Dream of Fair to Middling Women (Calderbooks S.)

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9780714542133: Dream of Fair to Middling Women (Calderbooks S.)
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Samuel Beckett's first novel written in Paris in 1932 and
rejected by publishers at the time for its eccentricity. Amid much
controversy, it finally appeared after his death in 1993.

The hero, Belacqua, a near enough alter-ego for the author, is a student in
Dublin is a student in Dublin with a messy love-life and a colourful series
of girlfriends.

The author's debt to James Joyce, whose circle in Paris he had recently
joined, is obvious in the exhuberance of the writing and the extravagant
use of many languages and word-play.

As the book progresses, however, the reader sees the young writer
developing his own distinctive voice, poetic about the Ireland he knew so
well - while realising he had to leave it - and taking literature in new
directions in search of a style that would convey his very personal view of
the human condition.

The celebrated Beckett humour crops up on nearly every page, although not
yet as sardonic as it would become. Erudite and complex, 'Dream of Fair to
Middling Women' is not recommended as an introduction to Beckett

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Review:

Beckett's signature fierceness and piercing insight into the lurching of the mind are already evident in this early yet adept, high-energy, and boisterously libidinous novel.

From the Back Cover:

Here, more than sixty years after it was written, is Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett's first novel. Written in a "white heat" in the summer of 1932 at the Hotel Trianon in Paris, when the author was poor and struggling, Dream of Fair to middling Women offers us a rare and revealing portrait of the artist as a young man. Beckett, just twenty-six at the time, to date had published a few poems, including the prize-winning "Whoroscope", a penetrating essay on Proust, and a contribution to the collective study of James Joyce's then Work in Progress, later to become Finnegans Wake. Beckett submitted the novel to several English publishers, all of whom found it too scandalous, too risky (or, said some, too risque), or too literary. Subsequently Beckett put the work aside, although he pilfered from it from time to time. After fame had overtaken him, he was still reluctant to publish it, partly because it contained thinly disguised and not always flattering portraits of some of the author's friends and acquaintances in Dublin, and partly because he was always his own harshest critic. The "hero" of Dream is one Belacqua - a youthful precursor of Molloy - who "wrestles with his lusts and learning across vocabularies and continents, before a final 'relapse into Dublin'" (The New Yorker). His love is divided between two women, Smeraldina-Rima and the Alba. Youthfully exuberant and visibly influenced by Joyce, Dream of Fair to middling Women is a work of extraordinary virtuosity in its own right. The author delights in wordplay and the sheer joy of language - indeed, of several languages. This is, too, one of Beckett's most Irish works, yet there is about it as well the sense of timelessness anduniversality that mark his later writing. Above all, it is filled with the unique Beckettian humor that, like brief stabs of sunlight, pierces the darkness of the vision. In his later years, Beckett agreed that Dream should eventually be published, but only "some little time" after his death. Now, more than six decades after it was written, this chest into which Beckett threw his wild thoughts can at last be opened, and its contents savored and enjoyed.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781611453133: Dream of Fair to Middling Women: A Novel (Arcade Classics)

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Samuel Beckett
Published by Riverrun Pr (1992)
ISBN 10: 071454213X ISBN 13: 9780714542133
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