10.10.11

Second volume of Beckett Letters published

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic attends the official launch
Beckett during a signing at an opening night in 1970. Photographs: WA Dudley/Getty
The Irish Times review the second volume of Samuel Beckett's Letters, spanning the years 1941-1956:
The official launch of The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1941-1956, the second volume in a colossal scholarly project set in train two decades ago, was a multinational occasion. It was a celebration of Beckett’s own gift for moving between cultures and of the cross-border collaboration – French, Irish, American, British – behind the new book.

For George Craig, a co-editor and translator on the project, it was the culmination of a long effort that brought him “passion, excitement and joy”. It began in 1985, when Samuel Beckett authorised Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck to edit his letters. They gathered and consulted more than 15,000 pieces of correspondence in public and private hands, and the new collection is the second of four planned volumes.

“This vast body of words could have two effects on you: one is to crush you absolutely, the other is to make you feel more and more attached to the business of dealing with it,” Craig reflected.

So which was it? “I liked him more at the end. I found that all those qualities that I thought I’d seen in him actually are his qualities, and he retained them until the end. A moral generosity. An enormous depth of loyalty. And a total refusal to see fame as adding anything of value." [Read More]

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