Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1952. First edition. A Near Fine copy of the first trade edition, following the 35 signed copies. A fragile softcover book, uncommon in this condition. Spine slightly toned and rolled, slight nicks at the spine ends. Penciled owner signatures on two leaves, otherwise an excellent copy internally. Pages a bit toned as usual.
One of the masterpieces of 20th century theatre – Beckett’s hugely influential tragicomedy. Beckett had originally written the play in French between the Fall and Winter of 1948-1949. (Beckett would not translate the play into English until its London premier, in 1955) In fact, this edition of the play – the Minuit edition - was released in 1952, before the play’s first performance the next year. Beckett was thought to have been inspired to write the work after viewing Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Mann und Frau den Mond betrachtend” (Man and Woman observing the Moon).
Upon its French premier, the play was met with positive reviews and though it was first received somewhat coldly in London, it would soon become a popular and critical success there and worldwide. Some critics, like Norman Berlin, credit the play’s wide appeal to its “stripped down” nature - its simplicity encourages a myriad of readings and interpretations that otherwise could not exist. Beckett would later win the Nobel Prize for Literature and “Waiting for Godot” appears on Le Monde’s list of the “100 Books of the Century.”
“It arrives at the custom house, as it were, with no luggage, no passport and nothing to declare: yet it gets through as might a pilgrim from Mars. It does this, I believe, by appealing to a definition of drama much more fundamental than any in the books. A play, it asserts and proves, is basically a means of spending two hours in the dark without being bored.” (Contemporary Observer review from the famed drama critic Kenneth Tynan.) Near Fine (Item #2261)