News Release — April 30, 2007
Samuel Beckett Materials Acquired By Harry Ransom Center
The University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center has acquired materials related to Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett. The materials, purchased from former Beckett editor Richard Seaver, include correspondence and hand-corrected manuscripts, typescripts and galley proofs.
"This remarkable collection provides students and scholars a new window into the creative process of one of the great writers of the 20th century," said Thomas F. Staley, director of the Ransom Center.
The acquisition complements the Ransom Center's existing Beckett collection.
"The newly acquired Beckett papers represent a felicitous complement to the Ransom Center's already existing holdings of Beckettiana," said Jean-Pierre Cauvin, professor in the Department of French and Italian at the university. "They will provide scholars excellent materials for research in the genesis and transformation of a number of short stories and plays by one of the supreme writers of both English and French of the second half of the 20th century."
The materials include about 60 letters from Beckett to Seaver, who was Beckett's editor at Grove Press. The correspondence covers the years 1953 to 1973, and subjects include the publication and translation of Beckett's texts, Beckett's final editorial changes, performances and films of his plays, and his travels and friendships.
Also included are corrected galleys for three short stories in "Stories and Texts for Nothing," including "The Calmative," "The End" and "The Expelled"; a corrected typescript of "The End" and galley proofs for the version in "The Evergreen Review"; corrected galleys for the one-act play "Words and Music"; a corrected typescript of Beckett's first novel in French, "Mercier et Camier;" a corrected typescript of his play "Eleuthéria" (in French); and a setting copy of the first American edition of "Happy Days."
The Ransom Center obtained its first substantial group of Beckett books and manuscripts in 1958 and continues to add to its holdings. The Center's web exhibition "Fathoms from Anywhere: A Samuel Beckett Centenary Exhibition" traces Beckett's career, using materials from the Center's collection.
Along with its Beckett collection, the Ransom Center holds renowned research collections of modern French materials, including works of Charles Baudelaire, Jean Cocteau, Valentine Hugo and Henri-Pierre Roché.