Title: The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940
Date: 1929

  Front Matter

    Title Page

    Publisher Details



  General Introduction

    History of the Edition

    Paris 18-3-85

    Locating and Transcribing the Letters

    Principles of Selection




    the Four Volumes



  French Translator's Preface

  German Translator's Preface

  Editorial Procedures



      Emory University

      Advisory Team




    Private Collections

    Abbreviations for Publications, Manuscripts, and Translators

      Editorial Abbreviations b.

      Abbreviations in Bibliographical Notes

  Introduction to Volume I

  Letters 1929-1940

  Chronology 1906-1929

      [26 April 1929] [paris]

      Ernest Vessiot,ecole Normale Superieure Paris

      Thomas Mcgreevy P Aris

  Chronology 1930

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry


      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas M Cgreevy Tarber T, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Philippe Soupault Paris

      Thomas Mcgreevy T Arbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Le Lavandou, V Ar

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      C Harle S P Re Nt I C E, C Hatto a Nd Wi Ndu S London

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock

      C Harle S Prent I C E, C Hatto an D Win D U S London

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      C Ha R Le S P R Ent I C E, C Hatt O and Windu S , London

  Chronology 1931

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      Thomas Mcgreevy Florence

      Thomas Mcgreevy Florence

      Charles Prentice, Chatto and Windus London

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Cooldrinagh, Foxrock,

      Seumas O'sullivan, Dublin Magazine Dublin

      Charles Prentice,chatto and Windus London

      Thomas Mcgreevy Le Can Ade L, Var

      Sa Muel Putnam Pa R! S

      Thomas Mcgreevy Le Lavandou, Va R

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      Seumas O'sullivan, Dublin Magazine Dublin

      Thomas M C G Reevy Par! S

      Cooldrlnagh, Foxrock,

  Chronology 1932

      Thomas Mcgreevy

      Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thoma S Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co.kerry

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock, [co. Dublin]

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co.kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Cooldrinagh, Foxrock,

      George Reavey London

      Cooldrinagh, Foxrock

      Thoma S Mcgreevy Tar Bert, Co. Kerry

  Chronology 1933

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Cooldrinagh [foxrock, Co. Dublin)

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock [co. Dublin]

      Thomas M Cgreevy Pari S

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy Florence

      T Homas M Cgr E Evy London

  Chronology 1934

      Morris Sinclair Dublin

      Nuala Costello Dublin

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbe R T,co- Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert,co. Kerry


  Chronology 1935

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tar Bert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas M Cgr E Evy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      T Homas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy

      Tarbert, Limerick, Co_ Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Ireland

      Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

      Thomas Mcgreevy T Arbert, Co. Kerry

  Chronology 1936

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mc Greevy London

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock, [co. Dublin]

      Sergei Eisenstein Moscow

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

      Arland Us Sher

      Cappa Gh, Co. Wa Terfor D

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock

      Seumas O'sullivan Dublin

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thom as M Cgreevy London

      Thomas M Cgreevy London

      Chatto and Windus, London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Seumas O'sullivan Dublin

      Chatto and Windus, London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London


      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy Toppes Fie Ld, Essex

      Thomas Mcgreevy T O Ppe S F I E L D, E S S E X

      C Hatto and Windus, London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Brian Coffey Dub Lin

      Thomas Mcgreevy [london]

  Chronology 1937

      Thomas M Cgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas M C Greevy Lon Don

      Thoma S Mc Greevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Alice Sauerlan D T Hamburg

      Thomas Mcgreevy

      Thomas M Cgreevy Lon Don

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thoma S M Cgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Arland Us Sher

      Dubl in or Cap Pagh, Co. Waterford

      Thomas Mcgreevy

      Tho Ma S Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh Foxrock

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      South Africa

      Professor Rudmose Brown to University of Cape Town, South Africa

      Professor Walter Starkie to the University of Cape Town, South Africa llthJune, 1937 University Club Dublin

      Professor Robert W. Tate to the University

      Professor Rudmose Brown, General Testimonial

      Thomas Mcgreevy

      Cissie Sinclair

      Southampton, en Route to South Africa

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy en Route to Munich

      Cooldrinagh, Foxrock,

      Thomas M Cgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh [foxrock, Co. Dublin]

      Thomas Mcgreevy


      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy Dublin


      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas M Cgreevy London

      Buffalo, New York

      Thomas M Cgreevy London

  Chronology 1938

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      George Reavey London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgre Evy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Cooldrinagh [foxrock, Co. Dublin]

      Arland Ussher

  Chronology 1939

      George Reavey London

      Thoma S Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Thomas Mcgreevy London

      Arland Us Sher

  Chronology 1940

      St. Gerand-le-puy, Allier, France



  Bibliography of Works Cited

    Electronic Works Cited

  Back Pages

  Back Cover

Front Matter

The letters written by Samuel Beckett between 1929 and 1940 provide a vivid and personal view of Western Europe in the 1930s, and mark the gradual emergence of Beckett's unique voice and sensibility.

The Cambridge University Press edition of The Letters of Samuel Beckett offers for the first time a comprehensive range of letters of one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Selected for their bearing on his work from over 15,000 extant letters, the letters published in this four-volume edition encompass sixty years of Beckett's writing life (1929-1989), and include letters to friends, painters and musicians, as well as to students, publishers, translators, and colleagues in the world of literature and theatre.

For anyone interested in twentieth-century literature and theatre this edition is essential reading, offering not only a record of Beckett's achievements but a powerful literary experience in itself.

Title Page

The Letters



Volume I: 1929-1940


Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Lois More Overbeck

Associate Editors:

George Craig, Dan Gunn

Publisher Details


University Printing House, Cambridge CB2 BBS, United Kingdom Cambridge U niversity Press is part of the U niversity of Cambridge.

It furthers the U niversity's mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence


Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521867931

The Letters of Samuel Beckett t>The Estate of Samuel Beckett 2009. Introduction, translations and notes r, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Lois More Overbeck, Dan Gunn and George Craig 2009

The moral right of Samuel Beckett always to be identified as the author of the Letters is hereby asserted.

This publication is in copyright. No reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of The Estate of Samuel Beckett, c/o Rosica Colin Limited, 1 Clarevilie Grove Mews, London SW7 5AH.

First published 2009

9th printing 2014

Printed in the United States of America by Sheridan Books Inc.

A catalogue record for this publication is availablefrom the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data

Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989.

[Correspondence. Polyglot. Selections[

The letters of Samuel Beckett / editors, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Lois More Overbeck: associate editors, George Craig, Dan Gunn.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-0-521-86793-1

1. Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989 - Correspondence. 2. Authors, Irish - 20th centuryCorrespondence. 3. Authors, French - 20th century - Correspondence. I. Fehsenfeld,

Martha Dow. II. Overbeck, Lois More. III. Craig, George, 1931- IV. Gunn, Dan. V. Title.

PR6003.E282Z4S 2009 848'.91409-dc22

[BJ 2008025530

ISBN 978-0-521-86793-1 Hardback


To Samuel Beckett who began "it all."


To Kristen, Andrew, and Jonathan, whose years have been spent with this edition, deep appreciation for their forbearance, humor, and regard, and especially for the pleasure of their company in this as in so much else. To James Overbeck, who endured, with gratitude for his loving advice and constant support.


To Kate Craig, for her unfailing support and sense of the appropriate.


To George Craig, my teacher for thirty years, from whom I am learning still; and in memory of Catharine Carver, the very best of editors.



Frontispiece: letter from Samuel Beckett to Mary Manning Howe, 13 December 1936

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Plates (between pages 348 and 349)

1. William Beckett, Samuel Beckett's father

By permission of The Estate of Samuel Beckett

2. Edward Price Roe and Maria Jones Roe Beckett (May) By permission of The Estate of Samuel Beckett

3. William Abraham Sinclair (Boss) By permission of Morris Sinclair

4. Frances Beckett Sinclair (Fanny, Cissie) By permission of Morris Sinclair

5. Ruth Margaret Sinclair (Peggy) By permission of Morris Sinclair

6. Morris Sinclair (Sunny)

By permission of Morris Sinclair

7. Thomas McGreevy

Courtesy of Margaret Farrington and Robert Ryan

8. Alan and Belinda Atkinson Duncan, Thomas McGreevy Courtesy of Margaret Farrington and Robert Ryan

9. Geoffrey Thompson

Courtesy of the Thompson family

10. Samuel Beckett

Private collection of Nuala Costello

11. Abraham Jacob Leventhal (Con)

Courtesy of The Estate of Anne Leventhal Woolfson Harding

12. Percival Arland Ussher

Courtesy of Lady Staples and other representatives of The Estate of Arland Ussher

13. Ethna Maccarthy

Private collection; copyright Sean O'Sullivan

14. Mary Manning Howe

By permission of Susan Howe

15. Nuala Costello

Private collection of Nuala Costello

16. Ilse Lynn Schneider

By permission of Ilse von Keller

17. Geer and Lisl van Velde, Gwynedd and George Reavey Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

General Introduction

My unique relation with my work - and it is a tenuous one - is the making relation. I am with it a little in the dark and fumbling of making, as long as that lasts, then no more. I have no light to throw on it myself and it seems a stranger in the light that others throw. 1

Samuel Beckett was one of the great literary correspondents of the twentieth century, perhaps of any century. His letters, which stretch over a period of sixty years from 1929 to 1989, are not only numerous (more than 15,000 have been found and transcribed by the editors) but of an extraordinary range and intensity. They demonstrate his numerous commitments: to reading in a systematic way the classics as well as the literatures of several cultures; to training himself in music and the visual arts; to learning languages, becoming fluent in at least five and familiar with many more; to keeping up with a broad range of acquaintances, friends, and professional associates; to answering in polite and timely fashion practically every letter that was addressed to him, even when he became famous and the inquiries grew in number; to writing, of course - criticism, fiction, poetry, drama; and perhaps more surprisingly, a commitment to getting published and to seeing his dramatic work realized on stage. The letters also show the author's endeavor to lead the life that would make all these commitments realizable.

In view of how abruptly and rapidly letter writing has declined in recent decades - a decline that makes it hard to predict a great twentyfirst-century literary correspondence - it may be important to state that Beckett answered his own mail. There are a few exceptions to this general rule: in the late 1940s Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil represented his interests in early negotiations with Les Editions de Minuit; Beckett's French publisher Jerome Lindon drafted some letters concerning legal or business matters for his signature; for a short time in the late 1960s A. J. Leventhal assisted him; and later, when ill health and eye problems made writing difficult, he jotted notes for the replies that he wished Les Editions de Minuit to write on his behalf.

While Beckett complained of the onerousness of writing, he answered his "mountains of mail" in a scrupulous manner. His letters were composed on various typewriters but more often in a longhand that became notorious for its difficulty, though when he took pity on the postman it could be quite readable. Ink blotches are relatively few, but pens and pencils differ widely in their legibility. One manuscript specialist proffered what was for the editors the less-than-encouraging opinion that Beckett had the worst handwriting of any twentiethcentury author. The letters themselves provide ironic commentary: "Don't suppose you can read this but can't face the machine."2 Typed letters might promise to be a transcriber's boon, but in fact

Beckett often wore a ribbon to shreds; in their amendments and corrections, typewritten letters often show more changes of mind and expression than do handwritten ones. Beckett also availed himself of any letterhead or paper at hand: tearing a page from a notebook, using the back of an invitation, writing out poems on an envelope or a match book.

The Letters of Samuel Beckett is a selected rather than a complete edition of the letters owing principally to three factors: the terms of Beckett's authorization; the impossibility, so near in time to his death in 1989, of fixing the corpus definitively; and the practical difficulties of publishing in print form what would require more than a score of volumes to present in extenso. The four volumes of selected letters will present about 2,500 letters with another 5,000 quoted in the annotations. Until now, Beckett enthusiasts have had only one volume dedicated to Samuel Beckett's correspondence, and, as in the other publications that include letters, the letters here were addressed to a single recipient.3 The Letters of Samuel Beckett will, therefore, be the first to integrate letters to the full range of recipients and to sample them over sixty years of Beckett's life and work.

Beckett's letters are addressed to intimates over decades of friendship, to occasional collaborators, to scholars, critics, students, and readers. The balance varies considerably. In Volumes 1 and II, up to the point where Beckett achieves public recognition - which corresponds roughly to the success of En attendant Godot (Warten auf Godot, Waiting for Godot) - the letters are predominantly to close friends and associates (including publishers), among whom are Thomas McGreevy, George Reavey, Mary Manning Howe, Charles Prentice, Morris Sinclair, Georges Duthuit, Mania Peron, Jerome Lindon, Barney Rasset, and Jacoba van Velde. In Volumes III and IV are letters from the last threedecades ofBeckett's life, a time when his writing achieves worldwide attention, marked by the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. The long exchanges of letters with friends continue, and by now these include his publishers Siegfried Unseld, John Calder, and Charles Monteith, as well as translators, directors, actors, producers, and other colleagues (Alan Schneider, Donald McWhinnie, Jack MacGowran, Barbara Bray, Ruby Cohn, Walter Asmus, Christian Ludvigsen, and Antoni Libera, among them). There are numerous letters to writers and aspiring writers.

By the end of his life, Beckett's work had been translated into more than fifty languages. His enduring concern with translation is evident in correspondence with his translators. Whether explaining a local reference or advising them to find an equivalent in their own literature, Beckett worked closely with those whose languages he knew and willingly responded to the questions of translators whose languages were unfamiliar to him.

History of the Edition

Those who, from their reading ofhis work or ofthe several biographies of him, have become used to thinking of Samuel Beckett as an exceptionally private man may be surprised at learning that in February 1985 Beckett authorized an edition of his letters, to be gathered during his lifetime and published following his death. Beckett's earlier antipathy toward publication ofhis letters, his general refusal to grant interviews, and his avowed "inability" to talk about his own writing, make it all the more welcome that he specifically wished to see published his letters bearing on the work.

The complexities of language, the dispersal of letters, and the complications of ownership, as well as negotiations with publishers and The Estate ofSamuel Beckett have all contributed to delaying publication of the letters, as the history of the edition will make clear.

In February 1985 Beckett appointed his long-time friend and American publisher Barney Rasset (then President of Grove Press) as

General Editor of the letters, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld as Editor, and he confirmed Lois More Overbeck as Associate Editor. Beckett had first become acquainted with Fehsenfeld in 1976 while she was preparing Beckett in the Theatre (1988, co-authored with Dougald McMillan). Following his request that she take charge of editing his correspondence, he gave her his written authorization "to consult my letters and take copies, in view of eventual publication, of such passages as are relevant to her research." He added, "This permission applies to all my letters, to whomsoever addressed and wheresoever preserved."4 Beckett made it clear that he himself had no wish to direct the edition, writing for example to Carlton Lake at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University ofTexas at Austin, that queries regarding the collecting and editing of his letters should not be addressed to him, since "I will not personally be responsible in any way for their selection and editing."5

Notwithstanding his reluctance to direct the enterprise of gathering and publishing his letters, Beckett did have many conversations with Fehsenfeld about the edition he envisaged. He enjoined the editors not merely to collect the letters but to establish their context.

Paris 18-3-85

Dear Martha,

Thanks for yrs of Feb 20.

I do have confidence in you & know that I can rely on you to edit my correspondence in the sense agreed on with Barney, i.e. its reduction to those passages only having bearing on my work.

It would be a most difficult job and I am relieved at the thought of its being in such devoted and capable hands as yours.

I hope we may meet in Paris before too long & talk it over. Yours ever,


Realizing the scale of the project, Beckett suggested to Martha Fehsenfeld that she enlist an assistant, whereupon she chose Lois More Overbeck, then Editor of The Beckett Circle and a scholar of modem drama whose studies of Beckett were based on manuscript research, and with whom she had previously worked on several extended projects. In 1989, in order to create a shorter document of authorization that could be shared with foundations, archives, and recipients of letters, a memorandum of agreement was signed by Samuel Beckett, Barney Rosset, and the editors. It stated: "The purpose of this project is to establish an authorized text of Mr. Beckett's correspondence, to be published internationally after the author's death, on terms and by publishers subject to Mr. Beckett's approval."7 This agreement was countersigned by Beckett's nephew Edward Beckett after his uncle's death, with the addendum, "I fully support the edition of the correspondence of Samuel Beckett under the terms and conditions as agreed and signed to above by the author."8

Shortly after the contract was signed (along with that for Beckett's "production notebooks") in March 1985, Grove Press was sold to Weidenfeld and Getty; Barney Rosset was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Grove Press within the new company; it was a post he expected to hold for at least five years. However, in June 1986 Rosset was released from this position and began legal action against Weidenfeld and Getty for breach of contract. Although the editors continued their research, only when this matter was settled could they be confident that the newly constituted Grove Press "owned" the original contract and, therefore, that they could seek funding to permit the work on the edition to go forward. In 1993 Grove Press merged with Atlantic Monthly Press to become Grove/Atlantic Inc.

The corpus of the letters grew rapidly, far beyond initial expectations; by 1996 the editors realized that a four-volume edition was necessary. Grove/Atlantic affirmed that it would be willing to consider reassigning the rights for publication of a scholarly edition of the letters, upon approval of The Estate of Samuel Beckett. Cambridge University Press, long known for its publication of literary letters, expressed interest, and its Director of Humanities, Andrew Brown, entered into formal negotiations with The Estate of Samuel Beckett.

Negotiations between Cambridge University Press and The Estate of Samuel Beckett began in early 1999, chiefly through Beckett's Literary Executor, the owner and publisher of Les Editions de Minuit, Jerome Lindon. Deliberations proved complex, not least because of radically differing interpretations of what Samuel Beckett, now dead ten years, would have wished from an edition "only having bearing on my work." The issue was whether this implied that the letters should be restricted to those in which there was specific mention of individual works or of his oeuvre (the Lindon view). The view ofthe editors was and remains that the letters themselves are important acts of writing, and signal Beckett's relation to other writers and artists. When Jerome Lindon died, in April 2001, no contract had been agreed on, although Cambridge University Press had made clear its intention to publish only Beckett's literary correspondence. The position of Literary Executor passed to Edward Beckett, with whose support, in September 2003, the original contract which named Barney Rosset as General Editor was released by Rosset and reassigned by Grove/Atlantic to Cambridge University Press. Protracted discussion was still necessary before a formal contract was eventually signed among the various parties in November 2005.

During the years of these complex negotiations the editors continued to work on the task of preparing the corpus, and as they did so they expanded the editorial team. Both Richard Ellmann, Editor of the Letters of James Joyce, and John Kelly, General Editor of The Collected Letters of W B. Yeats, urged the editors to seek the assistance of the distinguished editor Catharine Carver. She agreed to guide the editors in establishing the principles for the edition and offered creative editorial solutions to the many issues raised by the letters of Samuel Beckett. Knowing that her health would place limits on her participation, Catharine Carver introduced the editors to her friend Dan Gunn, Professor of Comparative Literature and English at The American University of Paris. In tum, he could think of no one better prepared to be French translator for the edition than George Craig, who had been his own mentor at the University of Sussex. As the French translator of the edition, Irish-born George Craig brings unusual qualifications to bear, having followed Beckett's own academic pathway, from Trinity College Dublin to the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Later, responsibility for German translations for the edition was taken on by Viola Westbrook of Emory University, a native German speaker and a specialist in linguistic pedagogy, who also had a serendipitous tie to Samuel Beckett in that her mother Ilse Schneider had known Beckett when he was in Hamburg in 1936.

As the project developed, it became evident that it would be best served by affiliation with a research university. At the urging of Irish literary scholar and editor Ann Saddlemyer, together with the support of

Ronald Schuchard and Alice Benston (both of Emory University), the Correspondence of Samuel Beckett found its academic home in the Graduate School of Emory University in 1990. Emory's generous support provided space and basic funding for research; its library and faculty (from Art History to Ophthalmology, from Physics to Classics) provided a rich intellectual base for what rapidly became a worldwide endeavor. The graduate fellows who worked with the editors at Emory and in libraries abroad contributed their scholarship, insight, and energy; Emory undergraduates helped marshal the books, paper, and electronic files of the edition. Emory University contributed in-kind support for successive grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Florence Gould Foundation. The Gould Foundation award for research in French and American archives also made it possible for The American University of Paris (AUP) to serve as a Paris center for the edition. Students there collaborated in the French research as interns with the edition; they pursued queries in French libraries and, thanks to the international nature of the AUP student population, offered their further help in Germany, Greece, and England.

As the "Acknowledgments" indicate, the editors have received many grants for research in specific libraries and archives. What cannot be shown in a mere listing of names is how archivists and librarians from many institutions have become valued colleagues. Beckett scholars have been generous in sharing their work and papers with the edition. The small measure of acknowledgment afforded in print cannot begin to indicate the contribution in expertise and encouragement that the very large unofficial "team" has made to the edition.

Edward Beckett, as representative of The Estate of Samuel Beckett, has been a working partner in the preparation of this edition. He has joined editorial meetings and has been a ready negotiator at challenging junctures. Within the limitations placed on the edition by Samuel Beckett himself, he has responded generously where there was disagreement over what counts as "having bearing on the work."

Locating and Transcribing the Letters

When Samuel Beckett met the editors during the summer of 1986, he said simply, "You will get round and see these people, won't you."

These people were, of course, his correspondents. For Beckett, letters first of all represented a means of staying in touch; they were part of a living and often a life-long relationship. In order to discover and comprehend the common ground that letters both indicated and cultivated, the editors took Beckett's advice to "get round," and wherever possible met the persons with whom he had corresponded. Beckett's family, friends, and colleagues have been helpful and supportive, and in this they reflect the respect and affection they felt for the man they knew as "Sam."

The editorial project is known as "The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett," even though its publication is entitled The Letters of Samuel Beckett. Both sides of the conversation between letter writers needed to be heard, although few recipients had kept either letters received or copies ofletters sent during the early years ofcorrespondence. In order to discern the context of relationships and issues in the correspondence, the editors interviewed recipients, their families, and their colleagues; they consulted many archival collections well beyond those containing Beckett's letters, together with biographies, bibliographies, editions of letters, newspapers, and journals. Beckett's letters bear upon current events as well as on the broader reaches of history, literature, art, music, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, medicine, economics, philology, sport, and even meteorology. These all became indispensable fields of reference.

Samuel Beckett suggested persons whom the editors should approach, wrote cards of introduction, and made contacts on behalf ofthe editors. Even when he wrote directly to affirm his permission, these personal missives were occasionally challenged: "That never is Sam Beckett's handwriting," said one correspondent, "I can read every word." Beckett's letters to Thomas McGreevy (which form the backbone of the first volume of the edition, as they do of the several biographies for the period of the 1930s) were in private hands in 1985, but Beckett agreed that the editors should consult them, saying: "I talk a lot about my work in them." These letters produced a core for further research, as other collections did for the post-war period, particularly the letters to Georges Duthuit, Mania Peron, Jacoba van Velde, and Jerome Lindon. For Volumes III and N, letters to publishers, translators, directors, and old friends offered comparable starting points from which paths of research emerged.

The editors first consulted Beckett collections in public archives such as the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, the Beckett International Foundation at Reading University in England, and the manuscript reading room above the Long Room of the Library of Trinity College Dublin. By reading widely in corollary collections as well, the editors established a growing list of persons known to have corresponded with Samuel Beckett. Next, the editors arranged to consult corporate collections, including a publisher's archive kept in boxes under the stairs and an agent's collection brought from a riverside warehouse. The editors also pursued private collections, where it was not uncommon to find Beckett's letters mingled with a lifetime's accu· mulation of papers and books; to sort through these materials took care and time. Increasingly over the years since the project began in 1985, collections have shifted from private ownership to archives - sometimes as gifts, sometimes through a series of sales via auction houses and dealers. Often, transition has delayed access.

Whenever possible, the editors met Beckett's correspondents; if the individuals had died, the editors contacted family members and associates, and examined archives that related to their lives and work. These conversations led to other individuals within a particular circle of friends or clarified the roles played by the staffmembers in a publishing house or illumined Beckett's work with a theatrical production team. This both widened an understanding of the context of the letters and provided awareness of relationships between people and of differences between cultures: Dublin was as unlike Paris in the 1930s as Berlin in 1936 was unlike Berlin in 1975.

Reading the letters was a process involving several steps. Whenever possible, the editors first consulted the letters on location, whether in an archive or at someone's dining-room table. Letters were transcribed, both on site and (with the help of photocopies) in the project's office; they were compared as necessary with letters and documents from further collections. Additional research was done to complete partial titles or confirm a date or verify a name. The final step was to verify transcriptions against the originals.

Because each recipient's letters from Beckett embody an evolving and sometimes decades-long relationship, the editors transcribed collections from beginning to end, consulting corollary correspondences and inves· tigating related publications. This was hardly a neatly compartmentalized process since archlves and people were seldom in a single locale, and research was done for several collections when these were held in a common archlve. In the case of business archlves, the editors were greatly helped by those familiar with the procedures of a publisher or theatrical agent or the artistic processes of a production group. Judith Schmidt Douw assisted with the Grove Press archlves at the University of Syracuse; Leah Schmidt helped with the London archlve of Curtis Brown (the agents representing Beckett's theatrical work in English), providing context for the history of the firm's work on behalf of Beckett's texts. Stefani Hunzinger and Connie Ricono, theatrical agents representing Beckett's work in Germany and Italy respectively, offered insight into theatre management in their countries; Reinhard MiillerFreienfels, cameraman Jim Lewis, and soundstage engineer Konrad Korte, who had collaborated with Beckett on the realization of ms television plays at Siiddeutscher Rundfunk, helped the editors understand that process.

When a critical mass of individual collections had been prepared, all the letters were organized into a single chronological file. The merged files filled in details and offered new associations. More importantly, this overview ofthe whole collection, together with the chronicle ofthe individual collections ofletters, made it possible to adjudicate proportion and balance in the subsequent process of selecting letters for publication. While it had been assumed that the letters themselves would suggest narrative lines, what also emerged was a sense ofthe widely varying voices ofthe writer. Letters written on the same day to different persons might present similar information, but to very different effect. Sometimes the passage of time altered points of view, as when a new idea or a particular production problem led Beckett to reconsider how a play might be enacted.

Viewing the letters from beginning to end made clear the scale ofthe editorial task. This supposedly "withdrawn" and "taciturn" writer was engaged in voluminous correspondences: two hundred letters to one individual, three hundred to another, over six hundred to another.

Principles of Selection

The four volumes of The Letters of Samuel Beckett will publish approximately 2,500 letters in full, with as many as 5,000 others cited in the annotations. As mentioned above, Beckett himself supplied the first principle of selection, when he gave permission to publish "those passages only having bearing on my work."

Selection is, inevitably, an act ofinterpretation. The explicit goal has been to strike a balance between the unique and the representative, while making available as many letters as possible that are pertinent to Beckett's writing. The editors' first step was to establish the corpus in order to draw from the largest possible sense of the whole. As letters continued to appear or to be discovered, these inevitably tested and altered the editors' frame and perspective. Certain letters presented themselves as obvious candidates for inclusion, no matter what the size or scope of the individual collection; others fluctuated in the context of surrounding letters. It was important that the scope and diversity of the letters be registered: simple acknowledgments, precise instructions to a publisher, rights negotiations, experiments with regard to production issues, hesitant venturings, extended aesthetic discussions, and thoughtful gestures offriendship. The selected edition needed to give space to letters that were remarkable in tone or content, and it needed to have breadth and nuance. The editors were concerned that their own interests should not dictate this scope; indeed, the diversity oftheir specialties helped ensure that the dialogue ofselection was a lively and balanced one.

Principles of inclusion were formed and tested, then re-formed, re-tested, and re-applied. Among the central questions were: Does the letter record a signal event in Beckett's working life? Does the letter reveal Beckett as a writer? Does it represent the working relationships that he had with colleagues? Does it offer glimpses of Beckett's reading, thinking, and valuing? Does it show his responses to art and music? Subtending all these questions: Does the letter illuminate the oeuvre?

Everywhere there were choices to be made. A great many postcards were written when Beckett was away on holiday, and many letters confirm receipt of books or newspaper cuttings. Most of Beckett's correspondents in the later years received a small correspondence card written to arrange, say, an eleven o'clock coffee at the Petit Cafe Frarn;:ais de l'H6tel PLM on the Boulevard St. Jacques; some correspondents received many such cards. A choice among similar letters and cards was determined, in part, by the contribution each could make to the overall narrative. Did the particular card or letter establish or show a continuing working relationship? Did it fill a gap in time or explain a change of location? Did it lead to further communication that became important to Beckett's work?

The line between the life and the work is not easy to distinguish. What may appear entirely personal in a particular letter may tum up, months or years later, practically unchanged, in a published work. What may appear as markedly literary has often emerged from an intimate, lived sense of connection or dislocation.

The editors wished to present letters in their entirety, annotated with portions of other letters Beckett wrote. They had to accept, however, that any edition that deals with living contemporaries and their immediate families must respect personal privacy and public reputation. The editors' views have not always coincided with those of The Estate of Samuel Beckett, particularly when the Literary Executor was Jerome Lindon who understood Beckett's "work" to mean only the published oeuvre. When Edward Beckett became Literary Executor, he largely agreed with the editors' insistence that letters themselves are important acts of writing, that "work" included jettisoned as well as published writing, and that Beckett's reading, and his interests in art and music, as well as his relation to other writers, musicians, and artists, were all significant to the literary work.

The editors believe, especially because the several biographies of Beckett make liberal use of the letters in quotation or paraphrase, that there remains very little reason to exclude a letter, or part of a letter, because of what Beckett says about himself. To take one example, it is the editors' view that Beckett's frequent, at times almost obsessive, discussion of his health problems - his feet, his heart palpitations, his boils and cysts - is of direct relevance to the work; with this The Estate of Samuel Beckett has disagreed.

Rather than exclude a letter because it speaks of an individual's difficulties, or includes repetition of mere gossip (here considered the relaying ofthe comments ofa third party), or touches on matters judged too intimate, the editors have followed a policy of inclusion, publishing letters relevant to Beckett the writer. Although doing so has required some ellipses, the editors have tried to limit these. Every letter included in the edition is cited with its current ownership, and those in archives can be consulted in full.


Beckett wrote letters primarily in English (65 percent), and also in French (30 percent), and German (5 percent). The choice of language may have been determined by the first language of his recipient or by a language they had in common, or sometimes by other factors, such as when he writes to McGreevy in French to safeguard the privacy of their exchanges, or when he wishes to play. The richness of his language and syntax, as well as Irish turns of phrase, occasional Gallicisms, and multilingual puns, his knowledge of several languages and his willingness to mix them, his etymological curiosity and his immense vocabulary - all these as well as many other features present challenges not faced by editors working on a writer more solidly anchored in a single tradition or time.


Beckett's letters themselves have guided the formation of the editorial principles. The editors' goal has been to let the letters speak for themselves wherever possible, their preference being for a minimum of intrusion. The letters are presented as written, preserving Beckett's habits and idiosyncrasies. Letters are presented as clear copy, reflecting the changes that Beckett made as or after he wrote them, that is to say, the letter as it was received by its recipient. If Beckett canceled a word and inserted a phrase, his insertion is included; if Beckett corrected his spelling, the corrected word is shown. Other than obvious typographical errors such as overtypes and extra spaces, there are no silent emendations. Editorial emendations made to clarify ambiguity are presented within square brackets (preceded by a question mark if a reading is doubtful) to signal that these are not Beckett's words. Letters are presented in their original language; translation into English follows; words or phrases from languages other than the dominant one of the letter are translated in the notes.

Each letter is prefaced by the name of the recipient and the place to which the letter was written (if known), since Beckett seldom includes the recipient's name and address in the body of his letters. The date and the place of writing are given as written. Beckett's signature is recorded as written. Postscripts are placed following the signature; their placement in the original is noted, if it differs from what appears.

A bibliographical note follows each letter, presenting a description of the document, indicating whether autograph or typed, whether signed or initialed, whether postcard or lettercard; this includes the number of leaves and sides of the letter. It also records any notations on the letter in another hand or damage to the document that affects legibility. This note indicates if the letter is written on letterhead or if a card bears the imprint ofBeckett's name; it records the image in the case ofa picture postcard. Also included are the details of sending and the envelope, if one exists: the addressee and address, the postmark, and any other notations, even in another hand, such as forwarding instructions. Finally, the note records the ownership or repository of the letter.

This information is followed, where required, by a discussion of dating. Beckett occasionally misdates letters, especially at the beginning ofa new year. In a correspondence that follows a personal meeting or in which letters are exchanged with rapidity, as for example in that with Georges Duthuit, only the time of day or the day of the week may be given. Any dating supplied editorially is given within square brackets, with doubtful dating noted; occasionally the dating supplied can only suggest a date range.


During early conversations concerning the edition, Beckett told the editors, "Please, no commentary." The editors rejoined: "Not commentary, but there must be context." And to this he readily agreed.

The inevitable questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) led the editors into sometimes arcane areas of research, such as menus and timetables, playbills and weather reports, exchange rates and sports results. A recipient's letters to Beckett were of course the most helpful resource, when they were available. When they were not, the recipients and their associates were usually informative and ready to suggest further avenues of research. Often, other Beckett letters provided necessary information; whenever possible, these are used in the notes. When need arose to clarify an issue not addressed by published sources, specialists and scholars in many fields were consulted. In shaping the annotations, the editors wanted to open future research, not limit it, keeping in mind that future generations of readers and scholars would ask new questions of these letters.

There are several views which may be taken of notes in an edition of letters, ranging from what could be called the "maximalist" approach, employed for example in The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats under the General Editorship of John Kelly, to the "minimalist" approach favored by Richard Ellmann in his edition of the Letters of James Joyce. Both approaches have their virtues. The former helps the inquiring reader to understand the context and the often obscure references, but risks distracting attention from the letters themselves. The latter keeps the focus on the principal object, but risks leaving the reader with many unanswered questions. This is a selected rather than a complete edition of the letters, annotated whenever possible by other letters written by Beckett. The editors have tended toward the "minimalist" approach to annotation, although, because of the very complex nature of the material, at times it may not seem so. The governing principle is that what is indispensable to the understanding of the letter be noted; however, with a writer as learned, as multilingual, and as well versed in the history of literature, art, and music as Beckett was, the quantity of what may be indispensable is often dauntingly extensive.

Any annotation makes assumptions about the level of general and specialized knowledge that readers might be expected to have, as well as about the research tools to which readers might reasonably be expected to have ready access. While the readers who may be familiar with the 1930s or even the 1950s have been decreasing in number, the quantity of readers has been growing who have almost instant access, through internet search engines, to a fund of sources, such as digitalized out-of-print texts, electronic catalogues of museum collections, and searchable text bases. The present edition seeks to be a scholarly edition of record, and it presumes levels of cultivation that this implies, while presuming this unevenly: given that readers of Beckett are more likely to be well versed in literature than in the visual arts, more is taken for granted in literary arenas than in the domains of art or music, or indeed those of chess or mathematics or television production, or the myriad other fields in which Beckett invested himself.

Annotations immediately follow the letter, its bibliographical note, and its translation; because the notes apply to both the letter and its translation, endnotes have been preferred to footnotes. The notes seek to identify the persons, places, events, and other references in letters. Often they point to sources for further detail, such as Beckett's own notebooks, various editions of his works, and his reading, but allusions to parallel passages or echoes in Beckett's works are not supplied because these would be too numerous. When possible, annotations draw upon other documents and letters to, from, and about Beckett. Sources of quotations are cited within the note, including location information for unpublished materials. At the end of each volume there is a bibliography of published works cited.

The initial identification of a person generally includes the full name, followed by any nickname or pseudonym, dates of birth and death, and a brief note on his or her career or activity at the time of first reference; any dubious information is preceded by a question mark. Subsequent reference will not repeat this information, but may expand on it as an individual changes name, role, or occupation; readers who do not read sequentially should use the index for the location of this information. Short biographies of recipients and other persons as well as brief accounts of publications and institutions referred to with some frequency in the letters can be found in the appendix, "Profiles." Fuller detail concerning editorial practice, including abbreviations, notations, idiosyncrasies of Beckett's usage, as well as a discussion of the editorial principles of translation, are presented later in the introductory matter. A chronology for each year provides an overview and precedes the letters for each year.

the Four Volumes

The original contract for the edition called for three volumes of letters, but the quantity of the sixty years of correspondence quickly made four volumes more practical. The divisions between the volumes presented themselves rather naturally.

Volume I (1929-1940) begins with a letter written from Germany to James Joyce in Paris; it ends with a letter to Marthe Arnaud, the companion of Bram van Velde, written as the Nazis were about to occupy Paris. In the eleven years represented in Volume I, Beckett explores a world beyond Ireland: he is on the move, from his post at the Ecole Normale Superieure to his lectureship at Trinity College Dublin, from his alternating periods ofresidence in London and Dublin between 1933 and 1937 to his travels through Germany in late 1936 and early 1937. Although Beckett has settled in Paris by the end of1937, Ireland is never entirely left behind.

In the early years, Beckett is imagining a literary life even while he proclaims his disqualification from it. Thomas McGreevy is the principal sounding-board during this period, while others provide a more or less perceptive and responsive audience: George Reavey, Arland Ussher, Edward Titus, Samuel Putnam, Eugene and Maria Jolas, James Joyce, Jack B. Yeats, Charles Prentice, Nuala Costello, Mary Manning Howe, Brian Coffey, to name but the most significant figures. The writing of letters constitutes for Beckett both a warming-up exercise and an end in itself, an act of writing often as exciting as anything he is composing with a view to publication. Although some of his writing from this period remains unpublished, Beckett's Proust, Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates, More Pricks than Kicks, and the novel Murphy appear in print, as do poems, essays, and stories in Dublin, London, and Paris journals.

During the War years, Beckett served in the French Resistance and avoided capture by the Gestapo by escaping to Roussillon in Unoccupied France. While there were communications during this period, they were official telegrams transmissible only to and through the Irish Legation in Vichy - the barest lines telegraphed on behalf of Beckett to his family about health or money, with no mention of his work.

Volume II (1945-1956) opens in the aftermath ofWorld War II, when Beckett is visiting Ireland before his return to France in 1945 as a member ofan Irish Red Cross field hospital team. In the twelve years represented in this volume Beckett produces the work for which he is best known - a period, then, of unprecedentedly intense literary activity, but also a period ofsometimes frenetic letter-writing. By the end of this time, En attendant Godot has been translated and performed in France and Germany (1953), England and Ireland (1955), as well as the United States (1956), and Beckett's reputation is secure. During this period, Beckett begins to write seriously in French, most notably the three novels, Molloy, Malone meurt, and L'Innommable, and the plays Eleutheria and En attendant Godot. This period also sees Beckett form his most explicit and fully articulate aesthetic, which grows in no small measure out of his long and impassioned correspondence with Georges Duthuit, art historian and Editor of the post-war version of the journal Transition. During this period, and not without difficulty, Beckett forges permanent ties with publishers and agents who will represent his work for the rest of his creative life: Les Editions de Minuit in France, Grove Press in New York, John Calder and Faber and Faber in London, Fischer Verlag and Suhrkamp in Germany.

Although Beckett resigned himself to being "written out" by 1957, the letters of Volume III record a period marked by experiment. During this time, Beckett writes for radio and film, creates new possibilities for drama in Fin de partie, Krapp's Last Tape, and Happy Days, and generates new and formidably challenging narrative forms with Comment c'est and other, shorter fictions. He also becomes personally engaged in the practical realization of his work on the stage and in radio, film, and television. Beckett decided, certainly by the time of the English translation of En attendant Godot, that he must himself take responsibility for translating his texts, whether conceived and written in French or English, into the other language, and, with very few exceptions, he did. Still, for him, moving a work from one language to another was next to impossible.

Letters from this period are often directed to specific issues: questions posed by translators, the problems of directors, or the sequencing ofa series of short prose pieces for inclusion in a collection. Supporting materials for this volume include interviews with Beckett's friends, editors, directors, designers, performers, and "crrritics." The editors consulted scripts, photos, recordings, reviews, and letters to and from Beckett's production teams. While the research for this volume has been marked by a greater possibility of direct conversation with the recipients of Beckett's letters, it has also entailed working with papers that are primarily in private hands, or which are in the process of being transferred to archives.

At the end of 1969, Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize, an honor which his wife Suzanne described as a "catastrophe." The unsought bounty of worldwide attention that follows is reflected in Volume IV, which stretches from 1970 to the author's death in 1989. The encumbrance of mail intensifies: there are replies to old friends, responses to new correspondents, meetings to arrange, and projects to authorize, guide, or deflect. Still, Beckett finds ways to retain the privacy necessary for his writing, for this is a period that sees the publication and production of many new works. The possibilities of television are more fully explored in Ghost Trio, ... but the clouds ... , Nacht und Triiume, and Quad. In his stage plays, Beckett expands the presence of interiority often through recorded sound, in such works as That Time, Footfalls, Rockaby, Ohio Impromptu, Catastrophe, and Quoi ou. As he has done from the start of his writing career, Beckett continues to write poetry during his final years, and the resulting works range from the brief and pithy Mirlitonnades to the open-ended musing of "Comment dire." This is the period of Le Depeupleur, Still, Company, Mal vu mal dit, Worstward Ho, and Stirrings Still.


There were times when Beckett and his correspondents were moving frequently between countries with little more than what a suitcase could hold; unnecessary papers were jettisoned as a result. Along with documents that have been lost, places have changed: certain buildings no longer exist where they once stood, streets have been renamed. Works of art are moveable properties: it is not surprising that some of the paintings which Beckett saw in one museum should be in a different collection now. Normal changes over time were multiplied by the havoc ofWorld War IL Some works of art that Beckett viewed in private collections and museums during his German travels in 1936-1937 were confiscated, sold, or destroyed. The editors' research has necessitated identifying the location and ownership of such art works, both past and present.

All contemporary readers are removed in time and culture from the immediate contexts of Beckett's letters. The editors readily acknowledge that there are gaps in their knowledge, and have not hesitated to report the limits of what they have been able to discover, indicating when handwriting is illegible, when a reference is unclear, when evidence is insufficient, or when the relevant information has simply not been found. Whether in a reference to a once-common patent medicine or to a reel-to-reel tape recorder, the letters testify to how rapidly the quotidian reality has changed.

The fact that most of Samuel Beckett's letters open with some form of "Glad to have your letter" shows that letters were, for him, a welcome and real connection. In writing replies, Beckett acknowledges and often attempts to bridge the gaps of time, distance, and circumstance. Even though the instability of all the terms (the writer, his fictive voice, the occasion, and the reader) conspire against it, a letter purports to mitigate, if not to close, the gap between writer and reader.9


1 Samuel Beckett to Arland Ussher, 6 November 1962, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin (hereafter "TxU"). Hereafter "SB" will be used in the notes to refer to Samuel Beckett.

2 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 25 December 1965, TxU.

3 Samuel Beckett, No Author Better Served: The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider, ed. Maurice Harmon (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998). Some of these letters were published in Samuel Beckett, "Beckett's Letters on 'Endgame': Extracts from His Correspondence with Director Alan Schneider," The Village Voice 19 March 1958: 8, 15; rpt. in The Village Voice Reader: A Mixed Bagfrom the Greenwich Village Newspaper, ed. Daniel Woolf and Edwin Fancher (New York: Doubleday, 1962) 182-186; 2nd edn. (New York: Grove Press, 1963) 166-169; rpt. as "On Endgame" in Samuel Beckett, Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, ed. Ruby Cohn (New York: Grove Press, 1984) 106-110, and in translation.

The following publish full letters to individuals: Samuel Beckett and Erich Franzen, "Correspondence on Translating MOLLOY," Babel 3 (Spring 1984) 21-35; Claire Stoullig and Nathalie Schoeller, eds., Bram van Ve!de [to Marthe Arnaud, Bram van Velde, Jacques Putman, some facsimile! (Paris: Musee National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, 1989) 160, 165, 172-175, 183, 185, 187-189; Maurice Nadeau, Graces !eur soient rendues (Paris: Albin Michel. 1990) 363-369; Vivienne Abbot, "How It Was: Egan and Beckett" in Desmond Egan: The Poet and His Work, ed. Hugh Kenner (Orono, ME: Northern Lights, 1990) 45-53; Samuel Beckett, "Letters to Barney Rosset." The Review of Contemporary Fiction 10.3 (Fall 1990) 64-71; Samuel Beckett and Barney Rosset, "The Godot Letters: A Lasting Effect" (Letters of Samuel Beckett and Barney Rosset), The New Theatre Review 12 (Spring 1995) 10-13; Marin Kannitz, Comedie [facsimile! (Paris: Les Editions du Regard, 2001) 14-25; and Anne Atik, How It Was: A Memoir of Samuel Beckett [to Avigdor Arikha and Anne Atik, facsimile! (London: Faber and Faber, 2003).

Exhibition, library. and dealer catalogues in print and on the Web have reproduced Beckett's letters. Those that reproduce the widest range of letters are: Carlton Lake, with the assistance of Linda Eichhorn and Sally Leach, No Symbols Where None Intended: A Catalogue ofBooks, Manuscripts, and Other Material Relating to Samuel Beckett in the Collections of the Humanities Research Center (Austin: Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, 1984); Marianne Alphant and Nathalie Leger, eds., Objet: Beckett (Paris: Centre Pompidou, IMEC-Editeur, 2007).

Numerous publications have included individual letters. The letter to Axel Kaun and the letter to Sergei Eisenstein included in this volume have been the most frequently published. Previous publications of individual letters are indicated in the bibliographical notes for them in this and subsequent volumes.

4 SB to Martha Dow Fehsenfeld [summer 1986], private collection.

5 SB to Carlton Lake, 24 October 1987,JohnJ. Bums Library of Rare Books and Special Collections. Boston College, Rasset Collection (hereafter "Bums Library").

6 SB to Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, 18 March 1985, private collection.

7 Signed by SB, 28 March 1989.

8 Signed by Edward Beckett, 24 April 1990.

9 "Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit" in Beckett, Disjecta, 144.

French Translator's Preface

Translation is never simple, but it is normally, in at least one major respect, straightf01ward: the translator renders from the native language of the writer into the native language of the reader. With Beckett we have a different reality. In the first place, his native language is English; French is a language which he gradually acquires, in a learning process that runs from total ignorance in early childhood to near-total ease and competence in later years. When Beckett permanentlysettles in France from late 1937 and begins to make friends with, among others, monoglot French-speakers, some at least ofthe letters have to be written in French, whatever his level of competence. It is, of course, not a simple switch. In most cases, he does it for the obvious practical reasons: the addressee knows only French, or has only limited English. But Beckett sometimes chooses to write in French to friends or acquaintances whose native language is English - now playfully, now ostentatiously, now as part ofa particular intimacy. Many ofthe English letters contain some French, from single words or short phrases to whole paragraphs.

The translator, then, must keep in mind two dimensions ofBeckett's French: the historical-developmental and the tonal. In the first, the earliest step will be deciding where Beckett is, at the moment ofwriting, in what we have come to call the learning curve. Inevitably this will matter above all in the early letters, when he is only a little way on from his formal study of French, and less and less as time goes on, although it never disappears. In later volumes we shall see Beckett writing drafts of French-language letters, especially ifthe letter involves the essentially unfamiliar territory oflegal or administrative language (as for instance in inquiries about rights, or negotiations with theatre managers and impresarios, as distinct from directors and actors, with whom communication is both easier and more natural). There is one extraordinary letter that illustrates the effects ofsuch hesitation: Beckett's request to Sergei Eisenstein (dated 2 March 1936) to be allowed to work in Moscow under his guidance. The document that survives has a standard French beginning (the formal "Monsieur") and a comparably formal French ending ("Veuilliez agreer mes meilleurs hommages") although the first word is incorrectly spelled. The tone of the whole mixes English and French styles. The initial choice of French is of course sensible: it is highly probable that Eisenstein will be more at ease with French. The body of the letter, however, is in English, but here too there are unmistakable signs of haste: three not-quite-sentences, dotted with abbreviations, sketching in his CV, as well as other oddities. In short, it reads like a draft. It seems wholly unlikely that anybody with Beckett's respect for Eisenstein could have sent such a mishmash while asking, or at least hoping, for a favorable response from the great man. Beckett's letters to friends give evidence of the ease with which he moves between English and French, but this letter exemplifies hesitations that go beyond language. It is impossible to say what changes of thought or mood triggered the decision to send it, but send it he did.

The developmental dimension takes on greater importance once Beckett has decided to write some of his works for publication in French, a decision which means, among other things, that writing in French can never again be exclusively private. The letters allow us insight into the consequences of Beckett's decision, but remind us too that Beckett is still also an English-speaker, still also someone who writes for publication in English. This brings up a question of enduring importance. Responsible translators worry at times about whether they have or have not "got it right"; whether their man or woman "would have said that." They worry, in fact, that they may have betrayed the writer whose work they have rendered. Always, as if in mockery of their attempts, they can hear the dire finality of "traduttore traditore"; but they learn to live with that risk. With Beckett, the situation is more challenging. Of virtually any letter it could be said that he might have written part or all of it in English. But the body of English-language letters is there to remind the boldest as well as the most timorous of translators that English-Beckett, or indeed Beckett-English, cannot simply be presumed - or, without great risk, invented. What is to be done with his idiosyncratic wordplay? Will the translator's nonce-words give the flavor of Beckett's? And what of his disregard for French practice in capitalization (names of days or months, titles of books, names of institutions), or again, his erratic use of diacriticals (his address for some months, the "Hotel Liberia," often appears without diacriticals; the cedilla needed on "�a" or "<;:a" hardly ever appears, partly due to the limitations of his typewriter)? And so on.

Clearly, these questions cannot be left in the air. The decisions taken for this edition are as follows. The governing assumption is that we will at all points draw on the English-language letters of the time as indicative of what is idiomatically appropriate, particularly in the case of colloquialisms. This has often meant excluding what might well be neater or more forceful expressions if these were not in circulation at the time of writing. Thus World War II slang moved beyond "fed up" to "browned off' and on through variants like "cheesed (off)" to the near-universal "pissed (off)": all or any of these would have fitted the mood of Beckett faced with publishers' neglect or rejections, but none ofthem was available in the 1930s, when almost all of the letters in the first volume were written. Nor is this only a matter ofchoice of words. It was customary in the 1930s to write "I did not," "they were not," "it is," and so on; by the end of the 1940s the contractions "I didn't," "they weren't," "it's," etc., are much more frequently found. Not the least interesting feature of such changes is the wide variation in speed of acceptance: trend-conscious journalists in the fast lane, so to speak, elderly scholars stalling in the slow lane. Beckett's own practice is variable. It is worth noting, for example, that in the late 1930s, Beckett was still writing "to-day" and "to-morrow." In the case of his inventions (nonce-words, portmanteau-words, and the like), the aim is that of representing not just the semantic or tonal direction, but also the charge (the greater or lesser boldness). As for Beckett's "mistakes" (slips of the pen, misspelled or misremembered proper names, the occasional incoherence inevitable in unrevised writings), policy is not to repeat these in editorial matter, but rather to use the form regarded as correct now ("today," "Hotel Liberia") and, in the case of capitalization in titles, to use current French practice for French words and English for English.

Dwarfing all these is a still more troubling, even frightening, worry. It is the obverse side of Beckett's decision to write for publication in French. What would he have said in the other language? A single example will make the point. If, when writing to a friend, he were to say of a man they both know: "II y a longtemps que je ne l'ai pas vu," there are obvious translations: "I have not seen him for a long time," or "It is a long time since I saw him." But Beckett is an Irishman, and, if writing to a fellow Irishman, he might well have said (and often did say) "I have not seen him this long time," a phrase requiring an audible stress on "long," a usage not found in standard English. If the translator is aware of both possibilities, which one should he choose? In practice, our decision is to allow lrishisms only where it is clear that the addressee is familiar with them. This hypothetical example is relatively trivial, but it points up something that goes far beyond the usual preoccupations of translators: Beckett's relation to his native language -which is, let us be quite clear, English, not Irish, a language which he does not know. That relation is not something that can be dealt with in these few pages, but certain aspects of it are immediately relevant. For the relation is not symmetrical, in a pattern where, as it might be, the French gets better while the English gets worse. Then again, Beckett's case is quite unlike that of, say, Kafka, aware of a linguistic limbo in which, for external historico-political reasons, three languages press on him: German, Czech, and Yiddish. Nor is Beckett like Nabokov, whose eventual decision to go over to writing in English is linked to his rejection of Soviet Russia.

Beckett's case is in fact a familiar one -but not among writers. It is the case of all those who, for whatever reason, have freely chosen to immerse themselves in the life, language, and culture of another country. Not unlike the evolution of a love affair, the first phase is often marked by idealization of the new object, and a tendency to run down what went before. This is very much in evidence in the second and third volumes of the Letters, written in a period when he is working on translations of his own work into English. This task is for him both burdensome and irritating, in part at least because of his ambivalent relation with his native language (at one moment, "cette horrible langue"). He never loses his distaste for the chore of translation, but his acute concern with the translation of his own work indicates that the issues go well beyond likes and dislikes.

Once the fame of Godot has spread, translations follow, almost all into languages of which Beckett knows little or nothing, but there is at least one interesting intermediate case: German. His reading and his visits to Germany have given him some familiarity with the language: nothing comparable to his grasp of French, or indeed of Italian, but capable of prompting in him worries about aspects of his translator's work. As it happens, his primary German translator, Elmar Tophoven, is capable of responding appropriately, and there ensues a fascinating correspondence and an enduring friendship. More generally, Beckett's letters to his translators, as well as illustrating his moral generosity and his appreciation of their efforts, abound in acute and revealing reflections on writing and language.

There is one further area in which international difference matters: the representation ofwords, and above all proper names, from languages (Russian, Greek, Arabic mainly) that do not use the Roman alphabet. The case of Russian illustrates the difficulty perfectly. Transliteration is an attempt to represent as closely as possible the sounds ofRussian, but the representations themselves vary according to the norms of the receiving language. Thus the Russian poet is Pushkin for English-speakers, but Pouchkine for the French, while the dramatist is respectively Chekhov and Tchekhov. But for anyone who knows no Russian, the local transliteration is the only one to matter. Exactly the same will be true, for example, for Arabic place-names: Marrakesh for the English, Marrakech for the French. Much ofBeckett's writing life is in France, and what he sees will usually be French transliterations. As it happens, the issue of Russian names arises again, in a very different cultural and historical context. The world ofdance is profoundly affected, first and foremost in France, by the innovations ofSergei Diaghilev, the founder ofthe Ballets Russes. The very name ofthe company hints at the long-established link between Russia and France (educated Russians in those days spoke French, some indeed as their first language), and it was to France that Diaghilev took his dancers. Many ofthese settled there - and took on French versions of their names. Massine and Fokine (like Lenine and Staline, in this respect ifno other) have that final "e" in French in order to avoid what would otherwise be an unwarranted nasal sound in the second syllable. These are the names that Beckett is used to seeing on billboards, tickets, programs. The same holds for writers, musicians (whether composers or performers), and actors. Beckett, unsurprisingly, will tend to reach for the first name to hand, regardless of language, when he comes to write about any ofthem. Finally, there is Beckett's capricious handling, influenced by where he happens to be at the time of writing, offoreign names or terms. In the letters inspired by his tour of German art collections in the late 1930s, he often adopts the German spelling "barock" for what English, following French, refers to as "baroque"; or calls French towns by the German version ofthem: "Strassburg" for "Strasbourg," "Kolmar" for "Colmar." Against that, he also uses the English spellings ofcertain French place-names, for instance "Marseilles." But it is the French/English divide and its consequences that matter above all. Within that, a new divide appears: before Godot and after. Fame brings its rewards, but exacts a price which Beckett finds heavy. The effect on the letters is immediate. His correspondents are no longer only friends, old or new. For the first time, wariness appears in the writing. Beckett's legendary courtesy ensures that letters will be answered, but many raise, directly or indirectly, questions that irritate or dismay him (letters to friends indicate how much). The division in time is accompanied by a division in kind: on the one hand, letters to intimates; on the other, letters to the rest.

To these questions specific to Beckett must be added other inescapable but more general issues. All letters written in French to anyone other than an intimate will normally have one of a set of formal openings, and one of a set of even more formal endings. With the openings, the very formal "Monsieur" or "Madame" and the rather less formal "Cher Monsieur" or "Chere Madame" must be adjusted in English to include the person's surname. But it is the writer who decides on the degree of formality. Decisions of this kind may well be difficult, which is why the much less formal and neatly non-committal "Cher ami" is such a boon to writers. But since there is no direct equivalent in English, the choice of degree of intimacy is pushed back on to the translator. Here another factor comes in. The habit among men of using surnames hung on much longer in France than in England, where the American preference for first names edges it out. "Cher ami" gives no clue whether it would be more appropriate to write "Dear Smith" or "Dear John"; and this is something which, like the "vous"f"tu" distinction, may have surprising importance. An example can be found in the ending of Beckett's letter to his agent George Reavey, with whom relations have gone from cool, even frosty, to trusting. The distance traveled can be seen, even in thejokiness, with "Vas-y" (go ahead) at the beginning and "A toi" (yours) at the end, both in the intimate form. 1

Endings are less troubling, for although the battery of conventional formulas is much greater, the differences between them are. for

Beckett, largely unimportant. Their ostentatious formality and apparent obsequiousness have no echo in English. The typical "Je vous prie de croire, Monsieur, a !'assurance de mes sentiments les meilleurs" would sound grotesque in English if rendered "literally." It, and its like, have virtually no emotional charge in French, however, and so must be represented by a neutral, comparably uncharged formula. English has in fact very few of these, so "Yours sincerely" will appear very often.

Then there is the matter of punctuation. Beckett's practice is unpredictable, but that merely compounds a difficulty: the difference between standard French and English usages. In French, for example, it is perfectly proper to connect two main clauses by a simple comma; English requires a semicolon (as in this sentence), or a new sentence. Here again, the only reliable guidance for the translator comes from the English-language letters.

