Beckett in the States: Notes on the Reception (1950s-1960s)

Maria Sílvia Betti


This article is divided in two parts: the first one briefly introduces 
and discusses reviews of the premiere of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in the United States in 1956, focusing on articles by Walter Kerr, Brooks Atkinson and Kenneth Rexroth for The New Republic, The New York Times and The Nation, respectively. The second one mentions the 1960 New York double bill of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story at the Provincetown Playhouse and the 1962 off off Broadway Cherry Lane Theater series of performances organized by Barr and Wilder as two crucially important events for the inception of Beckett’s work as a point of reference for a whole generation of young dramatists in the U.S.


Samuel Beckett; Waiting for Godot; Reception; United States.

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Atkinson, Brooks. Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’. The New York Times, April 20, 1956. In Accessed on May 11, 2006

Brustein, Robert. “I can’t go on, Alan. I’ll go on”. N.Y. Times, January 31, 1999. In

&pagewanted=print. Accessed on May 01, 2006.

Buck, Richard. “The Small Stages That Challenged Our Concept Of Legitimacy In Theater”. In Accessed on May 01, 2006.

Federman, R. Graver, J. (Eds.). Samuel Beckett: The Critical Heritage. London, Routledge, 1999.

Harmon, Maurice (Ed.). Beckett, Samuel, Schneider, Alan The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider. Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999.

Mann, Bruce J. Edward Albee: A Casebook. London,. Routledge, 2003.

Rexroth, Kenneth. Samuel Beckett and the Importance of Waiting. The Nation (7 December 1957)

and was reprinted in Bird in the Bush: Obvious Essays (New Directions, 1959). Copyright 1957. Accessed on May 01, 2006.



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