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The Collected Shorter Plays Beckett Paperback – July 13, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

'Beckett reduces life, perception, and writing to barest minimums: a few dimly seen, struggling torsos; a hopeless intelligence compulsively seeking to come to terms, in rudimentary yet endlessly varied language, with the human condition they represent. Within these extraordinary limitations, Beckett's verbal ability nonetheless generates great intensity.'--Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802144386
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Many of the plays in this collection move me greatly-the vision lost in "Krapp's Last Tape", the past's deafening roar(or, dying flame) in "Embers", examinations of self-awareness,memory, and one's ability to express these in "Not I", "That Time" & "A Piece of Monologue", the sadly charming lost Ireland of "All That Fall", the image of a reader literally staring an image of himself in the face while reading a memoir-like first person narative in "Ohio Impromtu". This book contains Beckett's works for theatre, radio, television, film, mimes, which may explain it's seeming unstageability to other readers. Beckett viewed his dramatic works as his break from the serious writing of his prose early in his career("Waiting for Godot" was written as a break between Molloy & Malone Dies), but as he moved on toward silence, Beckett's theatre became the medium in which he achiveed his greatest acclaim & fame. The late dramas of "That Time" & "A Piece of Monologue" anticipate the self-searching confessional style & subject of the Nohow On 'novels', and present investigations of memory, responsibility, self-identity, and expressionability that are moving and profound, as well as being intimate portraits of the individual alone. All of the plays in this collection are powerful documents of intimate moments that question not only what we call theatre but also question how we understand, experience, question & represent our "self"s, our pasts...our "moments". I can think of no other writer who portrays true moments of aloneness, moments of unself-representing(even as these are represented as farcical) so honestly. Depressing?Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Some advice: although this book contains some of the most astonishing plays ever written, I wouldn't read them all in one go. If you do, doubts might seem to creep in. About how Beckett doesn't really have all that much to say, and became increasingly mannered in his attempts to say it. That his work is really just three variations on basic forms - the Godotesque double act; the old man or woman looking back over a (generally stunted) life; and the pattern plays/mimes. You'll certainly want to rush and read something silly just for a breath of air; there's not much of the vaunted Beckett humour here.
Nevertheless, the collection brims with Beckett's best work - the remorselessly inventive radio play, 'All That Fall'; the sublimely tragic comedy, 'Krapp's Last Tape'; the infernal farce, 'Play'; the deconstruction of nostalgia, 'That Time'; the chamber poignancy of 'Ohio Impromptu'; the great theatrical experiments, 'Footfalls', 'What Where', 'Not I', 'Rockaby', which pushed the language of theatre way past its limits, undermining its boasts of 'live performance' and the functionality of language - in these texts, 'meaning', if there is such a thing, may reside in the stage directions.
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Format: Paperback
Beckett gives you a lot in a few lines. His shorter plays are the work of a genius. Poignant as usual and more concise than ever he gives you a lot to think about. I LOVE Not I, Come and Go and many others. The line "f*** life" in Rockaby stands for a lot, really: pity us poor human beings! We ARE doomed.
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By A Customer on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Beckett's shorter may shock a new reader to Beckett's works. If you are looking for something that tells an interesting story, you will not enjoy his plays. I can understand why previous reviewers feel that that there is not content in his plays. But the intention of much of his works is to provide meaning through the emptiness. Beckett is a truly great minimalist writer: some of the plays in this volume lack even speech, relying soley on stage directions. The empty, cyclic nature of human life is central to his world view. Beckett makes his readers linger on questions long after they finish reading. His writing is marked by brevity, but is nevertheless succinct.
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Format: Paperback
It is in these short 'dramaticules' that Samuel Beckett's dark and chilling genius is at it's most intense. Beckett's plays are his most vivid depiction of the futility of human communication, and the undeniable solitude of the individual as a result.

Old age and the fruitless reminiscing that this stage of life brings, preoccupies Beckett in many of these short pieces. In 'Ohio Inpromptu' an aged character's memories are constantly stopped from wandering into nostalgia by the periodic knocking of his mirror image who sits opposite him. This struggle for or against nostalgia for the past is one that faces many of Beckett's characters. In 'Rockaby' and 'Footfalls' we see old women who have battled against life for long enough and are simply awaiting their death. They feel no longing for the past and feel no passion for a life that has failed them. In 'Krapp's Last Tape', Beckett's main character has the difficulty of simultaneously battling with his former and current self. The result is a display of disdain for the optimism and exuberance that characterises more youthful thought.

The aforementioned plays, as well as notable others such as 'The Old Tune' and 'All That Fall' fantastically exemplify Beckett's premise that we are all stuck on the pointless treadmill of life and that only death can pull us off it.
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