More interesting, perhaps, is the question of "swearwords": the whole territory that French calls engagingly "la langue verte." The issue surfaces in the letters concerned with the Lord Chamberlain's refusal to allow performance in England ofthe text ofFin de partie unless certain cuts are made. The main point is that French and English "swearwords" do not overlap neatly. Some of the French ones are the etymological cousins of the English ones, but patterns of use are not at all the same. Several French words ("connerie" is an example) have been virtually emptied of their scabrous or vulgar content. The base-word "con" is close kin to the English word "cunt," but has long been used without any ofthe harsh or sexual associations ofthe English word. It is a very common way of saying "fool," "idiot," "nitwit," so that a "connerie" is what someone like that would do or say: something stupid. Similarly, years before well-brought-up young women would have said "shit" in public, "merde" and its cognates were in common use in France. Elderly ladies were saying "Mon Dieu" in French and meaning little more than "Goodness me" when their English equivalents would not have dreamed of saying "My God." The particular significance of "connerie" is that it is one of the words that the Lord Chamberlain objected to in the projected performances at the Royal Court Theatre of Fin de partie. Clearly, he or his adviser was unaware of the wide difference in practice between French and English, and assumed that the word was one of the words then forbidden (in 1957 there was still a long way to go to the lifting of restrictions that followed the verdict in the Chatterley trial and led eventually to the abolishing, in this connection, ofthe powers ofthe Lord Chamberlain). But these orders of difficulty, concerned as they are with small differences of cultural practice, are as nothing compared with that raised by Beckett's wordplay. It is not just that at any moment he may spice his English with a word or a phrase in French: that much is expectable from an expatriate English-speaker writing to a friend in Ireland or England or the USA.Nor is French the only foreign language he draws on - we are also likely to be faced with words or passages in Italian, or German, or Latin - usually because the language chosen has a neater or more expressive rendering of what he wants to say. This, after all, is the currency that translators must expect to deal in.But Beckett's practice is often at the boundary oflanguages.There are Gallicisms: deliberate, as in "was for much in" ("etait pour beaucoup dans" [was an important influence in or played a considerable part in]); unconsciously mimetic, as in "the script is function of its ..."("le scenario est fonction de ses ...").2 No single editorial formula can dealsatisfactorily with all examples.Even single-word usages (such as "transatlantic," modeled on the French "transatlantique") cannot be definitively pigeon-holed, since it is not always possible to know whether Beckett's choice is deliberate or involuntary.3 Then there is the difference between such calques and the cases where Beckett plays with both languages simultaneously, as when he writes "fucking the field," where he brings to life a dead French metaphor - the long-familiar colloquialism "foutre le camp" even then meant little more than "to leave suddenly," "to get away" - in a deliberately grotesque English version.4 The painful mismatch - Beckett's briefverbal thrust as against the present labored explanation/commentary - is evidence enough: neat categories are not possible here.

There are inventions galore. And there are instances where the punning, telescoping, or other wordplay simply has no equivalent in English. Above all there are the wholly idiosyncratic, almost always breathtaking, representations ofparticular insights or ventures, as when, in a covering note to two poems he is sending to George Reavey, he writes "Voici deux Prepuscules d'un Gueux."5 The combining of the very grand (in the echo of Le Crepuscule des dieux [The Twilight of the Gods]) with the grotesquely self-deprecating "prepuces" (foreskins) and the more ordinarily modest "opuscule" (small literary work) leads on to more playing at self-abasement in the nicely archaic "Gueux" (beggar). Some of this verbal play, dependent on French, is simply untranslatable, either because nothing in English corresponds to the play, or because the invention itself is so idiosyncratic as to be unrecoverable.

In my second suggested dimension, the tonal. interpretation of a different kind is required. Here what is at issue is the altogether more testing question of the relation of Beckett to the addressee at the time ofwriting, on a spectrum that runs from the exalted or desperate to the factual-businesslike. In this, the only indicator available to the translator is the "vous"/"tu" distinction, as in the Reavey example above, as compared with the "vous"-based letter to Eisenstein.

The letters are in this respect quite unlike the rest of his oeuvre, in which the notion of a particular addressee simply does not arise. The letters themselves bring all the illustration one could need. Whatever their purpose, they are always Beckett writing. For the translator, there is only ever the task of catching, as far as that is possible, the shading of this passage or that, this letter or that. There is no pre-existing method; translation is, after all, a reading differently articulated - but one that takes place in the shadow of what it was for Beckett, a writing differently articulated.

George Craig


1 SB to George Reavey, 23 June 1934.

2 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 20 February 11935]; SB to Sergei Eisenstein. 2 March 1936.

3 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932.

4 SB to Thomas McGreevy, [after 15 August 1931);SB to Thomas McGreevy, 16January 1930.

5 SB to George Reavey, 6 November 1932.

German Translator's Preface

For the translator, the letters that Samuel Beckett wrote in German present an unusual problem. Even though he is writing in German, he is thinking in his native English. Beckett's thoughts become subsequently "verfremdet," estranged or distanced from their intent, when translated into a language still quite foreign to him. In order to put them back into English, the translator must therefore look behind the "Schleier," or veil, that the German language created for Beckett. 1 Although George Craig also alludes to this issue in his translator's preface with regard to Beckett's writings in French, Beckett's German letters clearly reflect the much greater distance between his native language and his acquired German. This comes as no surprise, as French was a language Beckett learned as a child and maintained all his life, whereas he did not begin his study of German until adulthood, a disadvantage never quite overcome. Nonetheless, Beckett is never less than sophisticated in his thinking and his awareness of language. A great deal of the challenge involved in Beckett's letters in German therefore lies in discerning and representing the difference between his lack of full linguistic competence and his intentional language play. Since Beckett's German letters span a wide range of biographical contexts, they provide wonderfully clear examples of what George Craig defines as dimensions of SB's "historical-developmental" and "tonal" uses of the language.2 In fact, Beckett's German letters were not written for purely practical reasons, namely, out of the necessity to make himself understood, but rather because he wanted to write in German.

Thus, George Craig's analogy of a "love affair" seems all the more fitting in the case of Beckett's relationship to German.

Beckett's earliest German letter was written to his cousin Morris Sinclair in 1934 and is familiar in tone. Apparently Beckett trusted that his ventures into testing, in word and thought, the limits of his still quite rudimentary language abilities would not be faulted. In

December 1936 when Beckett writes to his new friend and contemporary Gunter Albrecht, the letter is casual in tone and content, relating his travel experiences following his stay in Hamburg. Intended to practice his much-improved German, albeit still a little stilted at times, this letter shows only a few mistakes such as typographical errors, insignificant oversights, and some errors of syntax.

For many reasons the most problematic German letter in Volume I is the draft dated 9 July 1937 and addressed to Axel Kaun, to whom Beckett was introduced by Gunter Albrecht. Not only was Kaun a somewhat distant acquaintance, but the occasion for the letter related to a commission of translation, and its content extends to a broader discussion of language itself. Hence it is a letter of greater tonal formality, as well as greater complexity and breadth of reference. In this letter Beckett perhaps most accurately reflects all three of the aspects that Matthew Feldman found revealed in Beckett's German Workbook: namely, the extent of Beckett's knowledge of German in 1936; his developing artistic outlook; and his temperament.3

The translation of this letter to Axel Kaun was further complicated by the fact that it exists only as a corrected draft which, to make matters worse, has had a history of over-correction. Therefore this letter remains very difficult to judge linguistically, and to a degree continues to raise interpretive issues about its intended message.4

After some deliberations we have decided not to mark grammatical or syntactical errors in Beckett's German letters, following the editorial principle to present Beckett's letters as written. Only where we had to make an interpretive decision have we indicated in a note the reading that we have used for our translation. For example, the sentence in a letter of 5 May 1934 to Morris Sinclair, "So bitte ich dich, ihm fur mich vorzustellen, diese Versaumung sei mir zum Trotz" (So I ask you to get him, on my behalf, to imagine that this omission might be in spite of myself), not only contains several grammatical errors, but also various possibilities of interpretation based on the two understandings of the main verb "vorstellen" (imagine and introduce). Further complicating clear understanding was Beckett's use of syntax that is possible in English but not in German.5

As a language teacher with many years of experience, I am all too familiar with the types and patterns of mistakes that English-speaking students of the German language commonly make. This proved to be particularly helpful in translating Beckett's German letters. Many of the grammatical and syntactical problems encountered in these letters are neither uncommon nor surprising in learners of German and generally do not require undue guesswork. Near misses such as those that result from merging German and English syntax in, for example, the expression "lass es dir gut gefallen" were more difficult to sort out.6

Another aspect of discovering a foreign language involves creative wordplay, word inventions, and unusual word combinations. Students of foreign language and culture immensely enjoy combining, mixing and matching sounds, images, and words to create new word inventions. How much more would the mind of a Samuel Beckett find delight in such possibility? Rarely if ever does a teacher have the opportunity, and the privilege, of working with a "student text" composed by a future Nobel laureate, who is subjugating his creative images and rich thoughtconstructions to a language not his own. And so the translator struggles with intriguing word creations such as "Unwort," "Gegenstandsauger," "schweizzige Moralisten," and "verpersonifiziert."7

In addition, and not unlike many advanced language students, Beckett had a distinct affinity for that most cumbersome of German constructions: the extended adjective expression. Beckett confronts the challenge to stretch his German. The extended adjective construction allowed him to experiment creatively by testing sophisticated imagery and wrapping it in complex syntax. There are many illustrations to be found in Beckett's early German letters. For example, he writes "eine ganz andere Ruhe, als die zu dieser groben, englischen Landschaft gehi:irende" in a letter to Morris Sinclair,8 and "auf jenem alten faulen von Musik und Malerei Hingst verlassenen Wege" in the letter to Axel Kaun.9 In the same letter, Beckett chooses a similarly complicated construction when referring to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony: "die von grossen schwarzen Pausen gefressene Tonflache in der siebten Symphonie von Beethoven, so dass wir sie ganze Seiten durch nicht anders wahrnehmen ki:innen als etwa einen schwindelnden unergrilndliche Schli.inde von Stillschweigen verkni.ipfenden Pfad von Lauten?"10 Such linguistic excursions do not translate literally into English because such constructions generally require added verbs or division into more than one clause to make them intelligible.

A different, perhaps more common problem presents itself in Beckett's unusual word combinations, such as "Biedermeier bathing suit," an image that we retained rather than distort because its unique emotional and cultural attachments have no equivalent in English. I I Or the translator may be faced with a phrase such as "sachsischer Stiitzwechsel," mixing historical-cultural dimensions with multiple meanings of words, the whole concocted into sophisticated imagery shot through with irony - indeed a challenge. 12

On the one hand, if we assume that, when composing his letters in

German, Beckett would formulate his thoughts in his native English first, then the particular challenge for the translator in the case ofthe German letters was to return as closely as possible to that original English articulation. On the other hand, though, it also seemed important to reflect and retain in the English translation, particularly for the reader not familiar with German, some ofthe awkwardness ofBeckett's German, especially in his early letters. One benefit that this provided was a way to demonstrate both Beckett's remarkable progress and his equally impressive linguistic courage in "massaging" the language and seeking German formulations appropriate to the complexity of his thoughts, even when the latter far outstripped the former. Beckett, quite like the ardent lover alluded to earlier, never ceased to push to the limits ofhis language abilities or to risk experimenting with innovative attempts to express himselfin German, this language he so loved to embrace.

Viola Westbrook


1 SB to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937: "Und immer mehr wie ein Schleier kommt mir meine Sprache vor, den man zerreissen muss."

2 George Craig, "French translator's preface," this volume, p. xxxiii.

3 Matthew Feldman, Beckett's Books: A Cultural History of Samuel Beckett's "Intenvar Notes"

(New York: Continuum, 2006) 26.

4 When Beckett gave this draft to Lawrence Harvey in the early 1960s, it was already marked with corrections; possibly either Beckett himself, or Beckett and Harvey, went over the German and made further corrections. This is also a letter that has appeared in a transcription and translation by Martin Esslin in Ruby Cohn's edition of Beckett's writings, Disjecta; readers will find differences between Esslin's corrected edition and our transcription and translation (Samuel Beckett, "German Letter of 1937" tr. Martin Esslin in Disjecta, ed. Cohn, 51-54, 170-172).

5 SB to Morris Sinclair, 5 May 1934 n. 7: SB's Geiman construction would have been correct had he used the word "erklaren" (explain). By using "vorstellen" instead, he merged the two constructions possible with that verb and thereby the two meanings

(introduce and imagine). with the result that neither form is used correctly. Considering the contents and tone of the letter, we have settled on "imagine."

6 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 22 December 1936 n. 2.

7 SB to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937; SB to Morris Sinclair, 5 May 1934.

8 SB to Morris Sinclair, 5 May 1934: "!Sometimes I long for those mountains and fields, which I know so well, and which create] a completely different calm from the one associated with this coarse English landscape."

9 SB to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937: "[Or is literature alone left behind] on that old, foul road long ago abandoned by music and painting."

10 SB to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937: "!Is there any reason why that terrifyingly arbitrary materiality of the word surface should not be dissolved, as for example] the sound surface of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is devoured by huge black pauses. so that for pages on end we cannot perceive it as other than a dizzying path of sounds connecting unfathomable chasms of silence?"

11 SB to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937.

12 SB to Gunter Albrecht, 30 March 1937.

Editorial Procedures

Unlike a novel, letters to old friends are not checked carefully before they are sent, and inevitably eccentricities appear: slips of the pen, typos, accidental substitutions, oddities of spelling (particularly of proper names that SB had misheard or mis-remembered), and persistent confusions (sent and send). To signal each one with "sic" or "for" would interfere with reading, so we do so only when they might prevent or distort understanding. Letters are transcribed as written and presented as a clear text, that is, the final text as sent to the recipient.

Sequence Letters are presented chronologically. If more than one letter was written on the same day, the letters are ordered alphabetically by recipient's name, unless internal evidence suggests another sequence. When the editors supply dating, the letter appears in sequence according to the presumed date.

Recipient The full name ofthe recipient, with a corporate identification if relevant, and the city to which the letter was sent are indicated in a header in small capitals. These are editorial additions; Beckett himself seldom included a recipient's name and address in a letter; however, when he does, this is shown as written.

Date Dates are presented as written by Beckett, who most often follows European format (day, month, year), but placement is regularized. If the date, or any portion of it, is incomplete or incorrect, editorial emendation is given in square brackets; if a date, or any portion ofit, is uncertain, this emendation is preceded by a question mark. The rationale for the dating is given, ifneeded, in the bibliographical note following the letter.

Place Place is presented as written, but placement is regularized. Where place is incomplete, editorial emendation is given in square brackets, preceded by a question mark if uncertain. Occasionally, the place ofwriting is not congruent with the place ofmailing; for example, Beckett may write as iffrom Paris, but post the letter in La Ferte-sous-Jouarre. This is not corrected.

Orthography Beckett's idiosyncratic spelling, capitalization, and abbreviation are preserved: this includes abbreviations without punctuation (wd, cd, yrs), varying presentation ofsuperscripts (M!, yr, 1-41!"'), use of ampersands, contractions written without an apostrophe ("wont" for "won't"), and use of diacriticals. Beckett's practice of indicating the titles of works by underscoring is inconsistent: sometimes he does, sometimes he does not, sometimes he underscores partially. When grammatical or spelling variants interfere with sense, these are editorially expanded or corrected within square brackets in the text.

Beckett often uses words or phrases from other languages when writing in English or French, but he seldom underscores such words or phrases. If Beckett's shifts from one language to another produce what appears to be a variant spelling in the dominant language of the letter, this is marked or explained in a note.

Beckett frequently spells a name incorrectly, most often when he has only heard the name and not met the person or read the name. When a person's name, a title, or another reference is misspelled in the text ofa letter, the corrected spelling is given in the notes and the index; if the misspelled name is likely to confuse, its first use is corrected within square brackets in the text: e.g. "Stevens [for Stephens]." When, as in a joke or pun made with a name, a misspelling is judged to be deliberate, it stands as written; correct spelling is given in the notes and the index.

In Volume I, there are two exceptions to this rule, and both are noted at their first occurrence. Thomas McGreevy changed the spelling ofhis family name toward the end of 1941 to MacGreevy. Since all of the letters through 1940 are addressed to McGreevy, that spelling is retained through the present volume; in subsequent volumes his name will be spelled MacGreevy. During the period covered by Volume I, Beckett almost always spelled the name of Gwynedd Reavey as "Gwynned"; this is noted at the first occurrence and then silently emended. When Beckett does spell her name correctly, this change is also noted.

Beckett presents ellipses with spaced dots; however, these are variously two dots or three dots. Beckett occasionally punctuates with a dash instead of a period at the end of a sentence.

Authorial emendation The results of Beckett's cancelations, insertions, and inversions are presented as a clear text. When a reading of an emendation by Beckett is uncertain, it is given within square brackets in the text, preceded by a question mark.

Beckett often overwrites or overtypes to self-correct; when typing, he sometimes cancels a word or phrase if it does not fit the space on the page, and then rewrites it on the next line or page. Beckett changes his mind as he writes: sometimes omitting or inserting a word, phrase, or sentence; inverting word order; extending a thought in the margins. Typed letters contain both typed and handwritten corrections. Drafts of letters show many more changes.

When Beckett's changes are substantive - that is, not merely corrections of spelling or typos or false starts - these are presented in the notes: e.g., SB wrote" <the Aldingtons>Richard and Bridget." Scholars interested in the patterns of Beckett's changes will wish to consult the original manuscripts.

Editorial emendation Editorial emendations to the text are supplied only when necessary to understanding. Other than obvious typographical errors (overtypes, space slips, extra spacing, false starts), and other than what is stated above, there are no silent emendations. Placement and indentation of date, address, closing and signature lines are regularized. Paragraph indentations are standardized. Line ends are marked only in poetry. Postscripts are presented following the signature; if their original placement differs, this is described in a note.

Editorial ellipses in letters and other unpublished manuscripts are shown by three unspaced dots within square brackets; editorial ellipses in published materials are shown with three spaced dots. filegibility Illegibility is noted in square brackets [illeg]. If a reading is uncertain, it is given within square brackets and preceded by a question mark. Damage to the original manuscript that obscures or obliterates the text is described in the bibliographical note and is indicated in the text as illegibility.

Signature The closing and signature lines are regularized. An autograph signature or initial can be assumed for an autograph letter; in a typed letter, the notation "sf" indicates a handwritten signature or initial. A typed letter may have both an autograph and a typed signature. When these are not identical, both are shown. When these are identical, rather than present the signature twice, the existence of an autograph signature is indicated only by "sf" and the typed signature is presented in the line that follows:

With best wishes


Samuel Beckett

An unsigned carbon copy presents only the typed signature, but spacing allows for an autograph signature in the original:

With best wishes

Samuel Beckett

Bibliographical note Following each letter is a bibliographical note which gives a description of the letter (e.g. ALS, autograph letter signed) followed by the number of leaves and sides (2 leaves, 4 sides). Description of the physical document may include its letterhead (if SB replaces or alters it), the image on a postcard, and enclosures. This note also includes the address on a postcard or envelope, the postmark, and any additional notation on the envelope, whether written by Beckett or in another hand (e.g. forwarding address, postal directives, or other notations). Postmarks are described by city (not by post office) and date. Editorial markers are given in italics: e.g. env to George Reavey; pm 16-5-35, Paris. The ownership of the physical property is given with the designated library abbreviation, collection name and accession information; private ownership is indicated according to the owner's preference, by name or simply as "private collection." Previous publication is noted when the letter has been published in full or in a substantial portion (more than halt); facsimile reproductions are indicated in this note.

Notations used in the bibliographical description indicate whether the letter is handwritten or typed; whether a letter, postcard, telegram, or pneumatique; it indicates the number of leaves and sides, and whether it is signed, initialed, or unsigned. A leaf is a physical piece of paper; a side is a page written on, whether recto or verso. A postcard may bear an address on the recto (1 leaf, 1 side) or on the verso (1 leaf, 2 sides). Beckett sometimes folded a single piece of paper so that it had four sides (1 leaf, 4 sides). All editorial notations are detailed under "Abbreviations."

Discussion ofdating When the date ofa letter is corrected or derived from internal or external evidence, the rationale for the assigned date or date-range is given following the bibliographical note.

Undated or partially dated letters are not unusual. Beckett may not date a letter when it is part ofa frequent exchange or when it follows or anticipates a personal meeting; he often misdates letters at the beginning of a new year. If envelopes are clearly affiliated with the letter in question, the postmark may be helpful in dating. Some correspondence received by publishers and other businesses was routinely date stamped; this is noted in the bibliographical note and may inform incomplete dating. While Beckett occasionally delivers a note personally, it is also the case that some stamped letters are sent without cancellation. Telegrams are often difficult to date precisely and may bear only the date of receipt.

Translation Letters written entirely in a language other than English are translated immediately following the transcription ofthe original and its bibliographical note. Translators' initials are given when other than George Craig for French and Viola Westbrook for German. In the first volume, when published translations were not available, Adolf von Baden-Wurttemberg and George Craig have translated from Latin and Greek; Dan Gunn has translated from Italian.

Translations of words or phrases are provided in the notes to the letter. Translations are given with the following formulation: "Bon travail & bon sommeil" (work well & sleep well). The language ofthe original is not indicated in the translation unless there may be ambiguity; if required, these abbreviations are used: colloq., collo· quial; Fr., French; Ger., German; Gk., Greek; Ir., Irish; It., Italian; Lat., Latin; Sp., Spanish. Published translations are used for literary quotations, if available, and are so noted (see below).

Beckett may write the name ofa German city with German, French, or English spelling; however, translations and editorial material present the English spelling of city and place names. Translations do not repeat Beckett's mistakes (slips of the pen, misremembering or misspelling of proper names, and the occasional incoherence inevitable in unrevised writings). In the rare cases when spelling norms have changed (in the 1930s Beckett wrote "to-day" and to-morrow), current practice is followed. Although Beckett prac· ticed English-style capitalization when writing the titles of books in other languages, translations and notes use the capitalization prac· tice of the language in which the book was written. In the translation of letters, all titles of books are indicated by italics.


In the notes, Samuel Beckett is referred to as "SB." Translations follow British spelling and punctuation practice; all other editorial materials follow American English spelling and punctuation. Although all letters are presented as written, in line with standard French practice the edition does not put accents on initial capitals in editorial matter. All other accents are displayed, even where, as in editorial headers, the material is represented in small capitals. This affects only editorial matter in French; other languages have other conventions.

Identifications of persons The first reference gives a person's full name (including birth name, and/or acquired appellations including pseudonyms and nicknames), years of birth and death, and a brief statement of identification. Additional statements of identification may be given over the course of a volume, or over the four volumes, when a person's primary occupation, affiliation, or relationship to Samuel Beckett changes. Identifications are not given for well· known figures such as William Shakespeare, Rene Descartes, Dante Alighieri.

Names Names are not necessarily constant over time. Thomas McGreevy chose to change the spelling of his family name; after World War II, Georges Pelorson changed his name to Georges Belmont. Some women assume their husband's surname when they marry: Mary Manning became Mary Manning Howe and then Mary Manning Howe Adams, but she used her maiden name professionally. Editorial practice is to follow Beckett's spelling of the name at the time of writing (with the exception of misspelling), but also to refer to writers by the name given on the title page of their books.

Painters are often given a name that includes their parentage, their city of origin, or their association with a school of painting. Beckett's practice varies, so identifications in the annotations follow those given by The Grove Dictionary of Art, with variant names and spellings given only where confusion might otherwise arise.

Some persons become known by their initials, some by their nicknames, and some by both. Abraham Jacob Leventhal generally indicates his name in publications as A. J. Leventhal, but he is most often referred to in Beckett's letters by his nickname, "Con." Beckett's cousin Morris Sinclair may also be addressed as "Maurice," or by his family nickname "Sunny" which in German becomes "Sonny" (indeed he was the only son in the Sinclair family).

After first reference, editorial practice is to use the name that Beckett uses. When a name changes, a note will signal this change.

Both/all names will be entered as one heading in the Index.

Dates Approximate dates are preceded by c. (circa), fl. (flourished), or a question mark; when dates are approximated as a range, the earliest birth year and the latest death year are given, preceded by c. to indicate approximation. If only the birth year or death year is known, it is given as, for example, (b. 1935) or (1852-?) or (d. 1956). Rarely, the only date known is a marriage date; this will be given as (m. 1933). When a date is unknown, it is indicated as (n.d.).

Titles In editorial material (translations, annotations, appendices), titles are presented with the capitalization and spelling conventions of the original language. The title of a work of art is presented in English since the language of the artist may not be the same as the language of the museum or collections that have owned it. Generally, a catalogue raisonne gives titles in several languages. Titles of musical works are often in the language of the composer and remain untranslated; however, lines from songs, recitatives, and arias are translated. Titles of books that are referred to in the text appear in the notes in their original language, followed by date of first publication and title in English if there is a published translation, e.g. Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932;Journey to the End ofthe Night); if the English title is given in roman font, e.g. Die notwendige Reise (1932; The Necessary Journey), this indicates that an English translation has not been published and that the translated title has been supplied by the editors.

Sources for names, titles, and dates To arbitrate varying names, spellings of names, and dates, editorial practice has relied upon The Grove Dictionary of Music; The Grove Dictionary of Art; The Cambridge

Biographical Encyclopedia, second edition; the catalogues of the Bibliotheque Nationale, the British Library, the National Library of Ireland, the Library of Congress, as well as other national libraries; and The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors.

Glosses Unusual or archaic English words or foreign-language terms that have entered common English usage are not glossed if they can be found in the second electronic edition of The Oxford English Dictionary.

References References to unpublished materials give the archive and manuscript identification of the documents. References to published materials give a full bibliographical citation at the first mention, and a short-title reference thereafter. The Bibliography includes all published materials that are cited. Titles that are identified in the text but not cited do not appear in the Bibliography, but they are indexed.

Cross-reference Cross-reference that refers back to specific material within the edition is given by indicating the date of the letter and the number of the pertinent note, e.g. 9 January 1936, n. 5. References are rarely given forward. It is presumed that most readers will read sequentially; those who wish to pursue a single figure will be able to do so by use of the Index.

Choice ofeditions Although it is necessary to select standard editions for editorial reference, these choices are not governed by a single rule. For example, most often the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade edition of French text is used, or the more recent of these where two editions exist, because these editions take into account earlier editions. Exceptions have been made when a reference requires a first edition or an edition that Beckett refers to in a letter, or one he is known to have read, or the only one he could have read. The choice of standard editions is explained at the point of first reference. Volumes II, III, and IV of The Letters may present other issues in this respect. Where there is no standard edition, editions are selected for their accessibility, for example the Riverside edition of Shakespeare's works. Biblical references are taken from the King James Version. Although the publication information is given for all first and subsequent editions of Beckett's texts when this information is germane to the context of a letter, quotations are generally taken from the Grove Press editions.

Choice of translations English literary translations are provided for Beckett's foreign-language citations. Beckett nearly always read in the original language, and so choice of a translation is seldom directed by his reading.

Chronologies Chronologies precede each year of the letters to present an overview of the events mentioned by Beckett's letters; these include significant world events.

Profiles Biographical profiles ofpersons who have a continuing role in the narrative of The Letters of Samuel Beckett appear in the Appendix. Those who have a profile are indicated with an asterisk following their first reference. A profile presents a narrative of a person's life and work, with regard particularly to his or her association with Beckett. Profiles appear in the first volume of the letters in which the person becomes a figure of significance. The profiles cover the historical range of a person's association with Beckett because they will not be reprinted in subsequent volumes of the edition. Profiles are also given for certain institutions, publications, and organizations.


The family of Samuel Beckett has been welcoming as well as generous in sharing memories and documents. The editors warmly thank Edward and Felicity Beckett, Caroline and Patrick Murphy, Diana Zambonelli, Jill Babcock, and remember with gratitude Ann Beckett (d.), John Beckett (d.), Sheila Page (d.), and Morris Sinclair (d.).


The Graduate School ofEmory University has generously supported the research for The Letters ofSamuel Beckett since 1990. The editing project at Emory, known as "The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett," is a laboratory for humanities research in which graduate students in several disciplines of the humanities are engaged. Faculty and staff colleagues at Emory have unfailingly supported the edition with their knowledge and resources.

The extensive process of gathering, organizing, and preparing documents and oral histories fundamental to such an edition was facilitated by major support from The National Endowment for the Humanities from 1991 to 1997. The Graduate School of Emory University contributed both the overhead and cost-sharing for these grants.

The research for this edition is international and cross-cultural. The Florence Gould Foundation supported the French and American partnership of this research from 1995 through 2003. The Graduate School of Emory University and The American University of Paris contributed cost-sharing. The support of the Gould Foundation helped to establish a Paris center for the research at The American University of Paris, directed by Associate Editor Dan Gunn; students there served as interns, conducting research in French collections.

The Mellon Foundation supported research at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of The University of Texas at Austin

(1993-1994); the Huntington Library / British Academy Exchange Fellowship (1994-1995) supported research at the Huntington Library; the Helm Fellowship supported research at the Lilly Library, Indiana University (1997-1998, 2002-2003). The Rockefeller Foundation enabled the editorial team to meet at its Bellagio Study Center, Italy (2004-2005), to work together on the first two of the edition's four volumes.

The Cultural Division of the Department of European Affairs of Ireland has undertaken the distribution of copies of each of the four volumes of The Letters ofSamuel Beckett to universities and public libraries overseas and those operated through the Irish Diplomatic Missions abroad. We appreciate the support of Noel Treacy TD, former Minister for European Affairs, for making possible this tribute to Samuel Beckett's Irish legacy.

Without the continuing and substantial contributions of Emory Professors Alice N. Benston and George J. Benston (d.), the project to edit The Letters of Samuel Beckett would not have gone forward. Their belief in the centrality of literature and the arts in an educated life, their intellectual mentorship and, especially, their personal encouragement and friendship have been an immeasurable gift.

We are grateful for the efforts ofJoseph Beck of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, who has been a steadfast adviser providing pro bono assistance to the edition in the area of copyright law. His thoroughness, expertise, and capacious understanding guided the editors; his personal support has been unbounded. We also thank Pam Mallari of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP for her pro bono services.

The editors greatly appreciate the generous in-kind contributions of the following persons: Mimi Bean, Brenda Bynum, R. Cary Bynum, Carainn Childers, Maydelle and Sam Fason, Neil Garvin, Barbara Gruninger, David Hesla, Jacob Hovind, Nori Howard-Butot, Alexandra Mettler, Breon Mitchell, Maria Chan Morgan, James Overbeck, Eduardo Paguaga, Lynn Todd-Crawford, Colette and Denis Weaire, and Gerald Weales.

The edition has been the beneficiary of gifts from individual donors, all of whom have additionally enriched this endeavor with their continuing interest: Laura Barlament, Jean B. Bergmark, Brenda and R. Cary Bynum, Claydean Cameron, Hilary Pyle Carey, Brian Cliff, Mary Evans Comstock, Judith Schmidt Douw, Jennifer Jeffers, Louis LeBroquy and

Ann Madden, Victoria R. Orlowski, and Frances L. Padgett in honor of Brenda Bynum.

Emory University

The vision and support of the Deans of the Graduate School have brought the edition to fruition; the editors especially thank George Jones, Alice N. Benston, and Eleanor Main(d.), who made the edition's affiliation with Emory possible, and subsequent Deans Donald G. Stein, Robert Paul, and Lisa Tedesco, who continued this support. The editors also thank Vice Provost of International Affairs Holli Semetko for contributions to the international research for the edition.

The Advisory Board at Emory University includes Alice N. Benston, Ronald Schuchard, Maximilian Aue, Geoffrey Bennington, and Sandra Still. The editors wish to recognize them and the contributions of other Emory faculty colleagues: Matthew Bernstein, Philippe Bonnefis, Thomas Burns, Brenda Bynum, David A. Cook, Michael Evenden, Steve Everett, William Gruber, Josue Harari, David Hesla, Geraldine Higgins, Peter H6yng, Dalia Judovitz, Judith Miller, Clark V. Poling, Donald Verene, andJ. HarveyYoung(d.).

Emory University Libraries have been at the heart ofthe research for the edition: The Woodruff Library - Directors Joan Gotwals, Linda Matthews, and Richard Luce, and Librarians Rachel Borchardt, Lloyd Busch,Joyce Clinkscales, Margaret Ellingson, Erika Farr, Kristin Gager, Marie Hansen, Erin Mooney, Anne Nicolson, Eric Nitschke, Marie Nitschke, Elizabeth Patterson, Chuck Spornick, Sandra Still, Ann Vidor, Elaine Wagner, Sarah Ward, Erik Wendt, and Gayle Williams; The Manuscript and Rare Book Library (MARBL) - Director Stephen Enniss, Teresa Burk, Ginger Cain, David Faulds, Naomi Nelson, Ellen Nemhauser, Elizabeth Russey, Kathy Shoemaker, and Donna Bradley; the staff of The ECIT center; The Michael C. Carlos Museum - Catherine Howett Smith; Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library - Director Carol Burns, Barbara Abu-Leid, and Erin Busch.

The dedicated support team in the Beckett Project office over the years has managed the varied demands ofthe edition superbly: Amanda

R. Baker, Daphne Demetry, Julia Getman, Courtney King, Suzanne Powell, Molly Stevens, and especially Lynn Todd-Crawford. The editors appreciate the assistance of Rosemary Hynes and Geri Thomas in the

Graduate School, as well as the services of members of the Emory technical support staff: Adolf von Baden-Wiirttemberg, Mahbuba Ferdousi, Wei Ming Lu, and Laura Pokalsky.

Emory University Graduate Fellows have served the research of the project with diligence and creativity: Adrienne Angelo, Levin Arnsperger, Jeffrey Baggett, Laura Barlament, Jenny Davis Barnett, Andre BenhalIIl, Patrick Bixby, Karen Brown-Wheeler, Brooke Campbell, Lauren Cardon, Miriam Chirico, Brian Cliff, Curtis Cordell, Kathryn Crowther, Brian Croxall, Anthony J. Cuda, Anna Engle, John Fitzgerald, Christian Paul Holland, Jacob Hovind, Jennifer Jeffers, Michael Johnson, Jason Jones, Margaret Koehler, Paul Linden, Dominic Mastroianni, Martha Henn McCormick, Michelle Miles, Jennifer Poulos Nesbitt, Eduardo Paguaga, John Peck, Ralph Schoolcraft, Petra Schweitzer, Jennifer Svienty, Melissa Thurmond, Derval Tubridy, Kerry Higgins Wendt, Patrick Wheeler, and Julia McElhattan Williams.

Emory University Undergraduate Assistants have been effective and energetic in their work with the project: Margaret Anello, Amanda Barnett, Maiben Beard, Jonah Bea-Taylor, Shanta! Chan-Friday, Rebecca Conner, Daphne Demetry, Kirsten Dorsche, Natasha Farquharson, Neil Garvin, Jessica Gearing, Julia Hendricks, Lisa Hutchinson, Erin Igney, Danielle Kuczkowski, Josh Millard, Toure Neblett, Alina Opreanu, Victoria Orlowski, Sarah Osier, Jason Rayles, Amanda Robinson, Brian Serafin, Danielle Sered, Emily Shin, Hannah Shin, John Southnard, Shannon Weary, Amanda Wilburn, and Ashley Woo.


Initiated with the award of a grant from the Florence Gould Foundation, the edition's partnership with The American University of Paris has included faculty, staff, and students. The editors appreciate the assistance and support of Presidents Lee Huebner, Michael Simpson, and Gerardo della Paolera; Deans William Cipolla, Andrea Leskes, Michael Vincent, and Celeste Schenck; faculty - Christine Baltay, Geoffrey Gilbert, Richard Pevear, Roy Rosenstein, and University Librarians Toby Stone and Jorge Sosa Ortega, as well as the assistance of William Gatsby, Beatrice Laplante, Brenda Tomey, and Karen Wagner.

AUP student interns: Amy Christine Allen, Lauren Anderson, Isolde Barker-Mill, Maranda Barnes, Susan Bell, Mischa Benoit-Lavelle, David

Bornstein, Brian Brazeau, Chrislaine Brito-Medina, Zachary Brown, Sarah Champa, Christina Chua, Laura Cook, Alessandra Cortez, Lisa Damon, Lindsay Franta, Natalie Frederick, Mia Genoni, Delphine Henri, Eric Hess, Laura Kaiserman, Alkmini Karakosta, Jennifer Kerns, Anthony Kraus, Caroline Laurent, Jennifer Laurent, Eugene Manning, Caroline Markunas, Ivy Mills, Candace Montout, Disa Ohlsson, Caleb Pagliasotti, Marta Lee Perriard, David Pollack, Jennifer Scanlon, Pamela Schleimer, Nils Schott, Jonathan Scott, Avra Spector, Jan Steyn, Alix Strickland, Leigh Thomas, Geoffrey Thompson, Gina Tory, Ulrike Trux, Todd Tyree, Christian West, Eugenia Wilbrenninck, Alison M. Williams, and April Wuensch.

Advisory Team

A number of colleagues have served the edition in an informal but important advisory capacity. The editors convey warm appreciation for their scholarship, counsel, and wisdom: Walter Asmus, Alice N. Benston, George J. Benston (d.) Brenda Bynum, Ruby Cohn, David Hesla, James Knowlson, Gerard Lawless, Breon Mitchell, Mark Nixon, Catherine Putman, Hilary Pyle, Roswitha Quadflieg, Ann Saddlemyer, Susan Schreibman, Ronald Schuchard, Carolyn Swift (d.), James White (d.), Katherine Worth, and Barbara Wright.

For their insight and assistance with the research for Volume I of The

Letters ofSamuel Beckett, the editors wish to thank the following persons:

H. Porter Abbott, Mary Manning Howe Adams (d.), Klaus Albrecht, Avigdor Arikha, Anne Atik, Gunter Aust. Ellie Balson, Iain Banks, William H. Baskin, Marcus Beale, Jean-Paul Beau, Georges Belmont, Helmut Berthald, Mrs. Wilfred Ruprecht Bion, Therese Birkenhauer (d.), Uli Bohnen, Gerard Bourke SJ, Nicola Gordon Bowe, Patricia Boylan, Enoch Brater, Barbara Bray, Robert I. Brown (d.), Terence Brown, Christopher Buckland-Wright, G. H. Burrows (d.) Gottfried Buttner, Marie Renate Buttner. John Calder, William Camfield, David

E. Cartwright, Mary Ann Caws, John Charlton (d.), Carainn Childers, Louise Cleveland, Lisa Bernadette Coen, Brian Coffey (d.), Bridget Coffey (d.), John Coffey, Ann Colcord, Sally Hone Cooke-Smith (d.), Anne Corbett, John Corcoran, Liam Costello, Jean Coulomb (d.), Nick Coulson, Thomas Cousinau, Sharon Cowling, Gareth Cox, Ann Cremin, Anthony Cronin, William Cunningham (d.).

Norris Davidson, Gerald Davis, Maria Davis-Obolensky, Emile Delavenay (d.), Morgan Dockrell, Philippe and Michelle Douay, Gerry Dukes. Valerie Eliot, Maude Ellmann, Richard Ellmann (d.). Margaret Farrington, Raymond Federman, Sally Fitzgerald (d.), John Fletcher,

M. R. D. Foot, Pierre Fourcaud, Wallace Fowlie (d.), Patricia FrereReeves (d.), Erika Friedman, Everett Frost. Bridget Ganly (d.), Padraic Gilligan, Gilles Glacet, Stanley Gontarski, Michael Gorman, John Graham, Greene's Book Shop, Nicholas Grene, Margaret Grimm, William E. Groves, Barbara Gruninger, James H. Guilford (d.).

Michael Haerdter, Anthony Harding, Clive Hart, Lawrence Harvey (d.), Ada Haylor (d.), Odile Helier, Jocelyn Herbert (d.), Phillip Herring, John Herrington, Michael Hertslet, Ian Higgins, Arthur Hillis (d.), David Hone, Oliver Hone, Fanny Howe, Susan Howe, Tina Howe, Werner Huber, Alice Hudgens, John Michael Hudtwalcker, Liza Hutchinson. Randall Ivy. Brendon Jacobs (d.), Michael Jacobs, Thomas Jenkins, Robert Joesting, Harry Johnson, Ann and Jeremy Johnston, Tina Johnston, Bettina Jonie, Stephen Joyce. Marek Kedzierski, Ernest Keegan (d.), Eileen Kelly, John Kelly, Ben Kiely, Naum Kleiman, Margret Klinge, Elizabeth Knowlson, Charles Krance. Nigel Leask, Pierre Leber, Alex Leon, Roger Little, Mark Littman, Carla Locatelli, Herbert Lottman, Cyril Lucas, John Luce, Vanda and Jeremy Lucke, Bridget Lunn.

Bill McBride, Brian McGing, Barry McGovern, Dougald McMillan (d.),

Franz Michael Maier, Alain Malraux, John Manning (d.), James Mays, Daniel Medin, Winrich Meiszies, Vivian Mercier (d.), Gunter Metken (d.), Anna-Louise Milne, Ruth Morse, Dame Iris Murdoch (d.). Maurice Nadeau, Robert Nicholson, Robert Niklaus, Kevin Nolan, Ian Norrie, Marian von Nostitz. Fergus O'Donoghue SJ, Patrick O'Dwyer, Annick O'Meara, Christine O'Neil, Cathal O'Shannon, Prince Alexis N. Obolensky (d.), Serge S. Obolensky, Hugh Oram. Marjorie Perloff, Alexis Peron, Michel Peron, Lino Pertile, Alastair Pringle. Jean-Michel Rabate, Lord Rathdonnell, Claude Rawson, Yvonne Redmond, Christopher Ricks, Bob Ritchie, Philip Roberts, Rachel Roberts, Anthony Rota, Elizabeth Ryan (d.), Robert Ryan.

Claude and Zoubeida Salzman, Elliseva Sayers, Pierre Schneider,

Natalie Sheehan, Andree Sheehy-Skeffington (d.), Philip Shields, Marc Silver, Anne Simonin, Seymour Slive, Colin Smythe, Michael Solomons,

G. P. Solomos, Elizabeth Curran Solterer (d.), Helen Solterer, Sandra Spanier, Dame Natasha Spender, Arvid Sponberg, Emily Stanton, Lady

Staples, James Steffen, Diana Childers Stewart, Gerald Pakenham Stewart (d.), Marion Stocking, Elisabeth Stockton (d.), John Stone III, Claire Stoullig, Francis Stuart (d.). Sheila Harvey Tanzer, Dan Thompson, Deborah Thompson, Jeremy Thompson, Piers Thompson, Toby Thompson, Ursula Thompson (d.), Erika Tophoven, C.H. Trench (d.), MichaelJay Tucker.Helen Vendler,John Vice, Srdjan Vujic.Joachim Heusinger von Waldegg, Mervyn Wall (d.), David Wheatley, Thomas Whitehead, Clara Wisdom, Anne Leventhal Woolfson (d.). Anne Yeats (d.), Michael Yeats (d.).

Contributions that pertain primarily to later volumes of the edition are accordingly acknowledged there.


Scholars, librarians, and archivists have developed valuable collections and have broadened our access to them with electronic catalogues, online finding aids, databases, and textbases. In particular, we wish to thank James Knowlson for his vision in establishing the Beckett International Foundation at Reading University, a central archive of the papers of Samuel Beckett, and for fostering collaboration among Beckett scholars internationally; we also thank Mary Bryden, Ronan McDonald, Anna McMullan, Mark Nixon, John Pilling, and Julian Garforth for their valued collegial assistance.

The editors acknowledge with gratitude the knowledgeable colleagues in libraries, archives, museums, and other offices of record who have assisted them with queries.

Aargauer Kunsthaus: Corinne Sotzek. The Admiralty, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London: Gervaise Cowell (d.). Akademie der Bildenden Kunste Munchen, Archiv und Sammlungen: Birgit Joos. American Library Association: Renee Prestegard. Archives of American Art: Susan Marcott, Judy Throm. Art Gallery of Ontario, E. P. Taylor Research Library and Archives: Kathleen McLean. Art Institute of Chicago Library: Susan Goldweski, Mary K. Woolever.

Bank of Ireland: Eamon MacThomas. Eduard-Bargheer-Haus, Hamburg: Dirk Justus, Peter Zilze. Barnard College Archives: Donald Glassman. Bayerische Staatsgemiildesamm!ungen, Munich: Helge Siefert. BBC Sound Archives: Gosta Johansson. BBC Written Archives: John Jordan, Jacqueline Kavanagh, Erin O'Neill, Julie Snelling, Tracy Weston. Bibliotheque

Publique d'Information Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Bibliotheque Polonaise, Paris. Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, Paris. La Biennale Di Venezia Archive: Daniela Ducceschi. Boston College, John J. Burns Library of Rare

Books and Special Collections Library: Director Robert O'Neill, John Atteberry, Shelley Barber, Amy Braitsch, David E. Horn, Susan Rainville. Boston University, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center: Director Howard Gotlieb, Margaret Goostray, Christopher Noble, Sean Noel, Alexander Rankin, Kim Sulik. British Film Institute: Janet Moat, Wilf Stevenson. British Institute of Florence, Harold Acton Library: Alyson Price. British Library: Nicholas Barker, John Barr, Sally Brown, Christopher Fletcher, Andrew Levett, Alice Prochaska, Rupert Ridgewell; Newspapers, Colindale- Stewart Gilles; Oriental and India Office Collections, APAC - Dorian Leveque. The British Museum: Christopher Denvir. Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, Paris.

Cambridge University: University Library - Peter M. Meadows; Trinity College Library- Diana Chardin. Campbell College, Belfast: Keith Haines. Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts: Director Jean Ashton, Director Bernard Crystal, Tara C. Craig, Jennifer Lee. Cornell University: John M. Olin Library, Department of Rare Books- David R. Block; Fiske Collections, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections - Patrick J. Stevens. Courtauld Institute of Art: Julia Blanks,

Barbara Hilton-Smith, Sue Price, Ernst Vegelin.

Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library: Director Philip Cronenwett, Director Jay Satterfield, Joshua Berger, Stephanie Gibbs, Sarah I. Hartwell. Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin: Bernadette Chambers. DePau! University, Richardson Library: Joan M. Mitchanis. Deutsches Literatur Archiv, Schiller National Museum, Marbach: Ute Doster, Gunther Nickel, Jutta Reusch. The Dictionary of Irish Biography: James McGuire. Dresden Kunsthalle: Martin Roth. Dublin City Archives: Mary Clark Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane: Director Barbara Dawson, Patrick Casey, Liz Forster, Joanna Shepard. Dublin Writers Museum: Esther O'Hanlon.

Eastman School ofMusic, Sibley Music Library: Jim Farrington. Feis Ceoil, Dublin: Ita Beausang, Maeve Madden. Fondation Maeght, St. Paulde-Vence: Annette Pond. Ford Foundation: Alan Divack, Jonathan Green. Association Les Amis de Jeanne et Otto Freundlich: Edda Maillet. Frick Museum Library: Lydia Dufore, Sue Massen.

Georgetown University Libraries: Nicholas B. Sheetz. Germanisches

Nationalmuseum Numberg: lflrike Heinrichs-Schreiber. Global Village:

John Reilly. The Goethe Institut (now Goethe-Zentrnm), Atlanta: Michael Nentwich, Gusti Stewart. Grolier Club Library: J. Fernando Peiia. The Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Florence: Phillip Rylands.


Hamburg University: Hans Wilhelm Eckardt, Eckart Krause. Hamburger Kunsthalle: Director Helmut R. Leppien (d.), Ute Haug, Ulrich Luckhardt, Matthias Miihling, Uwe M. Schneed, Annemarie Stefes. Handel-Haus Library, Halle: Gotz Traxdorf. Harvard University: Countaway Library of Medicine - Julia Whelan; Fogg Art Museum - Lizzy Bamhorst, Sarah Kianovsky; Harvard Theatre Collection - Annette Fern, Fredric Woodbridge Wilson; Houghton Library - Michael Dumas, Elizabeth Falsey, Susan Halpert. Hiroshima Museum of Art: Y. Furutani. The Huntington Library: Sara S. Hodson. Leonard Hutton Galleries: Shary Grossman.

Illustrated London News: Richard Pitkin. Indiana University, The Lilly

Library: Director Lisa Browar, Director Breon Mitchell, William Cagle, Saundra Taylor. Institut memoires de !'edition contemporaine (IMEC), ParisCaen: Director Olivier Corpet, Andre Derval, Albert Dichy, Nathalie Leger, Martine Ollion. Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt: Wilhelm Schluter. Inverclyde Libraries, James Watt Library, Greenock, Scotland: Betty Hendry, Rebecca McKellar. Irish Copyright Licensing Agency: Jorid Lindberg. Irish Jewish Genealogical Society and Family History Centre of the Irish Jewish Museum, Dublin: Stuart Rosenblatt.

Kent State University Libraries: Kathleen Martin, Stephanie Wachalec. Kingston University: Anne Rowe, Jane Ruddell. Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm: Anders Burius. Kunstmuseum Basel: Christian Selz.

Law Society of Ireland: Linda Dolan. Leeds University Library: Christopher Sheppard. Leibniz-Archiv, Hanover: Herbert Breger. Library of Congress, Department of Manuscripts, Washington, DC: Alice Love Birney, Jeffrey M. Flannery. Linen Hall Library, Belfast: Gerry Healey. London Transport Museum Library: Helen Kent.

McMaster University, Mills Memorial Library: Jane Boyko, Eden Jenkins,

Carl Spadoni, Charlotte A. Stewart-Murphy. Middle Temple Library, London: Stuart Adams. Munch Museum, Oslo: Gerd Woll. Museum Ludwig, Cologne: Ulrich Tillman. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford: David Elliot, Pamela Ferris.

National Archives, Washington, DC: John E. Taylor. National Archives of Ireland: David Craig, Catriona Crowe, Aideen Ireland, Tom Quinlan. National College ofArt and Design, Dublin: Alice Clarke. National

Gallery of Art, Washington, DC: Anne Halpern. National Gallery of Ireland: Leah Benson, Marie Burke, Niamh MacNally, Ann M. Stewart. National Gallery London, Libraries and Archive Department: Flavia Dietrich-England, Jacqueline Mccomish; New Media: Charlotte Sexton. National Irish Visual Arts Library: Ciara Healy, Donna Romano. National Library of Ireland: Director Patricia Donlon, Catherine Fahy, Patrick Hawes, Elizabeth M. Kirwan, Noel Kissane, Gerard Lyne. New Directions Publications: James Laughlin (d.). New York Public Library: Berg Collection - Director Isaac Gewirtz, Mimi Bowling, Philip Milito, John

D. Stinson; Billy Rose Theatre Collection - Director Robert Taylor, Mary Ellen Rogan, Nina Schneider; Theatre on Film and Tape Archive - Betty

Corwin. New York University: Fales Library and Special Collections -Ann

E. Butler, William]. Levay; Tisch School oftheArts -Elaine Pinto Simon. Northwestern University, McCormick Library of Special Collections: Director R. Russell Maylone, Scott Krafft, Susan R. Lewis, Sigrid P. Perry, Allen Streicker.

The Office ofPublic Works, National Monuments Division, Dublin: William S. Cumming. Ohio State University Libraries, Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts: Director Geoffrey D. Smith, Director Robert A. Tibbetts, Elva Griffith, Keith Lazuka. Operhaus Halle: Iris Kruse. Oxford University: Bodleian Library - Colin Harris, Judith Priestman; McGowin Library, Pembroke College. Princeton University Libraries: Mudd Library, Rare Books and Special Collections - Tad Bennicoff; Rare Books and Special Collections -Annalee Pauls, Jean F. Preston, Margaret M. Sherry Rich, Don C. Skemmer. Public Records Office of Northern Ireland: Ian Maxwell.

Radio Tele.fis Eireann (RTE), Dublin: Brian Lynch. Random House: Jean Rose, Jo Watt. Reading University Library, Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts - David Sutton; Special Collections - Director Michael Bott, Director James A. Edwards, Verity Andrews, Rosemarie Jahans, Frances Miller, Brian Ryder. Rotunda Hospital Library, Dublin: Aoife O'Connor. Royal Academy of Music Library, Dublin: Philip Shields. Royal College of Physicians, Dublin: Robert Mills. Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: Fiona Allen. Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin: Aoife Corbett, Ella Wilkinson. Royal Irish Academy: Linde Lunney. Royal National Theatre: Nicola Scadding. Royal Society of Literature, London: Kathleen Cann.

Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel: Robert Piencikowski. St. Bride Foundation Library: Rosalind Francis. St. Mary's Cathedral Galway: Noreen Ellecker.

Sotheby's, London: Peter Beal, Sarah Cooper, Anthony W. Laywood, Sarah Markham, Tessa Milne, Bruce W. Swan. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale: Center for Dewey Studies - JoAnn Boydston; Morris Library, Special Collections Research Center - Randy Bixby, David V. Koch. Sprengel Museum, Hanover: Martina Behnert. Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg, Halle: Wolfgang Biiche. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek: Bernd Evers. Staatsarchiv Aargau: Marcel Giger. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: Roland Klein, Jutta Weber. Stadtarchiv Halle: Roland Kuhne. Stanford University Libraries, Special Collections: Sara Timby. State University of New York at Buffalo, The Poetry Collection: Director Michael Basinski, Director Robert J. Bertholf, Heike Jones, Sue Michael, Sam Slote. Syracuse University Libraries, The George Arents Research Center: Carolyn Davis, Kathleen Manwaring.

Tate Modem, Archive: Jane Ruddell. Theatre de l'Odeon, Paris: Laure Benisti. Trinity College Dublin: Secretary to TCD, Michael Gleeson; Monica Alcock, Phyllis Graham, Jean O'Hara; Library - Charles Benson, John Goodwillie, Trevor Peare; Manuscripts Department - Director Bernard Meehan, Jane Maxwell, Linda Montgomery, Stuart 6 Sean6ir.

Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Brunswick: Silke Gatenbrocker. Ulster Museum, Belfast: S. B. Kennedy. UNESCO Library, Paris: Jens Boel. Universal Edition: Elisabeth Knessl. University of California Berkeley, The Bancroft Library: Anthony Bliss, Bonnie Hardwick. University of California Davis, University Library, Department of Special Collections: Melissa Tyler. University of California Los Angeles, University Research Library: David Zeidberg. University of California San Diego, Mandeville Library: Linda Corey Claassen. University of Chicago, Regenstein Library, Special Collections Research Center: Director Alice Schreyer, Betsy Bishop, Stephen Duffy, Robert Kovitz, Daniel Meyer, Suzy Taraba, Jonathon Walters. University of Delaware Libraries, Special Collections: Director Timothy D. Murray, L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, Jesse Rossa. University College Dublin, Special Collections: Seamus Helferty, Norma Jessop. University of Glasgow, Special Collections: Claire McKendrick, Lesley M. Richmond. University of Manchester, John Rylands Research Institute: Stella Halkyard, Peter McNiven. University of Maryland (College Park), Archives: Beth Alvarez, Naomi Van Loo. University of New Hampshire, Library: Roland Goodbody. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Art Museum: Anita E. Heggli. University of Notre Dame Library, Department of Special Collections: Ben Panciera. University of

Rochester Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts: Mary M. Huth. University of Sheffield Libraries, Special Collections: J. D. Hodgson. University of Sussex, Archives: Michael Roberts. The University of Texas: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center: Director Thomas Staley, Linda Ashton, Patrice Fox, Kathy Henderson, John Kirkpatrick, Carlton Lake (d.), Sally Leach, Richard Oram, Maria X. Wells, Richard Workman. University of Toronto: Fisher Library - Edna Hajnal, Kathleen McMorrow; Pratt Library - Robert Brandeis, Gabbi Zaldin. University of Tulsa, The Mcfarlin Library, Special Collections: Director Sidney Huttner, Melissa Burkart, Lori N. Curtis. University of Western Ontario, Library: Meville Thompson.

Victoria and Albert Museum: The National Art Library - Nina Appleby, Alison Baber, Mark Evans, Francis Keen; The Theatre Collections at the Victoria and Albert (formerly The London Theatre Museum Archives) - Janet Birkett.

Wake Forest University, Reynolds Library: Sharon Snow. Washington University in St. Louis: Olin Library, Department of Special Collections: - Director Holly Hall (d.), Director Anne Posega, Chatham Ewing, Sonya McDonald, Carole Prietto, Kevin Ray. Walker Art Center: Jill Veiter. Waterford County Museum: Martin Whelan.

Yale University: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library - Vincent Giroud, Kathryn James, Nancy Kuhl, Natalia Sciarini, Patricia Willis, Tim Young; Gilmore Music Library - Suzanne Eggleston Lovejoy;

Sterling Memorial Library, Manuscript and Archives Department - Christine Weidemann.

ZurichJamesJoyce Foundation: Director Fritz Senn, Ruth Frehner, Ursula Zeller.


The following manuscript dealers have been helpful to the research for the edition, especially for informing us of offerings and forwarding our inquiries: Antic Hay Books; Charles Apfelbaum; Blue Mountain Books and Manuscripts; Alan Clodd (d.); Seamus DeBurca; R. A. Gekoski; Thomas A. Goldwasser; Glenn Horowitz; George J. Houle; Index Books; Joseph the Provider; Kennys; Kotte-Autographs; Maggs Bros. Ltd.; Bertram Rota Ltd.; Sotheby's; Swann Gallery; Steven Temple Books; Ulysses Books; Waiting for Godot Books.


Barney Rosset was Samuel Beckett's American publisher at Grove Press. The editors are grateful for his important contributions to modern publishing and express appreciation for his efforts as the edition's original General Editor. The editors also thank all those at Grove Press who assisted with the research, with special mention ofJudith Schmidt Douw, Fred Jordan, Richard Seaver, Astrid Myers, and John Oakes, as well as Morgan Entrekin and Eric Price at Grove/Atlantic, for their professional support of the edition in its publishing transition.

The late Jerome Lindon, Director of Les Editions de Minuit and Samuel Beckett's French publisher, was a trusted adviser to Samuel Beckett who appointed him as his Literary Executor. The editors thank Irene Lindon, Director of Les Editions de Minuit, for her cooperation.

Cambridge University Press is committed to presenting The Letters of Samuel Beckett as an edition of the literary correspondence. The editors are grateful for the confidence and support of editors Andrew Brown and Linda Bree, the fine copyediting of Leigh Mueller, the care of proof-reader Anthony Hippisley, and the assistance of Caroline Murray, Alison Powell, Maartje Scheltens, and Kevin Taylor.

The editors express their gratitude for the assistance of many associates who have read all or portions of this manuscript and who have made helpful suggestions. Any errors remain the editors' responsibility. The editors would be pleased to receive corrections or additions for possible inclusion, with appropriate acknowledgment, in subsequent editions.


The editors and publishers acknowledge the following sources of copyrighted documents and are grateful for the permission to reproduce these materials. While every effort has been made, it has not been possible to trace all copyright holders. If any omissions are brought to our notice, we will be pleased to include the appropriate acknowledgments in subsequent editions.

