Friday, October 28, 2011

Fear of the other side of the coin


This is refreshing! From The Letters of Samuel Beckett, 1941-1956; p. 245.

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Beckett's attitude to literary prizes is a little more difficult to define. What he dreads above all, in the very unlikely event of his receiving a prize, is the publicity which would then be directed, not only at his name and his work, but at the man himself. He judges, rightly, or wrongly, that it is impossible for the prizewinner, without serious discourtesy, to refuse to go in for the posturings required by these occasions: warm words for his supporters, interviews, photos, etc., etc. And as he feels wholly incapable of this sort of behaviour, he prefers not to expose himself to the risk of being forced into it by entering the competition. Perhaps he has an exaggerated sense of the prizewinner's duties. But if, as prizewinner, he could without unacceptable rudeness stay out of it all, he would see no objection to being one. You see, it is not an aversion of principle, but simply the fear of the other side of the coin.

-- Suzanne Dumesnil, for Samuel Beckett, to Jerome Lindon, Editions de Minuit, 19 April 1951

1 comment:

spotofliterature said...

Just delightful! These sorts of insights are really invaluable. It's lovely when they compliment the conceptions you already have of them.