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From the Publisher"The most bracing read [of 2009] was The Letters of Samuel Beckett, 1929-1940, a portrait of the Dubliner as a young European with a hard gemlike gift for language, learning and mockery. Beckett's genius exercises itself most exuberantly in the correspondence with Thomas MacGreevy, another Irish poet more at home in Paris, his senior but his soulmate. Constantly Beckett is veering between certainty about his need to write and doubt about the results, all expressed in prose that is undoubting, delighted and demanding."
-Seamus Heaney, 'Books of the year 2009', the Times Literary Supplement
"One of the highlights of the year was the publication of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, 1929-1940... Every page is a hoot. Beckett comes across as even smarter, and more smarting, than one already knew."
-Paul Muldoon in "Books of the Year 2009", the Times Literary Supplement
"Above all, this volume is an opportunity to become acquainted with Beckett the writer before he was established."
-Jane Shilling, The Daily Mail
"Beautifully edited and annotated."
-Philip Hensher, The Spectator
"One can hardly wait for Volume Two."
-John Walsh, The Independent
"For Beckett enthusiasts, these letters are crammed with unexpected treasures, including displays of his dazzling erudition as an amateur art historian and his charmingly impractical ideas for the alternative careers he might pursue: gallery curator? Advertising man? Commercial pilot? Assistant to the Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein? There will be three more volumes in this admirable series; the next will cover 1945 to 1956 (the year Waiting for Godot was first produced in Britain, and the unknown author suddenly became world famous). Like Vladimir and Estragon, we fans will find it hard to wait."
-Kevin Jackson, The Sunday Times
"The youthful worrier of these compelling letters, who suggested that 'the man condemned to death is less afraid than I,' was not lying; Beckett was neither a poser nor a hysteric... In a magnificent letter of 1932, to McGreevy, Beckett had chastised one of his own poems for being facultatif, or optional. It did not, he said, 'represent a necessity.' These letters are a quest for necessity-for what must be written about, at whatever cost."
-Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
"It would hardly seem possible were the evidence not right here: Samuel Beckett, that most taciturn and private of 20th-century writers - the man who said "every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness" - was in fact one of the century's great correspondents... There are many moments in these letters when it seems Samuel Beckett can't go on. But as we await Volumes 2, 3 and 4 of his busy correspondence, it's exceedingly clear that, happily, he will go on."
-Dwight Garner in The New York Times & The International Herald Tribune
"There is fluent and brilliant evidence here of Beckett's development of his unique and irreplaceable voice... Unfalteringly brilliant, this volume is of the same order as The Letters of Van Gogh, or the diaries of Kafka."
-Nicholas Foxton, Time Out (London)
"Here is the authentic early Beckettian tang, straight from the source, unmediated by artifice... Beckett's strong language is one of the things that give the letters their pungency and drive; it is a testament also to the suppleness, rigour and strength of his writing that they don't seem in any way dated, unless a wide frame of cultural reference is these days in itself passé... There are treasures upon treasures here."
-Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
"The editors are to be applauded for their remarkable efforts in tracing every fleeting reference in the notes... Roll on volume two."
-Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Daily Telegraph
"This is an important work of impeccable scholarship directed not only at Beckett academics but informed fans seeking the man behind Godot. This volume is a landmark in our quest to understand Beckett's great esoteric works and has definitely been worth the wait."
-The Washington Independent Review of Book