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"James Joyce and 'Ulysses'" (2004)

Commentary No. 12 – passport renewal application form of Samuel Beckett (1957)

Samuel Beckett acted informally as Joyce’s secretary in Paris during the 1930s, taking dictation of some of what was to become Finnegans Wake, translating the Anna Livia Plurabelle section into French, and reading to him. Their friendship was affected for a while when Lucia, Joyce’s daughter, developed an affection for Beckett which he could not return, but they continued to meet and correspond, and Beckett was a part of the Joyce circle until Joyce’s death in 1941.

The passport renewal application form reproduced here dates from 1957, when Beckett had been living in Paris for thirty years. He had lived at his flat in the Rue des Favorites since 1938, most of that time with his partner, Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil, whom he married in 1961. He was, at this time, a well-known writer, Waiting for Godot having been a critical success in 1953. His passport form mentions his destination as the Royal Court Theatre, Sloan Square. He had failed to get a French production of Fin de Partie (Endgame), but had been offered one in the Royal Court (the play opened there in April 1957).

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