Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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1945-1950 was a period of intense and sustained creative activity for Beckett. Writing in French, he spent six months each and nine months, respectively, on the composition of his trilogy: Molloy, Malone Meurt, and L’Innommable. By December 1950 Beckett had a contract with Les Editions de Minuit to publish all three novels “as quickly as possible.” Editions Bordas, which published Murphy, was by this time nearly bankrupt (“not entirely my fault” Beckett wrote to George Reavey) and had released Beckett from his contract.

Maurice Nadeau, reviewing the novel in Combat (12 April 1952) provided the following plot summary (translation from the French by Françoise Longhurst): “It is the story, told in the first person, of a man who has been brutally thrown out of his home by an irascible landlord. He gets himself taken on an aimless ride throughout the city by a cabman, with whom he develops a fellowship, and who finally gives him shelter, for the night, in his shed. At dawn he runs away and starts wandering again.”