Letters, manuscripts, and other documents written by Samuel Beckett are reproduced in this volume by courtesy of The Estate of Samuel Beckett.

Other letters and documents are reproduced with the kind permission of the following copyright holders: Klaus Albrecht for Gunter Albrecht; The Estate of Samuel Beckett for Frank Beckett; Lisa Jardine for Jacob Bronowski; The Random House Group Ltd. for letters written by Charles Prentice, Ian Parsons, and Harold Raymond on behalf of Chatto and Windus, and for the letter written by Charles Prentice to George Hill; Pollinger Limited and the proprietor of The Estate of Richard Church; John Coffey for The Estate of Brian Coffey; Gilbert Collins for Seward Collins and Dorothea Brande; Anthony R. A. Hobson on behalf of The Estate of Nancy Cunard; Penguin Books Ltd. for Hamish Hamilton; David Hone forJoseph Hone; BetsyJolas for EugeneJolas and MariaJolas; Margaret Farrington and Robert Ryan for Thomas McGreevy; The Estate of Samuel Putnam; Susan Bullowa and Jane Bullowa for George Reavey; A. D. Roberts for Michael Roberts, and for his permission to consult The Michael Roberts Archive before its deposit in the National Library of Scotland; Routledge (an imprint of the Taylor and Francis Group) for T. M. Ragg; The Board of Trinity College Dublin for letters written by Thomas Brown RudmoseBrown, Walter Starkie, and Robert W. Tate on behalf of Samuel Beckett; Daniel Hay for Jean Thomas; Lady Staples and other representatives of The Estate of Arland Ussher; John H. Willis; Grainne Yeats on behalf of the copyright held by Michael Yeats for Jack B. Yeats.

Permission to publish has also been granted by the following owners ofletters, manuscripts, and other documents: Klaus Albrecht; Archives nationales, Paris; The Beckett International Foundation, Reading University; Trustees of The British Museum; The Poetry Collection, State University of New York at Buffalo; University of Cape Town; The Chatto and Windus Archives at Reading University; Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University; Private Collection of Nuala Costello; Dartmouth College Library; Special Collections, University of Delaware Library; Association Les Amis de Jeanne et Otto Freundlich; Peter Gidal, London; David Hone; The Lilly Library, Indiana University; Department ofSpecial Collections, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas; Private Collection of Dr. Katarina Kautsky, nee Sauerlandt; Northwestern University Library; Berg Collection ofEnglish and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations; Princeton University Library; Archives Jacques Putman, Paris; Tatiana Goryaeva, Director, Rossijsky Gosudarstvenny Arkhiv Literatury i Iskusstva (RGALI; Russian State Archive ofLiterature and Art); Morris Sinclair; Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University ofTexas at Austin; The Board ofTrinity College Dublin; Zurich James Joyce Foundation, Hans E. Janke Bequest.





Archives nationales, Paris

The American University of Paris

Beckett International Foundation, University of Reading

British Museum, London

Burns Library John J. Burns Rare Book and Manuscript

Library, Boston College


Deu Ens Gn Hk Icso Icu




Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,

Yale University

University of Delaware Library, Newark Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris Germanisches Nationalmuseum Niirnberg Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library, University of Chicago Charles Deering McCormick Library of

Special Collections, Northwestern University Institut memoires de !'edition contemporaine, Paris-Caen

The Lilly Library, Indiana University Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Musee des Beaux-Arts, Strasburg Museum of Modern Art, New York








Rha Rte Tcd


Albrecht Costello Gidal Sinclair

The Poetry Collection, State University of New York at Buffalo

Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin National Gallery oflreland National Gallery, London

Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College

Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections: Princeton University Library

National Library oflreland

Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University

National Portrait Gallery, London

New York Public Library, Berg Collection Department of Special Collections, Mcfarlin Library, University ofTulsa, Oklahoma Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin

Radio Telefis Eireann

Manuscript Room, Trinity College Dublin Library, when used with reference to manuscript identification; in other instances, a short form for Trinity College Dublin Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin Department ofSpecial Collections, University ofReading

Private Collections

Private collection of Klaus Albrecht Private collection of Nuala Costello

Private collection of Peter Gidal, Index Books Private collection ofMorris Sinclair






Abbreviations for Publications, Manuscripts, and Translators

Adolf von Baden-Wurttemberg

Samuel Beckett's German Diaries, Beckett International Foundation, University of Reading Library

Nouvelle Revue Frani;aise

Oxford English Dictionary, second electronic edition Refers to numbers assigned to paintings by Jack B. Yeats in Hilary Pyle.Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings (London: Andre Deutsch, 1992) 3 vols., and Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: His Watercolours, Drawings and Pastels (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1993)

Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui

Editorial Abbreviations b.

with date of marriage





or to indicate


married name
no date



illegible word, words












Abbreviations in Bibliographical Notes


AL draft ALI

ALS AMS AN autograph card initialed autograph card signed another hand autograph letter draft autograph letter initialed autograph letter signed autograph manuscript autograph note

ANI autograph note initialed

ANS autograph note signed

APCI autograph postcard initialed APCS autograph postcard signed APS autograph postscript

env envelope illeg illegible imprinted imprinted with SB's name

letterhead imprinted letterhead

pm postmark

Pneu pneumatique

PS postscript

TLC typed letter copy

TLcc typed letter carbon copy TLdraft typed letter draft

TLI typed letter initialed

TIS typed letter signed

TMS typed manuscript

TPCI typed postcard initialed

TPCS typed postcard signed

TPS typed postscript

Introduction to Volume I

I find it more & more difficult to write, even letters to my friends. So wrote Samuel Beckett in 1936 to Tom McGreevy, his chief correspondent for the period represented here, 1929 to 1940.1 The difficulty of writing letters is not the only one of which the young Beckett complains, nor is it even the most acute. "I can't read, write, drink, think, feel, or move," he tells his friend Mary Manning Howe, while making his lonely tour round Germany's art treasures; "I seem impelled to address my friends when least in a condition to."2 Immobility, impossibility, illness, and impasse: across a human landscape populated by negation, doubt, refusal, and retreat, the letters collected here cut their way, making connections, opening possibilities, courting half-chances, chastising indifference. During this period, letters matter inordinately to Beckett. They are often his sole means ofconnection: to places where he is not, to people with whom he cannot converse directly, to others with whom he would not wish to converse directly. Letters are a channel to possible selves, selves ofwhich he is as yet only dimly aware, even to selves he would deny. Letters make possible a writing, a voice perhaps, which his more public work does not yet dare to deploy.

Although Beckett claims in various ways that he hates letters, his sixty years of letters, taken as a whole, number more than fifteen thousand, and form one of the great literary correspondences of the twentieth century. No special pleading need be made as to the importance of even perfunctory letters from the hand ofa writer as important as Beckett. Yet what will strike the reader is the fact that Beckett seldom writes perfunctory letters. Even when responding in haste, even when

1 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 28 November 19316].

2 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 14 November 1936. penning a note on the back of a postcard, even when appealing from deep distress, Beckett is an extraordinarily painstaking and careful correspondent. In later years, especially after Waiting for Godot brings its author unexpected celebrity, the quantity of letters which his conscientiousness obliges him to write increases significantly - for him, alarmingly. And as the man becomes a public figure, however reluctantly, their nature changes too, becoming in large part reactive: responses to requests for information from academics, for permissions from directors, for interpretations from translators, for advice from producers, for schedules from publishers. Here, in the early years, the letters are fewer, but they matter all the more, sent as they are into an epistolary space about which little can be assumed. The early letters convey information nearly always as a secondary function, their primary role being that of establishing a relation - by requesting, stirring, provoking, even outraging if necessary. The interest of the recipient is not always assured, often has to be stimulated and then maintained - and this, when what Beckett has to offer is usually far from conventional or easily palatable.

Biography has an almost ineluctable tendency to make an individual's greatness seem predestined. The individual's letters, if that individual is as lucid in his hesitations and ambivalences as Beckett, serve to restore the uncertainty informing the choices, the dilemmas and daily doubt which might at any point have compelled desertion of the cause or defection to some camp of lesser achievement. Beckett's letters reveal the compromises as well as the bold refusals, the longing for recognition as well as the revulsion at publicity, the numerous false paths almost taken as well as the inner conviction that only one path - the literary - is truly worth following.

Before being one of communication, the job of a letter is, then, to establish common terms between the writer and the recipient (whom the French language helpfully names the destinataire): to create some complicity or solidarity between aspirant and respondent; and to do so beyond the immediate social, geographical, professional, even intellectual, environs which might otherwise have fostered less deferred or indirect verbal exchange. In doing so the letters permit - or permitted, since one ofthe things which adds to the value ofthis correspondence is that it is hard to imagine there ever arising a twenty-first-century equivalent - an intimacy which is both magnified and diminished, both accelerated and delayed, with respect to what could be expected or achieved in conversation. For Beckett, however, the complicity which he is seeking in his letters is also one of which he is acutely wary; he is strongly suspicious of the demand implicit in solidarity; and he is almost cripplingly aware of the extreme constraints forever placed upon intimacy, not least when that intimacy is formed or sustained by the self-consciousness and control which letters permit, with their possibilities of revision and self-censorship. It may be partly in this sense that his "hatred" of letters is to be understood. For Beckett, merely to write, and then release, a letter during this period implies a sort of self-overcoming, a provisional acceptance of community when, as he puts it, "all groups are horrible";3 a climb down from the solitary self-sufficiency to which he aspires, whether he does so as selflaceration or as self-aggrandizement (nobody loves me / the world does not deserve me). More simply, letters take their author out of

himself. they take him elsewhere. They do this, when the desire to be freed from self, to be elsewhere, is itself being critically appraised by Beckett as one ofthe primary ruses for evasion oftruth and desertion of any putative literary vocation.

The restlessness which Beckett experiences during this period allows him to settle only briefly, and he is almost constantly on the move, between Dublin, London, and Paris, taking in Germany too on several occasions, opting finally for Paris in late 1937, just in time to move again in 1940, although by forces largely beyond his control. The danger in all such physical displacements is clear to him. Writing to Tom McGreevy from Germany in 1936, it is expressed as a question: "Was it then another journey from, like so many?"4 Then, as a confession, he writes to Mary Manning Howe, from the tail-end ofhis German sojourn: "It has turned out indeed to be a journey from, and not to, as I knew it was, before I began it."5 The journeyfrom: when those journeys which are letters are equally haunted by the suspicion that they are serving as flight. They are haunted despite the fact that they are incontrovertibly to, letters destined to indeed - and not just to anyone. In their wonderful variety, Beckett's letters are written to appeal to the unique sensibilities and language-possibilities of their particular reader.

3 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 6 June 1939. 4 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 9 October 1936.

5 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 13 December 1936.

The letters collected in this volume attest to a loneliness deriving from a lack of much more than mere companionship. But even as they attest to this lack, they also attenuate it. Wherever Beckett is, he can also be elsewhere, even when on the road. His letters trace out an alternative reality for their writer, and help him to sustain himself, almost as in a spider's web of his own weaving, wherever he is living - and failing fully to live. Of course, for the letter's journey to be successful, for the elsewheres to serve their function, these must be invested with affect, whether of desire, ambition, anger, or the longing for recognition. Every recipient must represent some alternative, if not of place or of feeling then of possibility, as in the numerous letters to agents and publishers, letters written reluctantly and with a sinking heart, but in the knowledge that without them his work will remain unknown and his options will only narrow further.

Feeling and possibility may yet meet, and when they do, as in the great letters to McGreevy, a writing emerges which is quite as exciting as anything Beckett is achieving with a view to publication. Even to McGreevy, Beckett can be reticent: he writes to him in French when he wishes to avoid the risk of being over-read; he scarcely discusses with him the details of his sexual life, barely mentioning, for example, that he has "seen quite a lot" of Peggy Guggenheim in 1938; and he tells him on occasion that he prefers to discuss certain private matters with him in person.6 Yet to McGreevy, as to a few select others, he opens something perhaps more important than any details of the life lived or the works completed. He opens a sense of the life not yet embarked upon, the life only dreamed of, when these will be immersed to saturation in the past and future that are art: music, painting, literature. Being already the Beckett which he perhaps will only later become in his published oeuvre, he must apologize, even when issuing insights of incalculable value, for a "miserable letter,''7 for "this futile and not even melancholy letter,"8 for "a very white kind of letter,"9 for "this Jeremiad." 10 But being already, here in his letters, the Beckett who can allow a writing to emerge which is born of vulnerability and release, he

6 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 5 January 1938.

7 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 18 January 1937.

8 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 24 February 1931.

9 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 November [for 3 November 1932].

10 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932. can also admit that 'Tm not ashamed to stutter like this with you who are used to my wild way offailing to say whatl imagine I want to say and who understand that until the gag is chewed fit to swallow or spit out the mouth must stutter or rest. And it needs a more stoical mouth than mine to rest." 11

The authorized biography of Samuel Beckett, by James Knowlson, bears the title, Damned to Fame (1996). Certainly, Beckett was amazed and often dismayed by the popularity his work gained during the last thirty years of his life. As we have suggested above, this popularity had a direct impact on Beckett the correspondent, dramatically increasing the number and considerably altering the nature ofthe letters he wrote. Yet what is striking about Beckett before the years of "fame," is how wary he was ofthe public dimension ofthe arts, even as he was attempting to gain this dimension for himself and his work. Nowhere is this more patent than in his dealings with publishers. Here, his wariness turns often into a disdain or hostility which is all the more notable in that his principal interlocutors at publishing houses or journals tend to be intelligent, patient, learned, supportive, and gentlemanly: men such as his publisher Charles Prentice at Chatto and Windus, a figure almost unimaginable in the cut and thrust of today's trade publishing world. "Truck direct with publishers," writes Beckett in 1936 when such "truck" is still largely a fantasy, "is one ofthe few avoidable degradations." 12 For Beckett, merely attempting to be published is cursed as "creeping and crawling and sollicitation

[sic]," 13 tantamount to transporting "a load of manure or a ton of bricks" 14 to "literary garbage buckets."15 A six-week delay in response from a certain Rupert Grayson sparks a rare paranoid reaction in which the usual self-deprecation turns into self-inflation, as Beckett worries that: "I have an idea he may try and do the dirty. He has no background and I have nothing to show that he has any ofmy property."16 In rage, the same day, he writes to George Reavey, one of whose roles it was to mediate his relations with the presses: "Grayson has lost it or cleaned

11 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 18 October 1932.

12 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 August 1936.

13 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 18 !August 1932].

14 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 1 March 1930.

15 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Friday I? summer 1929].

16 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 8 October 1932. himself with it. Kick his balls off."17 Reavey, who fills the role of agent while helping Beckett in many other ways, is the object of the greatest swings of mood and judgment during these years, as Beckett goes from soliciting him to reviling him to needing him, from shunning him to recommending him to his friends. "I neither trust him nor like him," he writes in 1936, "but know no other agent."18 Things deteriorate when Reavey publishes a Beckett text without its author's permission, to the point where Beckett writes to Reavey a letter so scathing that this perhaps explains why it no longer exists; though its content may be reconstructed from a letter Beckett writes to McGreevy, in which Reavey is described as: "(1) A liar (2) A clumsy Sophist (3) An illiterate."19 Within a month, however, Beckett writes, "I extended the little finger of reconciliation to G.R.";20 and some short time after that he is content once more to be "dumping the work on Reavey."21

The temptation is ever present, for Beckett, to abandon the effort to diffuse the work beyond the closest circle of friends. But this temptation is weak compared to the pressure coming from another source, which Beckett believes can be relieved only by its receiving public recognition. "I dread going home with nothing cut & dried to do," he writes to McGreevy from Germany in 1937: "Proofs & a publication would carry me over till I could get away again."22 He writes of his mother, that she "supposes I am brimming over with material for books 1 ... ] anything rather than desoeuvrement."23 Publishers and their acceptance become the propitiatory flag which he hopes to wave at his exasperated family members, who are in a state of incomprehension as to the choices he is making and refusing to make in his life. That the flag is never large enough or appropriately marked, that the public recognition does not arrive in time or from the appropriate quarters, remains one of the major disappointments of Beckett's life.

When approval does come, from as valued a reader as McGreevy, Beckett's joy, if short-lived, is unequivocal. When he learns of his

17 SB to George Reavey, 8 October 1932.

18 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 August 1936.

19 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 27 June 1936.

20 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 26 July [1936).

21 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 August 1936.

22 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 16 February 1937.

23 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 20 February [1935). "Desoeuvrement" (having nothing todo). friend's favorable judgment ofthe manuscript ofMurphy, he responds: "I need not tell you I was delighted with your letter. I was afraid you would not like it much at all. I find the people all so hateful myself, even Celia, that to have you find them lovable surprises and delights me."24 Much more common than approval, however, are misprision and rejection, when the skin is never thick enough for these not to hurt. Beckett's brother asks him, '"Why can't you write the way people want"';25 this question is repeated, in more euphemistic terms, by nearly every publisher he encounters. Rejection is accompanied by "the usual kind words,"26 by "honeyed regrets,"27 or by "the classical obeisance et l'obligeance prophetique."28 Or it comes bluntly: "Heard from Frere-Reeves yesterday, a curt rejection. 'On commercial grounds we could not justify it in our list.' And of course what other grounds of justification could there be."29 Some revenge can be wrought, through mockery of "Shatton & Windup" or "The Hogarth Private Lunatic Asylum,"30 or through a limerick penned at the expense of Doubleday Doran.31 But this revenge is slight when compared to the need: "The chiefthing is to get the book OUf."32

The willingness ofthe young author to offer words ofcompromise in order to facilitate publication may surprise readers familiar only with the intransigence ofan older Beckett. In response to a publisher's wish for cuts in Murphy, he writes to Reavey: "I should be willing to suppress such passages as are not essential to the whole and adjust such others as seem to them a confusion ofthe issue"; the admonishment to Reavey which follows is an agent's nightmare: "Be astonished, firm, & up to a point politely flexible, all at once, ifyou can."33 Not surprisingly, the negotiation proves unfruitful, although, with a desperation almost as audible as the irony, Beckett would write: "The last I remember is my

24 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 July 1936.

25 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 August 1936.

26 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 9 October 1936.

27 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 17 July 11936].

28 SB to George Reavey, 23 February 1937. "Obligeance prophetique" (prophetic obligingness).

29 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 August 1936.

30 SB to George Reavey, 8 October 1932. And again to Reavey, 27 December 1936.

31 SB to George Reavey, 4 August 1937.

32 SB to George Reavey, 27 December 1936.

33 SB to George Reavey, 13 November 1936. readiness to cut down the work to its title. I am now prepared to go further, and change the title if it gives offence, to Quigley, Trompetenschleim, Eliot, or any other name that the publishers fancy."34 When finally, thanks in part to the intercession of McGreevy and the painter and writer Jack B. Yeats, Routledge makes an offer on Murphy, Beckett writes, "I would sign anything to get the book out";35 a tractability which asks to be weighed alongside the apparently contradictory, but perhaps equally true, assertion: "I feel even less about its being taken than I did when it was rejected."36

Indifference on the part of the world, or rejection from the public realm, corresponds so closely - so much more closely than success - to what is being experienced internally, that it provokes instant recognition. Defeat before the act, before the writing, will become the very ground of Beckett's imaginative world. Here, already, it gives rise to a plethora of confessions. To McGreevy, of his essay on Marcel Proust's novel A la recherche du temps perdu, he writes, "I can't start the Proust."37 This matures into "I have not put pen to paper on Proust";38 which becomes "You know I can't write at all. The simplest sentence is a torture";39 followed by "I can't write anything at all, can't imagine even the shape of a sentence";40 leading to "I haven't tried to write. The idea itself of writing seems somehow ludicrous."41 Yet somehow his Proust does get written, and he even feels some pride in it, before this is overtaken by distaste at what hejudges to be "very grey & disgustingly juvenile,"42 "a merely critical extension [ ... J b-la-far-d, gritty like the

Civic Guard's anus."43

Having been relegated, in this period, to what he calls "slopemptying," critical writing comes in for very harsh censure:44 "dishonest & surfait" is how he describes his review of Jack Yeats's novel The

34 SB to George Reavey. 20 December 1936. "Trompetenschleim" (Ger., numpetslime).

35 SB to Mary Manning Howe, [after 10 December 1937].

36 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 22 December 1937.

37 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Thursday [? 17 July 1930].

38 SB to Thomas McGreevy, [before 5 August 1930].

39 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 25 January 1931.

40 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 November 1931.

41 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932.

42 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 3 February 1931.

43 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 11 March 1931. '"Blafard" (wan).

44 SB to Mary Manning Howe, [after 10 December 1937].

Amaranthers.4s But the judgment meted out to his poetry and fiction is only slightly more generous. "Fake" is a word he uses freely of his own work,46 "involontairement trivial";47 or "really a most unsavoury & not

very honest work," as he writes of the first draft of Murphy48 - "It reads

something horrid."49 Nowhere does he express more eloquently what he feels to be lacking in his writing than in a letter to McGreevy from 1932, where he berates himselffor its lack of necessity. "Homer & Dante & Racine & sometimes Rimbaud" - these become the whips with which to punish the literary self whose productions are never anything better than "trigged up" or "facultatif." His own writing lacks the urgency and inevitability which for him distinguish work that is true, which must be as instinctive and automatic as a physical reflex, and which he describes memorably, in an expression that will echo through his whole writing life: 'Tm in mourning for the integrity of a

pendu's emission of semen [ ...] the integrity of the eyelids coming down before the brain knows of grit in the wind... so

The gap between the self which writes and the self which reads can be as much of an affliction as a solace. Yet there is, despite asseverations to the contrary, no shortage of reading done during these years. It is tempting to invoke a notion like "apprenticeship" in this context, and certainly the later Beckett oeuvre is inconceivable without the mass of books consumed during this period. Yet, if apprentice Beckett is, not least to the writer who acts as his mentor and guide during much of the period, James Joyce, then he is one who feels he is not so much learning a trade as failing to gain initiation into a sect. He fears that the very knowledge he is accruing may itself be ruining his future chances, turning him into a "Sorbonagre," leading him to a spurious realm of knowingness.st "Ifl am not careful," he writes, after he has found in some German novels a new justification for a figure from Murphy,

45 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 17 July [1936].

46 See, for example, SB to Thomas McGreevy, Saturday [3 September 1932[, quoted in SB to Thomas McGreevy, 13 [September 1932], n. 4.

47 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 September 1935. "Involontairement" (involuntarily).

48 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 23 May [1936[.

49 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 9 June 1936.

50 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 18 October 1932. "Facultatif' (optional); "pendu" (hanged man).

51 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 11 March 1931.

I shall become clear as to what I have written.52 It is not just that an ever-increased awareness of literary heritage furnishes the aspiring writer with a yardstick of personal unworthiness; it is that the particular sort of success which writing constitutes is already perceived to be achievable only in a sort of blind or spastic incomprehension. "Jenseit der Spekulation kommt erst der Mensch in sein Eden" (Only beyond speculation does man reach his Eden), he writes in 1934 to his cousin Morris Sinclair.53 Though only later will he formulate this idea fully, in the letters to Georges Duthuit from after World War II, the awareness is already present here of the enticements and traps of knowledge. The remark he makes to Samuel Putnam, as early as 1932, concerning his indebtedness to James Joyce, that "I vow I will get over J. J. ere I die," is just the thin end of the writer's uncomfortable wedge.54 Little wonder that he is delighted to report to McGreevy in 1935 a remark made to him by Nuala Costello: '"You haven't a good word to say for anyone but the failures."'55 For writing, if it is to matter, must constitute itself as a sort of shedding, a venturing out with no clear landmarks, not even when these are literary, and with no sure hope of return: "when to have ever left one's village ceases to seem a folly," he writes to Mary Manning Howe in 1937, "perhaps it is only then that the writing begins."56

Fortunately perhaps, not every writer's work which Beckett encounters during this period strikes him as being as necessary as that of Homer or Dante. "I have been reading wildly all over the place," he tells McGreevy in 1936, "Goethe's Iphigenia & then Racine's to remove the taste."57 Beckett's reading may not be wild, but diverse it certainly is, as even a partial list of authors absorbed will make abundantly clear: Ariosto, Aristotle, Jane Austen, D'Annunzio, Darwin, Diderot, George Eliot, Fielding, Geulincx, Grillparzer, Guarini, Holderlin, Samuel Johnson, Ben Jonson, Kant, Keats, Lawrence, Leibniz, Melville, Plato, T. F. Powys, Ramuz, Jules Renard, Rimbaud, Rousseau, Sade, Sainte-Beuve, Sartre, Schopenhauer, Stendhal, Sterne, Tasso, Vigny. Few invite quite the excoriation that Goethe's Tasso receives, yet the view which Beckett forms of

52 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 18 January 1937.

53 SB to Morris Sinclair, 5 May 1934. 54 SB to Samuel Putnam, 28 June 1932.

55 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 September 1935.

56 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 18 January 1937.

57 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 25 March 1936. this work may stand for the many among the canonical greats - Darwin·s The Origin ofSpedes is "badly written catlap"58 - which he dismisses: "He really invites one very patiently to think of him as a machine a mots, a cliche separator, & a bunker of the suffering that has not proved its merit in a thousand impressions, or a vademecum edition."59 And the dead fare better than the living. It is for his contemporaries that Beckett reserves his most hostile fire, ignited as this is by a mix ofgenuine contempt and barely admissible envy. Beckett calls T. F. Powys's writing "a fabricated darkness & painfully organised unified tragic completeness...Go D'Annunzio has a "dirty juicy squelchy mind, bleeding and bursting, like his celebrated pomegranates."G1 Aldous Huxley's latest offering does not even merit reiteration of its title, becoming "Cunt Pointercunt. A very painstalling work."G2 Lawrence trades in a "tedious kindling of damp."G3 T. S. Eliot's essay on Dante is "insufferably condescending, restrained & professorial."G4 And Proust too comes in for rough treatment, much rougher in the letters than in the essay on his work, his prose being deemed "more heavily symmetrical than Macaulay at his worst," and his loquacity being judged "certainly more interesting and cleverly done than Moore's, but no less profuse, a maudlin false teeth gobble-gobble discharge from a colic-afflicted belly...Gs

Little wonder that the prospect of having to read Proust, or of having, as Beckett puts it, "to contemplate him at stool for 16 volumes," is far from charming.GG Yet for the Proust to be written, Proust must be read, and not once but twice, in an infuriatingly inadequate edition. More than the exasperation, louder than the condemnations, stronger than the disgust and the envy, what informs Beckett's reading, as it does his writing in his letters about his reading, is its energy. When he wishes to read the work of Arnold Geulincx, "without knowing why exactly,"G7

58 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932.

59 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 5 March 1936. "Machine a mots" (word machine).

60 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 November 1931.

61 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 July 1930 [for 7 August 1930].

62 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932.

63 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Tuesday [7 August 1934].

64 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1937.

65 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Friday[? summer 1929].

66 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Friday[? summer 1929].

67 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 5 March 1936.

he forces himself into the library at Trinity College in Dublin, which he has compelling reasons to wish to avoid, day after day. Kant's complete works have to be lugged, when they arrive in Paris, from Customs to his lodging. And as the few examples just given may indicate, to the physical efforts to gain access to the work he deems important there corresponds an irrepressible linguistic verve.

Beckett is rarely more inventive than when writing about other writers, especially when insulting them. Nor do the efforts in language stop there. Geulincx's work is unavailable in translation, and so the determined reader works his Latin up to a suitable level to tackle him in the original. He reads Kant and Goethe in German, Dante, Ariosto and D'Annunzio in Italian, Proust of course in French, and efforts are made in Spanish that will later permit him to translate an anthology of Mexican poetry. Of course, one might remark that even as he was fleeing his one surefire career path, as a university professor, the ingrained scholarly habits remained. But such a remark only begs the question, when his polymathic drives were anything but obvious to a man of his family background or cultural milieu. Certainly, there are local satisfactions to be drawn from reading, along with the whips for self-punishment and the squibs to throw at the feet of rivals. In Schopenhauer, Beckett finds "an intellectual justification of unhappiness - the greatest that has ever been attempted."68 A French translation of The Odyssey offers "something of the old childish absorption with which I read Treasure Island & Oliver Twist and many others."69 He is "enchanted with Joseph Andrews," which is "Jacques and the Vicar of

W. in one."70 Sainte-Beuve offers "the most interesting mind of the

whole galere."71 Somewhat surprisingly, "the divine Jane [ ... ] has much to teach me."72 And, less surprisingly, Sade's Les cent-vingtjoumees de Sodome, whose "composition is extraordinary, as rigorous as Dante's," inspires in him "a kind of metaphysical ecstasy."73 Yet no amount of local satisfaction, even when it rises to enchantment or ecstasy, quite accounts for the sense one gathers from the letters, that Beckett is

68 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Friday [c. 18 July 1930 to 25 July 1930].

69 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Tuesday [c. 22 September 1931].

70 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 October 1932.

71 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 5 December [1932]. "Galere" (crew).

72 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 14 February [1935J.

73 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 21 February 1938. following a rigorously demanding linguistic and literary curriculum, devised by the writer he had not yet become - and in defiance of precisely this same writer.

It may be in the context of such a tension informing literary practice - be it writing or reading - that Beckett's dreams of an escape which would eradicate for ever any such problem should be understood. Yes! If he were to throw in the word-towel, give it all up, and become - what? Even as late as aged thirty, in 1936, he can be dreaming of a flight from the literary which is staggeringly literal: "I think the next little bit of excitement is flying," he writes to McGreevy; "I hope I am not too old to take it up seriously, nor too stupid about machines to qualify as a commercial pilot." The reasons for grasping at employment are never more clearly expressed than here: "I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them."74 That Beckett never viewed his work in words as a lofty or romantic vocation leaps out from nearly every letter. That he viewed it not even as an honest career is only slightly less evident, perhaps because this view is overshadowed by his family's stronger, even outraged, conviction of the same. And so it is that the idea of a "real job" gives rise to: Beckett the trainee filmmaker laboring under Sergei Eisenstein in Moscow; Beckett the advertising agent at work in London; Beckett the assistant in the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square; Beckett the Harvard lecturer, the Cape Town lecturer, the Milan lecturer; Beckett the translator for an international organization in Geneva; Beckett the teacher of French in a technical school in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia; and even more fancifully, Beckett the instructor of Princess Elizabeth "in the Florentine positions."75

Letters are the vehicles for the requests and applications to these other lives, countries, cities, destinations. Hence they may be, for Beckett, the purveyors of deception, for who is he to pretend to expertise in anything, even in literature and languages - especially in literature and languages. Letters are, it gradually becomes clear, not just the means, but also the end, by which the blocked road of the present becomes, in writing, the uncluttered highway of a future. They permit their writer to imagine

74 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 26 July [1936].

75 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932. himselfin other roles and lives, and to describe these new characters and their plots to his friends. And they do so while permitting their absurdity to become transparent. Shortly after he has given up "this grotesque comedy oflecturing" at Trinity College Dublin, to his parents' everlasting dismay,76 a job in Bulawayo tempts, "but a few minutes consideration equipoised so perfectly the pros & cons that as usual I found myself constrained to do nothing."77 To the organization in Geneva he replies, "asking for particulars, but forgot to sign the letter." He does not fail to draw his conclusion: "a nice example ofVerschreiben."78

Nowhere does the ambivalence informing that slip of the pen take firmer root than in the ground which Beckett treads throughout this period, the home turf. Behind the idea ofjoining the family business at Clare Street in Dublin lies a whole fantasy of fitting in, following in his father's footsteps, belonging. When his brother Frank enters the family business in 1930, the fantasy only quickens. "I wonder would my Father take me into his office," he writes to McGreevy in 1932, "That is what Frank did."79 The endorsement of genealogy which settling in Dublin represents becomes only the more urgent when his father dies in 1933: "I can't write about him," he tells McGreevy shortly after, "I can only walk the fields and climb the ditches after him."80 The fact that he can always undo his own idea - "There is no room for another clerk in the office, and even ifthere were I simply could not do the work" - does little to stanch the guilt felt before his family.81 The fact that, ifFrank were to welcome him into the office, "my present saliva would bum a hole in the envelope" - this counter-perception does little to slow regression toward the nostalgic idyll.82 This last - because first - resort is pungent with premature resignation, with dejected posturing in cardigan and slippers, the bottle ofstout by the fire; thick with a voluptuousness ofself-pity at the homme moyen sensuel he suspects he is becoming, in an Ireland from which escape is no longer thinkable: "I feel now that I shall meet the most ofmy days from now on here and in tolerable content, not feeling much guilt at

76 SB to Charles Prentice, 27 October 1930.

77 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 3 November 1932.

78 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 5 June 1936 [for 1937]. "Verschreiben" (Ger., slip of the pen).

79 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 August 1932.

80 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 2 July 1933.

81 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 18 [August 1932].

82 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 5 March 1936. making the most of what ease there is to be had and not bothering very much about effort."83

When, in the winter of 1937 to 1938, escape from Ireland does happen, it is described as "like coming out of gaol in April."84 On the wall of his room where he has taken temporary lodging, in the Hotel Liberia in Paris, Beckett sees confirmation of the release achieved: "A sunlit surface yesterday," he writes to McGreevy, "brighter than the whole of Ireland's summer."85 The terms are ones which he knows McGreevy will appreciate, so much of their correspondence being concerned with surfaces and light. Beckett's investment in the literary during this period is more than matched by his investment - of energy, of time, of language - in the visual arts, and in painting specifically. With McGreevy, who was already a connoisseur and who would go on to become Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, the investment bears fruit, as Beckett explores a world unbeset by any of the envy or ambivalence pervading the literary. The efforts he makes to study art, to visit galleries and museums, in Ireland, in London, in Paris, most of all in Germany, are unflagging. He spends entire days absorbing painting and learning the artists and traditions, mastering a visual language which he will himself never practice. And he does so with one eye ever on the possibilities of the present, possibilities clearer to him in this domain than in the literary. Since the primary appeal of Beckett's work is so often to the ear rather than to the eye, it might be easy to neglect what an exceptionally acute and well-trained eye he possessed. The letters reveal that eye as it roves, as it trains itself, as it probes, absorbs, quizzes, rejects, and is ravished. It is not until he corresponds with the art historian and critic Georges Duthuit, in letters which form the basis of the Three Dialogues published in 1948 (and which provide the backbone to Volume II of the present edition), that anything approaching a manifesto of the possible and significant in art of the present will be extracted from him. But these dialogues are dependent upon the prior exchanges with McGreevy, exchanges in which it is less the range ofknowledge deployed which is remarkable than the immensity of the

83 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 26 April 1937. "Homme moyen sensuel" (average man with average tastes and appetites).

84 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 10 December 1937.

85 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 27 January 1938. curiosity displayed. Once again, Beckett is pursuing his own arduous curriculum, one which takes him away from the literary, but from which he is convinced the literary must learn.

Beckett's letters testify to an extraordinary visual memory, largely unassisted by the technical supports of photographs or reproductions. "I remember the Bassano in Hampton Court very well," he tells McGreevy; "In the second or third room, isn't it? The wild tormented colour."86 His memory is such that he challenges established attributions - and several of his re-attributions have been vindicated by subsequent catalogues. "I had forgotten the little Fabritius," he writes to McGreevy after a further visit to the Louvre, "A very slapdash attribution. More like a Flinck."87 He refuses to believe that a small portrait ofa head in Ireland's National Gallery is a Velazquez (though he is much less certain about how to spell this painter's name). He advises his friend Arland Ussher, on the basis of a poor photograph, as to the possible attribution of a painting which Ussher has purchased: "As a decorative statement ofweights & tensions," he writes, "it seems to me to lack only technique & bravura to pair up with the easel recreations of Gianbattista [for Giambattista] Tiepolo & Sons."88 He compiles for McGreevy exhaustive lists of the works he views during his tour of Germany, and even as he claims that "there is really not much point writing like this about the pictures," he "can't stop without mentioning the Poussin Venus. Beyond praise & appraisement."89 He reports to McGreevy on the career of George Furlong, who is appointed Director oflreland's National Gallery in 1935, with a highly critical gaze, mocking his lapses of taste in acquisitions, and ending by condemning his entire aesthetic policy: "It is time someone put him in mind of the purpose of a picture gallery, to provide pictures worth looking at and the possibility of seeing them."90 And he does this, characteristically, while all the time claiming that: 'Tm afraid I couldn't write about pictures at all. I used never to be happy with a picture till it was literature, but now that need is gone."91

86 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 7 March 1937.

87 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 3 April 1938.

88 SB to Arland Ussher, 14 June [1939].

89 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 16 February 1937.

90 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 14 May 1937.

91 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 28 November 1936.

Though the previously published and by now famous 1937 "German Letter" to Axel Kaun uses Beethoven's Seventh Symphony to sketch a possibility for literature, and though the letters do contain some fascinating insights into music - and into ballet and film as well - it is in painting that Beckett most commonly intuits directions in which he believes writing should be heading.92 In the work of Cezanne, first,

Beckett sights - or sites - an all-important representation ofthe otherness ofthe world, "incommensurable with all human expressions whatsoever." The "deanthropomorphizations of the artist" are the more precious in Cezanne's portraits, where the individual subject becomes "incapable ofloving or hating anyone but himselfor ofbeing loved or hated by anyone but himself'; a claim which Beckett immediately and doubly undermines, as ifhe had seen too much or reached too far, by signing off his letter in a firm rejection ofsolipsism - "God love thee" - and in a request to McGreevy that he "forgive the degueulade."93

What is glimpsed in Cezanne is more fully grasped in the work ofthe artist who will elicit from Beckett something as close as he comes at this stage to a fully fledged theory. Perhaps it is the very excitement at locating the artistic horizon so nearby, in the work ofan approachable compatriot, that leads him to find so many excuses not to accept Jack Yeats's repeated invitation to visit his studio during his "at-homes." "Set out on Saturday afternoon to see Jack Yeats," he tells McGreevy, "and then en route changed my mind."94 Yeats stirs in Beckett a rare acquisitive instinct, until the young unemployed writer is able to scrape together the cash to put down a deposit on a painting, Morning. As with Cezanne, it is the "ultimate hard irreducible inorganic singleness" that fascinates Beckett, and the sense in Yeats's painting of "the convention & performance oflove & hate, joy & pain, giving & being given, taking & being taken" having been "suddenly suspended." Yeats leads Beckett to a "perception & dispassion" which, in contrast to what he finds in Watteau (to whom he likens Yeats), is "beyond tragedy." Even as one resists the temptation to find countless adumbrations ofBeckett's later work in the letters, it is hard not to hear harbingers ofthe tone and vision that will become "Beckettian," when he writes: "the way he puts down a man's head & a woman's head side by side, or face to face, is

92 SB to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937.

93 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 September 1934. "Degueulade" (throwing up).

94 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 13 [September 1932]. terrifying, two irreducible singlenesses & the impassable immensity between."95 In Yeats's work, nature itself, Ireland's nature, becomes the setting of "the ultimate inorganism ofeverything." And again the future looms, the theatrical work for which Beckett will be most celebrated, in the metaphor he uses to describe Ireland here: "a nature almost as inhumanly inorganic as a stage set."96 When, in 1938, returning to Ireland after a prolonged absence, he visits Yeats's studio and sees his "magnificent new picture," entitled Helen, he rediscovers the "same extraordinary tenderness & distinction of handling," and beyond that, "depth and a courage more than of conviction, of certainty, absolutely natural & unrhetorical." He rediscovers the very sense of necessity that years previously he located in Homer and Dante, the sense of art as a physical extension of the self, an art which is as natural as breathing. Unable to produce his own art to match, Beckett the viewer none the less absorbs the impact: "I was really knocked all ofa heap."97

If art hits, and must hit, the body, this is because it must emerge from the body to begin with, if it is to be necessary. For the greats, this may be as easy as breathing; for the remainder, which includes Beckett himself, whose writing emerges "above an abscess and not out of a cavity," the somatic impetus is less unambiguously life-sustaining or satisfying.98 Commenting on Aldous Huxley's use of the term "mental masturbation," Beckett says, with a sideways glance at his own restricted productivity, that there are worse things, "mental aspermatism for example."99 When finally two poems do arrive, they are blessed as "a double-yoked orgasm in months ofaspermatic nights & days." 100 At its best, writing is evacuation of pus, or is ejaculation of sperm. Being very rarely at its best, it is more commonly - even obsessively - that less exalted convulsion, defecation. When, amidst the "dies diarrhoeae,"101 some poems are taken by a journal, Beckett celebrates this acceptance of "three turds from my central lavatory." The toilet is not private, and the

95 SB to Cissie Sinclair, 14 !August 1937].

96 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 14 August 1937.

97 SB to Thomas McGreevy, Thursday 14 August 1938].

98 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 18 October 1932.

99 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 28 November 1937 [for 1936].

100 SB to Thomas McGreevy. Saturday 112 September 1931].

101 SB to George Reavey, 8 October 1932. "Dies diarrhoeae" (Lat., literally, days of diarrhea, echoing the Dies Irae of the reguiem Mass).

Proustian arse-hole102 needs to be contemplated, as we saw above, while the critic himself is "at stool." 103 To McGreevy, Beckett conveys his intention to return to writing as a determination to "take down the petites merdes de mon ame."104 Beckett envisages writing a work which might finally please a publisher, in the following terms: "When I imagine I have a real 'twice round the pan & pointed at both ends' I'll offend you with its spiral on my soilman's shovel."105 Of his poems which he calls "the Bones," his hope is that they will become a "bolus," which, on publication, will cause readerly discomfiture - "May it stick in their anus."106 Even when the work is not itself fecal, it can still do cloacal duty. When an article is requested of him, he finds himself "looking through my essuie-cul de reserve."107 The scatology may contain an undergraduate's jocularity, but that it is no mere joke, still less any mere trope, is clear even without recourse to Beckett's oeuvre. Writing and shitting: without recourse to Freud, either, these may be seen to share for Beckett an all-important intimacy, an urgency, a necessity even, just as they share a difficulty and delight in emission and transmission. They share, that is to say, both the requirement and the limits of expression. And so the irony is much fainter than might at first be imagined, when, after a publisher suggests substantial cutting of Murphy, what are envisaged next are "The Beckett Bowel Books." Such new work might at least have a rhythm, one which would tie it to the body and its necessacy functions: "My next work shall be on rice paper wound about a spool, with a perforated line evecy six inches and on sale in Boots. The length of each chapter will be carefully calculated to suit with the average free motion."108

What writing and the rectal spasm share is that they take the subject, quite literally, out of himself. They are not the only spasms to do this, however, and there are others which take Beckett so far out of himself that he fears he may never return. "I always see the physical crisis just round the corner," he writes to Cissie Sinclair in 1937, confirming

102 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 25 August 11930].

103 SB to Thomas McGreevy. Friday I? summer 1929].

104 SB to Thomas McGreevy, I? after 15 August 1931]. '"Petites merdes de mon ame'" (droppings from my soul).

Textbox start << 106 >>Textbox end


SB to Charles Prentice, 15 August 1931.

SB to George Reavey, 9 January 1935 [for 1936].

SB to George Reavey, 6 May 1936. "Essuie-cul de reserve" (spare bumf).

108 SB to Mary Manning Howe, 14 November 1936. that this crisis is far from merely dreaded: "It would solve perhaps the worst ofwhat remains to be solved, clarify the proven anyway, which I suppose is the best solution we can hope for."109 The "crisis" takes the form ofboils, cysts, and especially heart palpitations, all ofwhich, even while he tries to attribute to them purely organic origins, Beckett suspects are psychosomatically induced.

It is only when the crisis puts "the fear of death" into him,110 that Beckett finally decides to move into a quite new word-setting, a highly alien one, yet one in which, as in writing, language must do the work of relation and creation: in 1934 he begins a psychoanalysis with W.R. Bion, then a junior analyst, whom he quickly re-christens "the covey." He counts the sessions: "On Monday I go for the 133rd time."111 He fears that "the analysis is going to turn out a failure."112 Yet he sees "no prospect of the analysis coming to an end." The somatic symptoms persist. but with a new force he realizes: "how lost I would be bereft ofmy incapacitation."113 The shift in perception may appear slight, but what the letters make clear - clearer than Beckett ever intends - is how significant it is, to the point where he can write in 1935 to McGreevy:

The old heart pounces now & then, as though to console me for the intolerable symptoms of an improvement;114 or write to him later, after the analysis has ended, that he has "overcome the need ofreturning to my vomit."115

The letters manifest the shift not just in what they say, but also in the way they say it. They present a change, achieved in part through words used in the highly specialized context ofpsychoanalysis, through those words used in the not-entirely-different context that is letter-writing: not just their information, now, but their increasingly undefended style that becomes a disarming directness. Certainly, there is still room for highly self-conscious Beckett parades, ofthe sort that make him say of his early work, "of course it stinks of Joyce in spite of most earnest endeavours to endow it with my own odours."116 The letters do provide

109 SB to Cissie Sinclair, 14 [August 1937].

110 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 10 March [1935].

111 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 8 February [1935].

112 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 1 January 1935.

113 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 14 February [1935].

114 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 20 February [1935].

115 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 14 May 1937.

116 SB to Charles Prentice, 15 August 1931. plentiful opportunities for the flexing of newly acquired linguistic muscles, as well as for old-fashioned showing-off. Those written to Nuala Costello, for example, are quite as narcissistically turned, as elliptical and excessive at once, as anything he ever wrote, an awareness of which he seems to catch even as he protracts it, telling her: "My velleities of self-diffusion in this stew of LETTERS have been repulsed with the traditional contumely, so now I'm sulking and won't play."117 Here, as on occasion with Cissie Sinclair, the seductions of verbal play seem to take the place- as it were, synechdochally- of seduction more palpable. He even goes so far as to say, at one point, with tongue only half in cheek, that "Perhaps the literary value of this letter [ ... ] would be promoted by a few lines of verse."118

Shortly after writing to McGreevy of "obstipation" and "tepid eviration,"119 Beckett declares: "I find that eschewal ofverbal sanies is one of my New Year resolutions."120 Of course, this resolution is quite as hard to keep as any other. Yet the verbal play and display in the letters, which will yield a tone familiar from the published work of the 1930s, can indeed cede at any point to something less ostentatious or guarded. When Beckett's writing darts between languages or registers, at times he may be less demonstrating his cleverness than exploring the shortcomings in the words at his disposal. The distinction between this exploration and his Joycean play may seem slim, but it is none the less important, as he invites not so much his reader's admiration as an apprehension of a shared incapacity - shared with language, too, now. When Beckett writes that "the Irish Times accuses reception of his new prose work," he may not be merely forgetting he is writing in English.121 When he writes to McGreevy, upon one more rejection of a work, "Anyhow tant piss," he may be offering more than a transnational pun; may be inviting his friend into a verbal space where no ready-made language can do justice to what he feels, when this includes a wish to shrug off the whole disappointment in the fewest words possible.122 When he skips across registers and languages searching

117 SB to Nuala Costello, 27 February 1934.

118 SB to Cissie Sinclair, 14 [August 1937].

119 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 4 November [for 3 November 1932].

120 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 5 January [1933].

121 SB to Arland Ussher, 25 March 1936.

122 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 18 [August 1932]. "Tant piss" (pun on "tant pis" [too bad]). for a word, he is not always just parading his learning. Sometimes, he is being as straightforward as possible. When he jots on the back of a picture postcard to McGreevy sent from Florence, "Che tu fossi meco," he is not only finding a fancy way ofsaying, "Wish you were here"; he is above all trusting in his friend to catch the compacted message, which includes their shared love of languages, of Italy and Italian, of Dante, and of the escape which all these together imply. 123 When he flashes between English and French - and Latin - in his letters to McGreevy, when he complains that "this vitaccia is terne beyond all belief," he is not only repudiating the "terne" in his very formulation. 124 He is coaxing his reader on to a fragile ground between languages, a ground that he will make ever more daringly his own in the years to come.

Beckett's letters reveal, they present, explain, harangue, occasionally theorize, more rarely justify. But as, from the moment he started to write - and not only because of the influence of Joyce - their author turned his back on any instrumentalist understanding of language, the letters do these things as acts of a writer, as acts of writing. What might appear a contradiction - between a highly self-conscious Beckett for whom the act of writing mattered even when it came to letters and the Beckett we have tried to sketch above, who always had his destinataire in mind, who wrote letters to - may, in fact, offer a key to what is distinctive in the tone and style ofthe letters, as compared to his more purposefully literary work of the period. For Beckett's writing in his letters is never so unadornedly itself as when it is moving out of itself, never so fresh and indicative of his future as when he feels confident of his destinataire. The letters presented here deploy their range of languages and idioms not merely for show; they do so in order to tickle, engage, challenge their intended reader, and they do so on the reader's linguistic homeground. From the cod-bombast of his French to his cousin Morris Sinclair, to the super-formal English of his applications for jobs, to the slang of his back-slapping to Arland Ussher - and beyond: Beckett writes as he hopes, and increasingly trusts, he will be heard.

123 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 2 February 1937.

124 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 24 February 1931. "Vitaccia" (It., miserable life, wretched existence). "Teme" (colorless).

Beckett's letters, like his literary works of the period, are performances as much as they are communications; only, if they are performances, they are so for a very particular audience. And when his faith in this audience grows, as it does with McGreevy, his language leaps, explores the in-between spaces, achieves sudden condensations. So too may it relax. Then, a freedom, an unselfconscious simplicity, emerges which may not be found in the oeuvre until Beckett turns to writing fiction in French at the end of World War II. This is what one senses in the extraordinary letter of 10 March 1935, in which Beckett explains to McGreevy his reasons for entering into and persisting with his psychoanalysis; explains his attempt, compelled by his acute physical crises, to shed his "feeling of arrogant otherness," his "feeling that I was too good for anything else," in favor of something for which he has not yet found a name - unless its name is the extended one offered by this marvelous letter. 125 "It is more than I can do to go on," he writes to Arland Ussher in 1937 - having gone on at length in his letter.126 "How hard it is to reach a tolerable arrangement between working & living," he writes to McGreevy, when the letter is the indispensable link in just such an "arrangement." 127

125 SB to Thomas McGreevy, 10 March 1935.

126 SB to Arland Ussher, 26 March 1937.

127 SB to Thomas McGreevy. 8 October 1935.

Letters 1929-1940

Chronology 1906-1929

1906 13 April Samuel Barclay Beckett born at Cooldrinagh on

Good Friday.

1911 A pupil at the Elsner kindergarten.

1915 A pupil at Earlsfort House School.

1916 24April Sees flames and smoke rising from Dublin while walking in the Wicklow Mountains with his father: The Easter Rising.

1918 11 November End of World War I.

1919 21 January Start of the Anglo-Irish War.

1920 April SB joins brother Frank Beckett as a pupil at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.

23 December Partition of Ireland by Government of Ireland Act.

1921 6 December Signing of Anglo-Irish Treaty.

1922 28June Start of the Irish Civil War.

September SB appointed Junior Prefect, Portora Royal School.

1923 May Sits entrance exam for Trinity College Dublin.

23 May End oflrish Civil War.

August SB leaves Portora Royal School as Senior 6th Form Prefect.

1 October Enters Trinity College Dublin.

1924 March Sees Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock at the

Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

1925 March Takes part in Donnybrook motorcycle trial.

April Picked for Trinity College Dublin Cricket First XI.


June Becomes Senior Exhibitioner.

1926 January

8, 11 February

31 May

Studies Italian with Bianca Esposito in Dublin. Attends premiere of Sean O'Casey's The Plough and

the Stars at the Abbey Theatre with Geoffrey

Thompson. Attends again on the night W. B. Yeats addresses the audience.

Places fourth in the Foundation Scholarship (Modem Languages), which entitles him to live free of charge in rooms in College.

August-September Takes first trip to France; meets and travels with American student Charles Clarke.

Michaelmas Term (autumn)

1927 22 March

20 April-August



8 December

1928 January-July July

Moves into rooms in Trinity College Dublin, 39 New Square. Meets Alfred Peron, French exchange Lecteur at TCD from the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris.

Recommended to be exchangeLecteur to the Ecole Normale Superieure by Trinity College Dublin Board.

Takes first trip to Italy. Lives in Florence, spends time with the Esposito family; reads Dante with Bianca Esposito. Is joined in Italy by Charles Clarke. Visits mountains nearLake Como with Mario Esposito.

Thomas McGreevy remains in the post ofLecteur at the Ecole Normale Superieure for 1927-1928. SB is offered an alternative position at the University of Besarn;on, with assurance of appointment at the ENS in autumn 1928; on the advice of his Trinity College Dublin mentor, T. B. Rudmose-Brown, he turns this down.

Awarded First Class Moderatorship in Modern Literature at Trinity College Dublin with Large Gold Medal. Wins travel grant.

BA degree from Trinity College Dublin formally conferred.

Teaches at Campbell College, Belfast, an interim post arranged by Rudmose-Brown.

Is visited in Dublin by cousin Margaret (Peggy) Sinclair and Charles Clarke.


By 1 November


1929 January

23 March

31 March 10May

June 27June

16 July

July or August October

24 October 14November

28November December

Stays with Sinclair family in Kassel; visits Peggy Sinclair in Vienna.

Arrives at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. ThomasMcGreevy still resident in Paris; he introduces SB to James Joyce, Jean Beaufret, Richard Aldington, and Eugene Jolas.

Joyce suggests a topic for SB's contribution to Our Exagmination. SB spends Christmas in Kassel.

SB proposes French Doctorate on Proust and Joyce.

Responds to Joyce's suggestions regarding his essay "Dante ... Bruno. Vico ..Joyce."

Visits the Sinclairs for Easter holiday.

Formally requests renewal of appointment at the Ecole Normale Superieure for 1929-1930.

SB story "Assumption" and essay "Dante ... Bruno. Vico .. Joyce" published in transition.

Attends Dejeuner Ulysse at Hotel Leopold, Fontainebleau.

Censorship of Publications Act in Ireland. SB visits the Sinclairs in Kassel.

Remains at Trinity College Dublin at start of the Michaelmas Term pending arrival of exchange Lecteur from the Ecole Normale Superieure, delaying his return to the ENS.

New York Stock Market crash.

Essay "Che Sciagura," published in T. C.D.: A College Miscellany; written in response to the Censorship Act.

SB returns to Paris to take up position as exchange Lecteur at Ecole Normale Superieure.

Begins French translation ofJoyce's "Anna Livia Plurabelle" with Alfred Peron. Georges Pelorson arrives in early December to begin as the Ecole Normale Superieure exchange Lecteur at Trinity College Dublin in the Hilary Term Qanuary 1930).

25 December

26 December

31 December

SB in Dublin. Pelorsonjoins the Beckett family on Christmas Day.

SB leaves for Kassel.

Relationship between Peggy Sinclair and SB broken off.



Landgrafenstr. 5 Kassel

Dear M! Joyce

Here is the latest insertion. I think it might follow the passage which treats of form as a concretion of content. I have succeeded in combining the three points in a more or less reasonable paragraph. 1

I tried a bookshop to-day for Grimm, but found nothing that would please you.2 However there are plenty more.

Will you remember me to M� Joyce and Giorgio & Lucia?3 Sincerely yours

Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; NjP,Sylvia Beach Papers, C0108/138/1.

1 SB refers to "Dante ... Bruno. Vico .. Joyce," an essay commissioned by James Joyce• (1882-1941) on his Work in Progress (published in 1939 as Finnegans Wake);SB's essay was prepared for Our Exagmination Round His Factificationfor Incamination of Work in Progress, a collection of essays intended to suggest the fundamental design of Work in Progress, which was then appearing only in extracts ([Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1929] 1-22; hereafter Our Exagmination).

AlthoughSB's essay first appeared in transition (16-17 Uune 1929] 242-253), it was set from proofs of the book. On 25 April 1929, Eugene Jolas• (1894-1952), founder and Editor of transition• (April 1927-1938), wrote toSylvia Beach• (nee Nancy Woodbridge Beach, 1887-1962), the publisher of Our Exagmination, to request the proof of SB's essay: "Mr. Joyce would like to have it published in the next number of Transition. It is a very brilliant exegesis" (NjP, Sylvia Beach Papers, C0108/138/1; discussion of the dating: Maria Jolas to James Knowlson, BIF, UoR, MS 1277/1/2/28, and Records of Expenses for Our Exagmination, NjP,Sylvia Beach Papers, C0108/138/3).

No manuscript showing the additional paragraph has been found; this paragraph may well have been inserted before a proof copy was given to transition. Comparison between the essay as published by transition and byShakespeare and Company shows additions and changes on pages 13-15 of the latter Uohn Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology IHoundsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire: PalgraveMacmillan, 2006] 19).

2 Although Joyce alludes to Grimm's Fairy Tales and Grimm's Law in Finnegans Wake, it is not known which of the works of the German mythologists and philologists Jakob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859) Joyce had requested.

3 James Joyce's wife Nora (nee Barnacle, 1884-1951), son Giorgio• (1905-1976) and daughter Lucia• (1907-1982).


[26 April 1929] [paris]

Dear M! Joyce

The text is:

EK7t0pEuOµEVOV (for EK7t0pEUOµEvov] mxpcx ncx,poc;1

The infinitive:


The substantive

-co + Infinitive3

Sincerely yours Sam Beckett

ALS (pneu); 1 leaf, 2 sides; to James Joyce, Rue de Grenelle 19 (Square Robiac), Paris VII; pm 12:55, 26-4-29, Paris; pm received 13:00, 26-4-29, Paris; NBuU; previous publication: Patricia Hutchins.James Joyce's World (London:Methuen and Co., 1957) 169 (facsimile), and Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971; rpt. London: Pimlico, 1991) 102. Dating: from pm on pneumatique.

1 Beckett wrote to Patricia Hutchins Graecen (1911-1985) on 25 April 1954: "I fear I have no recollection of that note to Joyce and can shed no light on it" (TCD, MS 4098/11).

The source of the text that SB sends to Joyce is not certain. The Greek phrase "t,moprnoµevov mxpa rraTpo�" (ekporeuomenon para patros !proceeding from the Father]) alludes to John 15:26, and is central to the F11ioque debate that divided

the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches. Ft1ioque (and from the Son). For suggestions of how this passage may relate to Finnegans Wake: Roland McHugh, Annotations to Finnegans Wake, rev. edn. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991) 156, and a letter of 26 June 1975, from Danis Rose to Karl Gay, Curator, Lockwood Library Poetry Collection, State University ofNew York at Buffalo.

