Krapp’s Last Tape was first performed in 1958, which places it towards the end of Samuel Beckett’s middle period: those fruitful postwar years during which he wrote his major plays, Waiting for Godot (1952) and Endgame (1957), and the three extraordinary novels known collectively as the ‘Molloy Trilogy’ (1951–58). Between them, these works have come to define the themes and the aesthetic qualities we now think of as distinctively Beckettian. Their creative breakthrough was, famously, achieved as a result of his decision to switch from writing in English to writing in French – a decision he made, in no small part, to escape the smothering influence of his old mentor James Joyce, who, he felt, had taken stylistic abundance to its logical conclusion, and who inspired in Beckett a counter-resolution to achieve his effects, as he later put it, by ‘subtracting rather than adding’.
Krapp's Last Tape (fortyfivedownstairs)
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.
James Ley is an essayist and literary critic who lives in Melbourne. A former Editor of Sydney Review of Books, he has been a regular contributor to ABR since 2003.
By this contributor
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.