Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Summer 2006 Newsletter

Online exhibition celebrates centennial of Samuel Beckett


Autograph manuscript of Samuel Beckett's
Waiting for Godot, written in two small, quarto
notebooks. © Edward Beckett.
Harry Ransom Center

The Ransom Center introduced an online exhibition, Fathoms From Anywhere: A Samuel Beckett Centenary Exhibition, on April 13 to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989).

The web exhibition traces Beckett's career, using materials from the Ransom Center's collection. Exhibition highlights include a textual and pictorial overview of Beckett's career, brief biographies of his contemporaries and friends, and the opportunity for web visitors to share their views on Beckett and his works.

"The online exhibition should be a destination not only for Beckett scholars, but for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the twentieth century's most notable writers," said Cathy Henderson, Associate Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the Ransom Center. "Beckett created some of the most interesting work of our time and did so, uniquely, in both English and French. We hope this exhibition will bring new readers to his work."

"For some, Beckett is one of the great comic writers of all time," wrote Carlton Lake, former curator of the Ransom Center's French collection, in the introduction to the catalog for the 1984 Beckett exhibition No Symbols Where None Intended. "For others, his is a tragic world, bleak, grim, even unbsearable. And for still others, he is a religious writer, his works a witness to the indomitable spirit of the Godhead-in-man."

The Ransom Center obtained its first substantial group of Beckett books and manuscripts in 1958 and continues to add to its holdings. Along with its Beckett collection, the Ransom Center holds one of the world's most renowned research collections of modern French materials, including works of Charles Baudelaire, Jean Cocteau, Valentine Hugo, and Henri-Pierre Roché.

The research, design, and construction of the Beckett online exhibition was made possible through the assistance of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and Humanities Texas. The online exhibition is dedicated to Carlton Lake (1915-2006).  

View the online exhibition

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