Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Samuel Beckett

A black and white photograph of two men outside. One is digging at the ground with a pickaxe, while the other holds a shovel.The Samuel Beckett papers were a gift from Lawrence Harvey, a professor at Dartmouth College, who amassed this small but important collection of manuscripts, letters, and photographs over the course of a long friendship with Beckett.  Harvey used the material in his own research, culminating in his book Samuel Beckett, Poet and Critic (Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1970).

The collection includes original, annotated typescripts of many of Beckett's works, including Echo's Bones, Eleutheria, and Dream of Fair to Middling Women - Beckett's first novel published posthumously in 1992.  There are also numerous photographs of Beckett and his family, a short film of Actes Sans Paroles, and audio of Beckett reading his own work.  Many of the photographs are more intimate images of Beckett and members of his family in ordinary settings.  The image above was taken at Ussy in 1952 or 1953 and depicts Beckett (left) and his brother Frank.

A photograph of a group of men standing together outside in front of a car. The words "Red Cross" are visible on the door.
Beckett and other members of the Irish Red Cross in St Ló, France.
In 1994, an additional batch of letters and postcards from Beckett to Gloria MacGowran was added to the original collection.  Gloria MacGowran was the widow of Jack MacGowran, an actor known for his interpretations of Beckett's works.  The correspondence covers the period from 1973 to 1988.

Ask for MS-122 to see Beckett's papers and MS-661 to see Harvey's collection of research materials.

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