Beckett on Joyce


Be the best by learning from the best.

I was very flattered when Joyce dropped the ‘Mister.’ Everybody was ‘Mister’. There were no Christian names, no first names. The nearest you would get to friendly name was to drop the ‘Mister’. I was never ‘Sam’. I was always Beckett at the best. We’d drink in any old pub or cafe. I don’t remember which.

He was very friendly. He dictated some pages of Finnegan’s Wake to me at one stage. That was later on when he was living in that flat. And during the dictation, someone knocked at the door and I said something. I had to interrupt the dictation. But it had nothing to do with the text. And when I read it back with the phrase ‘Come in’ in it, he said, ‘Let it stand.’

These recollections are taken from this book.

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“Finnegan’s Wake” — really? I hope it doesn’t appear that way in the book (which I’ve been meaning to buy for some time).

Oh please it’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ without the apostrophe!’Finnegan’s Wake’ (i.e. with the apostrophe) refers to the Irish ballad that often goes by the name of ‘The Ballad of Tim Finnegan’s Wake.’ Beckett meant Joyce’s novel of course, not the ballad.

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