Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Final and Posthumous Works

Manuscripts | Publications

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figure 26

Substantially revised, signed typescript of “Solo (Piece of Monologue),” 4pp., which contains a number of variants from the published version and appears to be a later, but not the final, typescript.

This typescript is particularly interesting in that it reveals Beckett’s method of “translating” A Piece of Monologue into French. He begins with a literal rendering of the text from English into French, with as many as three alternative choices of phrasing, varying in length from one word to an entire sentence, within parentheses and underlined sometimes in red ink, sometimes in black. He then eliminates the rejected alternatives and further reduces the text, through deletion, so that rather than being a strict translation, Solo becomes an adaptation of the original work.

figure 27

First edition of Solo suivi de Catastrophe (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1982). One of 99 numbered copies on vélin d’Arches.

Solo is Beckett’s adaptation into French of A Piece of Monologue. Catastrophe, written in French, is dedicated to Václav Havel, dramatist and future president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, who had been imprisoned for his activity on behalf of the human-rights section of the 1975 Helsinki Agreement which grew out of the 1973 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.

 

figure 28

Berceuse suivi de Impromptu D’Ohio, translated from the original English by the author (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1982). One of 99 numbered large-paper copies.

This is the first edition in French of Beckett’s translations of Rockaby and Ohio Impromptu.

figure 29

Catastrophe et autres dramaticules (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1982). One of 100 numbered copies on vélin supérieur.

The first collected edition of Catastrophe, including Cette Fois, Solo, Berceuse, and Impromptu d’Ohio.

 

figure 30

Incomplete typescript of “Company,” 1979, 2pp., inscribed in Beckett’s hand at the bottom of the second page: “End of first typescript of Company (provisional title), Paris 27.7.79.”

This extensively revised manuscript gives evidence of Beckett’s having returned to the text on a number of different occasions and corresponds to the last six pages of the English edition. The typescript varies substantially from the published text. Beckett has deleted the closing lines and replaced them with a passage that comes nearer to the finished version.

 

figure 31

“Heard in the Dark 2,” in Journal of Beckett Studies, No. 5, Autumn 1979. The photograph on the cover is of the 1979 German production of Come and Go at the Schiller-Theater.

In this pre-publication extract from Company (with variants), as in so many of Beckett’s works, mathematical calculations function in a variety of ways. They lend precision and often add a touch of dry humor to a text. They become a means of passing time. Or, as the protagonist in this passage from “Heard in the Dark 2” states: “Simple sums you find a help in times of trouble. A haven. . . . Even still in the timeless dark you find figures a comfort.”

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