John Maguire, writing for The Irish Times:
Samuel Beckett with his brother, Frank, 1954.
Samuel Beckett with his brother, Frank, 1954.

Though Samuel Beckett’s writings dissect the ironies and agonies of family, his personal life was far less “family-phobic” than is often thought. True, he married his long-term (and stoically tolerant) partner Suzanne only after long years together, but his correspondence contains many letters signed “from both of us to both of you”.

This troubled yet constant son was also a deeply committed brother and uncle. James Knowlson’s biography relates how he rushed to Dublin in late May 1954, on hearing of his older brother Frank’s diagnosis of lung cancer. He stayed at the house in Killiney until a fortnight after Frank’s death on September 13th.

Thus Samuel Beckett, who had turned his back on Ireland, cleaving to his new French roots even through wartime, who had just found real fame in Paris with Godot, hurried home to be at the side, soon only the bedside, of the dying brother whose life had been so very different. [Read More]

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Posted by:Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer and photographer who specialises in twentieth-century and contemporary culture. His writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals.

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