2 "i\K7topEurn8m" (ekporeuesthai [to proceed]).

3 "rn" (to: [the]).

Ernest Vessiot,ecole Normale Superieure Paris


Ecole Normale [Paris]

Monsieur le Directeur1

Je vous ecris dans l'espoir que vous voudrez bien ratifier mon desir de passer l'annee scolaire prochaine a l'Ecole comme lecteur d'Anglais.2

Mon travail personnel sera la preparation d'une these pour le Doctorat de l'Universite de Paris. 3

Veuillez agreer, Monsieur le Directeur, !'expression de mes sentiments respectueux.

Samuel B. Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf. 1 side; AN 61AJ/202. Displayed in an exhibition at the Archives Nationales (1994).


Ecole Normale [Paris]

Dear Sir1

I am writing to you in the hope that you will ratify my wish to spend the next academic year at the Ecole as Lecteur in English. 2

My private work will be the preparation of a thesis for the Doctorate of the University of Paris. 3

Yours respectfully Samuel B. Beckett

1 ErnestVessiot (1865-1952), Directeur, Ecole Normale Superieure,' from 1927 to 1935.

2 SB was nominated to be the Lecteur d'anglais (English language assistant) for 1927-1928 in the exchange program between Trinity College Dublin and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris by his mentor Thomas Brown Rudmose-Brown· (known as Ruddy, 1878-1942), Professor of Romance Languages at Trinity College Dublin. Without prejudice to SB's nomination, the administration of the ENS decided to renew the appointment of the current Lecteur, Thomas McGreevy• (1893-1967), who was also a graduate of TCD (Gustave Lanson, Directeur, Ecole Normale Superieure [1919-1927] to Rudmose-Brown, 31 July 1927, AN: 61AJ/ 202). SB was offered the appointment for 1928-1929.

SB's request to be retained for a second year was subject to the approval of both institutions; Ernest Vessiot wrote to Alfred Blanche, Consul General de France en lrlande, 14 May 1929, that he was inclined to grant this request (AN: 61AJ/ 202).

3 As the subject for his thesis, SB proposed Joyce and Marcel Proust (1871-1922), but he was discouraged from this by Professor Celestin Bougie (1870-1940), Directeur-adjoint, Lettres (Assistant Director, Arts), Ecole Normale Superieure Uames Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett [New York: Grove Press, 2004] 107, and notes of an interview with SB by Lawrence Harvey in the early 1960s [NhD, Lawrence Harvey Collection, MS 661, Notes for Samuel Beckett: Poet and Critic, 161).

Thomas Mcgreevy P Aris

Friday [? summer 1929]

My dear McGreevy1

Landgrafenstr. 5 Kassel

The abominable old bap Russel[l] duly returned my MSS with an economic note in the 3!Q person, the whole in a considerably understamped envelope. I feel slightly paralysed by the courtesy of this gesture. I would like to get rid of the damn thing anyhow, anywhere (with the notable exception of 'transition'), but I have no acquaintance with the less squeamish literary garbage buckets. I can't imagine Eliott (for Eliot) touching it - certainly not the verse. Perhaps Seumas O'Sullivan's rag would take it?2 Ifyou think ofan address I would be grateful to know it. To my astonishment I arrived in Kassel at the hour numerous officials assured me I would arrive, must arrive.3 I had the carriage to myself all night, but did not succeed in getting any sleep. The aspirin was a snare and the coffee a delusion. So I was reduced to finishing Le Desert de l'Amour, which I most decidedly do not like. A patient tenuous snivel that one longs to see projected noisily into a handkerchief.4

We came back from Kragenhofyesterday.5 I am scorched to ribbons by the sun, and am as uncomfortable in the bunk as Florence.

Che non puo trovar posa in su le piume ma con dar volta suo dolore scherma.'6

I have read the first volume of'Du Cote de chez Swann', and find it strangely uneven. There are incomparable things - Bloch, Frarn;:oise, Tante Leonie, Legrandin, and then passages that are offensively fastidious, artificial and almost dishonest.7 It is hard to know what to think about him. He is so absolutely the master ofhis form that he becomes its slave as often as not. Some ofhis metaphors light up a whole page like a bright explosion, and others seem ground out in the dullest desperation. He has every kind of subtle equilibrium, charming trembling equilibrium, and then suddenly a stasis, the arms ofthe balance wedged in a perfect horizontal line, more heavily symmetrical than Macaulay at his worst, with primos & secundos echoing to each complacently and reechoing. His loquacity is certainly more interesting and cleverly done than Moore's, but no less profuse, a maudlin false teeth gobble-gobble discharge from a colic-afflicted belly. I think he drank too much tilleul.8 And to think that I have to contemplate him at stool for 16 volumes! Cissie is devouringillysses, and likes talking about it and Joyce, a delicate activity in the presence of Peggy, who has no interest in books and who cannot be persuaded that literacy is not a crime.9 I have made up my mind to write to 'transition' for the money they owe me, but have lost their address.10 If you are writing I would be grateful to have it.

Are you doing any work or are you infested by the aimable Thomas? How did Agreg. go? How is the position with regard to 'Les Enfants' ... 11

Write when you feel strong. You know how glad I would be to hear from you. Cissie remembers you well and sends her kindest. The Boss is in Ireland and the children conveniently dispersed, so there is a strange hot peace in the flat. I could'nt [for couldn't] sleep last night and read 'Sir Arthur Savile's Crime', 'The Something Ghost' & 'Poems in Prose', this last enormous Ithought.12

Leb wohl.13

Yrs ever


ALI; 1 leaf, 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/1. Dating: although James Knowlson assigns a probable date of June 1930 to this letter, summer 1929 is more likely (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 639-641, n. 90, n. 118). The agregation examinations took place in the early summer, and SB describes serious sunburn. The relatively formal greeting suggests this may be among the first of SB's letters to McGreevy with the issue of 12 April 1930, publication of The Irish Statesman ceased, and, given AE's definitive dismissal of SB's submission in early 1930 (see 1 March 1930), it is more likely that the understamped rejection described here is earlier than 1930.

1 McGreevy remained in Paris after SB took up his appointment as Lecteur d'anglais at the Ecole Normale Superieure; he introduced SB to Joyce and to English novelist and poet Richard Aldington' (1892-1962).

2 Irish poet, painter, and editor George William Russell (pseud. AE, 1867-1935) edited The Irish Statesman (15 September 1923 to 12 April 1930), ajournal that advocated national ideals and liberal policy on divorce and censorship. On the suggestion of Thomas McGreevy, who had published poems in the journal under the pseudonym

L. St. Senen, SB may have submitted a prose piece to The Irish Statesman; John Pilling suggests "Assumption" (Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 19). SB's story "Assumption" was published in transition, 16-17 Oune 1929), 268-271. Reference to an understamped envelope suggests that the submission was longer than one or two pages.

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), poet and Editor of The Criterion (1923-1939). Poet and essayist Seumas O'Sullivan• (ne James Sullivan Starkey, 1879-1958) edited Dublin Magazine (1923-1958).

3 SB writes from Kassel, Germany, from the home of his paternal aunt Frances Sinclair• (nee Beckett, known as Fanny, and by family and friends as Cissie, 1880-1951) and her husband William Abraham Sinclair• (known as Boss, 1882-1937), an art dealer.

4 Fram;ois Mauriac, Le Desert de !'amour (1925; The Desert of Love).

5 Between 1923 and 1925 the Sinclairs had lived in the Pension in Kragenhof on the Fulda River, near Kassel; they continued to go to Kragenhofto swim and take walks along the river or through the forests (Morris Sinclair, 20 October 1993).

6 The city of Florence is compared to a sick woman by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321): "Che non puo trovar posa in su le piume, / ma con dar volta suo dolore scherma" ("that can find no rest on her bed of down but with turning seeks to ease her pain") (La Divina Commedia, with comment by Enrico Bianchi [Florence: Adriano Salani, 1927], Purgatorio Canto VI, lines 150-151; Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Vol. II, Purgatorio, tr. and comment John D. Sinclair [London: John Lane The Bodley Head, 1939, rev. 1948] 89). All citations are from these editions.

SB used the 1926 Salani edition, although he did not think highly of it; the editors could only obtain a 1927 edition. For further discussion of the Salani edition, see Daniela Caselli, "The 'Florentia Edition in the Ignoble Salani Collection': A Textual Comparison," Journal ofBeckett Studies 9.2 (2001) 1-20; Daniela Caselli, "The Promise of Dante in the Beckett Manuscripts," Notes Diverse Halo, Special issue SBT/A 16 (2006) 237-257.

SB read Dante in Italian, not in translation. The editors chose the prose translation of Sinclair with the Italian text. "the critical text of the Societa Dantesca Italiana revised by Giuseppi Vandelli," on the facing page, so readers can consult both texts (The Divine Comedy ofDante Alighieri, I, Inferno, 9).

7 SB refers to characters in Du cote de chez Swann, the first part of Proust's novel

A la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927; In Search of Lost Time).

8 English writer and statesman Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859); Irish novelist George Augustus Moore (1852-1933).

The narrator of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu recovers memories of his childhood when drinking a cup of "tilleul" (lime-flower infusion) with a madeleine.

9 RuthMargaret Sinclair• (known asPeggy, 1911-1933 ), daughter ofCissie and Boss Sinclair, had spent time with SB in Dublin in the summer of 1928, and in September 1928 in Kassel and Vienna, where she studied dance and movement at the Schule Hellerau-Laxenburg (Pilling,A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 17).

James Joyce, Ulysses 1922 ).

10 SB's essay"Dante ... Bruno.Vico .. Joyce," and his story"Assumption," hadjust appeared in transition.

11 McGreevy continued to have a room at the Ecole Normale Superieure. Jean Thomas• (1900-1983),Agrege-repetiteur at theENS (1926 to 1932), coached students preparing for the agregation. the highest-level university examination. SB taught students taking the agregation d'anglais.

McGreevy had been asked to consider translating Les Enfants tenibles 1929) by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) (McGreevy to George Yeats, 21 August 1929, NL!,MS 20,849; Susan Schreibman,15 January 2007).

12 lord Arthur Savile's Crime, The Canterville Ghost, Poems in Prose by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) (London: James R.Osgood,Mcilvaine, 1891).

13 "Leb wohl." (Ger., Be well.)



Trinity College Dublin

Cher Monsieur Dion1

Je peux maintenant vous annoncer definitivement la date de mon retour a l'Ecole. 11 m'est impossible de partir avantjeudi, le 28 de ce mois.2 Je me presenterai a l'Ecole dans l'apres[-]midi du vendredi suivant.

Veuillez agreer, Monsieur Dion, !'expression de mes sentiments les plus distingues, s/ S. B. Beckett

TLS;1 leaf, 1 side;AN, 61AJ/119. Dating: although written in Roman numerals,the date refers to November.


Trinity College Dublin

Dear Monsieur Dion1

I can now tell you definitively the date of my return to the Ecole. It is impossible for me to leave before Thursday the 28th of this month. I shall come to the Ecole in the afternoon of the following Friday.

Yours sincerely

S. B. Beckett

1 Roger Dion (1896-1981), a member ofthe Social Sciences faculty, was Surveillant, a senior administrator with responsibility for discipline, at the Ecole Normale Superieure in 1929.

2 SB's return to the Ecole Normale Superieure in the autumn of 1929 was delayed by Rudmose-Brown, who asked that SB remain at Trinity College Dublin in the absence ofAndre Parreaux (1906-1979). Parreaux had been the ENS exchange Lecteur at TCD in 1928-1929 and had been expected to return for 1929-1930; however, he was detained in Paris to retake examinations in English and Philology (Rudmose-Brown to the Directeur, Ecole Normale Superieure, 9 October 1929, AN, 61AJ/202). When it was determined that Parreaux would not be returning to TCD for 1929-1930, the ENS named Georges Pelorson• (after 1945 known as Georges Belmont, b. 1909) to take up the appointment at TCD beginning in the Hilary term (27 January 1930). Only when this decision was reached could SB return to his position at the ENS.

Chronology 1930

1930 March

14May 1June

15June 16June After 1 July

SAugust 25August

16 September

17 September

1 October

10 October

14 October

SB poem "For Future Reference" published in


SB submits English translations from Italian for a special issue of This Quarter.

Richard Aldington proposes to Chatto and Windus that they publish what will become The Dolphin Books series.

SB submits MS ofWhoroscope to the Hours Press. Awarded Hours Press Prize for Whoroscope.

Applies for Trinity College Dublin lectureship in Modern Languages.

Sends two pages of French translation of Joyce's "Anna Livia Plurabelle" to Philippe Soupault.

Has begun to write Proust. Jacob Bronowski selects three of the four poems by SB published in The European Caravan: "Hell Crane to Starling," "Casket of Pralinen for the Daughter of a Dissipated Mandarin," "Text," and "Yoke of Liberty."

SB leaves Paris for London.

Personally delivers the MS of Proust to Charles Prentice at Chatto and Windus in London.

In Dublin for the beginning of theMichaelmasTerm at Trinity College Dublin.

Chatto and Windus accept Proust.

SB proposes adding a conclusion to Proust.

15 October Bifurissues printer's proofs oftranslation of"Anna Livia Plurabelle" by SB and Alfred Peron, but Joyce withdraws the translation.

17 October Chatto and Windus sends contract for Proust.

By 14 November SB presents "Le Concentrisme," a spoof study of an invented poet, Jean du Chas, to the Modern Languages Society, Trinity College Dublin.

25 November Visits Jack B. Yeats for the first time.

By 12 December Sends final typescript of Proust to Chatto and


December Song lyric "From the Only Poet to a Shining Whore: for Henry Crowder to Sing" published in Henry Crowder's Henry-Music.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry



Cher Ami

I bearded the 2 salauds in den 40 [for 42] as instructed, and translated their titles. They gave me other things to do, notably an archaeological chronicle by Delaporte and two lists of illustrations - Maillol & Picasso.1 It is all done and sent off. No letters for you at the hotel.

Russel[l] sent back the pome, with a note to the effect that I might save myself the trouble of sending him anything further, couched in the following terms: 'I have a copy box stuffed to the brim with poetry sufficient to supply the needs of the Statesman for a year to come without taking in a single MS. and it is no use in accepting new Mss to add to the pile waiting their tum for publication'!!2 Now I think that is about the best so far. As if I were trying to sell him a load of manure or a ton of bricks. And the nice little whimper I wrote specially for him! Dear dear dear. Worked with the Penman last night. He recited Verlaine and said that poetry ought to be rimed and that he couldn't imagine anyone writing a poem 'sinon a une petite femme.' He talked a lot about petites femmes.3 His own did not appear. No news - except that to-day the Spring is here at last. Alan has had a dream - that he received a parcel ofbooks including 2 new works by Shaw, a play and an analysis of a murder trial.4 Repressed desires!

Amusez-vous bien5 Yours ever

Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; TCD, MS 10402/5.

1 SB stood in for Thomas McGreevy, who was Secretary for the English edition ofFonnes: an International Review ofPlastic Art, a journal of art theory published in French and English (December 1929 - March 1933). Fonnes was directed by Shigetaro Fukushima (1895-1960) with Waldemar George (ne Waldemar Jerzy Jarocinski, 1893-1970) as Art Director, and Marcel Zahar (1898-1989) as Secretary; its editorial office was at 42 Rue Pasquier, Paris 8. Normally, McGreevy translated and typed "between 25 and 30 thousand words every month" for Fonnes (Thomas McGreevy to James Pinker, Sunday [1930[, NYPL, Berg: James B. Pinter and Sons Records 1893-1940). However, SB had only translated the titles of articles, a list of illustrations, and a "Chronicle of Archaeology" by Louis Delaporte (ne Louis-Joseph Delaporte, 1874-1944) (Fonnes, 4 [April 1930[ [2[, 25). The illustrations by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and French sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) were related to articles on the artists: "Aristide Maillol" ([2], 5-7) by French novelist Jules Romains (ne Louis Farigoule, 1885-1973) and "The Passion of Picasso" ([2], 8-9) by Waldemar George. SB's translations are unsigned.

Salauds (bastards).

2 The Irish Statesman published its final issue on 12 April 1930. SB probably submitted "Sonnet" ("At last I find ... ), which he thought would appeal to AE who was a theosophist (Lawrence E. Harvey, Samuel Beckett: Poet and Critic [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970] 283-285; Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 23). "Sonnet" was later published as part of SB's story "Sedendo et Quiesciendo [for Quiescendo]", transition 21 (March 1932) 17, and in Samuel Beckett, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, ed. Eoin O'Brien and Edith Fournier (New York: Arcade Publishing, in association with Riverrun Press, 1993) 70; all citations are from this edition.

3 James Joyce was known as the Penman (after his character Shem the Penman in

Finnegans Wake). French poet Paul Verlaine (1844-1896).

Sinon a une petite femme (except to a little woman).

4 Alan George Duncan• (1895-1943) lived in Paris from 1924; he and his wife Isabel Belinda Atkinson Duncan• (1893-1964) were frequently Beckett's cafe companions. Alan Duncan's "only subject" was Shaw (Brian Coffey, June 1993).

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) did have a new play, The Apple Cart (first published in German as Der Kaiser von Amerika: Eine politische Komodie in drei Akten, tr. Siegfried Trebitsch [Berlin: S. Fischer Verlag, 1929], and then in English with Saint Joan in George Bernard Shaw, The Works of Bernard Shaw: Collected Edition, XVII [London: Constable, 1930], as well as separately in December 1930 [London: Constable, 19301). In Shaw's Doctor's Delusion, Crude Criminology, and Sham Education (1931), several essays were republished that offered analyses of criminal cases (see Dan H. Laurence, Bernard Shaw: A Bibliography, I [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983] 187-189).

5 "Amusez-vous bien" (enjoy yourself).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

Sunday [c. 27 April to 11 May 1930]



My dear Tom

I have just read your letter, and am glad you have found some peace & happiness with your Mother & sisters.1 Here there is very little of either, except perhaps to-day, when this place is empty and silent. I have started vaguely to work. I saw Goll. Another slave. I am seeing Soupault to-morrow, to ask him to take on my part of the rivers & let me begin on the base translation.2 Last night I drank with Alan, Belinda, Harry Clark [for

Clarke] & the M�Kennas.3 [•••]

Harry C. left for London this morning. The M�Ks. arrived last night laden down with Poe & Goethe for him to sign.4 Aren't people shits? Signed photographs, signed books, signed menus.

I suppose the Gilberts & Carduccis would feel honoured if Joyce signed a piece of his used toilet paper.5 I saw J.J. on Thursday night. Miss Weaver was there.6 I like her very much. And just Lucia and M�. A pleasant evening. Sometimes I hear from Germany, but now with a very decent irregularity.7 I have been doing a little tapirising & reading Keats, you'll be sorry to hear. I like that crouching brooding quality in Keats - squatting on the moss, crushing a petal, licking his lips & rubbing his hands, 'counting the last oozings, hours by hours.' I like him the best of them all, because he doesn't beat his fists on the table. I like that awful sweetness and thick soft damp green richness. And weariness.

Take into the air my quiet breath.' But there's nobody here to


8 talk to, & it[']s so rarely one is enthusiastic, or glad of something.

I am afraid the Trinity - Ecole arrangement is doomed. I'm afraid I'm going to be embarrassed again - if they offer me anything. I only heard indirectly, Pelorson via Beaufret - so keep it close.9 They are making a big mistake.

Don't worry about Formes. I have had practically nothing to do so far, and it['Js as good a way of creating [a] past as any other - & safer than most.10

Lucia is coming to tea. God bless.

Yrs ever


ALS; 1 leaf, 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/6. Dating: Harry Clarke left Pau at the end of April 1930, stopping in Paris and London on the way to Dublin, where he arrived on 16 May (Nicola Gordon Bowe, The Life and Work of Harry Oarke [Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1989] 223). The date for their evening together may have been 26 April, 3 or 10 May, with the first two most likely. Joyce was in Zurich c. 13 May to c. 17 June.

1 McGreevy's father Thomas McGreevy (1858-1930) died on 19 April; McGreevy had returned to Tarbert to be with his mother Margaret McGreevy (nee Enright, 1855-1936) and his sisters.

2 When asked to undertake a French translation of the Anna Livia Plurabelle chapter of Work in Progress, SB was assisting Joyce by translating into French references to over a thousand names of rivers woven through that section of the manuscript later published as Finnegans Wake ([New York: Viking Press, 1959] 196-216; for a listing of the rivers see McHugh, Annotations to Finnegans Wake, 196-216).

Ivan Goll (ne Isaac Lang, 1891-1950), born in St.-Die-des-Vosges, Lorraine, wrote poetry, drama, and novels in both French and German. On behalf of the Basel publisher Rhein-Verlag, Goll approached Joyce about publishing German translations of his work. As a polyglot, Goll was helpful to Joyce as he wrote Work in Progress.

French surrealist poet, writer, and critic Philippe Soupault (1897-1990).

3 Alan and Belinda Duncan.

Dublin illustrator and stained-glass artist Harry Clarke (1889-1931). These McKennas have not been identified.

4 Harry Clarke illustrated editions of Tales of Mystery and Imagination (London: G. G. Harrap, 1919) by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) and Faust (London: G.G. Harrap, 1925) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

5 Stuart Gilbert (1883-1969) worked on the French translation ofJoyce's Ulysses and helped to popularize Joyce's work with his book, James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study (1930). French poet and translator Auguste Morel (n.d.) translated Ulysses as Ulysse (1929), assisted by Gilbert; the translation was revised by French novelist, poet, critic, and translator Valery Larbaud (1881-1959). (For discussion of the process: Richard

Ellmann, James Joyce: New and Revised Edition [Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, paperback with corrections, 1983] 562-563, 601-602; James Joyce, Letters of]ames Joyce, I, ed. Stuart Gilbert [New York: Viking Press, 1957] 28).

The Italian composer and music critic Edgardo Carducci-Agustini (1898-?), set Joyce's poem "Alone" to music, and for some months "read to Joyce in Italian for two hours a day" (Ellmann,JamesJoyce, 648).

6 Harriet Shaw Weaver (1876-1961) published and promoted Joyce's work in England. She was a devoted friend and benefactor of Joyce.

7 SB's German correspondent is his cousin Peggy in Kassel, with whom he had been emotionally involved (see Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 113-114).

8 "Tapirising," from "tapir" (French academic slang, private pupil).

SB misquotes a line from "To Autumn" by John Keats (1795-1821): "Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours"; the second quotation is from "Ode to a Nightingale" by Keats: "I have been half in love with easeful Death, / Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme, / To take into the air my quiet breath" Oohn Keats, The Poems of]ohn Keats, ed. Jack Stillinger [Cambridge, MA: Belknap-Harvard University Press, 1978] 476-477; 369-372).

9 Rudmose-Brown expected SB to return to Trinity College Dublin as his assistant in the autumn of 1930. That year, TCD did not propose a candidate for the exchange program with the Ecole Normale Superieure (William Kennedy, Trinity College Registrar, to Ernest Vessiot, Ecole Normale Superieure [31 May 1930], AN, 61AJ/202). In the place of someone from TCD, Robert I. Brown (1907-1996) from theUniversity of Glasgow was accepted as Lecteur d'anglais by the ENS. In a further complication, Georges Pelorson petitioned to remain at TCD for 1930-1931 rather than accept an assignment at the University of Glasgow (Pelorson to the Directeur, Ecole Normale Superieure [21 June 1930], AN, 61 AJ 202).

Jean Beaufret" (known as Bowsprit, 1907-1982) was a Philosophy student and had been McGreevy's roommate at the ENS; "Bowsprit," based on the French, "beaupre" (bowsprit) (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 150-151).

10 SB continued to stand in for McGreevy at Fonnes, so that McGreevy could retain his position while he was away from Paris (see 1 March 1930, n. 1).



Ecole Normale

Rue d'Ulm 45 [Paris]

Dear Mr Putnam

This was nearly finished when your pneu came, so I went on with it.1 It is far and away the best ofa bad lot. There are some good things in the Favola Gattesca - do you remember it? It is roughly four times as long as Paesaggio. Do you wish me to translate it - or would you prefer something shorter in the way of a pendant to this rather watery pastoral humility: Crepuscolo Mitologico, for example.2 I will not start anything until I hear from you.

Very sincerely yours s/ S. B. Beckett

TLS; 1 leaf. 1 side; enclosure not with letter; NjP, New Review Correspondence ofSamuel Putnam, COl 11/1/9.

1 As Associate Editor of This Quarter, Samuel Putnam• (1892-1950) compiled the "Miniature Anthology of Contemporary Italian Literature" for This Quarter, 2.4 (April-May-June, 1930). It includedSB's translations: "Paesaggio" by the Italian writer Raffaello Franchi (1899-1949) translated by SB as "Landscape"; "Delta" by Eugenio Montale (1896-1981); and "The Home-Coming" by Giovanni Comisso (1895-1969) (672, 630, 675-683).

The European Caravan: An Anthology of the New Spirit in European Literature• had been planned as a two-volume anthology; an Italian section was to appear in the second volume, but this was not published (ed. Samuel Putnam, Maida Castelhun Damton, George Reavey, and J[acob]Bronowski [New York:Brewer, Warren, and Putnam, 19311).

2 Franchi's Favola Gattesca was published in Piazza natia (Turin: Fratelli Buratti Editori, 1929) 97-106. "Crepuscolo mitologico" (120-122) is the third section of Diorama (107-124) in Piazza natia.

Thomas M Cgreevy Tarber T, Co. Kerry

Thursday[? 17 July 1930]

Ecole Normale [Paris]

My dear Tom

Glad to get your letter & know that things had gone well in London. You do not say anything about the Connoisseur people.1 Did you see them? Here nothing more interesting than the usual drink & futility. Alfy is here, and we saw Soupault together. We are working on the bloody thing together in a vague ineffectual kind of way.2 Alfy has gone to repose himself at Boulogne sur Merde (or sur Seine, as you like) and then of course he must lie with his subtle Russian sweet. Indeed, I have seen very little ofhim. He is changed or I have or both. I guess at the old Alfy. The first evening he burst out in a fury about Ethna, and the 'salaud qui m'a fait rater ma vie'. Since then nothing, mockery & decompositions and dreadfully perfect. Shining agates of negation. How energetic they always are, these self-avowed cynics and desabuses, bristling with passionate estimates and beating their breasts in a jemenfoutiste & jusquauboutiste frenzy.3 He will be here till the end of the month and then in Auvergne. How can we do any thing in that time, meeting tired in the evening and gal[l]oping through a page? I know there is nothing to be done and that nothing of any value will be done, but one goes on, driven by a wind, like the accidiosi.4 The 14th was all right, because I was drunker than either

Nancy or Henry. There were other people there, God knows who, but they went offearly for a little coucherie I suppose.5 God knows also what I said & did, but I think it was all right. I was so tired at the end that I could hardly climb into a taxi. They liked the Rahab tomfoolery, God help them. Henry said several times that it was 'vey vey bootiful & vey vey fine in-deed.' He was very nice & behaved very well, and played the piano at the Cigogne, where I described arabesques of an original pattem.6 I heard from Nancy from London. She has given me her Parallax that I asked her for, & lent me The Apes of God & some Pound Cantos. I read Parallax. I don't know what to say about it. There are some fine things:

By the Embankment I counted the grey gulls Nailed to the wind above a distorted tide.'7

No . . ? And then a lot of padding I am afraid. I don't know. Perhaps it's very good.

I can't start the Proust. Curse this hurry any how.8 Did they mention it in London? I know what will happen: that the German trip will be sacrificed to no purpose, and that I will creep away at the last moment without having done any thing - Joyce or Proust. At least I have finished reading the bastard.

I had a terrible l½ h(our] with Alan & B. in the usual kip. I was sitting there with Alfy (whom they know) & Pelorson, and of course they had to be invited to our table. Then the noble captain & traducer turned on his salivary glands and his supply of Shaw texts, and was a camelot on the strength of the 141h's bunting. He went on & on & Alfy heaped fuel on the flame by disagreeing. Pelorson collapsedspontaneously on the banquette and I observed a terrible silence that will never be forgiven by Rathmines.9 It is more impossible every time I see them. Fortunately Louis le Cardonnel was there & the exquisite Therive. Pelorson was delighted. Therive left without paying for his beer, and the fat Chestertonian individual refused angrily to pay for him. 10 Pelorson was in an extraordinary state of excitement & hilarity. Really he is charming - specially alone. Yesterday we were up all night. At last we bought a bottle of champagne a la Charlus, and brought it up here with his gramophone & played Tristan & Isolde & the Oiseau de Feu. Poor Pelorson! What an unhappy person. II n'y a que cela he said.11

A long cheerless letter but very friendly from Ruddy. He can't find a publisher for a book he wants to write on Racine. Could anything be done with Chatto & Windus? I bought the Larousse edition & tried to read Esther. What is wrong with me? I find chevilles everywhere, and I never did before in Racine.12

I had a nice friendly card from Peggy from the North Sea, where she is with the Boche Hausfreund & Cissie & the youngest girl. 13 I was very glad. I sent the pome to the Boss. 14

A letter from Lucia too. I don't know what to do. She is unhappy she says. Now that you are gone there is no one to talk to about that. I dare not go to Wales, and I promised I would if they were there on my way through. 15 But it is impossible. There is no solution. What terrible instinct prompts them to have the genius ofbeauty at the right - or the wrong - moment! To-morrow I will get your book & send it along. I forwarded to Tarbert a bulky letter from Jack Yeats I think.16 I have not seen Mario but will to-morrow evening. We are bring[ing] the Bowsprit out for a spree.

Yes, I was in time for Angelo. He was to have come this afternoon & I hurried back to find a note saying he had to go about his papers to the consulat.17

The light has collapsed again & they won't come & mend.

The room is full of candles.



Alfy dit que les Japonais aiment beaucoup a enculer des canards agonisants, a cause du duvet, parait-il. 18

Gaudin is colle, poor creature, & he wanted to get married.

Reclame pour moi!19

ALS; 5 leaves; 10 sides; PS upper right margin, side 1; TCD. MS 10402/2. Dating: SB's reference to the strength of the 14th's bunting indicates Bastille Day. A letter fromJack

B. Yeats to McGreevy in Paris on 14July 1930 ("I expect Paris in the summer is rather stuffy," enclosing reviews of Yeats's show in London [TCD, MS 10381/111]) was forwarded by SB to Tarbert, Ireland. In July 1930, the Joyces were in Wales, but they returned to England on 28 July (see [before 5 August 1930], n. 3). The Apes of God had been published by June 1930. Nancy Cunard was in London from 15 July through at least 21 July 1930, when she attended a dinner party in honor of George Moore. Hence the date of this letter is probably Thursday 17July 1930.

1 On his way from Paris to his family home in Tarbert, McGreevy passed through London. From November 1925 to February 1927, McGreevy had been Assistant Editor of The Connoisseur, a Journal of the Arts (1901-1992), London.

SB canceled "Criterion" and inserted above it "Connoisseur."

2 Alfred Remy Peron• (1904-1945) entered the Ecole Normale Superieure in 1924 and was agrege d'anglais by 1929; he first met SB when he was Lecteur in French at Trinity College Dublin (1926-1928), and they were together at the ENS in 1929. Peron was working with SB on the French translation of the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" chapter of Joyce's Work in Progress, which had been first published separately in English Uames Joyce, Anna Livia Plurabelle !New York: Crosby Gaige, 19281). Philippe Soupault was directing the translation originally intended for publication in the Paris journal Bifer (May 1929 - June 1931), edited by Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes (1887-1974).

3 Marie Lezine (known as Mania, 1900-1988); she married Peron in 1930.

Ethna Mary Maccarthy" (1903-1959). SB's contemporary in Modem Languages at Trinity College Dublin, figures as a beloved in SB's poem, "Alba," and in Dream ofFair to Middling Women. "'Salaud qui m'a fait rater ma vie'" (bastard who ruined my life).

Desabuses (disillusioned ones); "jemenfoutiste" (don't-give-a-damnish); "jusquauboutiste" (no-half-measures-ish).

4 SB alludes to the "accidiosi" (slothful) in Dante's Divine Comedy, but seems to confuse them with the "lussuriosi" (lustful). Those souls "driven by the wind" in the Comedy are the Lustful in Inferno Canto V, and more briefly the Incontinent in Inferno Canto XI (line 71). The "accidiosi" appear in Canto VII ofinferno, but as they are under slime, no wind can reach them: "'Tristi fummo / ne l'aere dolce che dal sol s'allegra, / portando dentro accidioso fummo: / or ci attristiam ne la belletta negra"' ("'We were sullen in the sweet air that is gladdened by the sun, bearing in our hearts a sluggish smoke; now we are sullen in the black-mire'") (Dante, La Divina Commedia, Inferno Canto VII, lines 121-124; Dante, The Divine Comedy, I, Inferno).

5 Bastille Day, the French national holiday celebrated on 14July.

SB wrote Whoroscope on 15 June and submitted it that night to the competition of the Hours Press for the best poem on time. With Richard Aldington, Nancy Cunard' (1896-1965), English writer.journalist and publisher of the Hours Press (1928-1934), had selected SB's Whoroscope (Paris: Hours Press, 1930) as the winner. To Louise Morgan (1883-1964) Cunard wrote a letter dated only with the time, "3 a.m." (in AH June 1930):

We found a poem, a beauty, by a poet - so much so that it must be printed by itself. Irishman of 23, Ecole Normale here, that's all I know, but am seeing him tomorrow. Richard says many of the allusions are to Descartes!.] I shouldn't have known. Much in it none of us will ever know, and the whole thing so good it proves again the rest doesn't matter.

Will you announce please that the Hours Press prize for best Time poem is awarded to Samuel Beckett. Poem called "The Eighth Day"[...] (CtY, GEN MSS 80, series V, 36/861)

The exact date of publication is uncertain, probably between 1 and 8July 1930. In a card to Morgan dated Mon. [30 June 1930], Cunard wrote "Beckett is� good (not a Honey!) Doing his poem tomorrow - will send - do insert note of Prize winning." Louise Morgan was an Editor of Everyman; an announcement of the award included notice that the poem would be published "almost immediately in an edition consisting of100 signed and 300 unsigned copies at 5s. and ls. respectively" ("Books and Authors, Everyman 75 [3 July 1930] 728). Writing on Saturday [6 July 1930], Cunard indicates:

"Will be sending you Beckett's Poem Tues" (CtY, GEN MSS 80, series V, 36/361). See also Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 116-118, and Nancy Cunard, These Were the Hours: Memories ofMy Hours Press, Reanville and Paris, 1928-1931 [Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press; London: Feffer and Simons, 1969] 109-111).

Nancy Cunard's companion and assistant at Hours Press was the American jazz pianist Henry Crowder" (1895-1954).

"Coucherie" (fun between the sheets).

6 SB wrote "From the Only Poet to a Shining Whore: for Henry Crowder to Sing" (Henry Crowder, Henry-Music [Paris: Hours Press, 1930] [6, 12-141). The opening phrase ofSB's poem is "Rahab ofthe holy battlements," an allusion to Rahab, the harlot of Jericho Uoshua 2; see Harvey, Samuel Beckett, 305). Henry Crowder played the piano at Les Cigognes, 187 Rue de la Croix-Nivert, Paris 15. In his memoir, Crowder writes of SB: "Nancy became very interested in this man and he did have a very charming personality" (Henry Crowder and Hugo Speck, As Wonderful as All That?: Henry Crowder's Memoir of His Affair with Nancy Cunard 1928-1935, ed. Robert L. Allen [Navarro, CA: Wild Trees Press, 1987] 76).

7 Nancy Cunard was in London from 15 July through at least 21 July 1930 (Nancy Cunard to Louise Morgan, Saturday [6 July 1930], CtY, GEN MSS 80, series V, 36/861; Evelyn Waugh, The Diaries ofEvelyn Waugh, ed. Michael Davie [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976] 323).

Nancy Cunard's letter to SB from London has not been found. Nancy Cunard, Parallax

(London: Hogarth Press, 1925) 11.

The Apes ofGod (1930) by Wyndham Lewis (ne Percy Wyndham Lewis, 1882-1957) was published in June.

The Cantos ofEzra Loomis Pound (1885-1972) were then an ongoing literary work of which two sections had been published in limited editions: A Draft ofXVI Cantos ofEzra Pound: For the Beginning of a Poem of Some Length, initials by Henry Strater (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925), and A Draft ofthe Cantos 17-27 of Ezra Pound, initials by Gladys Hynes (London: J. Rodker, 1928).

8 Richard Aldington conveyed McGreevy's suggestion that SB prepare a monograph on Proust for The Dolphin Books series to his friend and publisher Charles Prentice' (c. 1892-1949) ofChatto and Windus; Prentice agreed that SB should submit his manuscript for consideration (Prentice to Richard Aldington, 20 June 1930, ICSo, Aldington 68/5/11). Although McGreevy intimated to SB that there was some urgency, the work was not a commission; perhaps, rather, it was incumbent on SB to complete some work of scholarship in lieu of a doctoral thesis before returning to teach at Trinity College Dublin in the autumn.

9 Alan Duncan (a pensioned veteran of World War I), Belinda Duncan (who was from Rathmines, Co. Dublin), Alfred Peron, Georges Pelorson. George Bernard Shaw's texts were published in a Collected Edition (London: Constable, 1930). "Camelot" (hawker).



French symbolist poet Louis le Cardonnel (1862-1936) became a priest in 1896 and is primarily known for religious poetry. "The Fat Chestertonian" may refer to le Cardonnel.

Andre Therive (ne Roger Puthoste [other pseuds: Candidus d'lsaurie, Romain Mctier,

Zadoc Monteil), 1891-1967) was a conservative and influential critic for the French newspaper Le Temps (1861-1942); he wrote on the crisis ofthe postwar novel, criticizing the tendency toward aestheticism, hermeticism, and snobbery (Benoit Le Roux, Andre Therive et ses amis en 14-18 [Saint-Brieuc: B. Le Roux, 1987] 18).

11 Le Baron de Charlus is a major character in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu. The opera of Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-1883), Tristan und Isolde (1865; Tristan and Isolde), and L'Oiseau de Feu (1910; The Firebird) by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971).

II n'y a que cela (There is nothing else).

12 Rudmose-Brown had published a critical edition ofRacine's Andromaque (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), but he did not publish a book-length critical study ofJean Racine (1639-1699). Racine's tragedy Esther (1689).

Chevilles (padding, superfluous words).

13 Peggy Sinclair, her mother Cissie, and her youngest sister, Deirdre (b. 1920, m. Hamilton), were with the "Boche Hausfreund." "Boche" (French soldiers' epithet for a German), "Hausfreund" (Ger., friend of the family).

14 SB may have sent Boss Sinclair a copy ofhis first book publication, Whoroscope, or his poem "Casket ofPralinen for a Daughter ofa Dissipated Mandarin"; the latter has many allusions to SB's experiences in Kassel. (See discussion by Harvey, Samuel Beckett, 273-274, 277-296.)

15 In May 1930 SB had informed Lucia Joyce that he was not romantically inter· ested in her (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 111). SB's uneasiness with Lucia Joyce is evident in Georges Pelorson's account ofan awkward lunch he attended with SB and Lucia (Georges Belmont, Souvenirs d'outre-monde: Histoire d'une naissance [Paris: Calmann· Levy, 2001] 170-173). In July, Lucia Joyce was with her family in Wales at the Grand Hotel, Llandudno, until they returned to England on 28 July 1930 (letter from Joyce to Valery Larbaud in James Joyce, Letters of]ames Joyce, III, ed. Richard Ellmann [New York: Viking Press, 1966] 201).

16 Irish painter and writer Jack Butler Yeats• (1871-1957) wrote to McGreevy in Paris on 14 July 1930, enclosing reviews of his London exhibition (TCD, MS 10381/111).

17 Mario and Angelo were waiters at the Cochon de Lait, 7 Rue Corneille, Paris 6 (interview with SB, November 1989); McGreevy was tutoring Mario.

18 "Alfy dit que Jes Japonais aiment beaucoup a enculer des canards agonisants, a cause du duvet, parait-il." (Alfy says the Japanese love to bugger dying ducks, on account ofthe down, it appears.)

19 Augustin Gaudin (1905-1987) entered the Ecole Normale Superieure in 1926 to study English, but spent 1926-1927 and 1928-1929 at King's College, London. Gaudin completed the Dipl6me d'etudes superieures in June 1929, and was in residence at the ENS in 1929-1930, taking the agregation examination in 1930. "Gaudin is colle" (Gaudin has failed). "Reclame pour moi!" (Publicity for me!) refers to SB's role in tutoring Gaudin for the exam. In 1932 Gaudin married Elsie Shillito (n.d.), who graduated from King's College in 1927. After a long and successful career in France, Gaudin became Proviseur (Head) of the Lycee Fram;:ais de Landres.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

Friday [c. 18 to 25 July 1930]

Ecole ... [Paris]

My dear Tom

Your letter came this morning and this evening I saw Mario and he gave me the 200 fr. Shall I send them to you as they are or change them & send or keep them for your return? Alas! I cannot avail myself of your invitation. I saw Laugier this afternoon and arranged about the caffeine.1 The Proust spreads more & more, and it seems more & more unlikely that I can finish it before I leave. Perhaps so, when Peron & Pelorson have gone. We (Peron) are galloping through A. L. P. It has become comic now. I suppose that is the only attitude.2

I wish you were here that I could talk to you. A rather di[s] pleasing thing has happened - but I cannot write about it. It must keep. And when I see you it will be decided, one way or another.3 Harry Sinclair turned in the other morning. He was very hospitable & stood me dinner twice at the Hotel Bristol, where I tasted the best wine - Chablis Moutonne 1926 - that I have ever tasted, and alas also suffered the 5 acts of Louise at the Opera

Comique.4 He has gone away now. He was asking for you.

In this particular aspect of Ruddy's case, I am not confusing human affection with literary appreciation. I think he can write the book on Racine that nobody else can write, - a book that you would never like (even if the author was anonymous), but that for me would represent at last the truth, no, not the truth, but a courageous appreciation (how rare).5 I had a letter from Pinker

(who is he) expressing the usual eyewash and giving a list of his clients - a list that I am afraid did not impress me.6

I saw Alan & Belinda the other night with Pelorson. He is applying for Assistant Curatorship of some museum in Belfast - backed by O'Brien & God knows whom. Oh, he is all of a do-da! And Belinda too, with the possibility of a car and back to the land. Don't spread it, because it might have been a confidence, although I don't think so.7 Angelo is gone, and Mario and the other are all smiles and willingness. The Bowsprit comes & talks abstractions every second day, and deniche books for me in the library.8 The Scotsman is here, though I have not seen him, with 80 kilos weight of Burns Carlyle Scott und so weiter.9

I won't forget your offer. I haven't the courage to accept it - nor the courage to flee to Italy, as I could, and let Trinity go to hell & all its works. The acceptance of this thing makes flight & escape more & more complicated, because if I chuck Dublin after a year, I am not merely chucking Dublin - definitely - but my family, and causing them pain. I suppose I may as well make up my mind to be a vegetable.10

A letter from Lucia .. calm. I sent the Penman Whoroscope.11

I am glad you are happy at home, & can understand why. I fear there is no equivalent waiting for me in Trinity. Perhaps I may prepare something - but do something . . . no.

Apes of God is truly pitiful. If that is satire a child's petulance is satire. But the more I think about the gulls the more

I disagree with your 'visual mechanics.' Better than that. Yes, the didacticism is regrettable.12

I sent Frank 'La Beaute sur la Terre' of Ramuz for his birthday. Have you read it? I will send it to you, Ruddy can't stand him, so perhaps you will like it. It is the best novel I have read modernly after the shell-shocked triangle!13 I am reading

Schopenhauer. Everyone laughs at that. Beaufret & Alfy etc. But I am not reading philosophy, nor caring whether he is right or wrong or a good or worthless metaphysician. An intellectual justification of unhappiness - the greatest that has ever been attempted - is worth the examination ofone who is interested in Leopardi & Proust rather than in Carducci & Barres. 14

Let me know about the 200 & bon travail & bon sommeil & tante belle cose. 15


ALS; 4 leaves, 8 sides; TCD, MS 10402/3. Dating: the Fridays after 17 July 1930 and before Frank Beckett's birthday on 26 July are 18 July and 25 July. This letter follows SB to McGreevy [?17 July 1930]: The Apes of God was received from Nancy Cunard; a letter was received from Rudmose-Brown seeking a publisher for a book on Racine; Robert I. Brown arrived in Paris in July and oversaw delivery of his books (see n. 9 below); Charpentier's opera Louise was performed on 10 and 22 July 1930; Alan Duncan had applied for a position in Belfast and by 8 August 1930 was among four final candidates c. Nolan, Director, Ulster Museum, 4 August 1993).

That SB and Peron are "galloping through A. L. P." suggests that this letter precedes that to Soupault dated 5 July 1930 [for 5 August 1930] when two pages of translation were sent to Soupault.

1 McGreevy had invited SB to join him later in the summer when he traveled to see Richard Aldington at Aiguebelle near Le Lavandou on the Cote d'Azur, France.

Henri Laugier• (1888-1973) was Professor of Physiology at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers (1929-1936) and a physician. A prescription was necessary to purchase caffeine.

2 SB stayed on through the summer at the Ecole Normale Superieure to work on his study of Proust and the translation of"Anna Livia Plurabelle" with Peron.

3 The circumstance is not known.

4 Henry Morris Sinclair (known as Harry, 1882-71938) was the twin brother of William Sinclair and the proprietor of Harris and Sinclair, Antique Plate, Jewellery and Works of Art, 47 Nassau Street, Dublin.

The Hotel Bristol, 112 Rue du Faubourg St.-Honore, Paris 8. The opera Louise by Gustave Charpentier (1860-1956) was performed at the Opera Comique on 10 July and 22 July; Louise has four, not five acts, but Act II has two parts.

5 "Racine pleases me more than any other dramatist," wrote Rudmose-Brown in his memoirs: "I have never ... really cared for what ought to be, or what might be. Mine has been the scientific (or artistic) turn of mind, interested in what is, and why it is ... I have never been deceived by the cant and slogans and shibboleths ofpoliticians and moralists: but I have never been indignant at the folly and corruption of the world"

(A.J. Leventhal, ed.,"Extracts from the Unpublished Memoirs of the Late T. B. RudrnoseBrown," Dublin Magazine 31.1 Uanuary-March 1956\ 32).

6 James Ralph Seabrooke Pinker (fl. 1900-1950), of Messrs James B. Pinker and Sons, London, literary agents for Richard Aldington and Thomas McGreevy.

7 Duncan applied for the position of Assistant in the Ulster Art Gallery and Museum in Belfast in June 1930; by 8 August 1930, of the thirty-six applicants who had been considered, four, including an Irishman living in Paris, were selected for interviews (Nolan, 4 August 1993).

The Irish portrait painter Derrnod O'Brien (1865-1945) was President of the Royal Hibernian Academy (1910-1945) and President of the United Arts Club, Dublin.

8 Jean Beaufi:et. "Deniche" (digs out).

9 When Robert I. Brown arrived in Paris in July 1930, he oversaw delivery of his books to the Ecole Norrnale Superieure. but he did not reside at the ENS until October. His books did not include volumes of Scottish writers Robert Burns (1759-1796), Walter Scott (1771-1832), or Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) (Robert I. Brown, 5 August 1994).

Und so weiter (and so forth).

10 McGreevy, who was now in Ireland, planned to spend late August and the first weeks of September in Aiguebelle.

11 SB may have sent Whoroscope toJoyce in Llandudno,Wales, or to his home in Paris, 2 Square Robiac. Whoroscope was announced as forthcoming on 30 June 1930 and was probably published between 1 and 8 July 1930 ("Our London Letter," The Irish Independent: 8; SB to McGreevy Thursday [? 17 July 1930], n. 5; Cunard, These Were the Hours, 210).

12 In The Apes ofGod byWyndham Lewis, the character Horace Zagreus speaks about satire with Julius Ratner, saying:"To be a true satirist Ratner you must remain upon the surface of existence ... You must never go underneath it" ([London: Arthur Press, 1930; rpt. Santa Barbara, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1981\ 451).

Although"gulls" are mentioned in The Apes ofGod, it is probable that SB is responding to McGreevy's comment on the image of"gulls" in Nancy Cunard's poem, Parallax, a passage that SB had praised in his previous letter to McGreevy [?17 July 1930].

13 The birthday of SB's brother Frank Edward Beckett• (1902-1954) was 26 July. La Beaute sur la terre (1927; Beauty on Earth) was written by Swiss-born novelist Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz (1878-1947). The"shell-shocked triangle" probably refers to the following novels ofWorldWar I: Henri Barbusse (1874-1935), Le Feu,joumal d'une escouade (1916; Under Fire); Georges Duhamel (ne Denis Thevenin, 1884-1966), La Vie des martyrs (1917; The New Book of Martyrs); Roland Dorgeles (ne Roland Lecavele, 1885-1973), Les Croix de bois (1919; Wooden Crosses); the first two were awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1917 and 1918 respectively.

14 German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1869) discusses happiness as "mere abolition of a desire and extinction of a pain" in his essay"On the Suffering of the World"; he adds that, if one's fellow man is seen as a"fellow sufferer," it"reminds us of what are the most necessary of all things; tolerance, patience, forbearance and

charity, which each of us needs and which each of us therefore owes" (Essays and

Aphorisms, ed. and tr. R.J. Hollingdale London: Penguin, 1970] 42, 50). Jean Beaufret and Alfred Peron.

Italian poet GiacomoLeopardi (1798-1837); for SB's student notes onLeopardi: TCD, MS 10971/9. For further discussion ofLeopardi's influence on SB, see C. J. Ackerley and

S.E. Gontarski, The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett: A Reader's Guide to His Works, Life, and Thought (New York: Grove Press, 2004) 316-317.

SB refers to Italian poet and Professor in Classics at the University of Bologna (1860-1904) Giosue Carducci (1835-1907); for SB's student reading notes: TCD, MS 10965 and MS 10965a.

Maurice Barres (1863-1923), French novelist, journalist, politician, fervent and anti-semitic Nationalist, was author of two trilogies of novels, Le Culte du moi (1888-1891; The Cult ofEgo) and Le Roman de l'energie nationale (1897-1902; The Novel of NationalEnergy).

15 "Bon travail & bon sommeil" (work well & sleep well); "tante belle cose" (It., all good wishes).


[before 5 August 1930]

Ecole Normale [Paris]

Dear Tom

I cannot find the phrase you want, but may yet. I thought

I knew where it was, but was wrong as usual. Have you no idea. I thought it was amongst the negligent, but it was not. 1 What poem do you mean? Every second poem of Laforgue is about jeunes ti.Hes & couvents. I will send you my volume of Laforgue. I will look in Corbiere and send it along.2 Anything I can do I am only too glad to do. But you may be sure I will do it all wrong & badly. I have not put pen to paper on Proust. But I will, & then I hope it will go quickly. I am reading him all again before starting & it tires me a lot. I am supposed to be going on with the Joyce too, alone now that Alfy has gone, God help & save me. I can't do the bloody thing. It's betrayal as well as everything else.


I heard from Lucia. I never think of her now. I think they have left Llandudno for Oxford.3 I saw Bronowski. A talkative shit. I think I like Putnam & Reavey.4 But possibly not much. Reavey bought a new ribbon for my typewriter & that works very well now. When are you coming back? Hurry up in the name of God. Sorry to hear about the Bibesco. Surely he'll pay all the same?5 I had a card from Angelo from Piedmont, and was very glad. I saw your doctor & he gave me some bloody stuffthat isn't bad, but I'd rather have caffeine.6 They never do what you ask them. I am looking forward to pulling the balls off the critical & poetical Proustian cock. He adored Ruskin & the Comtesse de

Noailles and thought Amie! was a forerunner! I am going to write a poem about him too, with Charlus's lavender trousers in a Gothic pissotiere.7 I will write again to-morrow and give all information I can. Have you heard from Aldington?8 You sent on an offer of a complimentary photographical seance from one Miss Vaughan! It'd be better for a man to be dead! When you come we will drink 2 bottles of Chambertin & half a bottle of cochon fine & find a cine cochon.9 You are unwise to leave me your 200. You know I will spend it. I brought my shoes to a shop and they refused to mend them, but I can still wear them on very dry days. Another pair too I had they refused to mend.

Schopenhauer says defunctus is a beautiful word - as long as one does not suicide. 10 He might be right.



ALS; I leaf. 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/4. Dating: Jacob Bronowski was editing the English and Irish sections of The European Caravan for Samuel Putnam; Bronowski was in Paris 31 July to 3 August 1930, and again, overnight, on 16 August as he returned to London (Bronowski to Putnam, 28 July 1930; Bronowski to Putnam, 14 August 1930 [NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl 11/1/23]). SB may have met Bronowski at either of these times, but early August 1930 is more likely. The Joyces were in Llandudno during late June and much ofJuly; Joyce wrote to Valery Larbaud from England on 28 July 1930 and to Stanislaus Joyce from Oxford on 3 August 1930 Uoyce, Letters of James Joyce, III, 512, 201). SB's surmise that the Joyces are back in Oxford would confirm a date toward the end ofJuly or early August.

1. The Princes who have been negligent of salvation are found in Canto VII of Dante's Purgatory. McGreevy does not cite Dante in his Thomas Stearns Eliot: A Study, The Dolphin Books (London: Chatto and Windus, 1931); he does quote from Dante in his poem "Fragments" (1931) (Thomas MacGreevy, Collected Poems ofThomas MacGreevy: An Annotated Edition, ed. Susan Schreibman [Dublin: Anna Livia Press; Washington DC: The Catholic University ofAmerica Press, 1991] 38, 140-142).

2. Several poems by French poet Jules Laforgue (1860-1887) are quoted in McGreevy's Thomas Stearns Eliot, 30-33: "Figurez-vous un peu" (Derniers vers), "Petition," "Petite priere sans pretentions," and "Le bon apotre" (a section that is also part of"Le Condie Feerique"). McGreevy seeks a poem with allusion to a convent; the untitled twelfth poem ofthe Derniers vers takes as its headnote (in English) a portion of Hamlet's speech to Ophelia, beginning: "Get thee to a nunn'ry" (Shakespeare, Hamlet, in The Riverside Shakespeare: The Complete Works, General and Textual ed. G. Blakemore Evans, assisted by J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd edn. [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997] III.i.120-129; all subsequent Shakespeare citations are from this text). McGreevy discusses the influence on Eliot of French poet Tristan Corbiere (ne Edouard-Joachim Corbiere, 1845-1875), quoting from Corbiere's poem "Vesuves et Cie," published in Les Amours jaunes (1873) (McGreevy, Thomas Stearns Eliot, 25-26).

3. The Joyce family left the Grand Hotel, Llandudno, for the Randolph Hotel, Oxford, about 1 August 1930 (Danis Rose, The Textual Diaries of]amesJoyce [Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1995] 188).

4. Polish-born mathematician and scientist Jacob Bronowski· (1908-1974) was an Editor of the Cambridge University undergraduate journal Experiment (1928-1931), begun by William Empson (1906-1984), William Hare (ne William Francis Hare, Lord Ennismore; from 1931, the 5th Earl ofListowel; 1906-1997), and Humphrey Jennings (1907-1950); in 1929 Hugh Sykes [Davies] (1909-1984) replaced Empson as Editor. George Reavey• (1907-1976), also at Cambridge, published in the journal.

With George Reavey, Maida Castelhun Darnton (1872-1940), and Samuel Putnam, Bronowski was compiling and editing The European Caravan.

5 Prince Antoine Bibesco (1878-1951) was the Romanian envoy in London, a lifelong friend of Marcel Proust, and a dramatist. It is not known what McGreevy had begun to translate for Bibesco, but possibly it was his play Laquelle . .. ? (1930). Although unacknowledged as such, McGreevy was translator of Le Destin de Lord Thomson of Cardington (Lord Thomson of Cardington, a Memoir and Some Letters [London: Jonathan Cape, 19321) by Princesse Marthe Lucie Bibesco (nee Lahovary, also pseud. Lucile Decaux, 1886-1973), Romanian-born novelist, biographer, and travel writer, a cousin by marriage to Antoine Bibesco.

6 McGreevy's doctor was Henri Laugier.

7 Proust spent several years translating and annotating the works ofthe English art critic and writer John Ruskin (1819-1900): Sesame and Lilies (1865-1869) as Sesame et les

lys (1906) and The Bible of Amiens (1885) as La Bible d'Amiens (1904). Poet and woman of letters, Anna de Brancovan, Comtesse Mathieu de Noailles (1876-1933).Journal /ntime (1883-1884) by Henri-Frederic Amie! (1821-1881), Swiss poet and philosopher, Professor of Aesthetics and Moral Philosophy at the University of Geneva.

In Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu the Baron de Charlus frequents pissotieres (street urinals) for the purpose of soliciting.

8 Richard Aldington.

9 Reference to a circular from a photographer Miss Kay Vaughan (n.d.), 44A Dover Street, London Wl.

"Cochon fine" (house brandy); "cine cochon" (blue film).

10 In his "Doctrine of Suffering of the World," Schopenhauer writes: "Life is a task to be worked off; in this sense defunctus is a fine expression" (Studies in Pessimism in Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays, tr. E. F.J. Payne. II !Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974] 300). SB uses "defunctus" as the final word in Proust, The Dolphin Books (!London: Chatto and Windus, 1931] 72; pagination is identical in Proust [New York: Grove Press, 19571).

Philippe Soupault Paris

5/7/30 [for 5 August 1930]

Ecole Normale Rue d'tnm45 Paris Se

Cher Monsieur Soupault

Voici enfin. Deux copies, dans le cas que Bifur en voudrait une. 1 Mais je ne voudrais pas publier cela, pas meme un fragment, sans l'au[t]orisation de Monsieur Joyce lui-meme, qui pourrait tres bien trouver cela vraiment trap mal fait et trap eloigne de l'original.2 Plus j'y pense plus je trouve tout cela bien pauvre. Enfin, tel quel, je vous l'envoie.

Cordialement s/ Samuel Beckett

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; enclosure: TMS with AN; 2 leaves, 2 sides ofpreliminary translation into French ofJoyce's "Anna Livia Plurabelle"; CtY, James Joyce collection, GEN MSS 112, Series II, 5/102; photocopy OkTIJ, Ellmann collection.

