Samuel Beckett Letters at Sothebys

To be sold at auction today

Letters from Samuel Beckett to artist Avigdor Arikha and his wife, Anne Atik, are to be sold at auction today (link via Kevin Stevens):
A collection of more than 240 letters, postcards and notes from Samuel Beckett to two close friends, spanning several decades of the writer’s life, are to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London today.

The letters to painter Avigdor Arikha and his wife, the poet and writer Anne Atik, are described by the auction house as an “invaluable literary and biographical source” for Beckett scholarship, and have a guide price of between £200,000 and £300,000 (€225,000 and €337,000).

Beckett’s correspondence with the Arikhas, written in his distinctive sloping scrawl, reveal a warm and playful author, but also one who was frequently despondent at the slow pace of his work.

Arikha struck up a conversation with Beckett backstage at a theatre in Paris in 1956, following a performance of Waiting for Godot , without initially realising who he was talking to.

The chance meeting proved to be the start of a lifelong friendship between the writer and the artist, said to involve many “drink-fuelled lunches and evenings” spent discussing their shared passion for art and German literature. [Read More]

The poet and writer Anne Atik is notable for her book, How It Was, a memoir of her and her husband's lasting friendship with Samuel Beckett, and their admiration for his work.


The letters up for auction failed to sell this afternoon, despite interest in the collection:
A Sotheby's spokesman said the letters, which spanned three decades of the writer's life up to his death in Paris in 1989, had generated a significant amount of interest but several bids had failed to make the reserve price. [Read More]

More at A Piece of Monologue: