Beckett’s Reading List, Part 2


Those of you who enjoyed the list of books Beckett read in his spare time during Volume 2 will be delighted to know he kept up his voracious reading habits from 1957 to 1965. He was reading everything from classics like Dante to the much-discussed authors of the moment like Pasternak. He didn't enjoy them all, but he certainly had an interesting take.


lady-chatterleyCollected Poems by W.B. Yeats

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri: A favorite of Beckett’s. While on holiday he laments to Barbara Bray, “Nothing to read. Should have brought Dante.”

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: Reading an unexpurgated version published to much fanfare, Beckett deems Lawrence’s controversial romance a “singularly unexciting work”

ZhivagoSense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: “Poor Jane has got herself in a mess at the end of S. & S., the big sceen between Elinor & Willoughby could hardly be worse.”

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster: “I read A Passage to India a long time, vague recollection like swallowing fine sand”

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak: “The names got me down, among other things. But I’ll persevere.” Boris Pasternak refused the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature, a year after the book’s publication.

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