckett and Chess

    Poet John Montague, a close friend of his fellow Irishman in Paris in the 1950s and 60s, tells me that Beckett, who was ill at ease with people he didn’t know well, would sit in a cafe moving the objects on the table around, “playing a fantasy game of chess”, as Montague puts it. It is also tempting to see Beckett treating the stage like a chessboard.

    Endgame in particular is, as the title makes clear, infused with chess.

    As always with Beckett, there is no easy key to understanding. Chess is clearly a subtext of Endgame – his biographer Deirdre Bair says Beckett was clear on this point – but it is difficult to be reductive.

  • “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett quote tatooed on Stan Wawrinka’s arm.

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    Interview in Vogue, December 1969: “Writing becomes not easier, but more difficult for me. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. Democritus pointed the way: ‘Naught is more than nothing.'”

    To Samuel Beckett archive here.

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