In the years when Beckett was tentatively creating his early work, three events stand out which helped to mold and shape his genius. The first took place in London, as Beckett was undergoing psychotherapy. In the autumn of 1935, as he was writing Murphy, he attended a lecture by C.G. Jung, who spoke of a patient, a young girl: “Of course, the truth of the matter is, as I realised afterwards, this young girl had never really been born.” The idea intrigued Beckett. Twenty years later, in his radio play All That Fall, Beckett’s character Mrs. Rooney would remember her own attendance at that lecture . . .
More from Colm Tóibín at the New York Review.