Editor Stig Abell introduces this week’s TLS with an anecdote about Samuel Beckett

In 1989, Samuel Beckett was asked by the Sunday Telegraph to name his book of the year. His response: “Away from reading all year long. Mere odds and ends here and there. More ends than odds and rather there than here. Little enjoyment. Nothing worthy your Xmas feature”. Paul Griffiths cites this piece of distilled tragicomedy in his nomination for the final volume of Beckett’s Letters as his own book of the year.

Away from reading all year long. Mere odds and ends here and there. More ends than odds and rather there than here. Little enjoyment. Nothing worthy your Xmas feature

As it happens, The Letters of Samuel Beckett is the most popular choice among our contributors, worthy indeed of the TLS’s (nearly) Xmas feature this year. John Kerrigan finds it essential for those interested – as who is not? – in the “workings of creative privation”; and Marjorie Perloff has been poring over it in search of the “many aperçus about the very late work”. 2016 has been a year of drama and trauma, absurdity and sorrow, where succinct and hard-earned wisdom comes at a premium. It is, then, perhaps fitting that Samuel Beckett is its literary poster child once more.

Read More at the TLS website.

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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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