Beckett's Other Revelation: The Capital of the Ruins (Samuel Beckett) (Critical Essay) - Irish University Review: a journal of Irish Studies
Samuel Beckett's literary direction after 1945 is often attributed to the 'revelation' he experienced upon his return to Ireland after the war. (1) In this essay, I will explore the possibility that the literary and philosophical 'voice' to which the audience of the post-war works bear witness gained its inspiration from another source: the war-ravaged town of Saint-Lo, about which Beckett composed a work originally intended for radio broadcast: The Capital of the Ruins. (2) The Capital of the Ruins summarizes Beckett's experiences as a member of the Irish Red Cross in Saint-Lo. His time in Saint-Lo comes chronologically just after his 'revelation' (Beckett left for Saint-Lo on 7 August 1945). The proximity of both events raises the possibility that the text is not merely a depiction of his experiences in Saint-Lo, but that it was influenced by the 'revelation' of his literary path and was, in its turn, crucial in shaping his writing. The Capital of the Ruins certainly offers notable insights. The philosophical preoccupations with Being, time, and silence are all hinted at in a work that offers not only factual reportage but also depicts a writer looking to his future.