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In a 1960 letter to a friend, Harold Pinter wrote of Samuel Beckett, “I’ll buy his goods hook, line, and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty; his work is beautiful.” What do we learn if we take the word “beautiful” seriously? Rereading Waiting for Godot backward through Betrayal, this article argues that Beckett’s landscape, typically read as a realization of postwar angst, is in fact one released of the pressures of contemporary living and for Pinter a homosocial Eden. Jerry’s joke upon discovering the adultery—“Maybe I should have had an affair with him myself”—expresses his yearning for space where intellectual love can exist out-side of heterosocial norms. It is in Waiting for Godot that Pinter finds this space.


This work was originally published in The Harold Pinter Review.



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