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The Selected Works of Samuel Beckett Hardcover – February 8, 2011
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Title: Selected Works of Samuel Beckett <>Binding: Boxed Set <>Author: SamuelBeckett <>Publisher: GrovePress
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This collection duplicates, at first glance, the hardcover editions (if with different artwork), commemorating the 2006 centenary of the author's birth. They appeared in a limited (and soon sold-out as a tetralogy) press run. Therefore, I opened these paperbacks expecting to find the same contents in a more affordable version.
Unfortunately, Grove-Atlantic has not kept the introductions by noted contemporary writers which graced the hardcover versions. With more than a couple thousand pages already, why a few more could not be spared for these essays puzzles me. Colm Tóibín had introduced the earlier and Salman Rushdie the later novels; J. M. Coetzee had discussed the poems, short fiction, and criticism. Edward Albee prefaced Beckett's drama. The loss of these contributions weakens the impact of this paperback set.
However, the abundance of what remains, Beckett unfiltered, direct, and freed from interpretative templates or critical constraints, proves welcome.
The contents themselves have generated large rather than small shelves of reaction from critics and professors and actors themselves. Rather than adding to them here, any reader curious about this bold author, who confronts the Big Questions without Easy Answers, needs to return to the originals. Perhaps, cleared of even the short introductions by his followers that nestle in the hardcover editions, the paperbacks present Beckett as he deserves to endure: direct, compassionate, unflinching, and brave.
Despite these few errors, I am perfectly happy with the content and presentation of this collection. Each of the four volumes is as well made as any paperback today.
I would recommend this to any reader of Beckett, or to someone seeking a most thorough introduction to his works.
As far as the actual pages and font and spacing goes, I can't complain. All that is done quite nicely here. The Pages have a kind of French Vanilla hue.