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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: May 2006

12 - Samuel Beckett and the countertradition


At the very end of the twentieth century, more precisely on 22 December 1999, the Mayor of Paris, Jean Tiberi, unveiled a plaque renaming a portion of l'avenue René Coty in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris in honour of Samuel Beckett. The plaque reads:

Allée Samuel Beckett

Foxrock 1906 – Paris 1989

Ecrivain Irlandais

Prix Nobel de Littérature

'Samuel Beckett Alley' seems especially appropriate for the writer whose most memorable characters were tramps lacking middle-class values and fond of off-colour jokes. But it is even more appropriate that at the end of the century the French government would recognize and certify that a writer living in France and often writing in French could nevertheless remain an Irish writer. The Irish government essentially did the same much earlier by establishing the Samuel Beckett Centre at his alma mater in Dublin, Trinity College, in 1981. At the end of the twentieth century Samuel Beckett’s status as an Irish writer seemed so clear that the Irish critic Anthony Roche, in his study Contemporary Irish Drama, could state: ‘the presiding genius of contemporary Irish drama, the ghostly founding father, is Samuel Beckett’.

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The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Irish Drama
  • Online ISBN: 9780511999567
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