chapter
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(a) The early years: 1906–1927

Generally the date of a writer's birth, particularly that of a modern writer, should be an uncontroversial matter. However, in Beckett's case, establishing a definite date has not proved so easy; the day Beckett always celebrated was not the one on his birth certificate (the 13th of May). The confusion was compounded by the fact that his birth was registered on the 14th of June; as it was traditional for the family to register the birth of a child a month after the event, it has been assumed that Beckett was actually born in May, and that the April date, falling as it does on a date of great potential significance, was a story propagated by Beckett himself. However, in his recent biography, James Knowlson has provided crucial evidence in favour of the earlier date; Beckett's birth was announced in the Irish Times on April 16th, and the date given on the birth certificate would seem simply to have been a mistake.