London: Faber and Faber, 1956. First English edition. First printing. Octavo. pp. 94. Original yellow cloth, titled in red along spine. Publisher’s note for the play, transferred from the Arts Theatre to the Criterion Theatre tipped in. A very good copy in lightly frayed dust jacket, with a few nicks.
“The first production of Beckett’s own English translation, directed by Peter Hall, was staged at the Arts Theatre Club in London in August 1955. Kenneth Tynan’s and Harold Hobson’s reviews made it into an intellectual hit which has since been regarded as having transformed the British stage” (DNB). First edition in English, of Beckett’s most famous work, originally published in France as En attendant Godot in 1952, with the full text translated into English by Beckett himself for this edition. The play premiered in French on 5 January 1953 at the Théâtre de Babylone, Paris; “the extraordinary success of this first production in French was responsible for Beckett’s rise to worldwide fame, as the play rapidly became an object of intense international interest and controversy” (ODNB). Godot is generally agreed to be a masterpiece of existentialist and avant-garde theatre: the apparently simple plot “disguises some profound themes: life’s brevity and its pain; the human need for something to confer meaning on a mysterious existence; in its absence, a compensatory need for friendship to protect and sustain, yet fail to satisfy; a Cartesian concern with the uneasy interplay of mind and body; and, above all, a radical uncertainty which characterizes every aspect of the two friends’ lives” (ibid.). Federman and Fletcher 373. Octavo. Original black cloth, spine lettered in silver and gilt, covers lettered in blind, red endpapers. With dust jacket. With 4 plates from photographs. Contents lightly toned, else a fine copy in very good jacket, a little toned with minor rubbing and chipping at extremities, price intact and without repair.
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