(e) Fame: 1953–1969
Much though Beckett was aware that he had written himself into a corner at the end of The Unnamable, there were other contributing factors to his mood of depression in the middle fifties. First, there was the tiring schedule, initiated by Godot's success, in which he had immersed himself; he had begun to take a strong interest in the details of theatrical production, an interest which was to be reflected in the increasingly detailed technical notes in his theatre texts, and in the work that he was later to direct in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Second, there was the increasingly onerous task of translating his own work (a
task that, after a couple of unsatisfactory collaborations, he undertook on his own). But mainly, his depression may be attributed to the death of the last surviving member of his immediate family; his brother Frank, who died of lung cancer in September 1954. As with his father and his mother, Beckett helped to nurse Frank during the final stages of his illness. As Frank neared death, Beckett wrote to Pamela Mitchell that he would sometimes sit on his own after Frank had gone to sleep, 'drinking a last beer before going to bed ... and the sound of the sea on the shore, and [his] father's death and [his] mother's, and the going on after them'. (Knowlson 1996: 402) The sound of the sea running over the shore became a recurring motif in the radio play Embers, submitted to the BBC in 1959.