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date: 25 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Beckett, arguably the most important playwright of the twentieth century, has achieved an international reputation that goes well beyond his achievement as a writer. There is in effect a ‘Beckett brand’, a marketable image of the man and his works. The abstraction of his theatre work, its lack of definite geographical or specific referents, has led to a tenacious discourse of universalism. His global fame developed from the first production of Waiting for Godot, seen as the epitome of modernist experiment, delivering a profound image of the human condition free of historical specificity and thus available to any number of different interpretive schemes. The production history of Beckett’s work in recent times, however, has shown that it is at its most effective in its trans-historical capacity, represented most tellingly in instances such as the productions of Godot in Sarajevo or New Orleans. Beckett is ‘glocal’ rather than global.

Keywords: global, ‘Beckett brand’, universalism, Waiting for Godot, production history, glocal

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