Dream of Fair to Middling Women

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Dream of Fair to Middling Women
Dream Beckett.jpg
First edition
AuthorSamuel Beckett
CountryUnited States
PublisherBlack Cat
Publication date
1992 (written in 1932)
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages241 pp

Dream of Fair to Middling Women is Samuel Beckett’s first novel. Written in English "in a matter of weeks" in 1932 when Beckett was only 26 and living in Paris, the clearly autobiographical novel was rejected by publishers and shelved by the author. Three fragments from the book were published during Beckett's lifetime: "Text" and "Sedendo et Quiescendo" were actually published before he started working on the book and subsequently became part of it, whilst "Jem Higgins' Love-Letter to the Alba" was published in 1965. Beckett refused to allow the novel to be published during his lifetime, on the grounds that it was "immature and unworthy": his biographer Deirdre Bair believes that his reluctance to make it available to the reading public was to avoid offending lifelong friends whom Beckett satirised in the book.[1] It is set in the town of Kassel, Germany, where 17-year-old Peggy Sinclair, a cousin of Beckett, lived with her parents. Beckett made several visits in Kassel 1928–32. The novel was eventually published in 1992, three years after the author's death. The main character Belacqua, a writer and teacher, is very similar to Beckett himself, though a character named "Mr. Beckett" also makes an appearance in the book. Belacqua's name is taken from the character created by Dante. Influences on the novel include Geoffrey Chaucer's The Legend of Good Women, Alfred Tennyson's "A Dream of Fair Women" and Henry Williamson's The Dream of Fair Women.[1]

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  1. ^ a b Acheson, James (1988). Samuel Beckett's early fiction and drama: A study of artistic theory and practice (PDF) (Ph.D.). University of Canterbury. pp. 34–35. Retrieved 5 December 2016.