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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Getting to the Bottom of Beckett

Waiting for Godot brought in enough money to enable Beckett to buy himself a Paris flat and a small house in the country where he did much of his work. Other than simple everyday needs, his expenditure on himself stopped there. His French publisher was often in financial difficulties and Beckett not only forewent royalties but used revenue from performances to get him out of trouble. He did the same for no-one knows how many others. Anyone in need went to Beckett and he would borrow to lend money that was never returned. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1969 and a large sum of money came to him, he told me that he did not feel he deserved it and could I give him a list of needy writers he could help. By the time he received my list it was all gone. Others had come to him, often asking for as large a sum as they dared. When he died there was nothing in the bank, money was owed in tax and his heirs had to wait for it to be paid before they received any benefit.
from an article by John Calder

3 Responses to “Getting to the Bottom of Beckett”

  1. Shelley says:

    Beckett and Keats stand as the two hugest refutations of the idea that all of us who write are jerks.

    They give us something to look up to.

  2. Thomas Derry says:

    Interesting article. I never knew this about Beckett, from his plays thinking him a crotchety old hermit (and miser).

  3. Shelley says:

    Beckett and Keats: two writers so generous and good-hearted that they make the rest of us ashamed.

    Not all writers are mean.