London: Faber and Faber, 1960. 2nd Printing. 12mo, publisher's stiff blue paper wraps printed in black and red pasted to spine of white cardstock.
Early printing of Samuel Beckett’s two "playlets" in one volume. Each major in its own right, the one-act dramas are thematically linked by their engagement with old age, loneliness, and memory, along with their unique and dialogic narrative style. Initially published in the Evergreen Review in 1958, Krapp’s Last Tape would become one of Beckett’s most performed dramas and is considered to be "one of his most personal works." The equally successful Embers, Beckett’s fourth radio play, won the RAI prize at the Prix Italia the year it was first broadcast in 1959. Once he listened to the broadcast, Beckett stated in a letter to director Alan Schenider, "Good performance and production but doesn't come off. My fault, text too difficult." Many would agree, including Modernist scholar and critic Hugh Kenner, who deemed the one-act drama "one of [Beckett’s] most difficult works," while maintaining it "coheres to perfection" in his 1962 critical study of the playwright. Although not his initial intention, Beckett went on to adapt Krapp into a radio play, produced and performed for the first time on the BBC in 1972. Some chipping and creasing to spine, light toning to wraps. Very good. Item #2914