Life and Letters

Portrait of Beckett as a Young Man

It took Samuel Beckett a lifetime of writing to develop his style, but a new look at his early correspondence shows what he was like at the very beginning. The newly released Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1 (1929-1940) is an edition of Beckett’s notes and writings, which range from the professional to the exceedingly personal. They show Beckett on his journey through Europe—first as an apprentice to Joyce in Paris, and then as a psychoanalysis patient in London. Some readers may be dismayed to discover that there are more notes than letters in this edition, but according to the Telegraph, “Beckett enthusiasts will be grateful for every last one.”