The typescript enclosure ends: "Patain de foudre! En voila du pourprauperisme!" It is possible: (1) that more pages were originally enclosed; (2) that the translation was continued by SB, with or without Peron (an argument that might be made for maintaining the date as 5 July 1930); or (3) that the translation was completed by others to whom it was not attributed. Proof pages from Bifur, date stamped 16 October 1930, incorporate the few AN corrections on the original typescript; the proof pages are themselves heavily corrected (GEN MSS 112, Series II, 5/103; http:/fbeinecke/libraiy. yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/default.htm, and Folder 641, Broadside case). This proof indicates that the translation was done by "M. Perron and S. Beckett," but this is changed to read "AR. Peron."

A further, though unsigned, typescript reflects the changes made on the Bifur proof (GEN MSS 112, Series 11/5/104; this is ten pages long. although paginated to 9 because two pages are marked "7").

Dating: the editors have dated this letter as 5 August 1930, based on the contextual sequence of undated letters from[? 17 July 1930] to[7 August 1930].

5/7/30 [for 5 August 1930)

Ecole Normale Rue d'Ulm45 Paris Se

Dear Monsieur Soupault

Here at last. Two copies, in case Bifur wanted one. 1 But I would not wish to publish this, not even a fragment, without permission from Mr Joyce himself, who might very well find it all really too badly done and too far from the original.2 The more I think of it, the more I find it all very poor stuff. Anyhow, such as it is, I send it to you.

Best wishes

Samuel Beckett

1 SB and Alfred Peron prepared the preliminaiy French translation of the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" section ofJoyce's Work in Progress for publication in Bifer(TM; 2 Leaves, 2 sides; CtY, James Joyce collection, GEN MSS 112, Series II, 5/102); photocopy, OkTIJ, Ellmann collection).

2 Adrienne Monnier (1892-1955), proprietor of La Maison des Amis des Livres, the Paris bookshop, wrote: "This translation ... went to the stage of being set in type ... but it did not go to the stage of being approved for printing, for while Joyce was veiy satisfied with the result when he was consulted, he got it into his head to team seven persons together under his guidance ... That was to have the pleasure of saying my 'Septuagint"' (The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier !New York: Scribner-. 1976] 167).

Revision began with regular weekly sessions in November 1930 and continued into the spring, with Soupault as the "driving force behind the translation" (Paul Leopoldovitch Leon [1893-1942] toRogerVitrac [1899-1953], 30December 1932 inJames Joyce and Paul Leon, TheJamesJoyce - Paul Leon Papers in The National Library ofIreland: A Catalogue, compiled by Catherine Fahy !Dublin: National Library of Ireland, 1992] 120).

Philippe Soupault described the process in "A Propos de la traduction d'Anna Livia [forLivie] Plurabelle" (La Nouvelle Revue Franr;aise, 36.212 ll May 1931] 633-636); although written as "Livia" in the title ofthis essay, throughout the essay, and as the heading for the translation itself, the title is given as "Anna Livie Plurabelle." The translation is attributed to SamuelBeckett, Alfred Perron (for Peron), IvanGoll,Eugene (forEugene) Jolas, Paul L. Leon, Adrienne Monnier, and Philippe Soupault, in collaboration with the author (La Nouvelle Revue Fral'l{aise, 36.212 ll May 1931] 637-646). For more detail about the translation process: "Traduttore ... Traditore?" in Maria Jolas, ed., A James Joyce Yearbook (Paris: Transition Press, 1949) 171-178; this reprints Soupault's memoir from his Souvenirs deJamesJoyce (Algiers:Editions Fontaine, 1943), andEugeneJolas's account of the translation process from the manuscript of his then unpublished autobiography, Man from Babel, ed. Andreas Kramer and Rainer Rumod, Henry McBride Series in Modernism and Modernity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

Thomas Mcgreevy T Arbert, Co. Kerry

7/7/30 [for 7 August 1930]




Here is the Corbiere and the baronial nausea. You see I exaggerated as usual. Vinegar not cowpiss. I hope you will not be too disappointed. Alas I cannot find the words of Dante, and I have been all through it. I am sony but it is hopeless when I don't know where to look. I am sending you my copy of Laforgue. 1

The Proust is crawling along though I have not started to write anything. 17000 words is the hell of a lot, and I can't see myself doing so much.2 Alfy is gone. I am going to write to him now that I cannot go on with the translation alone. I can't do it. And then to that bastard Soupault that I will sign no contract.

I sent him two copies of what we had already done, one for Joyce and one for Bifur if Joyce is not too disgusted by the chasm of feeling and technique between his hieroglyphics and our bastard French.3 But I will not go on alone. It can't be done, and I am tired enough and have enough to do without that. I was reading d'Annunzio on Giorgione again and I think it is all balls and mean nasty balls. I was thinking of Keats and Giorg[i]one's two young men - the Concert and the Tempest - for a discussion of Proust's floral obsessions. D'A. seems to think that they are merely pausing between fucks. Horrible. He has a dirty juicy squelchy mind, bleeding and bursting, like his celebrated pomegranates.4 My head was a torrent of ideas and phrases last night or rather this morning in bed, but it did me no good as I could neither go to sleep nor get up and put them down. My shoe exploded this afternoon in the Boul Mich so I had to go in and buy a pair. I left them in the shop and felt relieved when I got away without them. Saw A. and B. last night. Napoleon Danton and Louis quatorze[']s red heels!5 Dining with Nancy tomorrow. She says Little Red Riddensnood is selling, but I don't believe her.6

God bless, hurry up back.

sf Sam

TLS; I leaf, 2 sides; TCD, MS 10402/7. Dating: Nancy Cunard was in Paris through the middle ofAugust; she wrote to Louise Morgan on 13 August 1930: "These are the last days here thank God. Then off [ ... ] into the car and so down Pyreneenwards [ ... [ If Beckett goes to London on his way to Dublin I'll make so bold as to send him you. He's a grand person" (CtY, Beinecke, GEN MSS 80, series v, 36/361).

1 SB sent his copy of Corbiere's Les Amours jaunes and of the poems of Laforgue. Although it is not known which edition ofLaforgue he sent to McGreevy, or whether McGreevy returned the book, according to James KnowIson SB owned the 1903 edition ofLaforgue's Poesies (Paris: Mercure de France) at the time ofhis death.

2 SB's essay turned out to be about the same length as other books in the Chatto and Windus Dolphin Books series.

3 Neither SB's letter to Peron, nor a further letter to Soupault has been found.

4 llfuoco (1900) by the Italian writer Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938) includes a discussion ofthe three figures in The Concert (Palazzo Pitti, Florence), then attributed to Italian painter Giorgione (ne Zorzi da Castelfranco, also known as Zorzon, c. 1477-1510). but now attributed to Titian (ne Tiziano Vecellio, c. 1485-1576). D'Annunzio's character Stelio Effrena lectures on the painting, describing the gaze exchanged between the musician at the harpsichord and the older man on the right, who gently touches his shoulder; the other figure in the painting, a man on the left in a plumed hat, is described by D'Annunzio as an apparently detached onlooker. Stelio says that "Giorgione seems to have created [him] under the influence ofa ray reflected from the stupendous Hellenic myth whence the ideal form ofHermaphrodite arose" (Il fuoco: I romanzi del Melagrano in Prose di romanzi, II, ed. Ezio Raimondi, Annamaria Andreoli, and Niva Lorenzini [Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore. 1989] 247; The Flame of Life: The Romances of the Pomegranate, tr. Kassandra Vivaria (Boston: L. C. Page and Company, 1900] 62-63). In Proust, SB quotes a passage from llfuoco that captures the sensuous nature of the supposed onlooker, and compares him with another onlooker in Giorgione's painting, The Tempest (Venice: Accademia) (see Il fuoco, 248; The Flame ofLife, 63; Beckett, Proust, 70). D'Annunzio does not discuss The Tempest in this context, although the painting is mentioned in passing in his essay on Giorgione ("Dell'arte di Giorgio Barbarelli," Prose scelte [Milan: Fratelli Treves, Editori, 1924] 17-22).

SB alludes to the gushing red juice of the crushed pomegranate in Il fuoco (311; The Flame of Life, 142). Stelio Effrena takes the pomegranate as his personal emblem: suggesting the "idea of things rich and hidden," it is an image ofsexuality throughout the novel (llfuoco, 207, 209-211; The Flame of Life, 13).

In his essay, SB contrasts Proust's "floral obsessions" with those ofD'Annunzio and Keats; SB concludes that "there is no collapse of the will in Proust, as there is for example in Spenser and Keats and Giorgione" (Proust, 68-70).

5 Alan and Belinda Duncan. SB refers to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), the beheaded Jacobin leader Georges Jacques Danton (1759-1794). and Louis XIV (1628-1715), but his suggestion is unclear.

6 SB refers to Whoroscope as "Little Red Riddensnood."

Thomas Mcgreevy Le Lavandou, V Ar

251h August [1930]



My dear Tom

Bronowski wrote me asking for your address. Said he wanted more poems. I sent it to him. Was that all right? He says he is using three turds from my central lavatory. But alas not the twice round & pointed ones.1 I started writing this morning, worked like one inspired for 2½ hours, then tore everything up and made a present of it to the panier. Since I have been moistening the Schone Lippen, having first taken the precaution to provoke salivary hyper-secretion by the grace of Black & White.2 I can't do the fucking thing. I don't know whether to start at the end or the beginning - in a word should the Proustian arse-hole be considered as entree or sortie - libre in either case. Anyhow I don't know what to [sic] or where I am, but I'll write 17000 words before I leave, even though my observations may have as little variety and none of the sincerity of Orlando's wood carvings.3 Schopenhauer has a nice explanation of the temptation to write one[']s nominative letters across the frieze-fesses. Stimulation of the will. Since the fesses as fesses as Platonic Idea - have no action on the Thing in Itself (God help it!), they will bloody well have a reaction. I am going now to try his 'Aphorismes sur la Sagesse de la Vie', that Proust admired so much for its originality and guarantee of wide reading- transformed. His chapter in Will & Representation on music is amusing & applies to P., who certainly read it. [(]It is alluded to incidentally in A. La R.) A noble bitch observes to the Duchesse de Guermantes: 'Relisez ce que S. dit sur la Musique.' Duchesse snarls & sneers: 'Relisez! Relisez! <;:a alors, c'est trop fort!', because she had the snobism of ignorance.4

[ ... ] Cards from Nancy & Henry from Albi and Moissac.

Henry says: dear priest says this is fine church. Well I don't like the dam thing, I like a church as a building. When has he been reading the cohesion theory ofArthur, or spittle by spittle.5 I said in my condemned preamble that the philosopher considered the public as a convenient spit[t]oon for his syllogisms, & that Mr George Shaw might be considered as called rather than chosen.6 But I haven't got the heart to jeer any more.

Bronowski rejected Ruddy's poems, who immediately wrote to know who was Mr Buggeroffski or Buggerin-Andoffski, and if he had the intelligence of an ivory testicle.7

Well, amuse-toi bien, and write soon, because if Ruddy is depressed I am suppressed.

Much Love


Meilleures amities au menage.8

ALS; I leaf, 4 sides; TCD, 10402/8. Dating: McGreevy left Paris for London before 14 July 1930 and was in London on 14 July 1930 on his way to Dublin (Prentice to Aldington, 15 July 1930, ICSo, Aldington 68/5/12); by 16 August 1930 he was back in Paris (Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 26), and afterwards was expected to visit Aldington in Le Lavandou (Aldington to Derek Patmore, 9 August 1930, indicates his route and that he was expected: JCSo, VFM 9). SB gave the manuscript of Proust to Prentice on 17 September 1930 (Prentice to Aldington, 17 September 1930, ICSo, 68/5/12).

1 SB wrote" <laboratory>lavatory."

Jacob Bronowski included four poems by Thomas McGreevy in The European Caravan: "Aodh Ruadh 6 Domhnaill,""Homage to Marcel Proust,""Homage to Jack Yeats," and "Golders Green" (493-496). Poems by SB in The European Caravan are: "Hell Crane to Starling,""Casket of Pralinen for the Daughter of a Dissipated Mandarin,""Text," and "Yoke of Liberty" (475-480); Pilling surmises that"Yoke of Liberty" was not yet selected (A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 26).

SB uses words from an untitled ode on the public lavatory that he wrote as a student at Trinity College:

There is an expert there who can Encircle twice the glittering pan In flawless symmetry to extend Neatly pointed at each end.

(Gerald Pakenham Stewart, The Rough and the Smooth: An Autobiography [Walkanae: Heritage, 1994] 22)

2 "Panier" (the bin). "Schone Lippen" (beautiful lips). Black & White, a brand of Scotch whisky.

3 "Sortie" (exit):"libre" (free): the reference to a standard shop sign,"entree libre" (in effect, feel free to enter without buying).

Orlando's verses to Rosalind are hung on trees in Shakespeare's As You Like It.

4 "Frieze" refers to the decorative architectural element between the architrave and cornice of a building, and "fesses" refers to the horizontal line marking the center of an escutcheon; in the sense suggested by Schopenhauer's example below, SB refers to a need to leave one's initials as a mark of visitation on an architectural feature of a monument.

In Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, Schopenhauer distinguishes those who are capable of taking pleasure in the beautiful from those "wholly incapable of the pleasure to be found in pure knowledge" who are "entirely given over to willing." As an example of the latter's need to "in some way excite their will," he observes that they write their names at places that they visit in order "to affect the place, since it does not affect them" (The World as Will and Representation, I, tr. E. F.J. Payne [Indian Hills, CO: The Falcon's Wing Press, 1958] 314; with appreciation to Michael Maier for his assistance with this allusion).

Schopenhauer "viewed the will as the thing in itself " ("Ding an Sich"), a notion that SB abbreviates in his later Philosophy Notes as "TI!" (David E. Cartwright, Historical Dictionary of Schopenhauer's Philosophy [Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2005] 171, 181; see also reference to TCD, MS 10967/252, by Matthew Feldman, Beckett's Books: A Cultural History of Samuel Beckett's 'Interwar Notes' [New York: Continuum, 2006]

49). Schopenhauer wrote that "aesthetic satisfaction everywhere rests on the appre

hension of a (Platonic) idea" (The World as Will and Representation, II, tr. E. F.J. Payne [Indian Hills, CO: The Falcon's Wing Press, 1958] 414).

While SB may have borrowed a copy from Jean Beaufret, the library of the Ecole Normale Superieure had a copy of Schopenhauer's Aphorismes sur la sagesse dans la vie in Parerga et Paralipomena, tr. J.-A. Cantacuzene (Paris: Felix Akan, 1914).

Schopenhauer's chapter on music is "On the Metaphysics of Music" in The World as

Will and Representation, II, 447-457; music is also discussed in I, 256-266.

In Proust's Le Temps retrouve, the Marquise de Cambremer says: "'Relisez ce que Schopenhauer dit de la musique"' ("You must re-read what Schopenhauer says about music"); the remark made by the Duchesse de Guermantes is: "'Relisez est un chefd'oeuvre! Ah! non, a. par exemple, ii ne faut pas nous la faire'" ("Re-read is pretty rich, I must say. Who does she think she's fooling?"(A la recherche du temps perdu, IV, ed. Jean-Yves Tadie, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1989] 569; Time Regained in In Search of Lost Time, VI, tr. Andreas Mayor and Terence Kilmartin, rev. D. J. Enright [New York: Modem Library, 1993) 444-445). SB mis-remembers the response by the Duchess de Guermantes as '"Relisez! Relisez! <;:a alors, c'est trap fort!'" ("Re-read! Re-read! Really, that's a bit much!").

5 Nancy Cunard and Henry Crowder wrote to SB from the Midi-Pyrenees, northeast of Toulouse. Albi is known for the thirteenth-century Cathedral of Ste. Cecile; the mass of the exterior contrasts with the lavish interior decorations by Italian painters and a mural of the LastJudgment painted by unknown Flemish artists (1474-1484).

Moissac is known for its Romanesque abbey church of St. Pierre, with seventy-six

well-preserved capitals and four cloister-walks, as well as a depiction of St. John's vision of the Apocalypse on the south portal.

In the first volume of The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer discusses cohesion as a universal force of nature, along with gravitation and impenetrability (125, 214, 533). In the second volume, Schopenhauer writes: "For architecture, considered only asfine art, the Ideas of the lowest grades of nature, that is gravity, rigidity, and cohesion, are the proper theme, but not . . . merely regular form, proportion, and symmetry. These are ... properties of space, not Ideas; therefore they cannot be the theme of fine art" (The World as Will and Representation, 414).

Arthur, or spittle by spittle makes play with the rhythm of a famous title, Eric, or Little by Little (Frederic William Farrar, Elie, or Little by Little: The Story of Roslyn School [Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 18581). An edifying tale of school life, the book was popular in its day, but later became a by-word for virtuous claptrap.

6 SB refers to his discarded false start to Proust.

SB cites Matthew 20:16 and 22:14, with reference to Shaw's habit of prefacing his plays with extended discussions of his political and philosophical positions. Shaw himself explained: "'When the subject of a play is a large one, there is a great deal about it that cannot be put on the stage though it can be said in an essay'" (Bernard

Shaw, The Complete Prefaces, Bernard Shaw, 1, 1889-1913, ed. Dan H. Laurence and Daniel]. Leary [London: The Penguin Press, 1993] vii).

7 Although Bronowski rejected Rudmose-Brown's poems for inclusion in The European Caravan, he wrote a mollifying preface to Rudmose-Brown's essay, "Grace Withheld from Jean Racine" which was published (558-564): "He is a scholarly critic whose work should influence the younger Irish critics: and, although of a pre-war generation, stands out as having anticipated the direction of much contemporary French and English criticism" (558).

8 "Amuse-toi bien" (enjoy yourself).

Meilleures amities au menage (Love to the whole houseful of you); McGreevy is with an Aldington house party in Le Lavandou.


[? before 9 September 1930)

45 Rue d'illm [Paris)

Dear Putnam

I pneued Leon and rang him up again. No reply and out again. The best thing for Bronowski to do is to write to M. Paul Leon, 27 rue Casimir[-]Perier, Paris, & make an offer specifying the passage he wants to use.1 Ifyou want to get into communication with Leon, his tel. is Littre 88.89. But he never seems to be at home. I would go and see him if I had a second. I am working all day & most of the night to get this fucking Proust finished.2

How are things? Must try & arrange a proper booze before I return - like a constipated Eurydice to the shades of shit.

Yours ever

Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl 11/1/9. Enclosed with undated letter [before 9 September 1930] from Putnam to Bronowski. Dating: see n. 1. SB completed the MS of Proust before 15 September 1930, when he wrote to Charles Prentice to make an appointment to deliver the manuscript in London on 17 September 1930.

1 Jacob Bronowski sought permission to publish an excerpt from Joyce's Wysses for the English and Irish section of The European Caravan that he was editing. Athough he had written to Sylvia Beach to ask about the "copyright position of Ulysses" in the United States, Bronowski reported to Putnam that he was "still at sea with Joyce's material" and asked Putnam to "g£ to the Shakespeare shop and find out [...] precisely how we would stand" (30 August [1930], NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl11/1/23). Bronowski wrote again to Putnam on 9 September 1930 about the matter, but this letter crossed in the mail with Putnam's reply to the first: "I have done my utmost about Joyce, without avail. Beckett likewise has tried. We simply have been unable to get into touch with J.'s agent, a chap by the name of Leon [for Leon]. I enclose a letter from B.[eckett] with regard to this" (undated letter [before 9 September 1930], NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COlll/1/23). The present letter from Beckett was that enclosure.

The American rights were at issue because The European Caravan was to be published in New York. The Joyce extract in The European Caravan (from the "Proteus" chapter of Wysses) was drawn from, but is not identical to, the text as published in The Little Review Garnes Joyce, "Ulysses: Episode III," The Little Review, 5.1 [May 1918] 31-45); The Little Review was published from 1914 to 1929 by Margaret Anderson (1886-1973) and Jane Heap (1887-1964), and so a request for permission would have required contacting them. Paul Leon was Joyce's assistant.

2 SB planned to leave for Ireland a few days later, to assume duties at Trinity College Dublin.


15/9/30 Ecole Normale

45 Rue d'Ulm Paris ve

Dear Mr Prentice

Could I see you for a moment Wednesday morning or afternoon, and hand you over my 'Proust' for your Dolphin Series? Thomas McGreevy assures me that you will not consider this suggestion as an impertinence. 1

I will be staying at Garlands hotel for two nights on my way to Dublin - arriving Tuesday evening.2 Could you leave word for me there?

Sincerely yours Samuel Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; date stamped received 16-9-30; UoR, MS 2444, CW 24/9.

1 SB wrote to McGreevy: "I saw Prentice this morning and handed over Proust. He was charming, but I have a feeling he won't touch it for Chatto & Windus, that it isn't scholarly & primo secundo enough. However there it is and off my hands at last" (Weds. evening [17 September 1930J, TCD, MS 10402/9).

2 Garland's Hotel, 15-17 Suffolk Street. London. !t was destroyed by bombs in 1943.



Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom,

Delighted to get your letter. Do write again. This life is terrible and I dont understand how it can be endured. Quip - that most foul malady - Scandal & KINDNESS. The eternally invariable formulae of cheap quip and semi-obscene entirely contemptible potin chez Ruddy & in the Common Room Club, and Kindness here at home, pumped into me at high pressure. I am getting my rooms (Fry's) ready at the top of 39. 1 Perhaps things will be better when I get in there. But the Ruddy vico seems to be a dead end. If I could merely listen to him talking philosophy or Motin & the Precieux, things would be easy. But all his old anti-isms are flourishing and I am tired of them: you know what they are - priests and soldiers & the Romantics - mainly. And then the enduring & unendurable QUIP, far worse than the Giraudoux astuce.2 I like Ruddy toujours and very much as you know, but how am I to give him that impression when he quiptificates in the midst of his adorers. - And live? I know it means a row, sooner than later, ifone can make a row. A rowdiness I suppose you might call it. Looking vaguely round college I know there is nothing but loneliness, and perhaps that is the most satisfactory conclusion I have reached since coming back to Ireland - although God knows it was sufficiently clear & necessary in abstracto in Paris. I have done nothing so far except a little examining - and am on again this afternoon & to-morrow & Friday. It is really something to lean up against, this sense that j'en aurai pour un an au maximum.3 I can only hope to read a few books in that time. How can one write here, when every day vulgarises one's hostility and turns anger into irritation & petulance? [ ... )

Thanks for the Prentice revelations. I have not heard a word from him, although he promised to write and let me have his opinion. Looking at the thing again, the end is terribly hurried, but I can't do anything to it now.4 ( ... )

Won't you let me know about your Eliot. I wish I could have read it before leaving. Did you get in the Nobiscum peregrinator?5 Have you any further plans or are you sticking to Formes for the winter?6 I suppose there is no chance of your coming to Dublin? I saw a lone 'poetic comedy' by Austin Clarke, the 'Hunger Demon', at the Gate. Truly pernicious. And a revival of

Dervorgilla by the old poisse Gregory. A gutter snippet. Vulgarly conceived & vulgarly written and of course reinforced by the ineffable bitch Crowe, playing the regal lover like Frau Lot petrified into a symbolic condemnation of Free Trade. 7

I want to inflict myself on Lennox Robinson & Jack Yeats, for a moment, but so far la main m'en manque.8

I wrote to the Bowsprit, but have had no reply. Please God he has had enough of a miserable sinner whose interest in the conditions of the artistic experience is fragmentary & intermittent.

Do write again. I needn't tell you I will miss you too, and all that life in Paris that was an approximation to something reasonable.

Much love


ALS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; TCD, MS 10402/11.

1 SB speaks of "potin chez Ruddy" (gossip at Ruddy's) and gatherings in the Common Room at Trinity College Dublin. SB's rooms were at 39 New Square, Trinity College; they had been occupied previously by Professor of Natural Philosophy Matthew Wyatt Joseph Fry (1864-1943), who was appointed Senior Lecturer of TCD in 1927, the highest academic officer in the college after the Provost.

2 The Ruddy "vico" (It., way). SB enjoyed hearing Rudmose-Brown discoursing on the French poet Pierre Motin (1566-1610) and the Precieux, a seventeenthcentury "movement" originating with Catherine de Vivonne, Marquise de Rambouillet (1588-1665) and her salon.

Rudmose-Brown's "anti-isms" are evident in his memoirs: "I accept no dogma and deny none" (31); "the greatest good is, for me, the greatest possible degree ofindividuaI liberty. That is why I am neither Fascist, nor Communist, Imperialist nor Socialist" (Leventhal. ed., "Extracts from the Unpublished Memoirs of the Late T. B. RudmoseBrown," 33).

Astuce (clever-clever). Jean Giraudoux (ne Hippolyte-Jean Giraudoux, 1882-1944), French novelist and playwright.

3 "Toujours" (still). "j'en aurai pour un an au maximum" (I'll only have a year ofit to do at most).

4 McGreevy had been in correspondence with Prentice in early October 1930 about the terms of publication of his book on Eliot in the Chatto and Windus The Dolphin Books series.

5 McGreevy did include "Nobiscum peregrinatur" (Lat., comes along with us), a quotation that SB may have suggested to him: "Schopenhauer remarked that

Americans might say of their own vulgarity what Cicero said of science, 'Nobiscum peregrinatur"' (McGreevy, Thomas Steams Eliot, 4). Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC).

6 See 1 March 1930, n. 1. In a letter received by Charles Prentice on 2 December 1930, McGreevy wrote: "Formes has busted, is all over. There was a row over policy and theEditor resigned and the proprietor thought it was a good opportunity to cut the losses he's been talking so much about. I'm undecided yet what to do" (UoR, MS 2444, ON 41/2); later, funding was found to permit Formes to continue for a further three months (Charles Prentice to Richard Aldington, 18 December 1930, lCSo, Aldington 68/5/13).

7 Irish poet and dramatist Austin Clarke• (ne Augustine Joseph Clarke, 1896-1974). His play, The Hunger Demon, was produced by the Gate Theatre from 27 September to 4 October 1930; the play had been published under the title The Son of Leaming (1927).

The AbbeyTheatre revived Dervorgilla (1907), an Irish folkplay by Lady Gregory (nee Isabella Augusta Persse, 1852-1932); presented with The Courting ofMary Doyle by Irish playwrightEdward McNulty (1856-1943), it was performed from 29 September to 4 October 1930. Irish actressEileen Crowe (1899-1978).

The author of over forty plays, Lady Gregory was a founder of the Irish Literary Theatre (1899-1901) and the AbbeyTheatre (1904).

Poisse (slang, bad luck, punning on "Persse").

8 Lennox Robinson• (ne Esme Stuart Lennox Robinson, 1886-1958), producerdirector at the AbbeyTheatre. "La main m'en manque" (I haven't the hand for it), SB's variation on the familiar "le coeur m'en manque" (I haven't the heart for it).

C Harle S P Re Nt I C E, C Hatto a Nd Wi Ndu S London


Cooldrinagh Foxrock

Co Dublin

Dear Mr Prentice

Thank you very much for your letter and the trouble you have taken over my essay. I am perfectly satisfied with the terms of your contract and would be glad to sign it at your earliest convenience. I find it necessary to avail myself of your very generous offer to pay me an advance of20 pounds on the signing of the agreement. 1

No, of course the library rats wouldn't buy a swagger edition stained by such an attribution. But wouldn't the drawingroom rattesses love to expose a more declamatory testimonial than a 2/- pamphlet? Or is the race of undershot Proustian lechefesses extinct? Don't take any notice of this bad-tempered irrelevancy.2

I am afraid the U.S.A. would insist on a more copious revelation. It might go there ifl stuck on a scandalous biography.3 I know the Professor of French at Yale. I might try him.4

I was greatly encouraged and reassured by the nice things you said about the book, because I really had no idea at all what kind of impression it would make. I wrote the conclusion in a hurry.5 Would you let me add 5 or 6 pages to the last 9? Or would that make it too long? I would like to develop the parallel with Dostoievski and separate Proust's intuitivism from Bergson's.6

Yours very sincerely s/ Sam Beckett

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; date stamped received 15-10-30; UoR, MS 2444CW 24/9.

1 On behalf ofChatto and Windus, Prentice had written to SB on 10 October 1930 accepting Proust for publication and giving the terms; the advance of £20 covered the sale of "about 2000 copies" (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 130/193).

2 Prentice had explained that certain of The Dolphin Books were printed in two editions, the "cheap one at 2/-, bound in paper boards" and the "Large-Paper edition" published for collectors; he noted, however, that such special editions were not selling well, and as SB's name was "not yet before the collecting and bibliophilic public," he advised publishing Proust only in the 2/- edition (10 October 1930, UoR, MS 2444CW letterbook 130/193).

Leche-fesses (arse-lickers).

3 Prentice's letter had indicated that SB would retain US and translation rights, but added that Chatto and Windus would be happy to represent the book in the United States and in serial publication for an agent's fee of 10 percent; Prentice suggested that it not be serialized in England (10 October 1930, UoR, MS 2444CW letterbook 130/194).

4 Charles Cameron Clarke (1861-1935), Professor of French in the Sheffield Scientific School (associated with Yale University), was the father of Charles Lemaieur Clarke (1900-1979), whom SB had met in Tours in the summer of 1926 when both were making a cycling tour of the Loire valley. In 1927, Charles L. Clarke met SB in Italy and visited the Becketts in Foxrock.

5 Prentice wrote to SB: "I found it most interesting, and passages, I think, are excellent. It seems to me an extraordinarily able piece of work" (10October 1930, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 130/194).

6 SB discusses Proust's intuitivism as "instinctive perception." "Instinct ... is also a reflex, from the Proustian point ofview ideally remote and indirect, a chain-reflex"; SB translates and quotes Proust: "'An impression is for the writer what an experiment is for the scientist -with this difference, that in the case ofthe scientist the action of the intelligence precedes the event and in the case ofthe writer follows it"' (Proust, 63-64). SB compares Proust and Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881) in terms of Proust's "non-logical statement of phenomena in the order and exactitude of their perception"; SB continues, "in this connection Proust can be related to Dostoievsky, who states his characters without explaining them" (66).

Textbox start << a >>Textbox endFrench philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) distinguishes between "analysis" and "intuition." The former stays on the outside of an object; the latter enters into it (see Bergson, "Introduction la metaphysique," Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale 11 (1903) 1-36; Introduction to Metaphysics).

C Harle S Prent I C E, C Hatto an D Win D U S London



Dear Mr Prentice

Many thanks for cheque & contract. It is unfortunate about Snowden. Perhaps I will be able to recover part of it. 1

Thanks also for saying that there is no hurry about poor Proust.2 I would get it done in a couple ofdays I[f] only I were free of this grotesque comedy of lecturing.

How is Tom McGreevy? He wont write.3 Very sincerely yours

Samuel Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; letterhead <cOMMON ROOM > A ins " 3 9 " TR INIT Y COLLEGE, Due LIN; date stamped received 28-10-30; UoR,MS 2444 CW 24/9.

1 Prentice had sent the Chatto and Windus contract for Proust on 17 October 1930. A check for the advance and a copy of the countersigned contract were sent to SB by Chatto and Windus on 22 October 1930. Prentice explained thatMr. Snowden of the accountancy department of Chatto and Windus indicated that authors in Southern Ireland were considered to be "resident 'abroad' for IncomeTax purposes"; this meant that Chatto and Windus had to deduct tax from SB's advance. However, Prentice enclosed a form so that SB might reclaim a portion of this deduction.

2 With his letter of 15 October 1930, Prentice had returned the manuscript of Proust, saying: "Do by all means add five or six pages at the end, if you would like to" (UoR,MS 2444 CW letterbook 130/238). In his letter of 22 October 1930, Prentice had told SB that he had "heaps of time" to send the addition to his manuscript of Proust (UoR,MS 2444 CW letterbook 130/322).

3 McGreevy arrived in Italy on 28 October 1930 to meet Richard Aldington, and Charles Prentice, who joined them there on 31 October; McGreevy returned before 11 November (Richard Aldington to Derek Patmore, 25 October 1930, ICSo, VFM 9; Charles Prentice to ThomasMcGreevy, 11 November 1930, UoR,MS 2444 CW letterbook 130/541).

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris


My dear Tom


Glad to get your card. Did you stumble in Saint Mark[']s?1

Here negation & negation to feed a sterile will-less phallus of black fire. Armistice Day & letters to the Irish Times and Luce & Ruddy and all the other means of the Spermopauleatic paroxysm.2 Fruitless retreat from Monday to Friday and then the degrading cotton wool interpolation of the week end, breaking the continuity of what is vacuous & uniform & pure in a kind of dark Satanic fashion. I don't get on well with my classes and that flatters me and exasperates my pride and makes me feel that the

Sorbonne comedy was a statement of some kind of reality. How long it will drag on, my dear Tom, I have no idea. The Ruddy adhesion is fast enough and our intersections are cleaner and simpler than I ever thought they could be. The room is full of bastards talking about war films and the National Anthem - having ideas - et quelles idees - a toute vitesse.3 And making little jokes - the kind that dribble into a subtle smile.

I read a paper to M.L.S. on a non[-]existent French poet - Jean du Chas - and wrote his poetry myself and that amused me for a couple of days.4 I've done nothing more to the Proust and am thinking of sending it back untouched. I 'used to enjoy Felix' (Rowe). I talked with Broderick one evening, and liked him. But he is defeated. I haven't gone to see either L. R. or Jack Yeats.5 Simply can't work up to it. Indeed I see nobody. Suddenly, out of nowhere, unless it was from a vision of his shoulders inJammet's, a reaction against S. O'Sullivan & Whitechurch.6 Harry Sinclair is slowly taking the form of a garrulous turd! That's too strong but near enough with the reservation. I wish to God I were in Paris again, even Germany, Nuremberg, annulled in beer.

No news from Rue de Grenelle.7

I wonder could I work a job in London?

This tired abstract anger - inarticulate passive opposition - always the same thing in Dublin. Do write Tom, and forgive all this gossip from the only source I have, the only source of reference, my own bloody self

Much love ever


ALS; 2 leaves. 4 sides; letterhead <co MM ON Ro o M>A ins " 3 9 " TR IN IT Y co I.LEGE , DUB I. IN ; TCD, MS 10402/22.

1 McGreevy had been with Richard Aldington in Venice at the end of October. SB alludes to Proust's narrator who stumbles on the cobblestones in the courtyard of the Princesse de Guermantes, which suddenly restores to him the memory of a time in Venice when he stumbled in the baptistery of St. Mark's (A la recherche du temps perdu, IV, 446-451; see also Beckett, Proust, 52).

2 Having served in World War I. McGreevy was sensitive to how service in the British army was perceived in Republican Ireland. Letters to the editor of The Irish Times regarding the twelfth anniversary of Armistice Day included one signed "Rosna," expressing pride in having fought "in solidarity" with the British in the Great War, although he respected those who had not, adding that he considered himself to be a Republican in contemporary Ireland (10 November 1930: 8). Another letter, signed "Jellicoe" and written from London, called for support of the sale of poppies to help the British Legion to raise funds to care for needy veterans (11 November 1930: 5).

Arthur Aston Luce (1882-1977), Professor of Mental and Moral Science at Trinity College Dublin and a specialist in the study of Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753), was SB's tutor (a counseling, not a teaching, function).

3 Textbox start << a >>Textbox endThe Irish National Anthem, "Amhran na bhFiann" (The Soldier's Song), was written in 1907 and first published in 1912; its chorus was formally adopted as the National Anthem in 1926, replacing the earlier Fenian anthem, "God Save Ireland."

Et quelles idees - toute vitesse (and what ideas - at full speed).

4 SB's academic parody in French ofthe life and work ofan invented French poet Jean du Chas "and the poetic movement allegedly founded by him, 'Le Concentrisme,' was delivered to the ... Modern Language[s] Society"; it begins with "a letter describing how his papers came to light" (Mary Bryden, Julian Garforth. and Peter Mills, eds., Becken at Reading: Catalogue of the Becken Manuscript Collection at the University of Reading [Reading: Whiteknights Press and the Beckett International Foundation, 1998] 144); BIF, UoR, MS 1396/4/15; Beckett, "Le Concentrisme" in Disjecta, 35-42 (all citations from this edition}; for discussion ofthe manuscript of "Le Concentrisme," see Ruby Cohn, A Becken Canon, Theater: Theory{TextjPerformance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001) 21-22.

5 Charles Henry Rowe (1894-1943), Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin, had a keen interest in music and was an accomplished pianist, although "all that interested him in a piece of music was its bone structure" (Walter Starkie, Scholars and Gypsies: An Autobiography [London: John Murray, 1963] 112). SB's quotation of Rowe alludes to German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).

Timothy Stanislaus Broderick (1893-1962) graduated from TCD in 1918, lectured occasionally in the College in the 1920s, and was elected Fellow in 1930 in Mathematics; he was a "shy retiring man who rarely spoke in company" Uohn Luce, 20 July 1991).

L. R. is Lennox Robinson.

6 Jammet's French restaurant, 46 Nassau Street, Dublin. Seumas O'Sullivan lived in Grangehouse, Whitechurch, an area that is now Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.

7 James Joyce lived at 2 Square Robiac, just off the Rue de Grenelle, Paris.

C Ha R Le S P R Ent I C E, C Hatt O and Windu S , London


39 Trinity College Dublin

Dear Mr Prentice

It was very kind of you to send me Alcestis. 1 Thank you very much indeed. I have added nothing to Proust. I can't do anything here - neither read nor think nor write. So I am posting it back to you within the next day or two with practically no changes made.2 I must apologise for the absurdity of the entire proceeding. I expected more generous rifts in the paralysis.

Tom wrote from Venice, out of a lush of Giorgiones.3 Here nothing but fog and submission - one rebus from dawn to dark.

Yours very Sincerely Sam Beckett

ACS; 1 leaf; 2 sides; date stamped received 4-12-30; UoR, MS 2444 CW 24/9.

1 Euripides. Alcestis, tr. Richard Aldington, The Dolphin Books (London: Chatto and Windus, 1930). It was sent to SB "in order that you may see what the Dolphin books are like" (Prentice to SB, 29 November 1930, UoR, MS 2444 CW 130/740).

2 Also in his letter of29 November, Prentice wrote: "I don't want to hurry you about Proust, but ifyou could let me have the MS. soon, I would get it set-up, and we would be able to publish in March or April." See 27 October 1930, n. 2.

3 McGreevy had also visited Castelfranco, the hometown of Giorgione, before his return to Paris (Prentice to McGreevy, 11 November 1930, UoR, MS 2444 CW 130/541).

Chronology 1931

1931 24 January

By25 January

By 18 February

19-21 February

5 March

By 11 March

12 March

25 March

26 March 5April

1 May

By29 May

SB visits Jack B. Yeats with Georges Pelorson.

Sends manuscript ofProust to literary agent

J. R. Pinker who refuses to represent it in the United States, saying there is not enough time before March publication by Chatto and Windus

Sends TMS of Proust requested by The Bookman.

Performance of"Le Kid," parody ofCorneille's

Le Cid written by Georges Pelorson with SB, at the Peacock Theatre, as the French contribution to the annual theatrical event ofthe Modern Languages Society.

Chatto and Windus publishes Proust.

Dublin Magazine asks SB to review McGreevy's Thomas Stearns Eliot and Eliot's translation of St.-John Perse's Anabase.

T.C.D.: A College Miscellany publishes, anonymously, SB's "The Possessed," written in reaction to a critical review of"Le Kid."

In London en route to Paris.

In Paris for Adrienne Monnier's Joyce evening. Visits Kassel for Easter.

Nouvelle Revue Franfaise publishes French translation of"Anna Livia Plurabelle," reflecting the first draft by SB and Peron that was revised by Joyce and others.

Begins writing the "German Comedy" which will become part ofDream of Fair to Middling Women.


30June 6July



21-27 July 27 July 28July August

2 August


By 15August By 31 August

By 22 September

By 8 October

13 November

By 27 November 8December

By 20 December

26 December

Leaves Dublin with brother Frank to travel in France.

In Rouen. In Toulon.

In Le Lavandou, where McGreevy has been staying with Aldington.

To Paris via Digne, Grenoble, Annecy, Dijon, and Troyes.

In Paris.

In London.

Meets Prentice, proposes a book on Dostoevsky.

New Review publishes "Return to the Vestry."

SB travels from London to Dublin; stays in rooms at Trinity College Dublin.

Submits two "Albas" to Dublin Magazine.

Sends story "Walking Out" to Pinker. Sends story "Sedendo et Quiescendo" to Prentice.

Pinker returns "Walking Out." SB sends it to McGreevy. Prentice returns "Sedendo et Quiescendo" with his personal reactions.

Dublin Magazine accepts poem "Alba" ("the sheet poem"). Dublin Magazine rejects "Yoke of Liberty" ("lips of her desire").

SB sends "Yoke of Liberty" to Everyman. Translates Rene Crevel's "Negresse du Bordel" and plans to do more translations for Nancy Cunard's Negro, Anthology Made by Nancy Cunard, 1931-1933.

Publication of The European Caravan. Sends "Enueg 1" to Dublin Magazine.

MA from Trinity College Dublin conferred.

Dublin Magazine returns "Enueg." SB sends it to McGreevy.

Leaves for Germany.

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris


39 Trinity College [Dublin]

My dear Tom

I am very sorry to hear that you are laid up again: at the Corneille, n'est-ce pas? Write soon and say that you are up again & well. - Does no one but Thomas come and see you? I heard about Sophie J. and that her sister had gone over to Paris; I think S. O'S. en profite, from what I am told.1

I am looking forward to reading your Eliot. In a fit ofenergy - exasperation - I retyped the Proust and posted it to Pinker. He says that he might have been able to place it in America ifhe had received it a month ago, but that it is too late to do anything now, since C. & W. are publishing it in March. A short cold note without any sign ofbonne volonte.2

Rue de Grenelle sounds all very terrible & complicated and my scepticism can't find the necessary ascriptions for beauty & light & honour. I had a very calm letter from Lucia, advising me to accept the world and go to parties.3 I also received the 'Henry Music' and then a letter from Henry from London when I wrote to thank him.4 Term starts next Thursday, and I will have less work, now that Pelorson is here. I see something ofhim, and nothing of anybody else (not even Ruddy) except a fortnightly collapse upon the disquieted bosom of my family.5 Wilful seclusion is the natural measure ofprotection and it is only an inadequate compromise. Yesterday afternoon P.[elorson] & I went round to Jack Yeats, but he was not receiving so we went for a long walk through Ringsend and out towards the Pigeon house.6 Very beautiful and nervous & melancholy & windy, with that livid Dublin evening light on the shallows. To[-]day I am alone until 1 or 2 to-morrow morning, phrase-hunting in St Augustine and ekeing out the last ofmy coal, assoupi.7 The thought ofteaching again paralyses me. I think I will go to Hamburg as soon as I get my Easter cheque, by boat & stay there & waste my substance for a month and perhaps hope for the courage to break away. Frank is rather down on his luck, aware of a kind of suspended futility, & permanent, absolutely incapable of rejection or acceptance & talks about growing old in the shadow of a compromise.

Have you read Malraux: 'Les Conquerants' and 'La Voie Royale'. I had a peer at the opening of the latter, & it looked promising. Pelorson has much admiration for 'Les Conquerants'.8 You don't say if there is any chance of your coming to Ireland - I mean for me. You know I have a spare bed and could put you up fairly comfortably. My skip is discreet and attached to me and Fry never comes near the place.9

I saw L.R[.]'s Critic. Rate and positively lamentable at the end. I liked Miss Travers-Smith's back-cloth.10

You know I can't write at all. The simplest sentence is a torture. I wish we could meet & talk - before I become inarticulate or eloquently suave. God bless and look after yourself. I suppose The Workhouse Ward is off.11 Have you seen Alan since Harry Clarke's death?12

Much love

Yours ever


ALS; 2 leaves, 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/15.

1 McGreevy stayed at the Hotel Corneille, 5 Rue Corneille, across from the Theatre de l'Odeon. He had been ill with flu (Charles Prentice to McGreevy, 15 January 1931, TCD. MS 8092/23). "N'est-ce pas?" (isn't that right?).

Jean Thomas.

Sophie Jacobs (nee Solomons, 1887-1972) studied opera in France and sang with the Beecham and Quinlan opera companies before her marriage to Bethel Jacobs (1881-1955) (Bethel Solomons, One Doctor in His Time [London: C. Johnson, 1956] 20, 67). SophieJacobs's personal circumstances at this time are not known. Her sister was the Irish painter Estella Solomons (1882-1968), who was known by her maiden name although married toJames Starkey (known as Seumas O'Sullivan).

En profite (is making the most ofthe opportunity).

2 McGreevy's Thomas Steams ffiiot was published by Chatto and Windus on 22 January 1931 (Charles Prentice to Richard Aldington, 23 January 1931, ICSo, Aldington 68/6/1). In his letter offering to publish Proust, Prentice had indicated that SB would retain "the U.S.A. and translation rights" (15 September 1930, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 129/858). McGreevy may have suggested that SB send a copy of Proust to his literary agent, James Ralph Pinker, to place it in the United States.

Bonne volonte (goodwill).

3 The Joyce family; Lucia Joyce.

4 SB's poem " From the Only Poet to a Shining Whore: for Henry Crowder to Sing" was set to music by Henry Crowder (Henry-Music, 12-14); the copy dedicated to SB by Henry Crowder is at Ohio State University. SB's letter to Henry Crowder has not been found.

5 Pelorson had returned to his duties as Lecteur at Trinity College Dublin after Christmas holidays in France.

6 SB and Pelorson walked along the area known as Ringsend, extending east into Dublin Bay, from the canal at its junction with the River Liffey. A mile and a quarter from Ringsend, on the south wall of Dublin Bay, was Pidgeon House (also spelled Pigeon House), named afterJohn Pidgeon (n.d.) who was once caretaker ofthe building (Bruce Bidwell and Linda Heffer, The Joycean Way [Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981[ 59, 139; Eamonn MacThomais, Me Jewel and Darlin' Dublin [Dublin: O'Brien

Press, 1974] 97).

7 SB's phrase-hunting in the Confessions ofSt.Augustine, Bishop ofHippo (354-430), is evident in his notebook for Dream ofPair to Middling Women (BIF, UoR, MS 1227/1-3). In Beckett's Dream Notebook, John Pilling indicates that SB read from the edition of Confessions translated by E. B. Pusey in the Everyman's Library (London: Dent, 1907); although there are some references in SB's notebook to a Latin text, the edition is not known (Pilling, ed., Beckett's Dream Notebook [Reading: Beckett International Foundation, 1999] 11-30). SB's notes on Augustine's life and work can be found in TCD, MS 10968; see Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD, MS 10968: Augustine of Hippo and Porphyry on Plotinus," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 (2006) 91-93.

Assoupi (drowsy).

8 Les Conquerants (1928; The Conquerors) and La Voie royale (1930; The Royal Way) by French writer Andre Malraux (1901-1976).

9 SB's skip (college servant) was]. Power (SB toA.J. Leventhal, 6August 1953, TxU; TCD, MS 3717d-e [also TCD MUN/V/75/62]). As a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, Matthew Joseph Fry had a room in 39 Trinity College where he could give tutorials, but he would have had no need ofit as accommodation, since he was married and had a home in Dublin Uohn Luce, 4 August 1993).

10 Lennox Robinson directed The Critic, or, a Tragedy Rehears'd by Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816); the play opened at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin on 6 January 1931; Robinson adapted the burlesque of eighteenth-century London to contemporary Dublin. Dublin theatre critic Joseph Holloway (1861-1944) called it a "mutilation" Uoseph Holloway.Joseph Holloway's Irish Theatre, I. 1926-1931, ed. Robert Hogan and Michael J. O'Neill !Dixon, CA: Proscenium Press, 1969] 71).

Rate (no good).

Dublin artist and set-designer Dorothy Travers-Smith (known as Dolly, 1901-1977) married Lennox Robinson in London on 8 September 1931.

11 The Workhouse Ward (1908) by Lady Gregory was on a double bill with The Critic at the Abbey Theatre (6 to 17 January 1931).

12 Alan Duncan.

Harry Clarke died in Caire, Switzerland, on 6 January 1931.

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris


39 Trinity College [Dublin]

My dear Tom

Forgive me for having taken so long to acknowledge & thank you for your letter and T.S.E.1 My teeth have been afflicting me and some have to come out and some have to be filled and I am feeling very sorry for myself.

The Eliot left me with an impression ofenviable looseness & ease. You know what I mean by looseness - something supple & well hung. I couldn't help feeling that you were doing your best to be nice about it. Your lateral slaughter - Shaw, Bennett & the Galere, did my heart good, my 'petit coeur de neige', and it almost achieved liquefaction with the fesses turned to the commonroom cap-&-gownness.2 The phrase-bombs are there too, something better than that - phrase voltage. The God Almighty -

Marion de Lorme was strong & shining and delighted me altogether.3 Altogether I envy you an essay that has so much unity of atmosphere & tension & sincerity, and your long arms that fetched so much colour. My Proust seems very grey & disgustingly juvenile - pompous almost - angry at the best. Tant pis. As for the critics - I don't know. I don't think I care very much. I feel dissociated from my Proust - as though it did not belong to me, ready of course to get any credit thats going but - genuinely, I think - more interested than irritated at the prospect of the nose-pickers' disgust. I may be altogether wrong. What you quoted of R. W.'s criticism reduces, it seems to me, to almost unqualified approval. Perhaps the fatuous enthusiasms are more painful than anything.4

Last Saturday I went with Pelorson to see Jack Yeats.5 He was alone and we had two entirely delightful hours looking at a lot of pictures we had not seen and talking. He wanted a definition of cruelty, declaring that you could work back from cruelty to original sin. No doubt. But I don't think it is possible to define cruelty, because somehow or other it would have to be separated from all the concomitant pointers in order to be apprehended. Can one imagine a pure act of cruelty? The old question!

Leon wrote for Joyce's Gazetteer which I had stolen and a list of the rivers used by Peron & myself in our fragment of translation. I think Joyce & Soupault are going to work on it together. Poor Soupault!6

Do you mean you would come home ifyou got those translations?7 I expect to leave here about end of March & stay away a month. I am still on Hamburg -

Love ever


ALS; I leaf, 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/16.

1 McGreevy, Thomas Stearns Eliot.



In his monograph, McGreevy establishes a context for Eliot's work in American, British, and Continental literary movements. British novelist and critic Enoch Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) is described as "a fivepenny English master" in the course of discussion of American vulgarity (Thomas Steams Eliot, 3). McGreevy dismisses George Bernard Shaw, whose satire and indignation he judges to lack universality: "Did a soldier ever read Bernard Shaw with pleasure before an attack?" (17). McGreevy dismisses Tristan Corbiere as a poet and as an influence on Eliot (26).

"Galere" (crew); "petit coeur de neige" (little heart of snow); "fesses" (buttocks).

3 SB refers to a passage in McGreevy's Thomas Steams Eliot: "One can imagine how outraged Victor Hugo and Rossetti would be if they knew that forty years after they died there would be writers of genius who found the Lord God a greater source of inspiration than Marion de Lorme or Jenny" (37). Marion de Lonne (1829) by Victor Hugo (1802-1885) is a play about a seventeenth-century French courtesan of that name (c. 1613-1650). "Jenny" may refer to the poem of that name by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (ne Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti 1828-1882).

4 Spurred by a request from Richard Aldington, Rebecca West (1892-1983) mentioned McGreevy's Thomas Steams Eliot in her column in the Daily Telegraph; she compared McGreevy to St. Augustine, saying that he "makes every sentence with the imprint of his personality, and a very delightful personality it is ... This book is crammed full of profitable arguments" ("New Books," 23 January 1931: 15). While McGreevy appreciated her fiiendly intention, he had no admiration for West (McGreevy to Prentice, Sunday [25 January 1931], UoR, MS 2444 CW 41/2).

"Tant pis" (too bad).

5 Jack Yeats had his "at home" day on Saturdays.

6 "Joyce's Gazetteer" may refer to an atlas owned by James Joyce or to one of the books by Irish geographer Patrick Weston Joyce (1827-1914): Irish Names of Places (1913), Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900), Philips' Atlas and Geography of Ireland (1883).

Paul Leon was working with Philippe Soupault, Joyce, and others to continue the translation of "Anna Livia Plurabelle" begun by SB with Alfred Peron; see SB to Soupault, 5 July 1930 [for 5 August 1930], n. 1.

7 McGreevy sought commissions for translation from the London publisher Victor Gollancz (1893-1967) and from Charles Prentice, Chatto and Windus, to whom he had proposed to translate one of two monographs by Louis Bertrand (1866-1941): Philippe II a !'Escoria! (1929) or Philippe II contre Antonio Perez (1929) (McGreevy to Prentice, Monday [1 December 1930], UoR, MS 2444 CW 41/2; Prentice to McGreevy, 6 February 1931, TCD, MS 8092/29). As McGreevy explained to Prentice after the proposal was turned down: "For me it was only a question of being assured of sufficient money (for work that I should not be ashamed to put my name to) to enable me to go home for a couple of months or three and translate and work on my own at the same time" (Saturday [7 February 1931], UoR, MS 2444 CW 41/2).

Richard Aldington sent money to McGreevy, who, so assisted, chose to go to Florence rather than to stay in Paris (Aldington to Brigit Patmore, 9 February 1931, TxU).




Dear Mr Prentice

Thank you for your letter. I am glad to know that the date of publication is fixed. Yes - ofcourse March 5th suits me perfectly. I did not expect it would be ready so soon. 1

After your kindness and the trouble you have taken I am anxious that the Proust should not prove a washout. 2 I hope sometime to send you something more genuine & direct.

How did the Eliot go?3 I read it & liked it.

Very sincerely yours Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf. 2 sides; letterhead: <co MMo N Roo M .> A ins "39"' TR IN IT Y co LLEGE, D u e LIN ; date stamped received 18-2-31; UoR, MS 2444 CW 24/9.

1 Prentice wrote on 12 February 1931: "We are publishing 'Proust' on March 5th; I hope this will be O.K. Your presentation copies will arrive a few days before that date" (UoR, MS 2444 CW Ietterbook 31/576).

2 Prentice assured SB in his reply: "Your Proust, I think, will do very well; Proust himself has not a great many readers, but many people have asked me most curiously about your book, and the subscription sales in the country are promising" (18 February 1931, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 31/647).

3 In the same letter, Prentice wrote: "The Eliot is doing very well.I do not mean that it is a best-seller; the sales, however, are developing very steadily, and, being in a series, the essay will have a good run to look foIWard to."

Thomas Mcgreevy Florence


My dear Tom

What kind of pieces are you going to master la-bas. I wonder why you are off Italy.1

Anyhow your Eliot is making some noise.2 I know that Proust wont even squelch if stood on. I had a cable from American Bookman asking for a copy - after that bastard Pinker choking me off. I sent it along - without any enthusiasm.3

This vitaccia is terne beyond all belief. Thursday, Friday & Sat. we gave 3 plays at the Peacock - La Quema, Souriante Mme. Beudet & Le Kid (Corneille & Bergson). They might have gone worse. The inevitable vulgarisation leaves one exhausted & disgusted. We had a nice Cartesian Infanta in the Kid, inarticulate & stupefied, crossing the stage to Ravel's Pavane. Trench was delighted.4

I scramble through lectures & chafe for the end of term when I hope to go away to Hamburg. That will be about 20th March. Does that mean I will miss you on your way through Dublin? Il ne manquait que cela.5

To-night I have to go & eat with the Provost & his hostile brats. Cela me fait chier, wear a gown & say 'Yes sir' 'no sir'.6 When I've posted this I'll go & have a Turkish bath & stupefy my nerves in sweaty duration. My person is developing dirty habits.7 At the R.D.S. yesterday afternoon the music was so tepid that I was conscious of my neck. Impossible to hear any music here.

Yesterday they played one of Beethoven's last string quartets, a Mendels[s]ohn Quintette & a Schubert Quintette.8 I feel that Beethoven's Quartets are a waste of time. His pigheaded refusal to make the best of a rather pettyfogging [for pettifogging] convention annoys me. He needed a piano or an orchestra. And why do they go on playing that bloody Mendels[s]ohn! Verbalism & not very competent - Leventhal's conversation(.]9 The Schubert had plenty of nobility and one understood the need of relating his chamber music to his song settings. I don't know any chamber music that works so skilfully. A waste in conception - you know that lamentable pebble in the pond effect - but rigid economy of application. Alas! Why can't I tell you what I feel without getting on a platform.

I went to a doctor because my bitch of a heart was keeping me awake. He smothered my sense of importance with a contemptuous 'Smoke less'. So I try to smoke less.

Ruddy is always polite but drifting to a conveniently remote accessibility. Pelorson is a mystery. Charming sometimes & dreadfully rich in hopeful gestures. He has shown me a lot of interesting verse. I have written nothing since leaving Paris. I am reading 'Journal Intime de Jules Renard' ... Odd things.10

Forgive this futile and not even melancholyletter. In 20 years I may be fit to have friends.

If you look up the Esposito say I often think of them (actually true, though rather of myself evolving before them.) I don't think you would have anything to say to Mario, but am sure you would like Bianca - & the mother. Remember me to the Aldingtons if you think they would care for that.11 I'll sent [sic] you a Proust as soon as I get one. I think it is due for March 5. Won't you keep me au courant.12

Love ever


ALS; 3 leaves, 6 sides; letterhead: <c OM Mo N Ro o M > A ins "39" TRIN ITY co LL EGE, DUBLIN ; TCD, MS 10402/17.

1 McGreevy had decided to join Richard Aldington in Florence for a driving tour in Italy (Aldington to Brigit Patmore, 13 February 1931, TxU); Aldington encouraged McGreevy to choose their itinerary, which included Tuscany, and even plans to go as far south as Brindisi (Aldington to Charles Prentice, 5 March 1931 and 6 March 1931; UoR, MS 2444 CW 48/6). Prentice, who had backed the trip, hoped it would allow McGreevy to work on his novel (12 February 1931, ICSo, Aldington collection 68/6/1). James Joyce wrote to Harriet Weaver on 11 March 1931: "McGreevy has also left Paris. Some person or persons gave him an annuity of 300 £ a year to do original work, and

he has gone to Ireland via Italy" Uoyce, Letters of James Joyce, I, 303). "La-bas" (down there).

2 Besides the review by Rebecca West, McGreevy's Thomas Stearns Eliot had been announced by Chatto and Windus in an advertisement that mentioned it as "a short but pointed and distinguished study of a writer who has for some years been regarded by intelligent people as of paramount influence in modern letters" (Times Literary Supplement 22 January 1931: 54); it had been reviewed by H. F. in "T. S. Eliot," Time and Tide (12.617 February 1931] 165).

