This special launch of the fourth and final volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett begins at the ENS, where the writer taught for decades, and is organised in conjunction with the American University of Paris and CCI where the evening will continue.
This volume of letters spans the final twenty-four years of what was, as Beckett saw it, a surprisingly long life. He may always have felt sympathy for the aged, but now he has to live the ageing process from within, with the various privations it brings, not least the winnowing of old friends and artistic collaborators. He demonstrates a remarkable fortitude in the face of grief, injury, and illness, as well as a determination to continue working to the last. During these years he produces many of his finest and most concentrated works for theatre while, in prose, the lyrical expansiveness of the late “trilogy”. And, while his letters may grow shorter as he ages, they continue to reveal his search for new and poignant ways to communicate to his correspondents how words can illuminate the darkness.