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These four last prose fictions by Samuel Beckett were originally published individually, and their composition spanned the final decade of his life. In Company a solitary hearer lying in blackness calls up images from the far-off past. Ill Seen Ill Said meditates upon an old woman living out her last days alone in an isolated snow-bound cottage, watched over by twelve mysterious sentinels. In Worstward Ho, a breathless speaker unravels the sense of things, acting out the unending injunction to ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ And Stirrings Still, published in the Guardian a few months before Beckett’s death in 1989, is the last prose work and testament of ‘this great soothsayer of the age, and of the aged’ (Christopher Ricks). The present edition includes several short prose texts (Heard in the Dark I & II, One Evening, The Way, Ceiling) which represent work in progress or works ancillary to the composition of these late masterpieces.
One of the most important and affecting novels written in the twentieth century.
About the Author
Milan Kundera, born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, was a student when the Czech Communist regime was established in 1948, and later worked as a labourer, jazz musician and professor at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Prague. After the Russian invasion in August 1968, his books were proscribed. In 1975, he and his wife settled in France, and in 1981, he became a French citizen. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, Farewell Waltz, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and of the short-story collection Laughable Loves – all originally in Czech. His most recent novels, Slowness, Identity and Ignorance, as well as his non-fiction works The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed, were originally written in French.
“Brilliant . . . A work of high modernist playfulness and deep pathos.”– Janet Malcolm, “New York Review of Books””Kundera has raised the novel of ideas to a new level of dreamlike lyricism and emotional intensity.” — Jim Miller, “Newsweek””Kundera is a virtuoso . . . A work of the boldest mastery, originality, and richness.”– Elizabeth Hardwick, “Vanity Fair”