In the mid 1960s, when Beckett was intensely involved with the theater, his prose (which Beckett often characterized as “the important writing”) began to acquire its spare, but crystalline, characteristics. The route to these flawless gems was at all times a difficult and exacting one, resulting, often, in abandoned texts that differed from the works which eventually evolved from them, yet bore a strong family resemblance to them. Often the jettisoned works were picked up farther down the road and published separately, under their own titles.
The composition of All Strange Away, for example—which wasn’t published until 1976, and then as a special project occasioned by Jack MacGowran’s death—preceded that of Imagination morte imaginez and, in fact, gave birth to it. Imagination morte imaginez is a smaller version of All Strange Away, but it has been re-created to the point of being an independent work. It was published in 1965 and was immediately followed, in the same year, by its English translation. Three French fragments labeled “Faux Départs,” all related to the published version of Imagination morte imaginez and linked with a fourth fragment, in English, which is clearly an earlier form of All Strange Away, appeared in Kursbuch I. These fragments hint at the possibility of the existence of a longer manuscript in French akin to All Strange Away.