Prize motivation: "for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation. Samuel Beckett produced his most important works - four novels, two dramas, a collection of short stories, essays, and art criticism - during an intensely creative period in the late s. Irishman Beckett had settled in France and wrote in both French and English. His experiences during World War II - insecurity, confusion, exile, hunger, deprivation - came to shape his writing. In his most famous work, the drama Waiting for Godot, he examines the most basic foundations of our lives with strikingly dark humor. Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
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He wrote in both French and English and is perhaps best known for his plays, especially En attendant Godot ; Waiting for Godot. Samuel Beckett was born in a suburb of Dublin. At the age of 14 he went to the Portora Royal School, in what became Northern Ireland , a school that catered to the Anglo-Irish middle classes. There he met the self-exiled Irish writer James Joyce , the author of the controversial and seminally modern novel Ulysses, and joined his circle. He returned to Ireland in to take up a post as lecturer in French at Trinity College, but after only four terms he resigned, in December , and embarked upon a period of restless travel in London, France , Germany, and Italy. In Beckett decided to settle in Paris. As a citizen of a country that was neutral in World War II , he was able to remain there even after the occupation of Paris by the Germans, but he joined an underground resistance group in When, in , he received news that members of his group had been arrested by the Gestapo , he immediately went into hiding and eventually moved to the unoccupied zone of France. Until the liberation of the country, he supported himself as an agricultural labourer.
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