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Happy Days Audio, Cassette – October, 1983


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Caedmon Audio Cassette (October 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898452007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898452006
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,056,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), one of the leading literary and dramatic figures of the twentieth century, was born in Foxrock, Ireland and attended Trinity University in Dublin. In 1928, he visited Paris for the first time and fell in with a number of avant-garde writers and artists, including James Joyce. In 1937, he settled in Paris permanently. Beckett wrote in both English and French, though his best-known works are mostly in the latter language. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, and poetry, he is remembered principally for his works for the theater, which belong to the tradition of the Theater of the Absurd and are characterized by their minimalist approach, stripping drama to its barest elements. In 1969, Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and commended for having "transformed the destitution of man into his exaltation." Beckett died in Paris in 1989.

At the age of seventy-six he said: "With diminished concentration, loss of memory, obscured intelligence... the more chance there is for saying something closest to what one really is. Even though everything seems inexpressible, there remains the need to express. A child need to make a sand castle even though it makes no sense. In old age, with only a few grains of sand, one has the greatest possibility." (from Playwrights at Work, ed. by George Plimpton, 2000)
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He was educated at Portora Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1927. His made his poetry debut in 1930 with Whoroscope and followed it with essays and two novels before World War Two. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, in 1949 but it wasn't published in English until 1954. Waiting for Godot brought Beckett international fame and firmly established him as a leading figure in the Theatre of the Absurd. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Beckett continued to write prolifically for radio, TV and the theatre until his death in 1989.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr L. Hakner on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Reading through the reviews here, I am absolutely bewildered as to how anybody could find this play intolerable or (even worse) dull. I am not one of these people that adore every word that Beckett ever wrote; I have severe reservations about some of the later minimalist pieces such as 'Breathe', but 'Happy Days' is one of the most concise and fully realised portraits of the human condition in modern drama. 'Waiting for Godot' is just playful and clever; this is sublime and intellectually adept, combining the structural rigidity of 'Not I' with the fluidity of existential ideas that proliferated throughout all his work. While this is not my favourite play of his, that is entirely due to a personal preference for 'Endgame' - there is nothing tangible that really lets it down.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on February 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
So often Beckett's philosophical 'universality' seems like an excuse not to confront genuine dilemmas head on. 'Happy Days' is his most tangible work, a grim portrait of a marriage, where a wife is buried up to her waist/waste in a repetitious living death, trying to avoid confronting the reality of her situation, the brutish indifference of her husband, the incremental inevitability of life only getting worse.
Winnie is Beckett's most sympathetic character because she is the one we are the most likely to meet - she is aware of the hopelessness of her situation, but what can she do? Concentrate on something else - how many of us do better? The dissatisfaction most people have with the play presumably lies with the stage directions which interrupt the monologue every couple of words, rendering a fluid, rhythmic read impossible (like Beckett was ever easy). Instead of complaining, go and see it in a theatre, where words and gesture combine to moving effect, even when the language is at its most insistently ironic and playful (and it's very funny too, but don't they always say that about Beckett?). It certainly made me ashamed of the way I treat my wife.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Ives on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Happiness in small things? Oh well.

Anyway, this play is hilarious, and is not just about despair. At this stage of the game with Beckett, the characters can almost be read as one single character, their interactions/dialogue as mechanics of a single discursive mind. What can I say? Some people just like Beckett, and I think if you liked Endgame, you will certainly like this. I just had kind of an evil laughter about me the whole time I was reading it.

That said, this is no Waiting for Godot. By that, I only mean that Beckett was at a different point in his career here, and I think an even more brilliant one. He just really cuts to the core of things. I mean, the world really is screwed up if something like this can be written. But at the same time, isn't Beckett so much fun? He's an absolute master of language. It's interesting that somebody that studied under Joyce, a writer who used such elaborate means to develop his themes, should end up being so minimalist. Beckett is just brilliant, and though this play is not as elaborate as Endgame, it is my favorite, Endgame being my second.

Expensive for something that can be read so quick, but if you're reading this you're probably not looking for quantity anyway, and I imagine this will be one that I will just pick up and read now and again maybe once a year or so. It's that good. I don't know how seriously this was meant to be taken. I don't see it as trivial in any way. I think it is brilliant, but still have a light heart when I read this stuff. I guess there are some people who let this get them down. I seriously don't think this is about nihilism. If you want that, go to the French surrealists.

Try it out!
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Format: Paperback
When this 1961 play opens, a woman is buried waist deep in a pile of sand, a large bag on her left, and a deep tunnel behind and below her on her right. The environment is treeless and bleak, and we have no idea where the woman (Winnie) is or why and how she came to be in her present predicament. Throughout the first act, Winnie shares the minutiae of her life, pulling out her glasses, a parasol, a gun, a music box, and her hat from her bag and blathering on about brushing her teeth, while questioning if she has brushed her hair. Occasionally, she looks toward the tunnel, where she addresses an unseen "Willie," who does not respond. When he emerges from the tunnel briefly, humming, Winnie gaily announces "Another happy day," before he disappears again.

The only changes that occur in the play are the result of time--there is no plot. In the second act, Winnie appears older, she has sunk into the sand so that only her head shows, and she is unable to move it. Though she is not sure Willie is alive and calls to him repeatedly, he ignores her, until he suddenly emerges, dressed in tuxedo and top hat and tries to crawl upward toward Winnie. End of play.

In this classic example of the Theatre of the Absurd, the characters are out of sync with the world as the audience knows it, living in some universe with which we are unfamiliar. Their lives are meaningless, undirected, and irrational, yet, during the play, they somehow survive the passage of time, the lack of connection with each other, and their purposeless existence. Willie seems to be trying, futilely, to connect with Winnie at the end, but, absurdly, Winnie cannot see him and he cannot reach her.

Author Samuel Beckett once said, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness...it's the most comical thing in the world.
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