Like all the greatest writers, Samuel Beckett was primarily interested in discovering the meaning and purpose of life and of the world into which we are born Knowledgeable about the religion his family and education instilled in him, which as an adult he could neither accept nor reject, he used it extensively in his novels, plays and poetry Beckett s works also explored philosophy and the imaginative world of Dante and Milton, as well as the theories of Darwin and scientific speculation, in order to create a literature that investigates human destiny deeply and originally than any other writer had done before In this, his second book about the essence and depth of Samuel Beckett s thinking and literary art, John Calder analyses the dualism of Beckett s theological writing, his debt to the Gnostics, Manichaeism and Geulincx in particular, the presence of ghosts in his work, and why his late writing has received so little attention compared to the early and middle periods It will open up the much underestimated Beckett to deeper understanding and provide enjoyment to the many who have become convinced that this once derided author is one of the major literary figures of his time


3 thoughts on “The Theology of Samuel Beckett

  1. Sorrowful investigator Sorrowful investigator says:

    Having read Calder s The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett I was intrigued to see this follow up Calder knew Beckett extremely well and that familiarity is reflected in this knowledgeable book He gets at Beckett s agno atheism very subtly, illustrating his theme with many references to Beckett s works and life, and to various religious themes Many, however determinedly freethinking, are attached to childhood and cultural religious metaphors we are only human Recommended not only for Beckett scholars and fans but for all who are interested in exploring the nuances of nihilism, atheism and stoicism.


  2. Frank Ramirez Frank Ramirez says:

    40 years ago I started marking up my copies of Watt, Malloy, Malone Dies, and the Unnamable, as well as some of the shorter works of Samuel Beckett, while writing notes in the margins, because I was struck by all the Biblical and religious references No one was writing about Beckett and faith so I thought I d write a book on the subject Somewhere in the garage I still have my box of notes, but there s no need for me to get around to this long delayed task because John Calder who is also much qualified on the subject addresses the religion of his friend Samuel Beckett This is not an attempt to discover a crypto Christian, but to recognize that Beckett wrestled with a subject that was an essential part of his being, even if not part of his beliefs Beckett knew his Bible He was familiar with the tenets of many faiths Some of the building blocks of his essential oeuvre are theological, though these bricks are often ignored, as Calder scolds, by commentators This book is a model of clarity, readable, enjoyable, and thought provoking.


  3. Russ Watkins Russ Watkins says:

    Many nuggets of new information embedded in a few pages