News Release — April 6, 2006
Web exhibition celebrates centennial of Samuel Beckett
The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin introduces an online exhibition on April 13 to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett.
The Web exhibition traces Beckett's (1906-1989) career, using materials from the Ransom Center's collection. Exhibition highlights include "Beckett's Circle," brief biographies of contemporaries and friends; a textual and pictorial overview of Beckett's career; 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 20th 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. "For others, his is a tragic world, bleak, grim, even unbearable. And for still others, he is a religious writer, his works a witness to the indomitable spirit of the Godhead-in-man."
The centennial Web exhibition is derived substantially from information and materials in the Center's renowned Beckett collection. Holograph and typescript works make up the bulk of the collection, supplemented by Beckett's correspondence and a wide range of his writing, including poems, stories and plays spanning most of his career.
Drafts of both the French "En attendant Godot" and English "Waiting for Godot" are present, as are versions of "All That Fall," "Comment c'est," "Krapp's Last Tape" and "Watt." A holograph of "Whoroscope," Beckett's first published poem, is also in the collection.
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 Humanities Texas and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.