3 Seward Collins (1899-1952), Editor of The Bookman: A Review ofBooks and Life (New York, 1895 - March 1933), cabled SB on 17 February 1931: "cou LD I s EE co PY you R FORTHCOMING STUDY MARCEL PROUST FOR POSSIBLE PUBLICATION IN AMERICAN BOOKMAN ADDRESS THREE EIGHTY SIX FOURTH AVENUE

NEw Yo RK" (CtY. YCAL MSS 12, Series I. 2/42). SB did not hear from The Bookman until August 1933 (when it had become The American Review): "When it came we had rather an embarrassment ofriches, so far as articles on Proust were concerned. Mr. Collins liked it, however, and hoped to use it, but now feels that he cannot afford the space" (Dorothea Brande [1893-1948}, Associate Editor of The American Review, to SB, 7 August 1933, CtY, YCAL, MSS 12, Series I, 2/42).

Pinker had not pursued publication in America.

4 "Vitaccia" (It., miserable life, wretched existence); "terne" (dull, colorless). SB wrote "<Catie]>Peacock."

The Modern Languages Society production of a French play at the Peacock Theatre was an annual event at Trinity College Dublin; Georges Pelorson was in charge of the program of three plays. A comedy in Spanish, La Quema (1922), by the brothers Serafin (1871-1938) and Joaquin Alvarez Quintero (1873-1944), was directed by Walter Starkie (1894-1976), Professor of Spanish and Italian at Trinity College Dublin. SB suggested La Souriante Mme. Beudet (1921; The Smiling Mrs. Beudet), by Denys Amie! (ne Guillaume Roche. 1884-1977) and Andre Obey (1892-1975). Le Kid, a burlesque ofLe Cid (1637; The Cid) by Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), was devised by Pelorson with advice from SB and influenced by Henri Bergson (for discussion: Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 125-128; Dougald McMillan and Martha Fehsenfeld, Beckett in the Theatre: The Author as Practical Playwright and Director, From "Waiting for Godot" to "Krapp's Last Tape" !London: John Calder; New York: Riverrun Press, 1988] 17-23).

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Pavane pour une infante dejimte, for piano (1889; Pavane for a Dead Princess). SB generally refers to this piece as the "Infanta."

Wilbraham Fitzjohn Trench (1873-1939), Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin.

5 McGreevy planned to pass through Dublin on his way to Tarbert, Co. Kerry, in the spring. "II ne manquait que cela." (That's the last straw.)

6 Edward John Gwynn (1868-1941). an eminent scholar of Old Irish, was Provost of Trinity College Dublin (1927-1937).

"Cela me fait chier" (It really gets me down, literally, makes me shit).

7 At this time, Trinity College Dublin did not have bathing facilities; the Turkish bath on Lincoln Place and another on Leinster Street were the two nearest to TCD.

8 The Royal Dublin Society's chamber music concert on 23 February 1931 was played by the Unity String Quartet. with the addition of a second viola and cello. The

program included the String Quartet in E-flat major, op. 127 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827); an unspecified Mendelssohn String Quintet (either no. 1 in A major, op. 18, or no. 2 in B-flat major, op. 87); the String Quintet in C, D 956 by Franz Schubert (1797-1828); Souvenir de Florence, String Sextet in D major, op. 70 by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893); and the String Quartet in D major, op. 33 by Italian-born Dublin composer, Michele Esposito (1855-1929).

9 Abraham Jacob Leventhal• (known as Con, 1896-1979).

10 SB read from the four-volume, posthumously published Le Journal, 1887-1910 of French writer Jules Renard (1864-1910) (Paris, F. Bemouard, 1927). See SB's notes taken from this edition in Pilling, ed., Beckett's Dream Notebook, 30-34 (BIF, UoR, MS 5000).

11 The family of Michele Esposito included his wife Natalia (nee Klebnikoff, 1857-1944), their daughters Bianca Esposito (1879-1961), Vera Dockrell (nee Esposito, 1883-1967). and Nina Porcelli (nee Esposito, 1890-1970), and son, Mario Esposito (1887-1975) (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 84; J. Bowyer Bell, "Waiting for Mario: The Espositos, Joyce, and Beckett," Eire-Ireland 30.2 [1995] 7-26; Michael M. Gorman. "Mario Esposito (1887-1975) and the Study of the Latin Literature of Medieval Ireland" in Mario Esposito, Studies in Hiberno-Latin Literature, ed. Michael

M. Gorman. Variorum Collected Studies Series [Aldershot, UK: AshgateJVariorum, 2006] 300-309). SB took private Italian classes with Bianca Esposito at a school of languages and music at 21 Ely Place, Dublin; she "nurtured his love for Dante" (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 67-68, 630). SB had visited Italy in the late spring through the summer of 1927 to prepare for his final examinations in Italian and had stayed some time in Florence where the Espositos then lived (NhD: Lawrence Harvey, Interviews with SB. 92; Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 83-84).

12 "Au courant" (up to date).

Thomas Mcgreevy Florence


My dear Tom

39 T.C.D.


A thousand thanks for all you say about my Proust. You would have had your copy before now were it not for what Charlus would call an unhappy 'enchainement de circonstances'. My parcel was sent to Foxrock & I only got it a couple of days ago. And I have been paralysed with a most atrocious cold that shackled me to the fire. The wind for 3 days was terrifying, Siberian vitriol, and I got so nervous listening to it hoisting itself to the one note behind my bedroom that I got ready to retreat to the anthracite bosom of my family. Then it dropped and I felt as though I had had a tooth out after long fumigations. 1

After reading your appreciation of that essay I know that it is worth more than I thought. I read the book through quickly and really wondered what I was talking about. It seemed like pale grey sandpaper, stab stab stab without any enchantment. It's too abstract because my head comes breaking every now & then through the epidermis for a breath of merely verbal enthusiasm. It has the plausibility of a pattern, a kind of flat syllogistic drift, like the fan of the long division sum in 'Portrait of the Artist': at its best a distorted steam-rolled equivalent of some aspect or confusion ofaspects of myself.2 That is what you see & what pleases you, because I have the good-fortune to have your affection. I mean you see your intuition as a formula. That is the only stimulus that I can find for your pleasure. As a merely critical extension, what could be more blafard, gritty like the Civic Guard's anus.3 No sinewy membrane between it & its official motive - the only motive that the most easy going public will give me any credit for - Proust. I feel it tied somehow on to Proust, on to his tail board, with odds & ends of words, like bundles of grass(,] jack in the boxing under a kite. Not that I care. I don't want to be a professor (it[']s almost a pleasure to contemplate the mess of this job). And what the hell do I care for the sneers of the Faguets & the Lansons & the Gwynns & the Brunetieres and all the Sorbonagres when you write pleased with even the mutilated statement of an identification & a participation effected a summer's day of fathoms deeper than the little cormorant plunge of voracious curiosity.4 I won't forget your letter. I read it on the railings, just as the sun took it into its head to bare its bottom over censored Dublin. - Douceurs.5

Seumas O'Sullivan asked me to review your Eliot for his next number - after the one that is just coming out. I would like to. I may? He sent me Eliot's translation of Anabase for review. I don't like Anabase - I think it[']s bad Claude!, with abominable colour. The translation is very uneven. Good when he drops the text altogether.6 I've been reading nothing but Rimbaud - tired out by Renard. Oh a good name - foxy foxy. I'll come back to him. But I can't talk about Rimbaud, though I had to try & explain the mystery to my foul Senior Sophisters. I told them about the eye suicide - pour des visions - you remember. (Poetes de 7 ans).7 Guffaw. As they guffawed when I quoted:

Noire bise, averse glapissante Fleuve noir et maisons closes'.

So I repeated. Titter. I, in my innocence, couldn't understand, and wondered could 'maisons closes' have tickled their repressions. I told Pelorson who kindly explained that the joke resided in the 'pissante' of 'glapissante'.8 Oh the bitches & the stallions. Pelorson s'eloigne, toujours tres pris, tres melancolique, mal aux yeux, au coeur, aux bronches, hallucinations, reves, seuil de la folie & the usual.9 Always alone except when he or Frank comes in. Ruddy s'efface. Had a rather terrible letter from Beaufret from Berlin. He had a beautiful phrase: 'le diamant du pessimisme'. 10 I long to be away and of course can't bear the idea ofgoing & can't understand why Hamburg, where it won't be warm & where I will be probably frightened. That's the latest cardiac feather. Fear - followed by no genitive.

O'Sullivan said Alan was in Dublin. Pas vu. Stella said that Cissie was asking for me & wishing to see me. Tonic or balm?11 God bless now. Keep me in the current. And again - all that is good.


Kindest regards to the Aldingtons. No reply from Bookman.12

ALS; 2 leaves, 7 sides; TCD, MS 10402/18.

1 In Proust's Le Cote de Guennantes M. de Charlus says: "'Etje ne parle pas seulement des evenements accomplis, mais de l'enchainement de circonstances"' ('"And I do not speak only of events that have already occurred, but of the chain of circumstances'"); the narrator comments: "une des expressions favorites de M. de Charlus" (a favourite expression of M. de Charlus's) (Le Cote de Guennantes in A la recherche du temps perdu, II, ed. Jean-Yves Tadie, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1987-1989] 583; The Guennantes Way, in In Search of Lost Time, III, tr. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, rev. D. J. Enright [New York: Modern Library, 1992-1993] 389).

SB's copies of Proust had been sent to him at his family home rather than to 39

Trinity College, Dublin.

From 6 to 8 March 1931 Dublin experienced easterly winds that changed to northeasterly winds on 9 March.

2 See James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. Chester G. Anderson (New York: Viking Press, 1964) 102-103:

The equation on the page of his scribbler began to spread out a widening tail, eyed and starred like a peacock's; and, when the eyes and stars of its indices had been eliminated, began slowly to fold itself together again ...

It was his own soul going forth to experience, unfolding itself sin by sin, spreading abroad the balefire of its burning stars and folding back upon itself, fading slowly, quenching its own lights and fires.

3 "Blafard" (wan).

The Civic Guard was formed in August 1922, in preparation for the transfer of political power from the British to the Provisional Irish Government.

4 SB dubs as "Sorbonagres" a group of influential academic figures who were associated with the Ecole Normale Superieure, the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and Trinity College Dublin. The term was coined by Frarn;ois Rabelais (?1494-71553) in Gargantua et Pantagruel (1532-1533).

Emile Faguet (1847-1916), Professor of French Poetry at the Sorbonne, defended the classical ideal and interpreted literary history with an evolutionary model (Maftres et eleves, celebrites et savants: !'Ecole Nonnale Superieure, 1794-1994 [Paris: Archives Nationales, 1994] 158): his five-volume Etudes litteraires (1885-1891) surveyed sixteenth- to early twentieth-century literature.

Gustave Lanson (1857-1934), Professor at the Sorbonne from 1897 to 1900, and Directeur, Ecole Normale Superieure, from 1902 to 1927. Among his writings are Histoire de la litterature franaise (1894) and Manuel bibliographique de la litterature franaise moderne, depuis 1500 jusqu'a nos jours (1909-1912, 4 vols.).

Edward John Gwynn, Provost of Trinity College Dublin (see 24 February 1931, n. 6). Ferdinand Brunetiere (1849-1906), Professor of French Literature at the Ecole Normale Superieure from 1886 to 1904, advocated that art should have a moral purpose and that literature was governed by evolution; he edited the Revue des Deux

Mandes from 1893 to 1906, and wrote, among other works, Histoire et litterature

{1884-1886), L'Evolution des genres dans l'histoire de la litterature (1890), L'Evolution de la poesie lyrique au dix-neuvieme siecle (1894), Manuel de l'histoire de la litterature franaise (1897). and L'Art et la morale (1898).

5 The Nassau Street boundary ofTrinity College Dublin was called "the railings." "Douceurs" (soft sweetness).

6 SB did not write a review ofMcGreevy's Thomas Stearns Eliot for Dublin Magazine, nor one ofT. S. Eliot's translation ofAnabase, a poem by St.-John Perse (ne Alexis SaintLeger, 1887-1975) which was published as Anabasis by Faber and Faber in 1930. Nonetheless, SB had closely read Eliot's translation which presents the French and English texts on facing pages.

SB compares the poem to the work ofPaul Claude! (1868-1955), a prominent figure in the French Catholic literary renaissance ofthe early twentieth century.

7 Jules Renard, Le Journal; "renard" (fox).

A Senior Sophister is in the fourth and final year of study for an undergraduate degree at Trinity College Dublin.

In 1871, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) wrote "Les Poetes de sept ans" ("SevenYear-Old Poets"); the poem follows Rimbaud's two "Les Lettres du voyant" ("The Letters ofthe Seer") which set forth his program to explore poetic vision through a deliberate derangement ofhis senses. In this poem, the image ofa child who "dans ses yeux fermes voyait des points" (shut his eyes to see spots) leads to what SB calls the "eye suicide," the image ofa child deliberately grinding his fists into his eyes: "Et pour des visions ecrasant son oeil dame" (Squeezing his dazzled eyes to make visions come) (Arthur Rimbaud, Oeuvres completes, ed. Antoine Adam, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1972) 43-44; Arthur Rimbaud, Complete Works, tr. Paul Schmidt [New York: Harper and Row, 1975) 77-78).

8 Jules Laforgue, "XII," Demiers Vers: "Noire bise, averse glapissante / Et fleuve noir, et maisons closes" (Black wind, downpour yelping, / Black river, and houses closed), (Poesies completes, II, ed. Pascal Pia [Paris: Gallimard, 1979) 215; Poems of]ules Laforgue, tr. Patricia Terry [Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1958) 183).

Maisons closes (brothels); "pissante" (pissing); "glapissante" (yelping). The guffawing students found "pissante" irresistible.

9 "Pelorson s'eloigne, toujours tres pris, tres melancolique, ma! aux yeux, au coeur, aux bronches. hallucinations. reves. seuil de la folie" (Pelorson is drifting away, always very busy, very melancholic, eye trouble, heart trouble, bronchial trouble, hallucinations, dreams, edge ofmadness).

10 "S'efface" (keeps out ofthe way).

Jean Beaufret was in Germany studying the work ofMartin Heidegger {1889-1976); the phrase "'le diamant du pessimisme'" (the diamond of pessimism) appears in a letter from him to SB.

11 Seumas O'Sullivan, speaking ofAlan Duncan. "Pas vu" (not seen).

Estella Solomons was a close friend ofSB's paternal aunt Cissie Beckett Sinclair.

12 McGreevy is in Italy with Richard Aldington and Brigit Patmore (nee Morrison-Scott, 1882-1965), Aldington's companion from 1928 to 1936.

SB wrote to Charles Prentice on 18 February 1931: "Many thanks for forwarding a promising communication from the editor ofthe American Bookman. I have sent him the Proust" (UoR, MS 2444 CW 24/9).

Charles Prentice, Chatto and Windus London


39 Trinity College, Dublin.

Dear Mr Prentice

Glad to hear that Proust has got off with so many of the few.1 Tom wrote me a most charming letter about the book.2 It is very good ofhim to think that I am worth labelling with a flag. I had not noticed whether the Dolphin was green or brown.3

Could I have another half dozen? I am enclosing cheque for 13/-. Is 1/- enough for postage?

Very sincerely yours Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; letterhead: <c OMMON ROOM , > A ins " 3 9 " TR IN IT Y COLLEGE , o u BL, N ; date stamped received 16-3-31; UoR, MS 2444 CW 24/9. In another hand, figures to the left of the signature, related to the cost of six additional copies (see Prentice to SB, 16 March 1931: "The six copies of'Proust' will be sent to you today, and the balance of your cheque returned. I do not know yet how the sum will work out, but

you are of course charged at trade terms, i.e., at 1/4d. instead of 2/- a copy" [UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 31/9851).

1 Prentice wrote to SB on 12 March 1931: "The book has made a very decent start. It was published last Thursday, and we have already sold 639 copies. When the reviews begin to appear, I hope there will be more exciting news to report" (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 31/948). Rebecca West's review in the Daily Telegraph calls Proust "an excellent work. for Mr. Beckett is a very brilliant young man," but warns that "his metaphysics and his habit ofallusiveness" pose an intellectual challenge (6 March 1931: 18).

2 McGreevy's letter to SB has not been found, but SB's appreciation of his warm comments about Proust is evident in his reply of 11 March 1931, above.

3 Prentice mentioned receiving a note from McGreevy about the cover of Proust: "Tom tells me I have done wrong in giving you a brown Dolphin. It should, he says, have been green; clearly I have been trying to steal you from Ireland. Will you please forgive?" (Prentice to SB, 12 March 1931, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 31/948).


Monday[? 30 March to 13 April 1931]

Hotel Corneille Rue Corneille Paris 6e

Dear Putnam

Do you ever come up to town? I'd like very much to see you before taking myself off, Wednesday afternoon or Thursday evening? Will you drop me a line?1

Congratulations on your Review. Greavy gave me a copy. It's full of good stuff.2

A bientot n'est-ce pas?3 Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; NjP. New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl 11/1/9. Dating: SB anived in Paris on 26 March; Pilling notes that SB went to Kassel for the Easter holiday on 5 April (A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 7); SB details his travel from Paris via Niirnberg to Kassel in April 1931 (BIF, UoR, GD 5/f. 55, 1 March 1937). He may have returned to Paris immediately afterwards, for Wambly Bald (1902-1990) mentions SB in his column "La Vie de Boheme (As Lived on the Left Bank)" on 7 April: "Another Irish poet now among us is Samuel Beckett," which suggests that SB was in Paris at that time and possibly into the following week (Chicago Daily Tribune, European Edition [Paris] 7 April 1931: 4; rpt. in Wambly Bald, On the Left Bank, 1929-1933, ed. Benjamin Franklin, V [Athens: Ohio University Press, 1987] 57). SB returned to Dublin for the Trinity Term that began on 20 April 1931.

1 SB anived in Paris on 26 March 1931, the day of a "Seance consacree a James Joyce" (session devoted to James Joyce) organized by Adrienne Monnier at La Maison des Amis des Livres (see Ellmann, James Joyce, 636-637, and Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 129-131). The offices of The New Review (1930-1932) were situated in Fontenayaux-Roses, near Paris.

2 George Reavey had given SB the first issue of The New Review Oanuary-February 1931), edited by Putnam. Although the second issue and its contents were announced for March-April 1931, it was published as May-June-July 1931. SB had submitted

Return to the Vestty, but the poem was not published until the third issue, August-September-October 1931 (98-99); there was also a mention of Proust in this issue.

3 "A bientot n'est-ce pas?" (Till soon. am I right?).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry


Cooldrinagh, Foxrock,

Co. Dublin.

Dear Tom

Very glad to get your letter. Yes I got the box of dolls that morning and left them round at the Abbey for L. R.1 Joyce sent me H. C. E. & N. R. F. both autographed. I'm afraid I let too many days pass before answering to thank him, which I did finally via Sylvia, rushing in foolishly to say that it was impossible to read his text without understanding the futility of the translation. I can't believe that he doesn't see through the translation himself, its horrible quip atmosphere & vulgarity, necessarily because you can't translate a motive; I had a Whitsun card from the three of them with an address in London.2

I have been in bed for the last week with a dry pleurisy, &

God knows when I'll be let out ofthe room though I feel all right except for a reluctance to sneeze & belch. Poor Ruddy & Pelorson have been sharing my work.3

Glad to hear that the Aldington is finished & away. Thanks for using a phrase out of my book. T.C.D. honoured you with an ereintement last week. I hear they have done mine this week but I have not seen it. I am thinking now ofmy review ofyour T.S.E. for Seumas O'S. together with the translation ofAnabase.4 I am writing the German Comedy in a ragged kind of way, on & off, and would like to show you a page or two when you come up. I'll never believe that the intoxicated dentist was an artist though I don't know anything about him except a few shocking lines here & there.5

Was ich weiss kann jeder wissen, mein Herz hab['] ich allein!!

Herz!6 Always the break down & the flabby word & the more than menstrual effusion ofcredulity. IfI could only get you to sleep in Dostoievski's bed somewhere! I'm reading the 'Possedes' in a foul translation. Even so it must be very carelessly & badly written in the Russian, full of cliches & journalese: but the movement, the transitions!7 No one moves about like Dostoievski. No one ever caught the insanity ofdialogue like he did.

Do you know a decent French life of Marie Stuart?8 Yes a temperance hotel is like a celibate brothel.

If you arrive after 1 o'clock Monday 8th I could meet you at station with car. Try and keep an evening for me if you can.

Love ever


ALS; I leaf, 4 sides; letterhead; TCD, MS 10402/19.

1 Abbey Theatre, Lennox Robinson.

2 JamesJoyce, Haveth Childers Everywhere: Fragment.from Work in Progress (Paris: Henry Babou and Jack Kahane, 1930; Paris: Fountain Press, 1930; Criterion Miscellany [London: Faber and Faber, 1931)); it is likely that Joyce sent the Faber edition which was published on 2 April 1931.

James Joyce, "Anna Livie Plurabelle," tr. Samuel Beckett et al., La Nouvelle Revue

Franraise, 637-646.

SB wrote toJoyce care of Sylvia Beach. At this time, theJoyces and Lucia were at 28B Campden Grove, Kensington WS, London. Whitsun (Whitsunday, the celebration of Pentecost) follows fifty days after Easter; in 1931 it fell on 24 May.

3 SB's classes were taught by Rudmose-Brown and Pelorson.

4 As an epigraph for his book, Richard Aldington: An Englishman, The Dolphin Books (London: Chatto and Windus, 1931), McGreevy quoted SB: "Yesterday is not a milestone that has been passed, but a daystone on the beaten track of the years, and irremediably part of us, within us, heavy and dangerous. We are not merely more weary because of yesterday, we are other, no longer what we were before the calamity of yesterday" (Proust, 3).

McGreevy's Thomas Steams Eliot received an unfavorable review in T.C.D: A College Miscellany, a weekly journal ofTrinity College Dublin (D.H. V., "Reviews" [21 May 1931] 162).SB's Proust was reviewed in the following issue: "His critical integrity and close comprehension of his subject make this essay a valuable piece of penetrating criticism" (W.J. K. M., "Reviews" [28 May 1931) 177).

Ereintement (slating, harsh review).

No review of McGreevy's Thomas Steams Eliot or of Eliot's translation of St.-John Perse's Anabase was published in Dublin Magazine (see 11 March 1931, n. 6).

5 "The German Comedy" may refer to the first of the Belacqua stories. "Sedendo et Quiescendo," as Ruby Cohn suggests, but more probably to its expanded form as part of Dream of Fair to Middling Women (A Beckett Canon, 28; John Pilling, Beckett Before Godot [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 56-57). Belshazzar is a "fat dentist of a chess-player" in Dream ofFair to Middling Women. When he invitesSmeraldina to his table she rebuffs him: when he invites Belacqua to the table, he accepts. This causesSmeraldina to insist that she and Belacqua leave at once (Beckett, Dream ofFair to Middling Women, 89-91).

6 " Ach, was ich weiB kann jeder wissen - meinHerz habe ich allein!!" (Ah, the knowledge I possess anyone can acquire, but my heart is all my own) Uohann Wolfgang [von] Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, Synoptischer Druck der beiden Fassungen 1774 und 1787, ed. Annika Lorenz und Helmut Schmiedt [Paderbom: Igel Verlag Literatur, 1997] 123;Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows ofYoung Werther, Goethe's Collected Works, XI, ed. DavidE. Wellbery, tr. Victor Lange andJudithRyan [New York:Suhrkamp Publishers, 1988] 52).

7 At this time the only French translation of Dostoevsky's novel was Les Possedes,

2 vols, tr. Victor Derely (Paris:Editions Plon, 1886).

8 There were no contemporary French biographies of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland (1542-1587).

Seumas O'sullivan, Dublin Magazine Dublin




Dear Seumas

May I propose these samples ofembarrassed respiration to you in the first instance and to your magazine in the second instance?1

Beautiful greetings to Stella and to yourself s/ Sam Beckett

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; poems not enclosed; KU, James Starkey collection.

1 SB called the two poems he sent to O'Sullivan "the Albas," as is clear from the letter written by SB to McGreevy, Saturday 112 September 1931]. And, later, SB to

McGreevy, Tuesday le. 22 September 1931]: "Seumas O'Sullivan condescends to publish the 'sheet' Alba, but he wouldn't touch the other. He didn't like 'give us a wipe' & he didn't like the anthrax" (TCD. MS 10402/13).

The "Alba" that was published included the lines "whose beauty shall be a sheet before me" and "only I and then the sheet / and bulk dead" (Dublin Magazine 6.4 [October-December 1931] 4). The "second" "Alba" poem, that included the lines "give us a wipe for the love ofJesus" and "shining round the corner like an anthrax," was published later under the new title "Enueg 2" in Samuel Beckett, Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates, Europa Poets 3 (Paris: Europa Press, 1935; Samuel Beckett, Poems 1930-1989 ILondon: Calder Publications, 2002] 16).

2 Estella Solomons.

Charles Prentice,chatto and Windus London


39 Trinity College Dublin

Dear Prentice

For your more than charming letter gratias tibi. You're right about my top heavy Sedendo et Quiescendo, though the title's meant to embrace the following section also: They Go Out for the Evening.1 And of course it stinks ofJoyce in spite ofmost earnest endeavours to endow it with my own odours. Unfortunately for myselfthat's the only way I'm interested in writing. The next is a clumsy exercise, ribs false & floating & unbreakable (?) glass. Believe me I am grateful for your interest & the trouble you have taken and touched by your letter. I meant what I said to you in London. I wasn't showing it to Chatto & Windus. I was showing it to you.2 When I imagine I have a real 'twice round the pan & pointed at both ends' I'll offend you with its spiral on my soilman's shovel. I'm glad to have the thing back again in the dentist's chair. I still believe there's something to be done with it. I have just finished what I might describe as a whore's get version ofWalking Out, the story I spoke to you ofin London, & sent it to Pinker who won't be able to place it but will be annoyed I hope.3 That old dada is narrowing down at last to an apex and then I hope it will develop seven spectral petals.4

Forgive me for keeping Apocalypse so long.5 It yielded so much on the first reading that I put it aside relying on your indulgence. But the sponge will soon be dry again.

Dublin is bloody. But it's almost a pleasure to be paralysed after the French daymare and the rain is lovely.

Yours ever

Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; date stamped received 18-8-31; UoR, MS 2444 CW 24/9.

1 "Gratias tibi" (my thanks to you).

Sedendo et Quiescendo (It., Sitting and Reposing) was published in transition 21 (March 1932) 13-20, with a typo as "Sedendo et Quiesciendo"; it was later reworked in SB's novel, Dream ofFair to Middling Women (64-73). Prentice's letter to SB responding to the story has not been found, but Prentice did write in some detail to McGreevy, and from this letter it is clear that the story as given to Prentice began with "The Smeraldina's Billet Doux" (Dream of Fair to Middling Women, 55-61); this story, with some variants, is also part of More Pricks Than Kicks (!New York: Grove Press, 19721 152-157); all citations are from this edition.

Prentice wrote to McGreevy: "The love letters at the beginning of the story are devastating, as rendingly good as anything I have ever read in this vein. But the Joyce bit that comes next seems to be more suitable for a long work than a short one, & anyhow it's not his own style, & the best parts, though there are some supreme times in them, dribble through one's hands in a way that cannot be wholly intentional" (3 August 1931, TCD, MS 8092/50). The story that SB calls "They Go Out for the Evening" became the next section of Dream ofFair to Middling Women (74-99).

2 SB met Prentice in London on 28 July 1931 as he traveled from France to Dublin. As SB explained to McGreevy: "A very pleasant evening with Charles Prentice. His voice slows down your heart and tires your eyes. I brought him round the ? next day though I hadn't meant to. Haven't heard anything since. Proposed a Dostoievski for the sake of something to say more than anything else & knowing bloody well I would (could) never do it. Fortunately the partner refrained from being interested" ([? after

2 August to 8 August 1931], TCD, MS 10402/12). Prentice wrote to McGreevy: "He didn't formally submit the story, but he allowed me personally to see it - yet I fear that the firm won't do it, if it were offered to them" (3 August 1931, TCD. MS 8092/50).

3 "Walking Out" was published as a story in More Pricks Than Kicks (London: Chatto and Windus, 1934). "Whore's get" (Ir. slang, lowest of the low).

4 "Dada" (colloq., hobbyhorse).

The seven spectral petals suggest the women in the amphitheatre of Paradise, who sit at Mary's feet; Rachel with Beatrice, Sarah, Rebecca, Judith, and Ruth are enthroned on the rose, dividing those who believe in the Christ yet to come from those who held their eyes on the Christ already come (Dante, The Divine Comedy, III. Paradiso. tr. John D. Sinclair [London: John Lane The Bodley Head, 1946, rev. 1948] Canto XXXII, lines 7-18, 463).

5 Charles Prentice had sent SB his copy of D. H. Lawrence's Apocalypse, edited by Richard Aldington (Florence: G. Orioli, 1931); Lawrence's commentary on the Book of Revelation had been published in this limited edition on 3 June 1931; trade editions did not follow until November 1931 (New York: Knopf) and May 1932 (London: Secker). Prentice replied to SB: "By all means. keep 'Apocalypse' until you have properly finished with it. There is no hurry, but when you have finished with it I shall be glad to have it back again" (18 August 1931, UoR. MS 2444 CW letterbook 133/708).

Thomas Mcgreevy Le Can Ade L, Var

[? after 15 August 1931]



Dear Tom

May all things come right somehow and you be happy somehow[.] 1

No news from outside or inside. Charles Prentice sent my thing back with a covering letter putting charming and gracious relations before me. He is very nice. Pinker sent back a short story with a rejection slip.2 I don't know whether he is very nice or not. I'm very tired, tired - enough to slip back into the embarrassed respirations. Herewith. I can't write like Boccaccio and I don't want to write like Boccaccio.3 I'll stay in town and take down the petites merdes de mon ame. No I never did the T.S.E. Telegraphie sans ether.4 Nothing more about Leipzig. Cissie may be coming to settle in Ireland with the two youngest children. Boss won't leave the sinking ship - because of the virgins on board.5 I was reading your cab poem.Went up in a spasm is a great phrase.6 Yes, Night of the Rabblement is good. Silence Exile and Cunning isn't quite

H.C.E. However I don't feel there's anything wrong anywhere. He's getting a great name for himself in Dublin by the way. The cute thing to do now would be to write the Prolegomena ofW.I.P. Do you feel like collelaborating? And what about making a book on the title?7 I have not yet said anything to Ruddy about fucking the field. He wanted me to apply for a job, oh a very good job, in Capetown or for a job, oh quite a good job, in Cardiff, where I could lie with Rikky. Starkie will probably be appointed at Oxford - he was first man out last time, and then my dear Sam of course they'll appoint you Professor of Italian Literature juxta Dublin juxta Dublin.8 That'll be the real pig's back. I'll feel like a fricatrix on her bicycle, the sabreflat fricatrix, for dear death pedalling faster and faster, her mouth ajar and her nostrils dilated. Daddy says come off it for the love of God, come out and dine, I'll give you a drink, kiss and make friends. God bless dear Daddy Mummy Frank Bibby and all that I love and make me a good boy for Jesus Christ's sake armen.9 So I said something quiet and flat and blank but I won't. No sir. Nothing would induce me to. Pelorson was glad to hear about Grasset. He is very mou and I don't see enough of him. Like one of his own policepigeons - mous et lourds sur les toits du monde.10

Dear Tom forgive and forget this pestilential letter. I feel hollow.

Beautiful greetings to Richard and Bridget [for Brigit]11 and love ever

TL; 1 leaf, 1 side; TCD, MS 10402/25. Dating: follows SB to Charles Prentice 15 August 1931 which indicates that Pinker had returned the story.

1 Richard Aldington, with whom McGreevy was staying in Le Canadel, was unwell, as was McGreevy's mother. Of further concern to McGreevy was where he would go when Aldington left the south of France; he confided to Prentice that staying with Hester Dowden• (1868-1949) in London would be impossible because the forthcoming marriage of her daughter Dolly Travers-Smith to Lennox Robinson "has been rather a knock out" (29 July 1931, UoR, MS 2444 CW 41/2).

2 Prentice's letter to SB has not been found in the Chatto and Windus files (UoR), which suggests that it was a personal letter covering the return ofthe stories.

3 SB sent "Walking Out" to McGreevy. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), Italian author best known for the Decameron (1349-1351).


4 "Petites merdes de mon ame" (droppings from my soul).

SB did not write the review of McGreevy's Thomas Stearns Eliot, nor of Eliot's translation ofAnabase by St.·John Perse.

SB spins T.S.E. (Eliot's initials) into "Telegraphie sans ether" (literally, telegraphy without ether), playing on "Telegraphie Sans Fil" (wireless), commonly referred to in France as TSF.

5 SB had been thinking of going to Leipzig (see 112 September 1931I).Cissie Sinclair considered leaving Germany and returning to Ireland with her two youngest children, Deirdre and Morris (1918-2007); however, her husband, Boss, was unwilling to leave Kassel because their older daughters Annabel Lilian (known as Nancy, 1916-1969), Sara Estella (known as Sally, 1910-1976), and Peggy wanted to remain in Germany where they had boyfriends (Morris Sinclair, 10 August 2004).

6 McGreevy's "cab poem" is "Cron Trath Na nDeithe" (Twilight of the Gods); the phrase is from part III: "When the Custom House took fire / Hope slipped off her green petticoat / The Four Courts went up in a spasm / Moses felt for Hope" (MacGreevy, Collected Poems of Thomas MacGreery, 19, 107-122; the translation of the Irish title is supplied by Susan Schreibman with an explanation ofits context, 109).

7 "Night of the Rabblement" plays on the title of an indignant essay by James Joyce about the parochialism of the Irish Literary Theatre, "The Day of the Rabblement" (15 October 1901);Joyce's essay was rejected by St. Stephen's, a magazine published by students ofUniversity College. Joyce protested to the President of the University, and, in the end, the essay was privately printed (F. J.C. Skeffington and James Joyce, Two Essays: A Forgotten Aspect of the University Question, and The Day of the Rabblement [Dublin: Gerrard Brothers, 19011 7-8; rpt. in The Critical Writings of]ames Joyce, ed.Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellmann !Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1959] 68-72).

Near the end ofJoyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the character Stephen Dedalus avows: "I will try to express myselfin some mode oflife or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use - silence, exile, and cunning" (247).

Padraic Colum (1881-1972) reviewed Joyce's Haveth Childers Everywhere ("From a Work in Progress," Dublin Magazine 6.3 [July-September 1931] 33-37); a review of Stuart Gilbert's study James Joyce's "Ulysses" had appeared in the previous issue of Dublin Magazine (6.2 [April-June 1931] 64-65). The London wedding of James and Nora Joyce received mention in The Irish Times (4 July 1931: 6; 11 July 1931: 6). SB proposes that he and McGreevy write a preface or introduction to Work in Progress, or a book on the (as yet unannounced) title of the novel.

8 "Fucking the field": SB's grotesque English-literal adaptation of the dead French metaphor "foutre le camp" (get away quickly). Rudmose-Brown encouraged SB to seek academic positions in Cape Town, SouthAfrica, and at the University of Cardiff, Wales. Leopold John Dixon Richardson (known as Reeky, called by SB "Rikky," 1893-1979), who had won highest honors in Classics at Trinity College Dublin; he was lecturer inLatin at the University of Cardiff.

Walter Starkie had been a Visiting Professor at the University of Madrid (1928-1929) and may have been considered for a position at Oxford, but he remained at TCD until 1940, when he became Director of the British Institute in Madrid.

9 The image of the sabreflat fricatrix appears in Dream ofFair to Middling Women as "the hard breastless Greek Slave or huntress" (83); the phrase "his mouth ajar and his nostrils dilated" appears in the opening of this novel (1). The prayer beginning "God bless" is found in Dream of Fair to Middling Women (8); Bibby was SB's nanny (Bridget Bray, n.d.) (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 35-36, 134-135).

10 SB had written to thank McGreevy for sending on the manuscript of Georges Pelorson's novel "Claudiurnales" to Henri Muller (1902-1980); Muller, a friend of Pelorson, worked directly with Bernard Grasset (1881-1955), the founder and editor of Les Editions Grasset, Paris. SB commented to McGreevy: "Neither do I think Grasset will take it" ([after 2 August - before 8 August 1931] TCD, MS 10402/12). Pelorson had typed the novel on SB's typewriter, and sent it to McGreevy at SB's insistence; the manuscript was indeed refused (Belmont, Souvenirs d'outre-monde, 415-416).

"Mou" (soft); "mous et lourds sur Jes toits du monde" (soft and heavy on the roofs of the world). Pelorson said he saw a similarity between the walk of an Irish policeman and the strutting of pigeons (interview 2 November 1990).

11 Richard Aldington, Brigit Patmore. SB wrote "<the Aldingtons>Richard and Bridget."

Sa Muel Putnam Pa R! S

[before 7 September 1931] [Dublin]

[no greeting]

Many thanks for N.R. and for including my lovely lovely poem and for somebody's obliging observations on my Proust turd.1 Hoping to send you sometime something very nice.

Tanti saluti to the thousands of them that love me.2 Yrs ever

Samuel Beckett

ACS; 1 leaf, 1 side; NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl 11/1/9. Dating: before 7 September 1931, when Prentice sent SB a copy of Richard Thoma's "Island Without Serpents." a review of McGreevy's Thomas Steams Eliot (The New Review 1.3 [August-September-October 1931] 119-121; UoR, MS 2444 CW!etterbook 133/944).

1 The New Review 1.3 (August-September-October 1931) included SB's poem "Return to the Vestry," as well as a note by Samuel Putnam announcing that SB's Proust would be reviewed in the following issue, "along with Ernest Seilliere's new Proust. Need we say that we prefer Beckett?" (98-99, 124).

2 "Tanti saluti" (many greetings). SB echoes Exodus 20:6.

Thomas Mcgreevy Le Lavandou, Va R

Saturday [12 September 1931]

39 T.C.D.


Dear Tom

Many thanks for your letter and then for Thoma's article in the New Review that Prentice sent along and that I had already read, Putnam having sent me a copy ofthe New Review, and that

I don't thing [for think] need detain us.1 I was very pleased to know that you liked the Albas. No, nothing either very new or very beautiful, when I come to think of it. They came together one on top of the other, a double-yoked orgasm in months of aspermatic nights & days. I sent them 3 weeks ago to Seumas O'Sullivan. So far he has not acknowledged their receipt. I'm afraid the 'Give us a wipe' class of guttersnippet continues to please me, or at least to recommend itself to me in as much as 'true.'2 One has to buckle the wheel of one's poem somehow, nicht wahr? Or run the risk ofNordau's tolerance.3

And most affectionate gratias tibi for offering to mitigate my distress a paraitre with a share ofyour substance. You're the kindest offriends and ifl knew you were in Paris I would be very much less concerned about going to Leipzig. But Paris (as such) gives me the chinks at the moment and it's about the last place in the world I want to go. Too many Frenchmen in the wrong streets. Anyhow I've no idea when I'll get away or if I ever shall. Said nothing to Ruddy- the old cowardice of keeping one[']s hand off the future.4 And I'm too tired and too poor in guts or spunk or whatever the stuffis to endow the old corpse with a destination & buy a ticket & pack up here. The 'pottamus waits for his angels.5 And really I can't seriously suppose that there's anything I want to rid myself of or acquire, no growth of freedom or property that can't be shed or assumed with as absurd a coefficient of plausibility here in the miasma as anywhere else. Nothing is so attractive anyhow as abstention. A nice quiet life punctuated with involuntary exonerations (Albas). And isn't my navel worth 10 of anyone else's, even though I can't get a very good view of it.

Pelorson has some good stuff in his new book that I think I spoke to you of and that he has just finished. He'll be off very soon, not that I see much of him now anymore (the only reason I hope being that he is not as free as he used to be.)6 I am fond of Leventhal for no reason good bad or indifferent which is surely the only possible way of being fond ofanybody, and I see a little of him. I had an invitation from J[.J B. Yeats to go round some

Saturday but I haven't had the courage to go so far. Frank emerges now & then from the fading fact of my family. Then there are sometimes the green tulips and always the quiet life (after the pubs close.)7

Do write and tell me how yourself goes & how yr. work goes. Schone griisse to R. & B.8 And love ever


ALS; 1 leaf, 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/24. Dating: after 7 September 1931, when Charles Prentice forwarded Thoma's review of McGreevy's Thomas Stearns Eliot to SB. On 7 August 1931, the "Albas" were submitted to Seumas O'Sullivan. At the time of this letter to McGreevy, SB did not yet know that one of the poems would be published by Seumas O'Sullivan in Dublin Magazine.

1 American writer Richard Thoma (1902-1974), along with Samuel Putnam and Harold]. Salemson (1910-1988), wrote the "Direction" manifesto (1930) in response to transition's call for a revolution in writing; it formed the editorial basis for The New Review, edited by Putnam with Thoma as an Associate Editor. Thoma's review was critical of McGreevy's parochialism, his preoccupation with Catholicism, and his "rambling, pedantic, speculative, dilettantish" style ("Island Without Serpents," 119-121). George Reavey wrote a riposte ("Letter to Richard Thoma," The New Review 1.4 [Winter 1931-1932] 397).

2 SB sent "the Albas" to Seumas O'Sullivan on 7 August 1931 as well as to McGreevy. There is no manuscript of either poem in the archives of Dublin Magazine (TCD). SB's reference to the phrase "'give us a wipe guttersnippet"' in the rejected "Alba" indicates that it is the poem later retitled "Enueg 2."

3 Max Simon Nordau (1849-1923), Hungarian-born philosopher, literary critic, and Zionist. His two-volume study Entartung (1892; Degeneration) tried to demonstrate that many artists and authors share mental features with the criminal and the insane. SB read and made notes from Nordau's Degeneration (translator not indicated [London: William Heinemann, 1895]; see Pilling, ed., Beckett's Dream Notebook, 89-97).

Nicht wahr? (isn't that so?).

SB is presumably referring to the twist or surprise of the poem Uohn Pilling, March 2005).

4 SB originally wrote "if!" and changed it to "when I'll get away." "Gratias tibi" (thanks to you).

A paraitre (that lies ahead).

SB had mentioned Leipzig as a destination in previous letters to McGreevy; he had not yet spoken to Rudmose-Brown about his thought of leaving Trinity College Dublin (see [after 15 August 1931], n. 8).

5 SB refers to T. S. Eliot's poem "The Hippopotamus" (T. S. Eliot, Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950 [New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1952[ 30-31).

6 Before leaving Dublin in the autumn of 1931, according to what he later wrote, Pelorson had been trying feverishly to finish his third manuscript, which he called "l'espece de true sans denomination" (the sort of nameless something-or-another): he had "un demi-cahier de poemes, un roman acheve" (half a notebook of poems, a finished novel) as well as the new work. At the same time, he was preoccupied with his then secret marriage to Marcelle Graham (1900-?), the complications of resigning from the Ecole Normale Superieure, and the need to support himself in France or elsewhere (Belmont, Souvenirs d'outre-monde, 324, 333-334).

7 Frank Beckett. SB evokes "the tulips of the evening/ the green tulips" in his poem "Enueg 2" (Echo's Bones, [16-17]; rpt. Beckett, Poems 1930-1989, 16). SB explained to scholar and biographer Lawrence Harvey (1925-1988), who had asked him about the color: "Those sky tulips I called green because I saw them that colour & the flower" (8 March 1965, NhD, MSS 661, Lawrence Harvey collection).

8 "Schone Griisse" (warm greetings) to Richard Aldington and Brigit Patmore.

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

Tuesday [c. 22 September 1931]

Trinity College [Dublin]

My dear Tom

Many thanks for your envoi. Frankly I much prefer your Eliot, which simply means I suppose, that I am more in sympathy with one subject than with the other. 1 The poetry you quote is for me really the most lamentable stuff".2 What I did enjoy was the rhythm of your phrase that always charms me and the lassoo [sic] leaps of your mind capturing analogies all round you. The carelessly disposed of parallel between Aldington & Lur�at as the adepts of Natures Vivantes I found very effective. But d'une fa�on generale I find the book less dense and rapid than the Eliot.3 Don't mind this from me - I'm suffering from literary caries.

I was glad to know what your plans were, even in vague outline. Here is the address of the people in Florence.

Signorina Ottolenghi via Campanella 14

They charged me 30 lire a day (3 meals) and are cultured decent people - and it[']s a quiet part ofFlorence, offthe Piazza Oberdamm [for Oberdan] & not far from the Campo di Marte. You would probably find something near for L 30 or L 35. I'll ask my Father next time I see him. I see him very seldom.4

I have done nothing at all except booze my heart quiet and gal[l]op through Berard's Odyssey. He certainly makes it easy to read, and I really recovered something ofthe old childish absorbtion [sic] with which I read Treasure Island & Oliver Twist and many others - free of all pilfering velleities. But I dislike very much his Alexandrine diction, and if that kind of hemistich neuralgia exasperates me what would it be like for a Frenchman? He has some most wonderful glittering phrases: La quenouille[,] chargee de laine purpurine - ! Et tout le jour le joug tressauta sur les cous.5

Seumas O'Sullivan condescends to publish the 'sheet' Alba, but he wouldn't touch the other. He didn't like 'Give us a wipe' & he didn't like the anthrax.6

Georges leaves early next week and I see so little of him that only a few adhesions will be ruptured. I see something of Leventhal and like him, though I'm aware & frightened of the sterile formulae of his attitude. I've done nothing further about getting away. 7 Ruddy loads me with the invigilations that he can't find time to accomplish in person, and those of his fucking master and advocate Goligher.8 I am very angry but must take it all smiling as long as I'm 'assisting' and paralysed by shillyshally. I probably won't afford Germany at Xmas. Do write & love ever and don't think me too splenetic.


Amities a Beaufret et Thomas si tu les vois.9

ALS; 2 leaves. 2 sides; PS, upper left margin side 1; TCD, MS 10402/13. Dating: McGreevy's book, Richard Aldington: An Englishman, was published by Chatto and Windus on 17 September 1931, and the Tuesday following was 22 September 1931 (Charles Prentice to McGreevy. 23 August 1931, TCD 8092/53). SB's poem "Alba" was published in Dublin Magazine 6.4 (October-December 1931) 4.

1 SB has received his copy of McGreevy's Richard Aldington: An Englishman.

2 McGreevy quotes numerous passages from Aldington's poetry. but without always indicating their titles; the first pagination given in what follows refers to the texts as published in The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington (London: Allan Wingate, 1948), and the second, to the pagination of the passages in McGreevy's book.

From Images: "In the Old Garden" (34; 12-13); "Choricos" (21-23; 14-15); "Lesbia"

(28; 18); "After Two Years" (44; 18); "Amalfi" (35; 19); "At Mitylene" (26; 19); "In the

Tube" (49; 23-24); "Inarticulate Grief' (64; 25-26); "Captive" (68; 26-27); "Sunsets" (68;

26-27); "The Faun Captive" (69-70; 27-28).

From Images ofWar: "Taintignies" (108; 28); "Bombardment" (105; 29); "A Village" (90-91;

29-30); "Machine Guns" (93; 33-34); "Epitaph (2)" (106-107; 34); "Insouciance" (80; 35). From "A Fool i' the Forest" (193-239), McGreevy uses several passages: (194; 42);

(198; 420); (202; 43); and two sections (206; 43).

From "Short Poems" (numbered with both arabic and roman numerals): 4 (295-296; 65); IV (297; 65).

3 McGreevy notes that Aldington and French artist Jean Lu�at (1892-1966), both of whom were marked by their experiences in World War I, share a commitment to depicting what he calls "natures vivantes," whereas T. S. Eliot "was painting verbal natures mortes" (31). McGreevy argues that the War caused Aldington and Lur<;:at to "bring their work closer to objective reality," but without the danger of nineteenth-century realism, both because "their technical point of departure is not realistic" and because "the principal reality that has been impelling them to expression is so vast and so terrible to look back on" (32).

D'une fa;:on generale (in a general way).

4 SB locates the pensione in which he stayed when he was in Florence in 1927, the summer prior to his undergraduate examinations in French and Italian (see Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 83-86). The Campo di Marte is near the Piazza Oberdan in Florence. SB's father, William Beckett* (1871-1933), a quantity surveyor, would have paid the bill.

5 Victor Berard (1864-1931) presents his French translation of The Odyssey, attributed to Horner (eighth century BC), as "poesie homerique" (Horner, L'Odyssee, tr. Victor Berard [Paris: Societe d'edition "Les Belles lettres," 19241). Berard's introduction explains: "Que !'on supprirne la rime qui jalonne de douze en douze syllabes cette 'diction alexandrine' et !'on aura, je crois, un rnodele de la prose que !'on peut concevoir pour obtenir en fram;:ais un rythrne equivalent .i celui du texte hornerique"

(xxxii) (If we take away the rhyme which marks, in the succession of twelve syllables, this 'alexandrine diction,' we shall have, I think, a model of the prose that can be imagined in order to obtain in French a rhythm equivalent to that of the Homeric text).

A hemistich is the half, or section, of a line of verse as divided by the caesura.

La quenouille, chargee de Laine purpurine (The distaff, laden with crimson wool) (I, 82). The second line, "Et tout le jour le joug tressauta sur !es cous" (And all day long the yoke rose and fell on the necks), is not an exact quotation of the phrase which appears three times in the translation: "Le joug, sur leurs deux cous, tressauta tout le jour" (The yoke, on their two necks, rose and fell all day long) (I, 75; I, 116; II, 205).

McGreevy had recommended Berard's translation, saying that it read like a novel, one that he could read and read again (Richard Aldington: An Englishman, 17). Treasure Island (1883) by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). Oliver Twist (1837-1839) by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). For SB's reading notes from Berard's translation: Pilling, ed., Beckett's Dream Notebook, 102-103.

6 "Alba," Dublin Magazine 4. For discussion of the two Alba poems: 7 August 1931, n. 1.

7 SB wrote "<terrifying>" and inserted above it "sterile."

Georges Pelorson's arrangements following his marriage to Marcelle Graham may have delayed his departure plans; in his memoir he writes that he did not leave Dublin until shortly before mid-October 1931 (Souvenirs d'outre-monde, 332-334).

8 SB assisted Rudrnose-Brown with teaching, which included invigilating examinations for him as well as for William Alexander Goligher (1870-1941), Registrar from 1930 to 1937; Goligher is described as one who "commanded respect" and enjoyed the substance ofpower, but whose remarks were often "caustic or cynical" (R B. McDowell and D. A. Webb, Trinity College Dublin, 1592-1952: An Academic History [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982] 442).

9 "Amities a Beaufret et Thomas si tu Jes vois." (Greetings to Beaufret and Thomas if you see them.)

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris


39 Trinity College Dublin

My dear Tom

One letter - yours - last week and none more welcome. lt is a more than usually implacable Dublin Sunday. Mist & rain & chimes & teetotal. Last Sunday I took myself for a walk - from Rathfarnham to Enniskerry, through the Pine Forest. All beautiful and lancinant, and the limp down the hill in the dark to

Enniskerry & flat stout in the Powerscourt Arms.1 Pelorson says he understands Rimbaud who used to compose poems walking. But for me, walking, the mind has a most pleasant & melancholy limpness, is a carrefour of memories, memories of childhood mostly, moulin a larmes.2 But to-day everything is dripping & there is nothing at all to be done and nobody at all to go and see.

You seem to be installed quite comfortably at the Trianon. I'll be surprised if Chatto & Windus rise to it & publish your verse. I hope they do. Don't be so vague about your book. Ou en es-tu?3 I'll send you an Irish Press.4 Delighted to rescue your dishes if I can. Where do I go?

I'm right in a dead spot, one of the knots in my life teak but I suppose I'll get clear sooner or later. I can't write anything at all, can't imagine even the shape of a sentence, nor take notes (though God knows I have enough 'butin verbal' to strangle anything I'm likely to want to say), nor read with understanding, gout or degout.5 I was presented with a lovely polyglot edition of Horace, and I haven't the guts to start into it.6 I read two books ofPowys: Mark Only and Mr Tasker's Gods, not knowing his work at all, & was very disappointed. Such a fabricated darkness & painfully organised unified tragic completeness. The Hardy vice caricatured. Everybody had been telling me what a great writer he was. And what a style!7 Everything is very grey & identical, specially ton serviteur. I was hoping to get away at Xmas - even to Paris if not to Germany- but what with the pound & an overdraft & petty debts & the remoteness of my cheque, I don't think it can be done. I don't think I'll ever get away now. I'll be renominated (sauf scandale) this time 2 years & settle down to professorial incompetence. I really believe so. Without very much regret.8

They are giving Ruddy a D. Litt. Stip. Cond. at next commencement. Together with Curtis & Allison [for Alison] Phillips. Gracious & nugatory.9 [•••]


I suppose you have no news of the new Transition. They have stuff ofmine - carmina quae legunt cacantes. 10

Dear Tom, I wish I could write you a cheerful easy newsy letter like yours to me. I'm inextricably morveux and I beg your pardon. I underestimated this terrible Dublin.

Pourvu que cela ne t'empeche pas de re[e]crire.11 God bless. Is there no chance ofseeing you here soon?

Love ever


ALS; 1 leaf, 4 sides; TCD, MS 10402/21.

1 SB walked from Rathfarnham, south of central Dublin, to the Powerscourt Arms Hotel in Enniskerry in Co. Wicklow, a distance of about 10 miles. The forest, Tibradden, is approximately 2½ miles south ofRathfarnham, Co. Dublin.

Lancinant (poignant).

2 "Carrefour" (crossroads); moulin a larmes (tearmill, adapted from "moulin a vent" [windmill!).

3 McGreevy was living at the Trianon-Palace Hotel, 1 bis - 3 Rue de Vaugirard, Paris

6. He had been encouraged by Charles Prentice to send his poems to Chatto and Windus, and he did so: however, as Prentice wrote to Richard Aldington, Chatto and Windus was unlikely to publish them (3 November 1931, ICSo, Aldington 68/6/5). McGreevy continued to work on his novel (see TCD, MS 8039-55).

Ou en es-tu? (How far have you got?)

4 The Irish Press commenced publication in Dublin on 5 September 1931, proposing to represent "an Irish Ireland, an Ireland aware of its own greatness, sure of itself, conscious of the spiritual forces which have formed it into a distinct people having its own language and customs and a traditionally Christian philosophy of life": its motto was: "Truth in news" (5 September 1931: 5). McGreevy's first contribution was "A Great Christian Drama for Irish Players" (The Irish Press 28 December 1932: 6, 11).

5 "Butin verbal" (verbal booty), a reference to SB's "note-snatching" (see Pilling, ed., Beckett's Dream Notebook, xvi-xviii).

Gout or degoiit (taste or distaste).

6 Horace. Oeuvres completes d'Horace . . . French tr. Jean-Baptiste Monfalcon, Spanish tr. Javier de Burgos, Italian tr. Tommaso Gargallo, English tr. Philip Francis; German tr. Christoph Martin Wieland and Johann Henrich Voss, Polyglotte edn. [Latin text with translations into French, Spanish, Italian, English. and German] (Paris and Lyon: Connon et Blanc, 1834).

7 Theodore Francis Powys (1875-1953) wrote Mark Only (1924) and Mr. Tasker's Gods

(1924); both were published by Chatto and Windus. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928).

8 "Ton serviteur" (your servant); "sauf scandale" (barring a scandal). The British pound went off the gold standard on 21 September 1931, and then the pound fell by 25 percent; the Saorstat pound was set against the British pound.

9 Trinity College Dublin conferred the title of Doctor of Letters on Rudmose-Brown, Edmund Curtis (1881-1943), Professor of Irish History, and Walter Alison Phillips (1864-1950), Lecky Professor of Modern History and Chief Assistant Editor, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edn.

10 There was a hiatus in the publication of transition: numbers 19-20 were published as a single issue in June 1930 and number 21 in March 1932; the latter published SB's story "Sedendo and Quiesciendo" [for Quiescendo] (13-20).

SB quotes from an epigram by Martial (ne Marcus Valerius Martialis, first century AD): "carmina quae legunt cacantes" (poems which people read at stool) (Martial. Epigrams, II, tr. Walter C. A. Ker (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: London: Heinemann. 1968] XII.61: line 10, 362-363). It is cited by SB from The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) by Robert Burton (1577-1640) (see Pilling, ed.. Beckett's Dream Notebook, 104).

11 "Morveux" (snotty-nosed). "Pourvu que cela ne t'empeche pas de re[e]crire." Uust so long as that doesn't stop you writing back.)

Seumas O'sullivan, Dublin Magazine Dublin

[27 November 1931]

Dear Seumas

Darfich ... ?1 SBB




Exeo in a spasm, tired ofmy darling's red sputum, from the Portobello Private Nursing Home, its secret things, and toil to the crest of the surge ofthe steep perilous bridge, and lapse down blankly under the scream of the hoarding, the stiff bright banner ofthe hoarding, into a black west throttled with clouds.

Above the mansions, the algum-trees, the mountains, my head sullenly, clot of anger, skewered aloft, strangled in the cangue of the wind, bites like a dog against its chastisement.

I trundle along rapidly now on my ruined feet, flush with the livid canal; at Parnell Bridge a dying barge carrying a cargo of nails and timber rocks itself softly in the foaming cloister of the lock; on the far bank a gang of down-and-outs would seem to be mending a beam.

Then for miles only wind and the weals creeping alongside on the water and the world opening up to the south across a lamentable parody of champaign land to the mountains and the stillborn evening turning a filthy green manuring the night-fungus and the mind annulled wrecked in wind.

I splashed past a little wearish old man, Democritus, scuttling along between a crutch and a stick, his stump caught up, horribly, like a claw, under his breech, smoking.

Then because a field on the left suddenly went up in a blaze ofshouting and urgent whistling and scarlet and blue ganzies I stopped and climbed a bank to see the game.

A child fidgeting at the gate called up:

Would we be let in, Mister? "Certainly" I said "you would."

But, afraid, he set off down the road.

Well I called after him "why wouldn't you go on in?" "Oh" he said, knowingly,

I was in that ground before and I got put out. Then on, derelict, as from a bush of gorse on fire in the mountain after dark,

or, in my dream of Sumatra, the jungle hymen, the still, flagrant rafflesia.


a pitiful family of grey verminous hens perished out in the sunk field,

trembling, half asleep, against the closed door of a shed, with no visible means of roosting.

