cover image The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Vol. 3: 1957–1965

The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Vol. 3: 1957–1965

Edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn, and Lois More Overbeck.

In the third volume of this landmark project, the editors offer an expertly assembled selection of Beckett’s letters written between 1957 and 1965, ably supported by copious footnotes and explanatory text. Many are presented first in the original French and then in English, into which they have been translated for the first time. The sheer volume of letters collected here testifies to Beckett’s deep engagement with the theatrical world and his need to thrive “on the intensity and multiplicity of his connections.” The Beckett who is revealed is the opposite of a recluse—he is always meeting friends, attending arts festivals or theater productions, or traveling back and forth between his homes in Paris and Ussy-sur-Marne. He is most relaxed with longtime mistress Barbara Bray, to whom he wrote revealing, intimate, and touching letters. Yet it is his work that dominates his time and correspondence. Endgame premiered in 1957, Krapp’s Last Tape the following year, and all the while productions of Waiting for Godot and other plays were spanning the globe. At one point Beckett writes of a recent memoir, “I dislike all this personal stuff,” but readers will find much to like when allowed into Beckett’s personal life. (Oct.)