The great mushy toadstool, green black,

oozing up after me,

soaking up the tattered sky like an ink of pestilence, in my skull the wind going fetid,

the water ....


on the hill down from the Fox and Geese into Chapelizod, a small malevolent goat, exiled on the road,

remotely pucking the gate of his field.

The Isolde Stores a great perturbation of sweaty heroes, endimanches,

come hurrying down in time for a pint of nepenthe or half- and-half

from watching the hurlers in Kilmainham.

Blotches of drowned yellow in the pit of the Liffey; the finger of the ladders hooked over the parapet, solliciting;

a slush of vigilant gulls in the grey spew of the sewer.

Ah! the banner,

the banner of meat bleeding on the silk of the seas and the arctic flowers! (they do not exist) ....

AC!; 1 leaf, 1 side; TMS, 2 leaves, 2 sides; env to SeumasO'SullivanEsq.,Editor, Dublin Magazine, 2 Crow Street !Dublin]; pm 27-11-31, Dublin; TCD, MS 4630-49/3332/1-4. Dating: from pm and SB to McGreevy, 20 December 1931: "Herewith a pome that S. O'S. wouldn't have on account of the red sputum!"

1 "Darf ich ... ?" (May I ... ?)

2 "Enueg" was rejected by Dublin Magazine; it was published in Echo's Bones (1935) as "Enueg 1," and the second "Alba" poem was retitled "Enueg 2.""Enueg" (Provern;:al, complaint).

Thomas M C G Reevy Par! S


Cooldrlnagh, Foxrock,


Dear Tom

Forgive me for not having replied to you before this_ All kinds of imaginary melancholy circumstances to excuse me. I have had to reintegrate my father's roof for a few days but am off, malgre tout et malgre tous, immediately after Noel, via Ostend, somewhere into Germany, as far as Cologne anyway, next Saturday night from North Wall, not to return I hope (& entre nous) for many months, though I have not resigned from Trinity.1 If I have to let them down, tant pis. Some charming little cunt of a gold medallist will be nominated deputy for a term until they can get some really responsible person, & wont that be a happy surprise for the New Year.2 (And by the way all the usual voeux et que tous les tiens soient exauces-)3 Of course I'll probably crawl back with my tail coiled round my ruined poenis. And maybe I wont. Is there no chance of seeing you at all. I dont know whether you are still in Paris. It would be grand to spend Xmas with you, but I dont want France - above all not the comic Marseilles - & I know you don't want Germania, unless maybe Weimar! It's madness really to go away now with the exchange u.s.w. but it really is now or never.4 And as usual I'm not burning any boats! I'm hoping to be able to spit fire at them from a distance.

I've been several times to look at the new Perugino Pieta in the National Gallery here. It's buried behind a formidable barrage of shining glass, so that one is obliged to take cognisance of it progressively, square inch by square inch. It's all messed up by restorers, but the Xist and the women are lovely. A clean shaven, potent Xist, and a passion of tears for the waste. The most mystical constituent is the ointment pot that was probably added by Raffael[l]o. Rottenly hung in rotten light behind this thick shop window, so that a total view of it is impossible, and full of grotesque amendments. But a lovely cheery Xist full of sperm, & the woman touching his thighs and mourning his jewels.5 I thought Orpen's Ptarmigan & Wash House nearly as bad as Keating.6

How is the novel going'?7 I started yet again & soon saw no reason to continue.8 I have just reread the Rouge et Nair. Such an obsession with heights & ladders & gothic pillars & terraces and grottos in the Juras & the dungeon up in the air at the end. And the same thing again all through the Chartreuse. Nimrod of novelists[.]9

Herewith a pome that S. O'S. wouldn't have on account of the red sputum! I haven't tried to place it elsewhere, & thought I'd send it to you a tout hasard.10

No news from Pelorson since I applied for a slight service.

Again so much piss.

Writing to the Penman for Xmas about statues, Professor Webb & Chapelizod c/o Pinker. I've no idea where he is.11

Do write home (here) & they'll send it on wherever I am.

Love ever


ALS; 1 leaf, 4 sides; letterhead; enclosure not extant; TCD, MS 10402/23.

1 SB had not resigned his post at Trinity College Dublin, but, in anticipation of leaving for Germany on 26 December, he removed his belongings from 39 Trinity College to the family home in Foxrock. "Reintegrate" (Gallicism for"return to").

Entre nous (between ourselves). The repercussions anticipated, "malgre tout et malgre tous" (in spite of everything and everyone), were complicated by SB's automobile accident injuring Ethna Maccarthy before Christmas. For a full discussion of SB's circumstances of departure: Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 141-142.

2 SB's resignation letter or telegram has not been found, but the information record of the Board Minutes for 20 January 1932, kept by Registrar W. A. Goligher, indicates that: "B. has just sent in his resignation"; A. J. Leventhal was appointed Lecturer in French on 20 January 1932 Uane Maxwell, Manuscripts Department, TCD, 19 August 2004; Jean O'Hara, Alumni Office TCD, 6 August 2004).

3 "Voeux et que tous Jes tiens soient exauces" (wishes and may all yours be granted).

4 McGreevy is in Paris.


For the year ending 31 December 1931. the rate of exchange between the German mark and the British pound had dropped from 20 to 14 (M. Epstein, ed., The Annual Register: A Review ofPublic Events at Home and Abroadfor the Year 1931 [London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1932] 66; for further information see 8 November 1931, n. 8).

U.s.w. is the abbreviation of"und so weiter" (and so on).

5 Perugino's Pietil (NG! 942) was purchased on 12 June 1931 by Thomas Bodkin (1887-1961), Director of the National Gallery of Ireland (1927-1935). The Umbrian artist and architect Perugino (ne Pietro di Cristoforo Yannucci Perugino, c. 1450-1523) taught Raphael (ne Raffaello Sanzio or Santi or Sanzi, 1483-1520), who may have added the ointment pot below the feet of Christ; a similar painting by Perugino in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence lacks the ointment pot (Ernst T. Dewald, Italian Painting 1200-1600 [New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961] 397-399).

6 Sir William Orpen (1878-1931), Irish-born painter who lived in London, was official painter of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1921; SB refers to Orpen's self-portrait The Dead Ptarmigan (NG! 945) which had been bequeathed to the National Gallery oflreland in 1930, and The Wash House (NG! 946). Orpen had been a teacher of Cissie Sinclair at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art (see Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 140).

Sean Keating (also Sean Ceitinn, 1889-1977), Irish artist, a student of Orpen who painted in the Aran Islands for four years, was a traditionalist known for fine draughtsmanship; he was elected to the Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin) in 1923, but resigned in 1962 as a protest against contemporary art.

7 McGreevy's unpublished novel was provisionally entitled "Neither Will I" (TCD, MS 8039/55).

8 SB is writing stories which become portions of Dream of Fair to Middling Women

and More Pricks Than Kicks.

9 SB refers to Le Rouge et le noir {1830; The Red and the Black) and La Chartreuse de Parme

{1839; The Charterhouse ofParma) by Stendhal {ne Marie-Henri Beyle, 1783-1842).

10 SB encloses "Enueg" ( later entitled "Enueg 1") which opens with "Exeo in a spasm / tired of my darling's red sputum."

"A tout hasard" {on the off-chance that it will interest you).

11 SB's letter sent to James Joyce care ofJoyce's agent, Ralph Pinker, has not been found; Joyce may have been in Paris, at 2 Avenue S. Philibert, Passy, at this time (Rose, The Textual Diaries of]ames Joyce, 190).

Thomas Ebenezer Webb {1821-1903), Professor of Moral Philosophy and later Regius Professor of Laws, and Public Orator ofTrinity College Dublin. Webb translated Goethe's Faust (1880), and his last work promoted Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1623) as author of Shakespeare's works.

The village of Chapelizod is situated on the northern bank of the River Liffey, between Island Bridge and Palmerston; by legend it is associated with Isould (Isolde), daughter of Anguisshe, King of Ireland. In Finnegans Wake, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, husband of Anna Livia Plurabelle, owns a tavern in Chapelizod.

Chronology 1932

1932 January

20January 2 February

By 8 February

16 February

20 February March

April 7May

After 7 May June

By 28June

29June SJuly

SB is in Kassel. Sends two poems to SamuelPutnam for The New Review.

Resigns fromTrinity College Dublin as recorded in Minutes of the Board ofTCD.

In Paris. AttendsJoyce's fiftieth birthday party.

Proposes an essay on Gide for the Chatto and Windus Dolphin Books series, whichPrentice declines.

Eamon De Valera becomesPrimeMinister oflreland. SB lunches with Prentice and McGreevy inParis.

SB's story " Sedendo et Quiescendo" and the manifesto "Poetry is Vertical," to which SB's name is appended, are published in transition.

The New Review publishes the poem "Text."

Assassination ofPaul Doumer results in scrutiny of travel papers of all foreigners in France; lacking valid papers, SB stays with the artist JeanLur�at, until his carte de sejour is in order.

EdwardTitus purchases SB's translation of Arthur Rimbaud's poem "Le Bateau ivre."

SB writes poem "Home Olga."

Sends additional poems and/or portion of the MS of his novel Dream ofFair to Middling Women to Samuel Putnam.

Sends Dream of Fair to Middling Women toPrentice. Prentice sends his comments on Dream of Fair to

12-13July Mid-July 20July


27July 29July


17 August

SB leaves Paris on overnight boat to London.

Gathers testimonials for teaching applications.

Dines with Charles Prentice. Gives, or has given, poems to Prentice.

Applies for reader's ticket for the British Museum.

Prentice returns SB's poems.

Takes McGreevy's letter of introduction, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, and poems to Hogarth Press. Sees Desmond Maccarthy. Files application with teaching agency, Truman and Knightley.

This Quarter publishes SB's translations of work by Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, and Rene Creve!.

SB meets Ellis Roberts of the New Statesman, who encourages him to submit an article on Gide.

By 18 August Hogarth Press returns Dream of Fair to Middling

Women and poems. Cape returns Dream of Fair to Middling Women. SB gives it to Grayson and Grayson. Gives poems to Derek Verschoyle of The Spectator; they are returned. c. 25 August SB returns to Dublin.

30 August Sends poems to Wishart.

By 13 September Writes draft of"Serena 1." Rudmose-Brown assists SB in finding "grinds."

By 8 October Joins brother Frank on a trip to Galway, Achill, and Connemara, SB's first visit to this area. Contempo accepts "Home Olga." Titus accepts story "Dante and the Lobster" for This Quarter. SB sends McGreevy the poem "Serena I."

By 18 October Grayson returns Dream ofFair to Middling Women.

SB sends it to Edward Titus. By 4 November Sends McGreevy "Serena 2."

By 6 November Sends two poems to George Reavey, "Serena 1" and what is later entitled "Sanies 2."


1 December

26 December

31 December

This Quarter publishes "Dante and the Lobster."

SB has surgery on neck cyst and a hammer toe; in nursing home until nearly Christmas.

Walks near Donabate and Portrane Asylum. Dines with Joe Hone, Killiney.


Textbox start << e >>Textbox endApril 3 [1932]

Trianon-Palace Hotel Rue de Vaugirard Paris 6

Dear Putnam

Thanks for proof which ecco. 1

Curious to know did you ever get 2 poems I sent you from Germany about middle January. One long & one short.2 May I have them if you are not using them?

Hoping to see you one of these days. Why don't you look in a day you're in town.3 Always here afternoon.

Kindest regards to M� Putnam[.] Yrs

Sam Beckett

ALS; 1 leaf. 1 side; NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl 11/1/9.

Dating: SB was at the Trianon-Palace Hotel, Paris. from early February 1932.

1 SB's prose fragment "Text," was published in The New Review 2.5 (April 1932) 57. "Ecco" (here).

2 The poems sent by SB to Putnam from Germany in January 1932 have not been identified with certainty. The long poem may have been the unpublished "Spring Song," and the short poem may have been "Dortmunder" (14 lines, written in Kassel), "The Vulture" (6 lines, based on Goethe's Harzreise im Winter), or "Gnome" (based on Goethe's Xenien) ("Spring Song," TxU, Leventhal, and TxU, Belmont).

3 Putnam and his wife Riva (1893-1979) lived in Fontenay-aux-Roses.


28/6/32 Trianon Palace Hotel

1 Bis -3, Rue De Vaugirard Paris

Dear Putnam

Herewith the latest, positively the latest hallucinations(.] 1 I take one fleet pace to the rere and submit them with the chiroplatonic flourish that it has taken me years to master.

Thanks for nice things in preface to Reevey [for Reavey]. But I vow I will get over J. J. ere I die. Yessir.2

Wont you let me know if you get 'em how you like 'em. MrT. McG. would love to know did you get his desquamation ofMrTate.3

When do we rencounter?

Tanti saluti4 s/ Sam Beckett

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; letterhead; NjP, New Review Correspondence of Samuel Putnam, COl 11/1/9.

1 SB may have sent poems or a portion of his manuscript of Dream of Fair to Middling Women. The final issue of The New Review was that published in April 1932. However, Putnam fully intended to continue publication. He wrote to George Reavey on 22 August 1932: "As to when the NR is coming out again, I cannot say now. I can only say that it will come out"; and again, on 13 September 1932: "The NR is going on, a triple number this autumn" (TxU, uncatalogued Reavey, 15).

2 Samuel Putnam, to whom the book is dedicated, wrote the introduction to George Reavey's Faust's Metamorphoses: Poems (Fontenay-aux[-]Roses, Seine, France: The New Review Editions, 1932). He said ofReavey:

One ofthe three or four young after-Joyce Irishmen who have some significance and some promise to offer. There is Samuel Beckett, there is Thomas McGreevy ... Each ... is going very much his own way, choosing his own climate. Beckett is the closest, perhaps as yet too close, to Joyce; but then, he sees a task for himself in poetty which Joyce has left untouched, - the task perhaps of expressing, as Rimbaud expressed, passionate nihilism, and transcendental vision at one and the same time. (7-8)

Jacob Bronowski's introduction to the English and Irish selections of The European Caravan links SB's poetry to Joyce: "In Irish poetry there is a direction given by Joyce, for example in the laterwork ofBeckett" (436). In his preface to SB's poems, Bronowski wrote that Beckett "has adapted the Joyce method to his poetry with original results. His impulse is lyric, but has been deepened through this influence and the influence of Proust and of the historic method" (475).

3 Although McGreevy wrote a review of Poems: 1928-1931 (1932) by American poet Allen Tate (1899-1979), it was not published in The New Review (TCD, MSS 8009/4).

4 "Tanti saluti" (many greetings).




4Ampton St off Gray's Inn Rd [London] W.C. 1

Dear Sir

I wish to apply for permission to use the Reading Room of the British Museum. I have read in the Library ofTrinity College Dublin, the National Library, Dublin, the Library of the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, Ste-Genevieve, and the Bibliotheque Nationale.1 Generally speaking, I have need of original texts in French and Italian in greater detail than is available in other collections. My immediate concern is with the minor pre-Revolutionary writers of the 18th century. I have been obliged to interrupt a study of Giambattista Vico and Vittorio Alfieri, on which I have been engaged in Paris for some months past, in the absence ofvarious original texts: notably, Vico's Misogallo and Diritto Universale, and Alfieri's Autobiography.2

I enclose a letter ofintroduction from my publishers, Messrs Chatto and Windus.3

I trust you may be pleased to approve this application.4

Yours faithfully


(Samuel Beckett)

The Director British Museum W.C.1


TLS; 1 leaf; 1 side, and enclosed TLS from Charles Prentice, Chatto and Windus, 21 July 1932; Archives, British Museum; copy UoR, MS 5047.

1 The Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve is the library of the Sorbonne, University of Paris.

2 Textbox start << n >>Textbox endItalian philosopher of history and social theorist Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) addressed the subject of universal law in his Diritto universale (Universal Right) in 1720-1722. The Italian poet and dramatist VittorioAlfieri {1749-1803) was the author of Misogallo {1799; The Francophobe), a satire in verse and prose, and Vita di Vittorio Alfieri scritta da esso (1804; The Autobiography ofVittorio Alfieri). SB misidentifies Vico as the author of Misogallo.

3 Charles Prentice wrote to the Director of the British Museum: "We warmly recommend Mr. Samuel Beckett for the issue of a reader's ticket at the British Museum Reading Room. We have known him personally for the last two years or so and have published a book by him on Proust; we consider that he would be a very fit recipient. He has taught at Trinity College Dublin, where he also took his degree, and at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. He wishes to study XVIIIth century literature" (22 July 1932, British Museum Archives).

SB's Professor ofltalian at TCD, Walter Starkie, later wrote on Alfieri in The Waveless Plain: An Italian Autobiography ([New York: E. P. Dutton and Co.. 1938] 16).

4 On 23 July 1932 British Museum communication no. 3398 informedSB that he would be issued a reader's ticket for six months; at the top ofthis communication is noted the number: B 51078, dated 28 July 1932 (British Museum Archives); this was renewed in September 1934, and again in October 1937.

Thomas Mcgreevy

Tarbert, Co. Kerry

4th August [1932] 4Ampton St [London] WC. 1

My dear Tom

Glad things went so well between here and Tarbert. That was nice ofJack Yeats. But they are not. Still, ifFather was impressed - I don't know what has become of Frank. I write him for his birthday send him papers and hear nothing. Got a friendly letter from Mother, day after you left I think, written in Switzers: 'Come home.'1 And here I am, perfecting my methodol[og)y ofsleep, and little else. No courage for galleries or palaces. I went into St Paul's and thought it was hideous. And circumambulated the enceinte ofthe tower, and kept my 6d.2 I sat on the wharf and watched the little steamers dipping their funnels to get under the bridge, and it opening for a big boat to go under. Tres emouvant.3 That's all I do now - go out about 2 and find some place to sit till the pubs open and get back here about 7 and cook liver and read the Evening News.4 I couldn't stand the British Museum any more. Plato & Aristotle & the Gnostics finished me.5 I bought the Origin of Species yesterday for 6!:l and never read such badly written catlap. I only remember one thing: blue-eyed cats are always deaf (correlation of variations).6 I finished Vanity Fair and Cunt Pointercunt. A very painstalling work. The only thing I won't have forgotten by this day week is Spandrell flogging the foxgloves.7

I bought Moby Dick to-day for Gd. That's more like the real stuff. White whales & natural piety.8 I sleep more and more -10 hours at a stretch. I wish it were 20. I haven't opened my mouth except in bars & groceries since you left this day week: to haughty barpersons and black-souled grocers. About going where I don't know. I suppose I must go home. I haven't tried to write. The idea itself ofwriting seems somehow ludicrous. I spilt a bottle of ink instead over the poor Lady with Fan.9 I went round last Friday to Tavistock Square to the Hogarth Press with letter, Dream, poems and your letter of introduction. But Mr Woolf was away in the country, not expected back till September. The Secretary said she would forward the whole caboodle. She may have for all I know. I have heard nothing since. 10 I rang up the foul fucker Maccarthy about 50 times before getting him at last. He appears to have done nothing. That was last Friday also. I asked him would he write me a chit for Grayson and send it. Yes, he would dictate it that very morning. He would propose Alfieri, he would propose Vico, he would propose me with my book, he would do all that first thing and send it. Since when nothing at all.11 I left copies of three testimonials chez Truman & Knightley & filled in an enormous form, in which I was asked if I was musical. My qualifications looked really remarkable when I had thought of them all and got them all down. I walked out of the place expecting to be offered the Provostship ofJohannesberg [for Johannesburg] or somewhere by the first post next morning.12 Since when (last Friday: all these demarches were taken in a kind offever last Friday) nothing. I wonder would my Father take me into his office. That is what Frank did. He went home after 3 years in India and went into the office.13 And now look at him. With a car and a bowler-hat. I see by the Evening News this evening that Nancy is back in Harlem after 3 weeks in the West Indies, where, in Jamaica, she was welcomed by the King of Kingston and feted by the Marcus Garvey negro Association.14 Nothing from Titus, nothing from Gilbert, nothing from Jolas.15 Your letter this evening is the first for a week. If I could work up some pretext for writing a poem, shortstory, or anything at all, I would be all right. I suppose I am all right. But I get frightened sometimes at the idea that the itch to write is cured. I suppose it['Js the fornicating place & its fornicating weather. Lethal thunder and torrents of rain.

This afternoon I sat in St James's Park in a 2d transatlantic and was appropriately moved almost to eyedew by a little boy playing at 'empty buses' with a nurse that had exactly the same quality of ruined granite expression as mine had before she married her gardener and became polypara, and calling her Nanny. I had to run away for a piss to the Circus Underground and when I came back to the same chair they were gone.16 I wanted to get off with Nanny. Soon I will be cabling for my Mother to come and kiss me to sleep. Fall in love to write a lot of poems: have a child to engage a Nanny. She must have a strawberry nose and suck cloves, or at least peppermints. She carried his big ball in a net bag and they shared a green apple.

Perhaps I will screw a free drink from Charles when I bring him back his book. A note accompanied the poems . . 'A new & strange experience . . if only he would escort me on longer flights: so sorry, very very sorry.'17 Perhaps I will get proofs of poems & Dream from Woolf to-morrow morning, or an offer to instruct the Princess Elizabeth in the Florentine positions. To-day is her mother's birthday. I hope the Duke got back from 'under canvas' all right. I'm well up in Social news. Britannia's truck is 171 feet above her water-line & carries £3000 worth of canvas: only 8 ft lower than the Underground offices! Grandi is here. The pound is at 89. 18

Well, dear Tom, forgive this Jeremiad. I'm depressed the way a slug-ridden cabbage might be expected to be. I hope something turns up for you in Dublin. And that you get going with Talky.19 And all the best always. And write soon again. Love Sam

ALS; 3 leaves, 3 sides; year added by AH in ink; TCD, MS 10402/28. Dating: year confirmed by Evening News of 4 August 1932.

1 McGreevy traveled from Paris to his family home in Tarbert, at the end of July, stopping in London, and then in Dublin, where he saw Jack Yeats. McGreevy's letter to SB has not been found, and so what McGreevy relayed about the Beckett family is not known.

Frank Beckett's birthday was 26 July. Maria Jones Roe Beckett• (known as May, 1871-1950), SB's mother.

Switzer's department store was located at 92 Grafton Street, Dublin.

2 The upper portions of St. Paul's cathedral in London could be reached by stairs; admission to the Whispering Gallery within the lower dome, the exterior Stone Gallery around the base of the dome, and to the Library, cost 6d (Findlay Muirhead, ed., Short Guide to London [London: Ernest Benn, 1933] 119).

3 "Tres emouvant." (Very moving.)

4 Evening News [London] (1881-1980, 1987).

5 Plato (c. 428 - c. 348 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC), and the Gnostics (MiddleEastern thinkers, 2nd century BC - 4th century AD). For SB's reading notes on pre-Socratic philosophy: TCD, MS 10967; Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD MS 10967: History ofWestern Philosophy," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 (2006) 67-89; Ackerley and Gontarski, The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett, 18, 229-230, 442-443.

6 Charles Darwin (1809-1882) wrote: "Some instances of correlation are quite whimsical: thus cats with blue eyes are invariably deaf; colour and constitutional peculiarities go together" (On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition [1859], [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964] 11-12).

7 Vanity Fair (1847-1848) by English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1865). In Point Counter Point (1928) by English novelist and essayist Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963), the character Maurice Spandrell flogs foxgloves in a reaction of outrage against a conventional assumption about God and nature (Point Counter Point [Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1928] 343-344).

8 Moby Dick (1851) by Herman Melville (1819-1891).

9 SB may refer to a reproduction of Lady with Fan (c. 1640-1642) by the Spanish painter Velazquez (ne Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez, 1599-1660) from the Wallace Collection, London.

10 Neither SB's covering letter nor the letter of introduction from McGreevy has been found. The Hogarth Press, located at 52 Tavistock Square, was directed by English writer and publisher Leonard Sidney Woolf (1880-1969) and Virginia Woolf (nee Adeline Virginia Stephen, 1882-1941).

SB sent Dream of Fair to Middling Women to Chatto and Windus on 29 June 1932 (Charles Prentice to Richard Aldington, 1 July 1932, ICSo Aldington 68/6/7). On 5 July 1932 Prentice sent SB his personal response to the novel:

It has been some experience reading the "Dream". But it's a strange thing, and I don't know how to react to it from a publishing point of view; we shall have to sit on it in conclave.[...] The party, the P.B. and the shipboard bit out from Caxhaven [for Cuxhaven] are entrancing. You're at your best there, right away from Joyce, and on your own, and the beauty and precision of the language moved me from the feet up. (UoR MS 2444 CW letterbook 39/478)

SB reported further on his conversation with Prentice, while the novel was with a second reader: "Charles seemed somehow embarrassed in speaking of it, though he said all the nice things he could lay his tongue to. I think it is as good as rejected" (SB to McGreevy, 14July 11932], TCD, MS 10402/27). On 19July 1932, Chatto's response was negative (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 140/164). SB next took the novel and his poems to the Hogarth Press.

SB's timing in respect of the poems was not propitious.John Lehmann (1907-1987) abruptly left his position with the Hogarth Press during August 1932; it was he who had proposed the Hogarth Press modem poetry collection, New Signatures, published in February 1932, ed. Michael Roberts (ne William Edward Roberts, 1902-1948). In addition, Leonard Woolf and Dorothy Violet Wellesley (nee Ashton, 1889-1956), the latter the patron of The Hogarth Living Poets series, had serious differences. As a result, the Hogarth Press published no poetry from July 1932 to March 1933 Uohn Lehmann, Autobiography, I, The Whispering Gallery [London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1955] 194-206, 260-261; Leonard Woolf, Downhill All the Way: An Autobiography of the

Years 1919-1939 [London: Hogarth Press, 1967] 176-177).

Normally, fiction submitted to the Hogarth Press was screened by Leonard Woolf or John Lehmann before being given to Virginia Woolf for final approval; from the fact that she was very ill that summer, and in the absence of any record of submission or rejection, John H. Willis (Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: The Hogarth Press, 1917-1941, 1992) conjectures that SB's novel and poetry were rejected by Lehmann "without involving the Woolfs or Wellesley" Uohn H. Willis, 16 November 1993).

11 English journalist Desmond Maccarthy {1877-1952) was Literary Editor

{1921-1927) of New Statesman; Editor {1928-1933) of Life and Letters {1928-1935); and senior literary critic (from 1928) ofThe Sunday Times. Charles Prentice had sent a copy of Proust to Maccarthy following his meeting with SB on the previous evening (Prentice to SB, 21July 1932, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 140/181).

Cyril Connolly wrote of Desmond Maccarthy: "He was, in every sense, the most generous of men. When he helped young writers, he really did help them, he found them work, lent them money and studied the particular originality through which each could best distinguish himself ... His laziness, however, like his unpunctuality, was proverbial" (Desmond Maccarthy, Memories, foreword by Cyril Connolly !London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1953] 10).

Grayson and Grayson Publishing Company, 66 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London Wt, had just established itself as a family firm; prior to 1932, the firm had been Eveleigh Nash and Grayson.

12 The testimonials were from William Duff Gibbon (1890-1955), Headmaster of Campbell College (1922-1943), Rudmose-Brown, and Jean Thomas (the latter two were enclosed with 29 July 1937; Archives of The University of Cape Town). Truman and Knightley Ltd., Scholastic Agents, 61 Conduit Street, London Wl, published Schools and the Journal of Careers.

SB refers to the University of Witwatersrand, founded in 1922 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

13 "Demarches" (steps).

Frank Beckett was in India from 1927 to 1930, and then entered the firm of Beckett and Medcalf, Quantity Surveyors.

14 The paper announced Nancy Cunard's return to New York following a threeweek journey to the West Indies: "In Jamaica last month she was welcomed by the chief magistrate of Kingston and feted by the Marcus Negro Association ... When Miss Cunard was last in New York she lived for a time in a hotel in Harlem to collect material for a book she is writing about Negroes" ("Miss Nancy Cunard: In New York after Another 'Colour Question' Trip," Evening News 4 August 1932: 7). Alamont E. Decosta, OBE, Custos of Kingston, greeted Cunard at the reception given by the Universal Negro Improvement Association at Edelweiss Park ("Miss Nancy Cunard Welcomed at Colourful Function," The Daily Gleaner 29 July 1932: 18, 23; Anne Chisholm, Nancy Cunard: A Biography [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979] 203).

Marcus Garvey (ne Moziah, 1887-1940) founded this group as the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League in 1914; Garvey was deported in November 1927 from the United States, and tried to carry on his mission from Jamaica (E. David Cronon, ed., Marrns Garvey, Great Lives Observed [Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1973] 17, 24).

15 SB had submitted "Dante and the Lobster" (later the opening story in More Pricks Than Kicks) to Edward William Titus• (1870-1952), an American publisher then living in Paris, and Editor of This Quarter. SB had submitted "Home Olga," an acrostic poem on James Joyce, to Stuart Gilbert, editor of Contempo (1931-1934). SB may have expected payment from Eugene Jolas for the publication of his story "Sedendo and Quiescendo." Although SB may have given Jolas something further from the manuscript of Dream of Fair to Middling Women, transition did not publish anything more by SB until number 24 Uune 1936).

16 "Transatlantic" (Gallicism for "deckchair"). The nanny seen in St. James's Park, London, is compared to SB's nanny, Bibby. By "Circus Underground," SB refers to Piccadilly Circus station.

17 Charles Prentice wrote to SB: "I wish I could follow you for longer flights." He admired "the beauty and terror of 'Spring Song', and the horror of 'There is a Happy Land'." Prentice praised 'Alba 2' as "superb," but felt it was not "so important or significant as these two other poems." Finally, he wrote with regret, "I don't see that Chatto's could do anything with the poems," although for him they meant "the beginning of a rare and strange experience." Prentice apologized: "I am worried at being a disappointment to you again; I am very, very sorry" (27 July 1932, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 140/274). "Spring Song" remains unpublished. "There was a Happy Land" is the first line, and probably the working title, of the poem published as "Sanies 2"; "Alba 2" is the early title of "Enueg 1" (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 648, n. 80; John Pilling, 21 April 1995; see 7 August

1931, n. 1).

18 The 32nd birthday of Elizabeth, Duchess of York (nee Elizabeth BowesLyon, 1900-2002), consort of Prince Albert, Duke of York {1895-1952) was 4 August 1932; their daughter Princess Elizabeth (b. 1926, later Queen Elizabeth II) was then six years old. The Royal racing cutter Britannia concluded a week of racing at Cowes, The Royal London Yacht Club regatta, on Saturday 6 August 1932 (The Times 8 August 1932: 6).

Dino Grandi (1895-1988) was Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1929 to 1932 and Italy's Ambassador to England from 1932 to 1939; Grandi arrived in London on the evening of 3 August 1932 to present his credentials to the King (The Times 4 August 1932: 10; The Times 10 August 1932: 13).

The French franc was 89 to the pound on 4 August 1932 (The Times 5 August 1932: 16).

19 McGreevy hoped to interest Lennox Robinson, producer at the Abbey Theatre, in his translation ofAlexander Pushkin's "Boris Godunov" (Lennox Robinson, 11 September 1932; TCD, MS 8026).

McGreevy's "Talky" is not identified; SB mentions it again, as "talkie," in his letter to McGreevy, 30 August 1932 (TCD, MS 10402/30).

Thoma S Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

18th [August 1932)

4Ampton St [London) W.C.1

Dear Tom

Glad to hear the book is on the move again, and hope to have good news of it in your next.1 What you write about an undercurrent of communism is surprising.2 Or I suppose one ought to be surprised. I think the only thing that would surprise me about Ireland, or any other land, would be to have it established as a more unpleasant site wherein to serve one's life than this core of all faex. And the heat ... 3 I wrote home this evening for my fare home. Write to Cooldrinagh. There is no use my insisting further here. This month of creeping and crawling and sollicitation has yielded nothing but glib Cockney regrets. The book came back from the Hogarth Press, and the poems, with merely the formal rejection slip. Nothing from L.W. He was out of London as I told you when I brought it round. I have good reason to believe that the MS never left London and that in all probability he never saw it. But he must have got my letter. Or perhaps it is his tum for the asylum. Anyhow tant piss.4 I then brought it to Grayson and Cape. It came back yesterday from Cape. Their reader's report "did not encourage them to make me an offer for publication rights". It would be interesting to see some of these readers' reports.5 So far no reply from Grayson. I saw Rupert Grayson when I went round, the "author son of Sir Henry". And a proper pudding he appeared. He assured me at least that ifthey did not take the thing they would tell me the reason why.6 That will make pleasant reading. I went round to see Derek Verschoyle, Literary Editor of Spectator, he was disguised as a student in T.C.D. while I was still functioning, and gave him the three last poems. Got them back this evening. 7 He had no books for review. But he received me very kindly and gave me a cigarette. I went round yesterday to see Mr Ellis Roberts, gaga in chief of New Statesman. He had no books for review. He thought he might possibly be interested [in] a statement of [for on] Gide, covering all that artists's [sic] vicissitudes from Andre Walter to Oedipe in the space ofnot more than 1800 words, or one ofsimilar length of [for on] the modernity ofVico.8 I promised to do my best. But of course it can't be done. I don't believe I could put a dozen words together on any subject whatsoever. But Mr Roberts received me kindly too, and gave me a cup of tea. My Father very generously sent me a five pound note which I received last Saturday morning. I put it in my drawer, and went yesterday to get it. It was gone. And a temporary lodger was gone also. Whether he took it or whether Mrs Southon or the cretinous Heep it is impossible to know. Mr. S. produced a really superb condition of Cockney distress yesterday evening. Such a thing had never happened before, never in all these years, as the lodger who appears to have his being in the kitchen could testify. Mr S would rather have lost his lower testicle than have such a catastrophe occur. That finishes this villeggiatura. I think I may stay in bed till more comes from the "blue eyes of home".9 I have not been to see Prentice. I will bring him back his book to-morrow, and start clearing the scuppers.10 T. & K. sent me notices ofjobs in Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire, here, Sussex, and Basel: this last as English instructor in Berlitz School, 275 francs monthly, 40 hours per week! Still [sic], ifI were not so tired and eviscerate at the moment, I would apply. Better Basel where love is not than D. D. D. with sentimental salmagundis and other on the mat.11 [..•] I really dread going back to Dublin and all that, but there is nothing else for it at this stage. I was not serious when I said about going into the office. There is no room for another clerk in the office, and even ifthere were I simply could not do the work.12 It will have to be private school or training college or else unhandy Andy in the garage and back garden at home. If I could even mend a puncture.

The heat is frightful, culminating to-day in 92 in the shade. I met Arty Hillis, you remember the big-hearted musical morpion at the Ecole, and he lent me a quid and offered to put me up free at Hampstead as from next Monday.13 But it won't be worth my while changing now. Ifthey don't reimburse me here I won't pay any more rent and I'll clear out as soon as I get my fare. Is there a chance of my seeing you soon in Dublin? I thought ofmaking a dash for Paris, but I am too unbelievably gutless to do anything and my Mother would throw a fit.

So. Write to Cooldrinagh. Love ever s/Sam

TLS; 2 leaves, 2 sides; TCD, MS 10402/29. Dating: month and year added, possibly in AH, confirmed by description of the weather, and SB's move from London to Dublin (see SB to McGreevy, 30 August 1932, TCD, MS 10402/30); Prentice wrote to Richard Aldington, 5 September 1932, that SB had left for Ireland about ten days before (ICSo, Aldington 68/6/8).

1 McGreevy had resumed work on his novel (Charles Prentice to Richard Aldington, 1 July 1932, JCSo, Aldington 68/6/9; see also 20 December 1931, n. 7).

2 Anti.Communist articles appeared in the Dublin press at this time, for example: "To Check Communism," The Irish Times 16 August 1932: 7; "Mr. Cosgrove and

Communism,"' The Irish Press 5 August 1932: 1-2; and a report on the effect of Communist propaganda on theatre ("Before the Footlights," The Irish Times 11 August 1932: 4).

3 London was experiencing a heat wave, with a high of 90° on 18 August. "Faex" (Lat., the dregs).

4 Leonard Woolf had made no comment on Dream of Fair to Middling Women, or on the poems, nor did he respond to SB's letter (for further information, see 4 August 1932, n. 10).

Tant piss (SB's adaptation of "tant pis" [too bad]).

5 The letter to SB from London publishing house Jonathan Cape has not been found, but a reader's report is in the Cape archives. On 13 August 1932, Edward Garnett (1868-1937) wrote of Dream of Fair to Middling Women: "I wouldn't touch this with a barge pole. Beckett probably is a clever fellow, but here he has elaborated a slavish, & rather incoherent imitation of Joyce, most eccentric in language & full of disgustingly affected passages - also indecent; this school is damned - & you wouldn't sell the book even on its title. Chatto was right to turn it down" (UoR, Cape; published in edited form in Michael Howard, Jonathan Cape, Publisher: Herbert Jonathan Cape,

G. Wren Howard [London: Jonathan Cape, 1971] 137).

6 Sir Henry Grayson, Bt., KBE (1865-1951), and his son Brian Grayson (1900-1989) were Directors of Grayson and Grayson; another son, novelist Rupert Stanley Harrison Grayson (1897-1991), was Literary Advisor.

7 Derek Hugo Verschoyle (1911-1973) was Literary Editor of The Spectator from 1932 to 1940; he matriculated at Trinity College Dublin in 1929, but did not take a degree. It is not known which poems SB submitted.

8 Richard Ellis Roberts (1879-1953) was Literary Editor of the New Statesman from 1930 to 1932; he continued as a regular contributor when he became Literary Editor of Time and Tide (1933 to 1934) and Life and Letters (November 1934 to 1935).

Andre-Paul-Guillaume Gide (1869-1951) wrote Les Cahiers d'.Andre Walter (1891; The

Notebooks ofAndre Walter); among his later works was the prose playOedipe (1931; Oedipus).

Giambattista Vico.

9 Mrs. Southon was SB's landlady. The person to whom SB refers has not been identified, although "Heep" alludes to Uriah Heep in Dickens's David Copperfield (1849-1850). Mr. S. is Mr. Southon.

Villeggiatura (holiday).

For possible sources of the "blue eyes ofhome," see John Pilling, A Companion to "Dream ofFair to Middling Women" (Tallahassee, FL: Journal ofBeckett Studies Books, 2004) 78.

10 Prentice had lent D. H. Lawrence's Apocalypse to SB (15 August 1931, n.5), but SB may be referring to another book.

11 Truman and Knightley (see 4 August 1932, n. 12). "D.D.D." (Dear Dirty Dublin).

12 Frank Beckett worked in their father's quantity surveying firm, Beckettand Medcalf.

13 Arthur Henry Macnamara Hillis• (1905-1997), lawyer and international econo- mist, had been in SB's year at Trinity College Dublin. He may have visited SB at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.

Morpion (literally a crab louse, but here a mild form of student abuse).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co.kerry

13th [September 1932]

Cooldrinagh Foxrock, [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

I will do all I can to raise the two quid when I go into town this morning on my father's bicycle. I don't think Frank would refuse me. Anyhow I owe you about 25/-for transition, and I wish I could have paid you before, but I have found no work here and depend on my father for everything. There is a prospect of a few grinds turning up at the end of the month. Ruddy has been very good recommending me and I wish there were no P.B. in Dream.1 No news from Grayson, and I hesitate to write them a stinger. But now it is a good three weeks since they promised me their decision immediately. Rickword never acknowledged the poems.2 Nothing seems to come off. I made a desperate effort to get something started on Gide but failed again.3 I began a poem yesterday, the first since Home Olga, a blank unsighted kind of thing, but looking at it it is clear that it can never tum out to be more than mildly entertaining at the best. The old story - ardour and fervour absent or faked so that what happens may be slick enough verse but not a poem at all.4 I seem to spend a lot of time in the National Gallery, looking at the Poussin Entombment and coming stealthily down the stairs into the charming toy brightness of the German room to the Brueghels and the Masters of Tired Eyes and Silver Windows. The young woman of Rembrandt is splendid.5 I hope we may meander through sometime together. Cissie lucky woman has gone back to Germany with Deirdre leaving Sally here on the job. We managed a good afternoon together before she left, in the gallery and then the Moira and then pubs.6 I met R. N. D. Wilson last Sunday chez Percy Ussher, and he was full of enthusiasm about your Eliot. I thought there was not much to him and felt vaguely uneasy with him. He read or declaimed acres of his verse, and to be sure there were odds and ends of agreeablenesses here and there. He has nice thick shining black hair and his little prose-poem diapason seems to be keyed toA. E.'s.A. E. & W. B. playa lot of croquet together at Riversdale, Rathfarnham, and the former always wins by a mile. I suppose James Starkey holds the stakes.Austin Clarke and Monk Gibbon seek on the bank a definition of obscenity.7 I wish I had seen "Things that are Caesar's"[.] "Temporal Powers" seems to be the usual rubbish.8 I set out on Saturday afternoon to see Jack Yeats, and then en route changed my mind and went for a ride along the coast instead. Pretending to like fresh air and salt water I got the old intercostal rheumatism back, this time on the left side. But it is going away and I am denied even the excitement of a little dry pleurisy in safe surroundings. For me also the alternative seems to be here or Paris, and not having heard anything from Titus, though there are a number of counts on which he might write, I have no idea how I stand with him. Won't the Copulation Intellectuelle be functioning?9 Anyhow be sure and let me know if you are passing thorugh [sic] and in the meantime alles gut and the quiet unfurling of your book that I know you want.10

Love ever s/ Sam

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; TCD, MS 10402/32. Dating: SB's meeting with Grayson is reported in his letter to McGreevy 18 IAugust 1932J; this meeting "a fortnight ago" is recounted in SB's letter to McGreevy of 13 September 1932J (TCD. MS 10842/31). The present letter indicates that it has been over three weeks since SB has seen Grayson about Dream of Fair to Middling Women, and SB's letter to McGreevy of8 October 1932 mentions that it has been "over 6 weeks."

1 "Grinds" (colloq., tutoring jobs). SB had represented Rudmose-Brown as the Polar Bear in Dream ofFair to Middling Women.

2 SB wrote on Saturday [3 September 1932] to McGreevy: "I saw the Brothers G. a fortnight ago now in London and they promised me a speedy decision. I don't know whether to think the delay good or bad." In the same letter, SB said of the poems: "I don't expect them to be taken on by Wishart, but I wish I had sent them earlier and that I had seen Rickword in London. It was Grayson put me on to them" (TCD, MS 10402/31).

London publisher Ernest Edward Wishart (1902-1987). In 1932, the English poet and critic Edgell Rickword (1898-1982) worked occasionally for Wishart, and had not yet joined the firm full-time: he had just translated Marcel Coulon, Poet under Saturn: The Tragedy of Verlaine (1932).

3 In February 1932, SB had proposed a monograph on Gide to Charles Prentice; Prentice responded: "Your idea of a short study of Gide is a most attractive one, but we don't see how we could be of any use to you about itjust now," suggesting that SB write "the essay as a long article to appear in two or more parts" (8 February 1932, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 136/513). SB pursued the matter with Ellis Roberts at the New Statesman (SB to McGreevy, 18 [August 1932], n. 8). SB wrote to McGreevy: "I'm afraid to start anything on Gide, though I have all the notes & quotations I want without opening a text": he added: "How would 'paralysed in ubiquity' do for Gide?" (SB to McGreevy, Saturday [3 September 1932], TCD, MS 10402/31).

4 Textbox start << a >>Textbox endSB wrote to McGreevy: "Typing out the poems yet again and fiddling about with them I felt more than ever that all the early ones - al! the Caravan ones - were fake and that nothing could be done with them and that it was only partir de Whoroscope that they began to be worth anything. I know you are good enough to disagree with me, but I felt it more & more" (Saturday [3 September 1932], TCD, MS 10402/31). "A partir de Whoroscope" (from Whoroscope on). "Home Olga" was written for Joyce and submitted to Stuart Gilbert, Editor of Contempo. The new poem is a draft of "Serena l" (Beckett, Echo's Bones [15-271).

5 For SB, The Entombment (NG! 214) by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) was "extraordinary. I never saw such blue & purple, such lyrical colour" (Saturday [3 September 1932], TCD, MS 10402/31). In the German room were A Peasant Wedding (NGI 911) by Pieter Brueghel the younger (c. 1564 - c. 1638), and Christ in the House ofMartha and Mary (NGI 513) by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) with Jan Brueghel (1568-1625). SB also mentions Portrait of an Old Lady (NG! 903) by the early Flemish painter known as the Master of the Tired Eyes (fl. c. 1540) and A Portrait ofa Young Lady (NG! 808) by Harmensz Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). The painter of Scenes from the Life of St. Augustine (NG! 823) is identified in the 1945 catalogue of the National Gallery oflreland as the Master of the Silver Windows (c. 1550); later catalogues identify him as the Master of St. Augustine (c. 1500) (Thomas MacGreevy, Pictures in the Irish National Gallery [London: B. T. Batsford, 1945] 11-12; James White, ed., National Gallery ofIreland: Catalogue ofthe Paintings [Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland, 1971] 197; National Gallery of Ireland: Illustrated Summary Catalogue ofPaintings, intro. Homan Potterton [Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1981] 107).

6 Cissie Sinclair returned to Kassel with her youngest daughter Deirdre; her daughter Sally remained in Dublin. The Moira Hotel and Restaurant, 15 Trinity Street, Dublin.

7 The first collection of Northern Irish poet R. N. D. Wilson (ne Robert Noble Denison Wilson 1899-1953) was The Holy Wells of Oms and other Poems (1927); John Hewitt's obituary describes Wilson as a "small dark man with something of the appearance of a little bird full chested with its song" (Dublin Magazine 28.2

!April-June 1952] 54-55). SB compares Wilson's poetry to that of AE. SB met Wilson at the Dublin home of Percival Arland Ussher' (known as Percy to mid-1937, then as Arland, 1899-1980), Irish writer and philosopher.

The home of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), "Riversdale," Willbrook, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, had a croquet lawn where Yeats played with enthusiasm that AE, among other regular guests, "rearranged their visiting hours to avoid a game" (Ann Saddlemyer, Becoming George: The Life of Mrs. W. B. Yeats [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002] 453-454). SB also refers to poets Austin Clarke and William Monk Gibbon (1896-1987).

8 Things That are Caesar's by Irish playwright Paul Vincent Carroll (1900-1968) opened on 15 August and won the Abbey Theatre Prize in 1932. Temporal Powers by Teresa Deevy (1894-1963) opened at the Abbey Theatre on 12 September; Joseph Holloway said that none of the characters "became real on the stage" (Holloway,

Joseph Holloway's Irish Theatre, II: 1932-1937, ed. Hogan and ON' eill, 216).

9 In May 1932 SB had undertaken the translation of ArthurRimbaud's "Le Bateau ivre" ("The Drunken Boat") for Edward Titus; SB had received payment, but no word of publication (for further background see Samuel Beckett, Drunken Boat, ed. James Knowlson and Felix Leakey [Reading: Whiteknights Press, 1976] 7-10).

More recently, SB had translated poems and essays for the surrealist number of This Quarter 5.1 !September 19321), guest-edited by Andre Breton (1896-1966) (for a list of SB's translations:Raymond Federrnan and John Fletcher, Samuel Beckett: His Works and His Critics, An Essay in Bibliography !Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1970] 92-93).

SB had also submitted his story "Dante and the Lobster" to Titus.

10 "Alles gut" (all the best).



Cooldrinagh Foxrock

Co Dublin


Thank you for your letter. I'll excavate for a poem for you one of these dies diarrhoeae. I suppose it's the usual case of honour and glory. So much piss. I have an idea I enshrined

Primrose Hill and Crystal Palace seen thence, as though I were Marcel Schwob peering through incipient cataract at a red moutier, in a long sad one that does me great credit. Tres emouvant. There is also a drill's arse and Daniel Defoe.1 They coexist very amiably.

All Uebersetzungen gratefully received & done in the eye into Dublin stutter.2

The novel doesn't go. Shatton & Windup thought it was wonderful but they couldn't they simply could not. The Hogarth Private Lunatic Asylum rejected it the way Punch would. Cape was ecoeure in pipe & cardigan and his Aberdeen terrier agreed with him. Grayson has lost it or cleaned himself with it. Kick his balls off, they are all over 66 Curzon St, W.1.3

I'll be here till I die, creeping along genteel roads on a stranger's bike.

Beautiful greetings to Bronowski when and if and tell him I had a simply wonderful time in Ampton St till a coinmate poor fellow whose need was quicker than mine happened to come across a five pun note tossing and turning in my Milner valise and - what do you think - took it unto himself. Ergo ... 4

Things to see: Desmond Savage Hazlitt Lamb Wodehouse Milton Makepeace Maccarthy and the sparrows at the Spaniards.5

Salut s/ Sam Beckett

TIS; 1 leaf; 1 side; TxU.

1 "Dies diarrhoeae" (literally, days ofdiarrhea, echoing the Dies Irae of the requiem Mass).

SB refers to his poem "Serena l" in which he mentions London's Primrose Hill (London NW, north ofRegent"s Park Zoo) and the Crystal Palace (built for The Great Exhibition of 1851, and in 1854 moved to Sydenharn Hill in London SW).

Mayer-Andre-Marcel Schwob (1867-1905), French medievalist, critic, short-story writer, and translator. In his journal, Premieres Esquisses, Schwob writes: "Je connais deux especes de gens; des hornrnes-rnicroscopes et des hornrnes[-]telescopes" (I know two types of people: microscope-men and telescope-men); according to Schwob,

microscope men could drown in a glass of water, telescope men find outlines in everything (Pierre Champion, Marcel Schwab et son temps !Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1927] 26-27). Schwob's story "L'Etoile de bois" describes a village in minute detail, including a monastery seen in a vision of rosy mist: "un moutier, semblable une brume vermeille ebarbee, 011 Saint-Georges, arme de sang, plongeait sa lance dans la gueule d'un dragon de gres rouge" (a monastery, like a neatly trimmed rosy mist where St. George, armed with blood, was plunging his lance into the mouth of a red sandstone dragon) (Cosmopolis 8 [22 October 1897] 104; rpt. L'Etoile de bois !Paris: Editions du Boucher, 2003] 13).

"Serena l" ends with "peering," a close-up image of a housefly on a window.

"Tres emouvant" (very moving). The poem mentions "the burning b.t.m. of George the drill" (a West African species of baboon) as well as British novelist and essayist Daniel Defoe (ne Foe, 1660-1731). "B.t.m." (children's language, bottom).

2 "Uebersetzungen" (translations).

3 Chatto and Windus, the Hogarth Press, Jonathan Cape, and Grayson and Grayson had turned down or failed to respond to SB's Dream ofFair to Middling Women. Jonathan Cape was "ecoeure" (disgusted). Rupert Grayson had not yet replied.

The London weekly satirical magazine Punch was published from 1841 to 1992 and from 1996 to 2002.

4 Bronowski had suggested that SB stay with Mrs. Southon in Ampton Street. A manufacturer of safes by the name of Milner has been identified, but not of valises or briefcases.

"Pun" (Ir. colloq., pound).

5 Reavey had begun his Bureau Litteraire Europeen in Paris and was developing an office in London for his several publishing ventures (18 April 1986: notes of Emile Delavenay). Delavenay (1905-2000) was French Lecteur from the Ecole Normale Superieure at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge {1927-1929) where he met Reavey who was then a student. When Reavey went to France, Delavenay introduced Reavey to Thomas McGreevy (Emile Delavenay, Temoignage: d'un village savoyard au village mondial

{1905-1991/ [La Calade: Diffusion EDISUD, 1992] 117). In his draft memoirs, Reavey says, however, that he met McGreevy through Alan Duncan (TxU).

SB facetiously gives to Desmond Maccarthy the names of English writers: Richard Savage (1697-1743), William Hazlitt (1778-1830), Charles Lamb (1775-1834), P.G. Wodehouse (ne Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, 1881-1973), John Milton (1608-1674), William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863).

The Spaniards Inn on Hampstead Heath was built in 1585 as a residence for the Spanish Ambassador; it was opened as an inn in the middle of the eighteenth century by two Spanish brothers and later became well known as a pub. Nearby streets are named for it.

6 "Salut" (greetings).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co.kerry

8/10/32 Cooldrinagh

Foxrock [Co. Dublin]

Dear Tom

Forgive me for not answering the first of your last two letters. I did write, but it turned out such a jeremiad that I refrained from posting it. Don't for God's sake bother your head about the 2 quid. Frank is not in that hurry. Wait for a flusher time. I got a few grinds and am doing a few at the moment and will get paid one ofthese fine days, early next week probably, and can let you have then what I owe you, which is about one quid ten as well as I remember. It is rotten to hear things are so difficult and that the book has slowed down again. I don't think you would have stuck the Irish Press very long, but it would have been something to be going on with. 1 Dublin stagnates as usual. I occasionally go in on the bike for the ride and the wayside pubs, but seldom, and on the surface at least she seems unmoved by all the goingson.

Frank had to go down to Galway on a job and he very decently stood me the trip with him and so I saw Galway at last. A grand little magic grey town full of sensitive stone and bridges and water. We went on to Mallaranny and spent a day walking on Achill right out over the Atlantic. We came back all along L. Mask and right through the mountainous Joyce's country and between

L.s [sic] Mask and Corrib. Everywhere we went Croagh Patrick was standing up over everything, with an Arrarat [for Ararat] cloud always somewhere near the chapel on the summit. Altogether it was an unforgettable trip and much too short, through bog and mountain scenery that was somehow far more innocent and easy and obvious than the stealthy secret variety we have here. I would like to go back to Galway and spend a little time there. There was some damn retreat on the Saturday morning we were there so we couldn't get into the Dominican and Franciscan churches where there are supposed to be some remarkable mosaics. But we saw

St Nicholas's which is charming and where they say Cristoforo C. had a dish of mass before committing his indiscretion.2

Yes, I had that letter from Reavey. He also condescended to mention that he had heard "rumours" of my novel when speaking to publishers and that he would have some translations for me in thenearfuture ifl waswise enough to keep in touch with him.3 Did I tell you Gilbert acknowledged Home Olga at last with assurance of its inclusion among the suceculeries of Contempo? Hope ev[e]ryone may be pleased.4 And that Titus wrote about Dante and the L. which he says pleased him and which he proposes to run in his next number?5 Nothing at all from Grayson. It is now well over 6 weeks since he viva voce assured me a speedy decision. I wrote him a polite note a fortnight and more ago which he did not acknowledge. So by this same post he is getting a stinger and may the devil look after his own and take the hindmost and in fact do all the parlour tricks that may be necessary. I have an idea he may try and do the dirty. He has no background and I have nothing to show that he has any of my property. Titus enquired after the book and suggested my sending it to him. Better that than gar nix. But I'd rather send him the poems. Rickword never acknowledged them.6 To hell with them all. Titus has benn [sic] a monument of courtesy compared with the most of them. [ ... ] Cissie has gone back to her Mann, bringing the big Ibach with her. It had all that salt air for nothing. They have found a new flat now, with twice the sun and half the rent. She says there is a chaise longue there for me. But I don't know what that means. Peggy read the transition sublimen and said for

God's sake to spell pfennig with two enns next time! I had a letter from Nancy from Lot, on her way back to Paris, wanting to get in touch. Perhaps she has some work. Titus's quick little blurb in his preface to his surrealiste number might get me some clients.7

This obstinate sobriety in all modes here is beginning to hurt seriously, but I haven't the guts to make a dash for it again out into the cold cold world. You must manage at least one evening in Dublin if you are going through. I want very much to see you and talk over the prospects in Paris.


I'm enclosing the only bit of writing that has happened to me since Paris and that does me no particular credit as far as I can judge.8 I'm enchanted with Joseph Andrews, Jacques and the Vicar of W. in one.9 The reminiscences of Diderot interest me very much, the ironical replis and giving away of the show pari passu with the show, as when he executes a purely professional apostrophe to Vanity and then observes that something had to be done to spin out a chapter that otherwise would have been too short. And the hero is suggested admirably, almost a physical weight on the page, all thighs and sex, palpitant, like Aminta or a Marivaux pretendant, nothing ofthe volupte pensee and pensante of Diderot. Such a thing never to have read! I think the very short chapters are an idea. 10

Can you recommend me an informative book on Dutch painting?11

Love ever s/ Sam

I put pen to this vague carmen that is so much pleasanter easier more'n my line nor prose and my kakoethes or as they say evil propensity ain't got Gott sei dank no butt what I mean is I don't love her nor scape of land sea or sky nor our Saviour particularly

I haven't signed any contract either I couldn't quite bring it off no my algos is puss in the corner I just feel fervent ardent in a vague general way and my lil erectile brain God help her thuds like a butcher's sex without the grand old British Museum Thales and the Aretino on the bosom of the Regent's Park the phlox crackles under the thunder scarlet beauty in our world dead fish adrift all things full of gods pressed down and bleeding a weaver bird is tangerine the harpy is past caring the condor likewise in his mangy boa they stare out across monkey-hill the elephants Ireland the light creeps down their old home canyon sucks me aloof to that old reliable the burning b.t.m. of George the drill ah across the way an adder broaches her rat white as snow in her dazzling oven strom of peristalsis limae labor ah father father that art in heaven I find me taking the Crystal Palace for the Isles of the Blest from Primrose Hill alas I must be that kind of person hence in Ken Wood who shall find me my quiet breath in the midst of thickets none but the most quarried lovers

I surprise me moved by the many a funnel hinged for the obeisance to Tower Bridge the viper's curtsey to and from the City until at dusk a lighter blind with pride tosses aside the scarf of the bascules then in the grey hold of the ambulance throbbing on the brink ebb of sighs then I hug me below among the people until a guttersnipe blast his cerned eyes demanding have I done with the Mirror

I stump off in a fearful rage under Married Men's Quarters Bloody Tower and afar off at all speed screw me up Wren's giant bully and wish to Christ caged panting on the platform the urn beacon aloft that I were Daniel Defoe no less but then again as I say who is likely to run across me in Ken Wood my brother the fly common house-fly creeping out of darkness into light fastens on his place in the sun whets his six legs revels in his planes his poisers it is the autumn of his life he could not serve typhoid and mammon

TIS; 4 leaves, 4 sides; includes untitled poem, later published as "Serena 1" (with the omission of the first stanza; there are variants with respect to published version); TCD, MS 10402/33.

1 McGreevy was working on his novel; he had hoped to do some writing for The Irish Press, but had not yet begun (SB to McGreevy, 8 November 1931, n. 4).

2 Connemara is a district in the west of County Galway. Mallaranny is the town to the east of Achill Island, the largest island off the Irish coast, west of the Curraun Peninsula. The Joyce country is to the north and west of Galway, a desolate land of rock, bog, and mountain that includes Lough Mask and Lough Corrib; it is named for the Joyce family of this region, not for James Joyce. Croagh Patrick (2,510 feet), known as the "holy mountain" because of the associations with St. Patrick; a church at its summit is a place of pilgrimage. Ararat alludes to the mountain on which Noah's ark is said to have come to rest.

The Franciscan Friary and the Dominican church (St. Mary's on the Hill) in Galway

are not notable for mosaics, but the Dominican church in nearby Claddagh has a mosaic depicting a church on a hill, a boat, and a young man and woman. Galway's St. Nicholas-of-Myra church, founded in 1320, is the largest medieval church in Ireland; while myth has it that Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) prayed there before sailing to America, it is more likely he stopped in Galway during a voyage to Iceland in 1477 (Gianni Granzotto, Christopher Columbus, tr. Stephen Sartarelli [Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985[ 36-37).

3 Reavey had moved to London. Reavey's letter to SB has not been found.

4 Stuart Gilbert edited Contempo (1931-1934) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; "Home Olga," written for James Joyce's birthday in 1932, was published in the last issue of Contempo (3.13 [February 1934] 3).

"Suceculeries" (bumsuckings).

5 Edward Titus published "Dante and the Lobster" in This Quarter 5.2 (December

1932) 222-236.

6 SB's stinger to Grayson is not extant. At the very least, SB wanted his manuscript returned so that he could send it to Titus. "Gar nix" (Ger. colloq., from "gar nichts" [nothing at all]); see also Pilling, A Companion to "Dream of Fair to Middling Women," 37.

Rickword still had the manuscript of the poems sent on 30 August 1932.

7 The Sinclairs' piano was an Ibach.

Peggy Sinclair's comment refers to SB's story "Sedendo et Quiescendo," which describes Smeraldina approaching Belacqua's train; SB writes that her platform ticket had cost "ten Pfenigs" (for "Pfennige" [pennies!) (transition 21 [March 1932] 13).

The texts that Nancy Cunard wanted SB to translate were related to Nancy Cunard, ed., Negro, Anthology Made by Nancy Cunard, 1931-1933 (London: Published by Nancy Cunard at Wishart and Co., 1934).

In his introduction to the surrealist number of This Quarter, Edward Titus wrote: "We shall not speak of the difficulties experienced in putting the material placed at our disposal into English, but we cannot refrain from singling out Mr. Samuel Beckett's work for special acknowledgement. His rendering of the Eluard and Breton poems in particular is characterizable only in superlatives" ("Editorially: By the Way of Introducing This Surrealist Number," 5.1 [September 1932] 6).

8 Most of the poem enclosed was published as "S erena 1."

9 The Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his Friend, Mr Abraham Adams (1742) by English novelist Henry Fielding (1701-1754) is compared bySB to Jacques le fataliste et son maftre (1796; Jacques, the Fatalist), a novel by French writer Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), a novel by Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774).

10 SB refers to Joseph Andrews. Fielding's novel is divided into four books, each with short chapters; the self-referential narrator weighs his narrative choices as well as his readers' possible responses. "Replis" (foldings, meanderings).Both chapter headings and narrative interruptions point to the events before they unfold.

In the apostrophe "O Vanity!" introduced at the end ofBook I, chapter 15, the narrator writes: "Nor will it give me any Pain, if thou [Vanity] should'st prevail on theReader to censure this Digression as errantNonsense: for know to thy Confusion, that I have introduced thee for no other Purpose than to lengthen out a short Chapter; and so I return to my History" (Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews, ed. Martin C.Battestin [Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967] 69-70).

SB's comparison of Joseph Andrews with the character of Arninta may refer to the pastoral play, L'Aminta (1581), by Italian author Torquato Tasso (1544-1595), or to a " pretendant" (suitor) ofFrench dramatist Pierre Carlet de Charnblaine deMarivaux (1688-1763). "Palpitant" (quivering). "Volupte pensee and pensante" (voluptuousness as thought, voluptuousness as thinking).

11 It is not known ifMcGreevy made a suggestion.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

18th Oct. 32

Cooldrinagh Foxrock [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

To know you like the poem cheers me up.1 Genuinely my impression was that it was of little worth because it did not represent a necessity. I mean that in some way it was 'facultatif' and that I would have been no worse off for not having written it. Is that a very hairless way of thinking of poetry? Quoi qu'il en soit I find it impossible to abandon that view of the matter.2 Genuinely again my feeling is, more and more, that the greater part of my poetry, though it may be reasonably felicitous in its choice of terms, fails precisely because it is facultatif. Whereas the 3 or 4 I like, and that seem to have been drawn down against the really dirty weather ofone ofthese fine days into the burrow ofthe 'private life', Alba & the long Enueg & Dortmunder & even Moly, do not and never did give me that impression of being construits.3 I cannot explain very well to myself what they have that distinguishes them from the others, but it is something arborescent or of the sky, not Wagner, not clouds on wheels; written above an abscess and not out ofa cavity, a statement and not a description of heat in the spirit to compensate for pus in the spirit. Is not that what Eluard means?

Quel est le role de la racine?

Le desespoir a rompu tous ses liens.4

I'm not ashamed to stutter like this with you who are used to my wild way of failing to say what I imagine I want to say and who understand that until the gag is chewed fit to swallow or spit out the mouth must stutter or rest. And it needs a more stoical mouth than mine to rest.

There is a kind of writing corresponding with acts of fraud & debauchery on the part of the writing-shed. The moan I have more & more to make with mine is there - that it is nearly all trigged up, in terrain, faute d'orifice, heat of friction and not the spontaneous combustion of the spirit to compensate the pus & the pain that threaten its economy, fraudulent manoeuvres to make the cavity do what it can't do - the work of the abscess.5 I don't know why the Jesuitical poem that is an end in itself and justifies all the means should disgust me so much. But it does - again - more & more. I was trying to like Mallarme again the other day, & couldn't, because it's Jesuitical poetry, even the Swan & Herodiade.6 I suppose I'm a dirty low-church P. even in poetry, concerned with integrity in a surplice. I'm in mourning for the integrity of a pendu's emission ofsemen, what I find in Homer &

Dante & Racine & sometimes Rimbaud, the integrity ofthe eyelids coming down before the brain knows of grit in the wind.7

Forgive all this? Why is the spirit so pus-proof and the wind so avaricious of its grit?

I never see nor write to nor hear from nor am seen by Ethna Mace.now. 'Tis better thus!' I incline to the opinion that when it is not possible to see people simply it is more satisfactory to wait till they tum up in the memory.I can't see her and I can't imagine her. Occasionally it happens that I remember her and then, presto! I had nothing up my sleeve nor she in her amethyst bodice.8

The Grayson Bros. were stimulated by my multicuspid stinker to return my MS.'circumscribed appeal ..Gratuitous "strength"'! What is that? I replied soliciting favour of readers['] reports.Reply to the effect that there was no written record of condemnation, that my book, an unusual, he might say, privilege, had been read by 3 most distinguished readers and discussed verbally with the Fratellacci; that their advice to me frankly and without the least desire to wound was to lay aside Dream altogether, forget it ever happened, be a good boy in future and compose what I was well-fitted to compose - a best-seller.9 When I had done that they would be interested to hear from me again.So I dried my eyes and sent it off to Titus, who has not acknowledged it yet.I tremble lest I should push him too far.10

Another scribble from Nancy from the Cunegonde on subject of touch.She has some Breton & Eluard MSS.I wrote saying it was always a pleasure to translate Eluard & Breton.11

I'm sorry I can't enclose what I would like to in this letter, because I have not yet touche the filthy commodity.12 As soon as I do I will.

Talking with a French woman here, Mme.Redmond, married to a Doctor, I was advised to address myself to Mr Blumenfeld, editor of Daily Express, who is a bussom friend of hers and to whom she would be most happy to give me a letter of introduction overflowing with boniments of all kinds. Acting on same I composed last night an irresistible document. I may post it to-day - and I may not. 13 My cuticle urges me to hibernate here, but the weight of minuses is beginning to bow me down. I walk immeasurably & unrestrainedly, hills and dales, all day, and back with a couple of pints from the Powerscourt Arms under my Montpamasse belt through the Homer dusk. Often very moving and it helps to swamp the usual palpitations. But I disagree with you about the gardenish landscape. The lowest mountains here terrify me far more than anything I saw in Connemara or Achill. Or is it that a garden is more frightening than a waste? I walked across Prince William's Seat, a low mountain between the Glencullen & Glencree rivers, and was reduced almost to incontinence by the calm secret hostility. I ran down into Enniskerry.14

They are doing Romeo & Juliet at the Gate when they have finished idealizing Wilde's husband. I lacked the spunk to go to Peer

Gynt. Such wonderful lighting, my dear, all coming from behind instead of in front. Imagine that! And Grieg without mercy. 15

Donagh Bryan is dead. 16 Love ever.


ALS; 2 leaves. 4 sides: McGreevy. TCD. MS 10402/34.

1 With his letter of 8 October 1932. SB had sent McGreevy an untitled poem. later published (without the first stanza) as '"Serena 1.""

2 "Facultatif"" (optional).

Quoi qu"il en soit"" (Whatever the case).

3 The poems "Alba."" "Enueg 1."" and "Dortmunder" were published in Echo"s Bones ([18]. [12-15], and [191). "Moly"" was published under the title ""Yoke of Liberty"' (Harvey, Samuel Beckett, 314; as "Moly,"" this poem is in the archives of Poetry Magazine (ICU) and in the A.J. Leventhal collection (TxU).

Construits (deliberately constructed).

4 SB alludes to the work of Richard Wagner.

These lines are from a poem by French surrealist poet Paul Eluard (1895-1952), "L'Invention" (Paul Eluard, Capitale de la douleur [Paris: Gallimard. 1964] 12-13); they are translated by SB as "What is the role of the root'?/ Despair has broken all his bonds" (Paul Eluard, Thorns of Thunder: Selected Poems, tr. Samuel Beckett, Denis Devlin, David Gascoyne et al., ed. George Reavey [London: Europa Press and Stanley Nott, 1936] 8).

5 "Terrain" (soil or ground); "faute d'orifice" (for want of an orifice).

6 Poems of Stephane Mallarme (1842-1898). "Swan" refers to the sonnet, "Le vierge, le vivace et le be! aujourd'hui" (The Virgin, Beautiful and Lively Day) (Oeuvres completes, I, ed. Bertrand Marchal, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallirnard, 1998] 36-37; "Sonnet" in Stephane Mallarrne, New and Collected Poems, tr. Roger Fry, with commentaries by Charles Mauron, The New Classics Series [New York: New Directions Books, 1951] 67). Mallarme·s "Herodiade" exists in several forms (Oeuvres completes, I, 17-22, 85-89, 135-152).

7 P. is Protestant. "Pendu" (hanged man).

8 Ethna Maccarthy. "Tis better thus" may allude to the play All for Love by John Dryden (1631-1700); referring to Antony, who is dead, Cleopatra says: "And, oh! 'tis better far to have him thus./ Than see him in her arms" Uohn Dryden, All for Love and The Spanish Fryar, ed. William Strunk, Jr. [Boston, D. C. Heath and Company, 1911] 144).

9 Although Charles Prentice wrote to Richard Aldington that he had heard Grayson and Grayson were going to publish Dream of Fair to Middling Women, they did not (5 September 1932, ICSo, Aldington 68/6/8). SB's letters to Grayson and Grayson are not extant. "Fratellacci" (wretched brothers).

10 SB sent Dream of Fair to Middling Women to Edward Titus, who was Editor of This Quarter from 1929 through 1932, and Editor of the Black Manikin Press from mid-1926 to spring 1932.

11 Cunard wrote to SB from Cuneges. in the Dordogne. conflated by SB with Cunegonde, a character in Candide ou l'optimisme (1759) by Voltaire (ne Fran,;:ois-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778). SB translated "Murderous Humanitarianism" by the "Surrealist Group" in Paris, a group which included Andre Breton and Paul Eluard (Cunard, ed., Negro, Anthology, 574-575). Although SB writes to McGreevy that Cunard plans to send him "Eluard & Breton," as she does in December 1932 (21 November 1932, TCD, MS 10402/38), there is no indication that SB translated other work by either writer for Cunard. He had translated their writing for the surrealist number of This Qj.ulrter (see 13 [September 1932], n. 9).

12 "Touche" (got my hands on).

13 Mme. Marie Redmond (nee Robinson, known as Elsie, 1885-1976), married to Dr. H. E. Redmond (1882-1951), was born in Paris of English parents and had grown up there. In Dublin she was the "go to" person for French lessons and taught SB. In later years, she would say, "That Beckett fellow has done quite well, it seems" (Annick O'Meara, 17 October 2007).

Ralph D. Blumenfeld (1864-1948), the American-born Editor of the Daily Express

(London) from 1902 to 1932, was a family friend of Mme. Redmond's parents. "Boniments" (sales talk or puffs).

14 Prince William's Seat is a promontory south of Dublin on the Wicklow Way; the town of Enniskerry lies north of it in the direction of Foxrock.

15 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) opened at Dublin's Gate Theatre on 1 November 1932. Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband had played there from 18 October; prior to that, from 27 September to 15 October, the Gate produced a revival of Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). Hilton RobertEdwards (1903-1982), a founder of the Gate Theatre, had directed the original production in October 1928; his revival was "improved" with the scenic concept of light coming from the back of the stage (The Irish Times 29 September 1932: 4).

Incidental Music to Peer Gynt for Solo Voices, Orchestra and Chorus, op. 23, by Norwegian composerEdvard Hagerup Grieg (1843-1907).

16 J.D.O. Bryan (known as Donagh, 1903-1932), a gold medalist and Research Prizeman in History at Trinity College Dublin, was appointed as Assistant Lecturer in History there in January 1931; he died on 9 October 1932.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

4th Nov. [for 3 November 1932]

My dear Tom

Cooldrinagh, Foxrock,

Co. Dublin.

Because the morning is balmy and the wind in the southwest I can come out of the grate and sit at the table and write a letter. Though there is little news. The work I did for Ruddy has not yet been paid. I was waiting to write till it would be, but I see no signs of any money forthcoming, and I can't bring myself to write & ask him for it. I sent my Dream to Titus about 3 weeks ago, but have had no acknowledgment. 1 There is nothing at all to be done here, in this house. Sitting about all day from one room to another & moving cautiously about the parish, regretting that my old friend obstipation excludes me from more frequent enjoyment of the seats in rosewood. I tried once or twice to get something started, but as soon as a word goes down out it must come. So I gave it up. I got a letter of introduction to Blumenfeld ofthe Daily Express and wrote him a begging letter. He regretted rather coarsely to be unable -- I nearly applied for an [sic] job as teacher ofFrench in Technical School in Bulawayo,

S. Rhodesia, but a few minutes consideration equipoised so perfectly the pros & cons that as usual I found myself constrained to do nothing.2 But nearly anythingwould be a grateful change after these slow months oftepid eviration, with the mind in slush.

I had a letter from George Reavey with a poem out ofhis new Quixote Series. Better than his usual, at least more amusing. He is full ofplans & Editors & publishers & literary agencies. He might prove useful before he dies. Nothing further from Nancy Cunard.3 And yourself? You were sad when you wrote last. I was glad to hear the Lun;:at deal concluded. I have heard nothing about it, but then I do not have the occasion.4 The Gallery is closed for re-hanging. I have not seenJ.B.Y. Those Sat. afternoons chez lui are rather dreadful. To-morrow afternoon I am having 3/- worth of Gods to hear Horowitz at the Royal. The programme is interesting.5

The Income Tax bastards have been after me, sending up the local sergeant to see what I am at and spying in the office in Clare St. So far no formal demand. Anyhow I cant pay them anything.6 I push the bike up into the mountains in the late afternoon to the Lamb Doyle's or Glencullen or Enniskerry and have a pint and then free wheel home to TomJones. Yes, as you say, as far as he goes. But he's the best ofthem. I like the short chapters more & more and the ironical chapter-titles. His burlesque is rather clumsy but his serious mood is very distinguished. Somehow I expected more from TomJones.7

Dear Tom this is a very white kind ofletter but I cant do any better. I'm enclosing a photo that I thought you would like and another poem.8

God love you Sam this seps of a world see-saw she is blurred in sleep she is fat she is half dead the rest is freewheeling part the black shag the pelt is ashen woad snarl and howl in the wood wake all the birds hound the whores out of the fems this damfool twilight threshing in the brake bleating to be bloodied this crapulent hush tear its heart out in her dreams she leaps again9 way back in the good old dark old days in the womb of her dam panting in the claws of the Pins in the stress of her hour the womb writhes bagful offerrets first come first served no queuing up in the womb the light fails it is time to lie down

Clew Bay vat of xanthic flowers

Croagh Patrick waned Hindu to spite the pilgrims she is ready to lie down above all the islands of glory straining now this Sabbath evening of garlands with a yo-heave-ho of able-bodied swans out from the doomed land their reefs of tresses whales in Blacksod Bay dancing as to the sound of a trumpet in a hag she drops her young the asphodels come running the flags after cloppety-clop all night she drops them till dawn the trollop fillips the clots of love from her infamous finger she wakes whining she was deep in heat when Pavlov came with a cauter and a metronome he came toiling on bottom gear through the celtic mizzle to where stiff with nits blotch and pearly ticks she lay her hot snout pointing south vermifuge quotha from this time forth and donnerwetter she'll wet on my tomb she took me up on to a high watershed whence like the rubrics of a childhood lo Meath shining through a chink in the mountains posses of larches there is no going back on a rout of tracks and streams fleeing to the sea kindergartens of steeples and then the harbour like a woman making to cover her breasts and left me with whatever trust of panic we went out with so much shall we return there shall be no loss of panic between a man and his dog bitch though he be sodden packet of Players it is only a dream muzzling the cairn the light randy slut can't be easy this clonic world all these phantoms shuddering out of focus it is better to close the eyes all the chords of the earth broken like a bad pianist's the toads abroad again on their rounds sidling up to their snares the fairy-tale of Meath ended say your prayers now and go to bed your prayers before the lamps start to sing behind the larches here at these knees of stone then to bye-bye on the bones

ALS; 3 leaves, 5 sides; letterhead; enclosure TMS 2 leaves, 2 sides ("this seps of a world"); the photo is not extant with this letter; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq., Tarbert, Keny; pm 3-11-32, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/35. Dating: SB misdates the letter a day later than the postmark.

1 Rudmose-Brown. SB sent Dream of Fair to Middling Women to Edward Titus before 18 October 1932.

2 Neither SB's letter to Ralph Blumenfeld nor Blumenfeld's reply has been found. Bulawayo, S. Rhodesia, is now Bulawayo (alt. Buluwayo), Zimbabwe.

3 Reavey sent one of the following poems, written in 1932 for the Quixotic series: "Adios Prolovitch," "Hie Jacet," "Squirearchy," or "Perquisition" (George Reavey, Quixotic Perquisitions: First Series [London: Europa Press, 1939] 11-12, 17-23).

4 McGreevy had made the arrangements for the Society of Friends of the National Collections oflreland to acquire Decorative Landscape (1932) by Jean Lun;at (see McGreevy to Dermod O'Brien, TCD, McGreevy, MSS 8126/47-48). Sarah Purser (1848-1943), Chairman of the Society. expressed reservations: '"I am a little nervous about its acceptance and reception by our rather arriere public"' (letter to McGreevy quoted in Patricia Boylan, All Cultivated People: A History of the United Arts Club, Dublin [Gerrards Cross, Bucks., UK: Colin Smythe, 1988] 187-188). The painting (no. 709) was kept in storage until the new Municipal Gallery of Modem Art opened in Charlemont House on 19 June 1933 (now known as the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; see Elizabeth Mayes and Paula Murphy, eds.. Images and Insights [Dublin: Hugh Lane Gallery of Modem Art. 1993] 258-259).

"I do not have the occasion" (Gallicism for "I do not have the opportunity").

5 The National Gallery of Ireland.

"Chez lui" (at-homes); SB often lamented that other people were present. The gods: cheap seats in top gallery.

On 5 November 1932, Russian-born American pianist Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) gave a recital in Dublin's Theatre Royal. The program included the Organ Toccata in C, BWV 564, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), arranged for piano by Germanborn Italian composer Ferruccio Benvenuto Busoni (1866-1924); "Flight of the Bumble Bee" from the opera The Tale of Tzar Saltan by Russian composer Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908); a fantasia based on the opera Carmen by

French composer Georges Bizet (1838-1875) (possibly Horowitz's own "Variations on a Theme from Carmen"); a Sonata in E-flat major by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809); "Funerailles" from Harmonies poetiques et religieuses, second version (Sl 73, no. 7), by Franz Liszt (1811-1886); "Variations on a Theme by Paganini," op. 35, and two of the three Intermezzos for Piano, op. 117, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897); the Pastorale and "Toccata" from Trois pieces, op. 48, by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963); Stravinsky's "Danse Russe" from the ballet Petrouchka; and Etude in F major, op. 10, no. 8, and Barcarolle in F-sharp major, op. 60, by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849).

SB wrote to McGreevy:

The Horowitz concert was very remarkable and yet somehow unsatisfactory. The Haydn Sonata was unspeakable and coming so early on put me in a bad temper for the rest of the programme. He played with great intelligence, especially the Brahms Intermezzi, affecting to feel his way through them. The Poulenc Pastorale & Toccata were charming. Still & all I was glad to get away before the torrent of encores and into the Scotch House. (11 November 1932, TCD, MS 10402/37)

6 Beckett and Medcalf, 6 Clare Street.

7 Lamb Doyles, an inn on the Hill of Stepaside near the base of the Three Rock Mountains, Co. Wicklow. Glencullen and Enniskerry are towns at the southern edge of Co. Dublin in the Wicklow hills.

Henry Fielding's novel The History of Tam Jones, a Foundling (1748).

8 A "white kind of letter" (Gallicism for a "blank, colorless" letter). This poem, untitled here, is an early draft of "Serena 2" (Echo's Bones, [28-301). The photo has not been identified.

9 SB wrote "<wakes again>leaps."

George Reavey London



Herewith 2 Prepuscules d'un Gueux_ 1

Cooldrinagh, Foxrock

Co. Dublin.

I dont know yet how things are with my book. If you think you could place a truss of poems for me you are very welcome to see them. 2 Let me know. Perhaps I may get to Paris myself sometime. But I don't think that is likely.

Best of luck in your new venture.


Sam Beckett

Thanks for the Quix poem. I liked it very much.3

ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; letterhead; env to Monsieur George Reavey, Bureau Litteraire Europeen, 13 Rue Bonaparte, Paris 6!!!, pm 7-11-32, Dublin; enclosure not extant with Jetter;TxU.

1 SB's enclosure is not extant. However, SB's letters to McGreevy indicate that he had sent two poems to Reavey, one ofwhich was "[There was a] Happy Land," published in Echo's Bones as "Sanies 2" (21 November 1932 and 11 November 1932, TCD, MS 10402/ 38 and 37), which was also given to Charles Prentice (see 4 August 1932, n. 17). Pilling indicates the poems as "Serena I" and "Sanies II" (A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 40).

SB puns on Crepuscule des dieux (Twilight of the Gods), French form of the title of Wagner's opera, Giitterdiimmerung (1876).

Prepuce (foreskin); "gueux" (beggar, wretch, knave).

2 Edward Titus had received Dream of Fair to Middling Women, "but has not read it" (SB to McGreevy, 11 November 1932, TCD, MS 10402/37). Rickword had not acknowledged the poems sent by SB in August; SB tries Reavey's interest in placing them.

3 Following signature, in pencil in AH: "P.T.O."; PS on verso.

One of the four poems written in 1932 for Quixotic Perquisitions: SB to Reavey, 4 November [for 3 November 1932], n. 3.

Thoma S Mcgreevy Tar Bert, Co. Kerry

51h December [1932]

Merrion Nursing Home 28 Upper Merrion St Dublin

My dear Tom

At last I worked myself up to seeing a doctor about my neck, which he described as a deep-seated septic cystic system!! And advised me to have the whole thing cleaned up une fois pour toutes. 1 So I came in here last Wednesday & was operated on Thursday morning. I had a joint off a hammer toe at the same time. Evezyt:hing went well and I am much better now & able to get up & hobble round, but do not expect to be allowed out for another week at least. I have an agreeable room full of sun all morning, and it is pleasant enough lying in bed sleeping & reading & feeling vaguely spoilt & victimised and comic all at the same time. [ ... ]

I was re-reading the first volume of LeTemps Retrouve - Paris during the war & the pleasures & opinions of Charlus. I disliked it before and thought it mere bourrage & badly out of control - so obviously ajoute & hors d'oeuvre. But this time I simply couldn't get on with it at all. Balzac gush - and the allusion to Morel's physical terror of Charius & Charlus's letter when he confesses to having planned to murder Morel seem to me pure Balzac.2Then the second volume - the last of the book - surely the first 100 pages are as great a piece of sustained writing as anything to be found anywhere. I find it more satisfactory at every reading.3

I have a great admiration for Sainte-Beuve & I think his was the most interesting mind of the whole galere but I can't help regretting that it was applied to criticism. I think if you read the Causeries chronologically[? you'd] notice a rather horrible process of crystallisation into a plausible efficiency of method, the only thing added material - piece de [for a] conviction - dossier souplesse becoming clockwork.4 But if you have not read his novel Volupte I have it & would like to send it to you when I get out & can delve for it. It's very beautifully written and I never could see why it is usually rated as rather dark & sinister. The images are so well framed and the colours so numerous, like a faded kaleidoscope. It's more like Rousseau's Reverie[s] that [for than] the Confessions d'un Enfant du Siecle, but without the madness & the distortion. In a way I suppose he had a lot in common with Rousseau. I wish he had done something more than work out a critical method and preciser an attitude. Aren't there plenty ofTaines for that?5

Nothing fromTitus or Nancy.6 I came independently to the same conclusions concerning Kruschen. 7

Do write her & God love you ever


ALS; 2 leaves, 4 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Co. Kerry; pm 6-12-32; Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/39. Dating: from pm.

1 "Une fois pour toutes"(once and for all).

2 Proust's Le Temps retrouve (Time Regained) is the final part of A Ia recherche du temps perdu.

Bourrage (padding): "ajoute & hors d'oeuvre" (added on & extraneous). SB compares Proust here to Honore de Balzac (1799-1850). M. de Charlus's letter of confession is from Le Temps retrouve in A Ia recherche du temps perdu, N, 384-385); Time Regained in In Search ofLost Time, VI, 167-168).

3 In the edition that SB used, the second book of the final volume of Le Temps retrouve begins within what is entitled "Chapter III," as M. de Charlus enters the courtyard of the Guermantes mansion ("En roulant !es tristes pensees [ ... ]" in Marcel Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu, VIII, Book 2, [Paris: Librairie Gallimard, Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Fran�aise 1927] 7; Le Temps retrouve in A Ia recherche du temps perdu, N, 445; "Revolving the gloomy thoughts ... "in Time Regained in In Search of Lost Time, VI, 255).

4 Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) wrote Causeries du lundi (1858-1872), a collection of weekly articles on literary subjects.


Material - piece a conviction - dossier souplesse (Material Exhibit A, file under versatility).

5 Sainte-Beuve, Volupte (1834; Voiupte: The Sensual Man).

Les Reveries du promeneur solitaire (1776-1778, published 1782; The Reveries ofthe Solitary Walker) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). It is probable that SB, writing from memory, has conflated Rousseau's Les Confessions (1782) with the autobiographical novel Confessions d'un enfant du siecle (1836) by French poet, dramatist, and novelist Alfred de Musset (1810-1857).

Preciser(set out in detail).

Frenchcritic, historian, and philosopher, Hippolyte-Adolphe Taine (1828-1893), author of Les Origines de Ia France contemporaine (1874-1894; The Origins of Contemporary France).

6 Edward Titus had not sent the December issue of This Quarter which included SB's "Dante and the Lobster," nor any word about Dream of Fair to Middling Women. Nancy Cunard had proposed translations of Eluard and Breton to SB, but still had not sent their books; SB reflected on the prospect: "I think I'll have real pleasure transposing them" (SB to McGreevy, 12 [December 1932], TCD, MS 10402/40).

7 Kruschen, mineral salts, taken dissolved in warm water; a mild diuretic, it was advertised as a weight-loss product in 1932, said to be good for the kidneys and restorative of vigor.

Chronology 1933

1933 January

1January By 5January 26January c. 2 February

By 20 March

15 April By 23April


Before 13 May 13May

By 22June

22June 26June

SB continues translation for Cunard's Negro, Anthology.

Hitler appointed German Chancellor.

SB applies for teaching position in Milan.

Considers applying for teaching position in Manchester.

Completes translations for Cunard. Resolves not to teach again. Works on Mozart with piano teacher.

Sends a short story, possibly "Ding-Dong," to

Dublin Magazine.

Cycles through Malahide, around the Portrane estuary, and through Swords.

Dublin Magazine returns story. SB writes another poem, "Sanies 1," and another story, possibly "Fingal." Takes countryside walk with his father.

Has second operation on his neck. Peggy Sinclair dies in Germany.

SB introduced to an editor from Methuen. Sends McGreevy draft of"Sanies 1."

Sends McGreevy draft of"Sanies 1."

Titus returns Dream of Fair to Middling Women. SB sends it to Methuen.

SB's father William Beckett suffers a heart attack. William Beckett dies.

By 25July c. July-August

By 6 September

SB sets up an "office" at 6 Clare Street in which to receive students for "grinds." Cissie Sinclair returns to Dublin.

SB augments story collection by taking material from Dream of Fair to Middling Women ("A Wet Night" and "The Smeraldina's Billet Doux") and by incorporating passages into "What a Misfortune" and "Draff."

Sends ten stories to Chatto and Windus. All the members of the Sinclair family now in Dublin. SB meets Nuala Costello in Dublin.

By 25 September Chatto and Windus accepts the stories, with provisos, including change of title.

3 October SB accepts contract from Chatto and Windus and supplies a new title: More Pricks Than Kicks.

By 9 October Beckett family moves to Dalkey for a month. SB sends poem "Serena 3" to McGreevy. Applies for a position with The National Gallery (London).

By 1 November Tries to write a final story for More Pricks Than Kicks, for which Belacqua must be "revived." The National Gallery rejects SB's application.

8 November Beckett family returns to Foxrock.

By 10 November SB sends "Echo's Bones," the final story for More

Pricks Than Kicks, to Prentice.

12 November Prentice returns "Echo's Bones": Chatto and

Windus will publish More Pricks Than Kicks without it.

By 6 December SB writes poem "Echo's Bones" following rejection of the story of the same name. Corrects part of the proofs of More Pricks Than Kicks.

By 18 December Prentice sends proofs with McGreevy's notes on them, which SB approves.

25 December SB is in Dublin.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

5111 Jan [1933]

Cooldrinagh [foxrock, Co. Dublin)


Forgive this long silence. Noel & Silvester were big hurdles, and I only got out of the clinique just in time to take them.1 My neck is still a bit troublesome about cleaning & healing, but I am really much better than I was. And quieter every way.

Your intricate observations on the subject of absolute & relative nearly strangled me. Or should I say seriousness & irony. Why not both, a little seriousness in the stress of irony. But I find that eschewal ofverbal sanies is one ofmy New Year resolutions. So you can sit back.2

Cissie writes; they are quite down now, piano, pictures and everything gone.3 Even Percy Ussher felt sick when he went to visit them.

I am doing stuff for Nancy at present - some interesting

(Congo Sculpture) some balls (Madagascar). There's one there waiting about the usual assassin signed by the whole surrealiste guild. And a long one by Peret.4

I applied for a job in Milan, but nothing doing. But I am being borne in mind.

No more news fromTitus.5

[ ... ]

I dined (I write dined, but nothing of the kind happened) at Joe Hone's of Killiney last Saturday, & his wife [ ...] Do you know them? Now he is collaborating with one Rossi (the Berkeley better half) in a book on poor Swift. A boring moribund creature.6 I stole away to Jesus and did the bonafide in Loughlinstown, and thence home on 9 toes between the years.7 I was down at Donabate on Boxing Day and walked all about Portrane lunatic asylum in the rain. Outside the gate I was talking to a native of Lambay, and asked him about an old tower I saw in a field nearby. 'That's where Dane Swift came to his motte' he said. 'What motte?' I said. 'Stella.' What with that, and the legend about the negress that his valet picked up for him, and the Portrane lunatics and round tower built as relief work in the Famine, poem scum is fermenting, the first flicker in the wash-tub since the bitch & bones.8

I dribble malgre moi and knowing I do & oughtn't to is no help.9 There may be Gods, but what ice do they cut?

I'll look up Volupte forthwith and send it. I've been reading nothing but a little history (Greene! [for Green]), his libel on poor

Charles 2.10 The royal mumper! God bless & love ever


ALS; I leaf, 2 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Kerry, pm 5-1-33, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/43. Dating: from pm and context.

1 Sylvester: New Year's Eve, Saint Sylvester's day.

2 "Sanie" (Lat., morbid discharge). SB gave two poems this name.

3 Cissie Sinclair had returned to Kassel and had written of the effect that the Depression was having on her family's circumstances.

Boss Sinclair was a dealer in modern art and owned many paintings; one known to be in his collection at this time was Abendmahl by the German artist Ewald Dulberg (1888-1933); James Knowlson indicates that it had been in the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. but was "destroyed in 1939, two years after its confiscation in the 'Entartete Kunst' (Degenerate Art) action" Uames Knowlson, "Beckett in Kassel: Erste Begegnungen mit dem deutschen Expressionismus," in Der unbekannte Beckett: Samuel Beckett und die deutsche Kultur. ed. Therese Fischer-Seidel and Marion FriesDieckmann, tr. Marion Fries-Dieckmann [Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2005] 76-78, 94).

The Sinclairs also owned a painting by the American artist Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956): Bathers I, an oil on canvas (current ownership unknown, possibly lost) (see no. 109, in Hans Hess, Lyonel Feininger [New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1961] 66, 257; also Knowlson, "Beckett in Kassel," 76).

4 SB is translating French essays selected for Nancy Cunard's Negro, Anthology. Although he translated others for the book, here SB refers to: "Essay on Styles in the Statuary of the Congo" by Henri Lavachery (1852-1934) (687-693); •A Short Historical Survey of Madagascar" by Jean-Jacques Rabearivelo (1903-1937) (618-622); "French Imperialism at Work in Madagascar" by Georges Citerne (1906-1944) and Francis Jourdain (1876-1958) (801-802).

Still to do were "Murderous Humanitarianism" by "The Surrealist Group in Paris," a collective statement signed by Andre Breton, Roger Caillois (1913-1978), Rene Char (1907-1988), Rene Creve! (1900-1935), Paul Eluard, Jules Monnerot (1909-1995),

Benjamin Peret, Yves Tanguy (1900-1955), Andre Thirion (1907-2001), Pierre Unik (1909-1945), Pierre Yoyotte (? d. 1941) (574-575); and "Black and White in Brazil" by Benjamin Peret (1899-1959) (510-514).

5 No response had been received from Edward Titus about Dream of Fair to Middling Women.

6 Irish biographer and critic Joseph Maunsel Hone• (1882-1959) founded the Dublin publishing house Maunsel and Company. His wife Vera (nee Brewster, 1886-1971) was described in Hone's obituary as "an American of great beauty, and famous both for her caustic wit and for her tireless devotion" ("Mr. Joseph Hone; Biographer and Critic," The Times 28 March 1959: 19). With Mario Manlio Rossi (1895-1978), Hone wrote Bishop Berkeley: His Life, Writings, and Philosophy (1932) and Swift; or, the Egoist (1934).

7 SB alludes to the African-American spiritual "Steal Away." It was possible to drink legally outside drinking hours "providing one had accomplished the business of covering the three miles that was the statutory 'journey' establishing your claim as a travel·

!er" Uohn Ryan, Remembering How We Stood: Bohemian Dublin at the Mid-Century [Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1975] 25). In popular usage "bona fide," pronounced in three syllables rather than the required four, was taken to refer to the pub, rather than the traveler. Loughlinstown, a small village near Killiney, about 8 miles southeast of Dublin.

8 Boxing Day (26 December).

Donabate, Co. Dublin, is inland from Lambay Island, north of Dublin. The Portrane Lunatic Asylum (now St. lta's Hospital) once housed 1,640 inmates in a cluster of buildings and facilities on 600 acres; it is 2 miles from the Donabate Station.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was guardian to Esther Johnson (known as Stella to Swift, 1681-1728), the natural child of Sir William Temple; Swift was Temple's secretary and half-brother. After Temple's death in 1699, Swift left England and returned to Ireland; Stella followed him. Although they remained close and rumors suggested they had secretly married, Swift would see Stella only when a third party was present. "Motte" (Ir. colloq., young woman). Portrane had once been Stella's country home. The Stella Tower is a Martello tower built during the famine (Eoin O'Brien, The Beckett Country: Samuel Beckett's Ireland [Dublin: The Black Cat Press in association with Faber and Faber, 1986] 373, 232-233; see also Victoria Glendinning, Jonathan Swift: A Portrait [New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1999] 215-228).

In Ireland, Swift (Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral) was commonly referred to by the uneducated as the "Dane." Among traditional Irish stories about Swift is that he would ask his servant to "find him a woman for the night"; various tellings make the woman old and ugly, or crippled, or black (Mackie L. Jarrell, '"Jack and the Dane': Swift Traditions in Ireland." Journal ofAmerican Folklore 77.304 [April-June 1964] 101-102). SB would have been aware ofthis legend through mention ofit byW. B. Yeats in "TheWords Upon The Window Pane: A Commentaty," Dublin Magazine 6.4 (October-December 1931) 17; SB's poem "Alba" immediately preceded this essay (Ian Higgins and Claude Rawson pointed to these sources for the Swift "legends").

The area ofSB's walk figures in the poem "Sanies 1" in Echo's Bones. and also in the stoty "Fingal" in More Pricks Than Kicks.

9 "Malgre moi" (in spite ofmyself).

10 Volupte: 5 December [1932]. n. 5.

John Richard Green, A Short History of the English People [New York and London: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1898] 620-664. King Charles II ofEngland (1630-1685).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

Lundi (20 March 1933) [Dublin]

Cher Ami

Merci de ta lettre. Quand aurai-je le plaisir de te revoir? Je sais que tu as de la peine a lire mon Ogham, et c'est seulement pour t'assurer que je t'aurais repondu plus tot si je n'avais ete tellement pris par un conte que je gate cette bonne carte et que je m'y mettrai des ce soir[.] 1

A toi S.

APCI; 1 leaf, 2 sides: to Thomas McGreevy Esq., Tarbert. KERRY; pm 20-3-33, Dublin; TCD, MS 1040/47. Dating: from pm.

Monday [20 March 1933] [Dublin] Dear Tom

Thank you for your letter. When shall I have the pleasure of seeing you again? I know that you have trouble reading my

Ogham, and it is only to assure you that I would have answered you earlier ifl had not been so caught up with a short story that I am spoiling this good card, and will set about doing so no later than this evening.1

Your S.

1 Ogham, a system of writing, with an alphabet of twenty characters, used by ancient British and Irish people as secret writing.

SB sent this story to Seumas O'Sullivan for Dublin Magazine, as he wrote the next day in a letter to McGreevy: "I sent a short story to Seumas O'Solomon !sic] last night, which I think you'd like, but few others" (21 !March 1933], TCD, MS 10402/48). The story has not been identified, although Pilling suggests that it might be "Ding-Dong," which later became part of More Pricks Than Kicks (A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 42).

O'Sullivan's wife was Estella Solomons and SB conflates her name with his.

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris

23rn (April 1933)

Cooldrinagh Foxrock [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

I'm so tired belting away at the old typewriter that I venture to address you thus. I hope you'll be able to read it.

I am sure you were right to go to Paris. I wish I had the courage to go as you did, with only your fare and vague copulation a l'arrivee. But I don't know any Junyers or Lun;:ats.1 Of course your letter made me wish very much to be there. The sensation of taking root, like a polypus, in a place, is horrible, living on a kind of mucous [for mucus] of conformity. And in this of all places. The mind is in league with one's nature, or family's nature, it pops up and says 'egal'. I'd love to see Beaufret en militaire, looking something between the drummer and the mascot. Thomas in his testimonial credited me with 'tres precieuses amities.'2 I seem to have squandered them all. Sean O'Sullivan asked me would I like a ticket for Academy vernissage for a friend. And then: 'Oh I forgot, you don't go in for that luxury.'3 Luxury is the word. Gide seems to be making a whirl ofgaiety out ofhis last days. Perhaps he hopes to end where Dostoievski began, with a 'Pauvres Gens'. I had heard of Voyage au bout de la nuit and admired the title. Are you sure it isn't Pelorson's!4 It's like his phrase.


Seumas O'S. returned the short story at last - [? remarking] that he was behind the times, which was the only place where he could be 'reasonably happy' and that was his 'great secret'! Not so secret. I thought of sending it to the Adelphi.5 Is that entirely ridiculous? I don't know. I wrote another (zig zag acquis!) and a poem having passed the Alba in the street, on which occasion my salute was function ofLeventhal's. It requires care not to take a serious view of these accidents. Easter was endless, Father and Frank away in Wales. On Saturday I went off for the day on the bike, through Malahide & round the estuary to Portrane and back by Swords.6 The penny pleasure ofhorning in the gloaming. On Monday with Mother to the Botanic Gardens.

All very deliberately agreeable & faute de mieux.7


Lovely walk this morning with Father, who grows old with a very graceful philosophy. Comparing bees & butterflies to elephants & parrots & speaking of indentures with the leveller. Barging through hedges and over the walls with the help ofmy shoulder, blaspheming and stopping to rest under colour of admiring the view. I'll never have any one like him.

Mindful ofAlfieri I tried to read Plutarch, but in vain. Mindful of Alfieri! And Berkeley's Commonplace Book, which Hone recommended as a beginning, and which is full of profound things, and at the same time ofa foul (& false) intellectual canaillerie, enough to put you against reading anything more. I wish I could go into the library and work at Heraclitus & Co., but I never go into town except to buy coffee.8 I understand Boss Sinclair, & others, who won't go out unless praised or accompanied. I send Dream.. to Gollancz. He will be 'most delighted to have it read.'!!9

Frank's all right. Rien ne presse et lui pelote.10

Love to Angelo. Eat a Parmentier to my health.11 Write again soon.

Love ever

Sam no likely quarters we might share?

ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; TCD, MS 10402/42. Dating: McGreevy in Paris; Seumas O'Sullivan has returned the short story.

1 McGreevy was in Paris, staying at the Ecole Normale Superieure (McGreevy to Charles Prentice, Tuesday [11 April 1933), from 45 Rue d'Ulm, Paris 5). Among friends of McGreevy in Paris were Jean Lur�at and the Catalonian painter Joan Junyer (ne Junyer y Pascual, 1904-1994).

A l'arrivee (on arrival).

2 "Egal" (all square); "en militaire" (in uniform); "tres precieuses amities" (very valuable friendships).

The testimonial from Jean Thomas was written on 22 July 1932 and is included below as an enclosure with SB's letter of 29 July 1937 to the University of Cape Town.

3 Sean O'Sullivan• (1906-1964), Irish portrait artist. The Royal Hibernian Academy has no record ofthe date ofthe "vernissage" (private view) of their exhibition in 1933 (Ella Wilkinson, Royal Hibernian Academy and Library, Dublin).

4 In December 1932, Gallimard began publication of Oeuvres completes d'Andre Gide and, by April 1933, the first three volumes had appeared Uean Prevost, "Les oeuvres d'Andre Gide (Tomes I, II, et III)," Notre Temps (16 April 1933) 121; Claude Martin, Gide [Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1963 and 1995) 211).

SB's suggested connection between Gide and the Dostoevsky of Pauvres Gens (1846; Poor Folks) may well be based on Gide's recent reflections on poverty in Africa (Voyage au Congo, 1927, and Retour du Tchad, 1928; translated together as Travels in the Congo).

Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932; Journey to the End of the Night) by French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine (ne Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, 1894-1961).

5 The Adelphi (1923-1955) was founded by John Middleton Murry (1889-1957) who was Editor until August 1930 and thereafter remained a regular contributor. The Adelphi published work by D. H. Lawrence (ne David Herbert Richards Lawrence, 1885-1930), whom McGreevy knew through Aldington.

6 "Zig zag acquis" (zig-zag momentum).

In More Pricks Than Kicks the character of Alba (associated with Ethna Maccarthy) appears in "What a Misfortune" as well as in "A Wet Night," an episode that was written for Dream ofPair to Middling Women; Alba also figures in "Draff"; however, this was written later in 1933.

The poem is "SaniesI."Malahide is south of Portrane, and the town of Swords lies to the west ofMalahide (for discussion and images: O'Brien, The Beckett Country, 239-240). Pilling suggests that the story may be "Fingal," in which Portrane also figures (A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 42).

In 1933Easter fell on 16 April.

7 The National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. "Faute de mieux" (for want of anything better).

8 Plutarch (c.46 - c.120). George Berkeley, Berkeley's Commonplace Book, ed. G. A. Johnston (London: Faber and Faber, 1931). The philosophical notes of George Berkeley (1685-1753) towards his "New Principle," or idealism, were made as an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin in the early 18th century and contain many local Dublin references.

Canaillerie (cheap rubbish).

The work of Heraclitus ofEphesus (c.535 - c.475 BC) and other Greek pre-Socratics interested SB. SB's systematic study of philosophy may have begun in 1930; he continued it by reading philosophy at the British Museum in the summer of 1932 (see 4 August 1932) and later. His notes and sources are recorded in TCD, MS 10967; for description: Frost and Maxwell, "TCD, MS 10967: History of Western Philosophy," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 (2006) 67-89.

9 The Jetter to SB from the London publishers Victor Gollancz Ltd. has not been found.

10 "Rien ne presse et lui pelote" (No hurry, and he is womanizing).

11 "Parmentier" is a dish made from mashed potatoes and minced meat, more formally "un hachis parmentier."

Thomas M Cgreevy Pari S

May 13 [1933]

Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

I am delighted to hear that you have started something again. Is it the old novel again or another?1 You seem to be working under difficulties. Could you not find somewhere better than the Mahieu. Down in the far corner of the Cluny would be better and the coffee is better there too and there are no Alans, populistes or Serbs. I remember one Sunday afternoon you were out at Ville d'Avray trying to write a bit ofthe Belacqua there and failing to find a word and then going back to the hotel and doing no better there.2 This writing is a bloody awful grind. I did two more 'short stories', bottled climates, comme �a. sans conviction, because one has to do something or perish with ennui. Now I have five.3 But I don't think I could possibly invite a publisher to wipe his arse with less than a dozen. Hone rang up one day to introduce a young man from Methuen, Mr Colin Summerford, whose peace of mind apparently depended on his standing me lunch at the Shelboume.4 He wanted the book, but it was not available, not having come back from Titus, nor yet from Gollancz. Methuen!5 They publish Wilhelmina Stitch so I suppose they can afford to take a chance, at least in the summer when Lucas is too busy at Lord[']s to bother. I gave him the poems and a couple of stories and he bowed me away hoping that good would come.6 I think he came over with Stevens [for Stephens] who it appears is on to an Academy anthology. That ought to be lovely. He says Stevens is a great poet, Strict Joy hot stuff by heaven, and a great philosopher. He seemed to have seen the whole bordel over here from Gogarty to frog-hopping Curtis.7 He was very pale, elegant and graceful, knew Brigit, Richard, Douglas, Pino, Derek, Michael, Charles, Eliot (nice man but bad poet) et en etait tres evidemment. I'll get no more than I've got, viz., lobster and Capsule Chablis, from Mr Summerford.8

I had the neck done with a local anaesthetic last Wednesday week in town and then came home. It was all right till next day and the next and the next and the next, which I spent in bed with pus pouring out into foments through the stitches. The stitches are out now and the cut is healing and the discharges are nearly over but I have no confidence that it wont come back again. The doctor says he hopes it[']s all right.

Last Wednesday week also, in the early morning, Peggy died at Wildungen near Kassel, quite peacefully after a fit of coughing in a sleeping-draught sleep. I did not hear from Cissie but from Sally here in Dublin. Her German fiance was with her to the last and is reported to be inconsolable.9 She hadjust been up to Kassel to see the doctor and had been told that she was better and that she could lie out in the sun, so they all had great hopes of her getting quite well. It appears that she and her fiance had lately been indulging in regular paroxysms of plans of what they would do when they were married. She has been cremated.

Mr Sean Cagney threatens me with distrainment if I don't fork up 5 guineas in a week. But how can he distrain when I have no effects? And what would be the good of his taking me to court when he would have to pay the costs himself? So that is the next little bit of excitement, a visit to Mr Cagney to beg for a respite. He can't make my father responsible and the bumtraps can't enter my father's house. And as far as I know he can't have me put in prison for debt.10

Two queer dreams the same night: flying down hill on the bike with Rudmose-Brown in a panic on the step, and trying desperately and in vain, missing trains etc., to begin a long walk by the sea with Jack Yeats.11

I owe you something out of the 50 fs., but I'm so broke that I'm going to hold on to it till I see you! I'm so terrified of getting sick away and everything seems so dead against being abroad that even if I succeeded in placing something and getting some money I don't think I would bother my arse to move. Here at home they encourage my endeavours to build myself up on stout, and I feel that for stout my world is better lost than for Lib., Egal., and Frat., and quarts de Vittel.12 They don't say anything about my getting a job and I begin to be impervious to their inquietude. It's an ill cyst blows nobody any good. I find it more and more difficult to write and I think I write worse and worse in consequence. But I have still hopes ofits all coming in a gush like a bloody flux. Here's a poem. I showed it to Leventhal. One long spittle, he said pleasantly. But I had to laught [sic] all the same. He thought funds ways home had something to do with paying her tram fare! I think I like Leventhal better and better. He bought me a yellow shirt for my birthday.13 Sometimes I ride to Enniskerry on Sunday afternoon and meet him in the Enniskerry Arms and do the bona fide till it's Mahlzeit time with pa and ma. And it[']s quite pleasant, the ride to Enniskerry and the booze and the ride home through the Scalp, and it's quite pleasant to reach home halfscrewed and eat a little and go to sleep[.] Everything quite pleasant and pleasantly null.14 Glad to hear the Churches are back. Have you not begun your translations for him?15

I went to the Academy. Literally nothing there. The best is a Leo* Whelan clock that Sir Neville Wilkinson took for a warming-pan.16

Tocher's play is on and seems to be a sad affair by all accounts.17

Frank pelote and plays golf and develops his capacity for holding whisky which is already quite remarkable.18

Herzlichste Gri.isse to the Bowsprit ifyou see him.19

Love ever and write soon again[.] s/ Sam

* or maybe an atty one.

WEG DU EINZIGE! all the livelong way this day of sweet showers from Portrane on the seashore

Donabate sad swans of Turvey Swords pounding along in three ratios like a sonata like a reiter [for ritter] with pommeled scrotum atra cura on the step

Botticelli from the fork down pestling the transmission tires bleeding voiding zeep the high road all heaven in my sphincter mfrihiiiiiiide now potwalloping now through the promenaders this trusty all-steel this super-real bound for home like a good boy where I was born with a clunk with the green of the larches oh to be back in the caul now with no trusts no fingers no spoilt loves belting along in the meantime clutching the bike the billows of the nubile the cere wrack pot valiant grotesque waisted in rags hatless for mama and papa chicken and ham luke Grave too say the word happy days snap the stem shed a tear this day Spy Wedinsday [for Wednesday] seven pentades past oh the larches the pain pulled like a cork the penis took the day off up hill and down dale with a ponderous fawn from the Liverpool London and Globe back the shadows lengthen the sycamores are sobbing to roly-poly oh to me a spanking boy buckets of fizz childbed is thirsty work for the midwife he is gory for the proud parent he washes down a gob of gladness for footsore Achates also he pants his pleasure sparkling beestings for me tired now hair gums ebbing ebbing home good as gold now in the thirties the husks forgotten oh yes and suave suave urbane beyond good and evil biding my time without rancour you may take your oath distraught merry courting the sneers ofthese fauns these smart nymphs clipped as to one trouser-end like a pederast sucking in my bloated lantern behind a Wild Woodbine cinched to death in a filthy slicker flinging the proud Swift forward breasting the sea of Stiirmers

I see main verb at last her whom alone in the accusative I have ever dismounted to love moving towards me dauntless alma on the face of the waters dauntless daughter of desires in the old black and flamingo get along with you now take the six the seven the eight or the little single-decker home to your prison your parlour in Sandymount or take the Blue Line for all I care home to the cob of your web in Sandymount your ma expects you anny minute

I know her she is still then she gets up then too the tiger in our hearts is smiling that funds ways home

TIS; 4 leaves, 4 sides; AN side 2; T env to Monsieur Thomas McGreevy, Ecole Norrnale Superieure, 45 Rue d'illm, Paris Se; pm 13-5-33, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/49. Dating: see n. 17.

1 McGreevy had put aside his novel in January; he wrote to his agent James Pinker from Tarbert on 24 January 1933: "I have finally abandoned effort to write a novel now. It may be that I will come back to it but I must start out and try to make money some other way for the time being [ ... J am going to try and get back to Paris and see if there are any small pickings to be had there" (JEN, Pinker collection).

2 Cafe Mahieu (more commonly known as Cafe le Mahieu) situated on the Boulevard St.-Michel at Rue Soufflot. near the Place Edmond Rostand. The Cafe de Cluny was at the comer of Boulevard St.-Gerrnain and Boulevard St.-Michel. SB refers to Alan Duncan and others whose conversation was often political. SB wrote part of Dream ofPair to Middling Women in the Cafe de Cluny.

American writer Henry Church (1880-1947) and his German-born wife, Barbara

(n.d.), lived at 1, Avenue Halphen, Ville d'Avray, in a neoclassical home ("Villa Church") which was augmented and renovated by Swiss architect Le Corbusier (ne Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, 1887-1965). Richard Aldington had introduced McGreevy to the Churches (Thomas McGreevy, "Richard Aldington as Friend," TCD, MS 10402/7996/1, 8-11).

3 Five of the stories for More Pricks Than Kicks had been written: "Dante and the Lobster," "Fingal," "Ding-Dong," "Walking Out," and possibly "Yellow," "What a Misfortune," or "Love and Lethe" (Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 43; Pilling, Beckett before Godot, 96). The newest were "Ding-Dong" and "Fingal."

"Comme ,;:a, sans conviction" (just like that, without conviction).

4 Colin Summerford (1908-1989) represented London publisher Methuen; SB met him with Joseph Hone at the Shelbourne Hotel, 27 St. Stephen's Green. Summerford was described by Peter Wait as a "'clever, amusing rather feckless character'" (Maureen Duffy, A Thousand Capricious Chances: A History of the Methuen List, 1889-1989 [London: Methuen. 1989] 95).

5 Manuscripts of Dream of Fair to Middling Women were still with Edward Titus and Gollancz.

6 Methuen published the verse of Wilhelmina Stitch (nee Ruth Collie, 1889-1936), often two or three books a year: e.g. Tapestries (1931), Through Sunny Windows (1931).

E. V. Lucas (ne Edward Verrall Lucas, 1868-1938) was a director of Methuen and Company. Lord's is a cricket ground in central London, and headquarters of the MCC, then the governing body of English cricket.

7 Summerford had come to Dublin with Irish poet James Stephens (1880-1950) who had written StrictJoy: Poems (1931). Stephens had proposed to Methuen an anthology of writing by the members of the Irish Academy of Letters. "The project was not completed, partially due to the difficulty in obtaining material from all the writers involved" (Letters of]ames Stephens, ed. Richard J. Finneran [London: Macmillan, 1974] 274-275).

SB refers to the members of the Irish Academy of Letters, including Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957) and Edmund Curtis, as the "bordel" (literally, brothel). Denis Devlin• (1908-1959) wrote to McGreevy, 10 November 1933: "Won't Stephen[s]'s

Irish anthology be absurd without us four?" (SB, McGreevy, Devlin, and Brian Coffey' [1905-1995]; TCD, MS 8112/2).

8 Brigit Patmore, Richard Aldington, English writer Norman Douglas (1868-1952), Italian publisher and writer Pino Orioli (1884-1942), Brigit's sons Derek Patmore (1908-1972) and Michael Patmore (1911-?), Charles Prentice, T. S. Eliot.

Et en etait tres evidemment (and very clearly was one of them).

9 Peggy Sinclair died of tuberculosis on 3 May 1933; although not formally engaged, her "fiance" was Heiner Starcke.

10 Sean Cagney, Collector of income tax, 41 Kildare Street, Dublin.

Bumtrap (or bum-trap, slang for bailiff) (see C. J. Ackerley, Demented Particulars: The Annotated Murphy, 2nd rev. edn. [Tallahassee, FL: Journal of Beckett Studies Books, 2004] 59).

11 "On the step" (slang, in a hurry).

12 "Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite" (Liberty, Equality and Fraternity), motto of the French Republic. "Quarts de Vittel" (quarter-liter bottles of Vittel, a French mineral water).

13 "Inquietude" (worry).

Weg du Einzige! was published, with many changes, in Echo's Bones as "Sanies 1." "Weg du Einzige" (Away you one and only). The closing Jines of the poem ("and let the tiger go on smiling / in our hearts that funds ways home") are linked by Lawrence Harvey to a limerick which suggests closure on a love affair (Harvey, Samuel Beckett, 148-149).

14 The Scalp, a rocky gap, is about 2 miles north ofEnniskerry, south of Dublin. The Enniskerry Arms (known also as the Enniskerry, Powerscourt, and Leinster Arms Hotel) is a public house there.

SB wrote " <time>Mahlzeit time"; "Mahlzeit" (meal).

15 Henry Church's plays were published in French: Les Clowns (1922), Vasthi (1929), Barnum (1934), and L 'Indifferente (1934; Indifference); McGreevy translated Clowns in 1929, Barnum in the autumn of 1932, and worked on the translations of the others through 1933 (see letters from Henry Church to Thomas McGreevy, TCD, MS 8119/3-5; TCD, MS 8021-8023, 8189; Susan Schriebman, 5 January 2007).

16 In the annual exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin painter Michael Leo Whelan (1892-1956) had several portraits and three interior scenes The Letter, Adagio Cantabile, and a drawing entitled Aida - but none with a clock. SB uses an asterisk after Whelan's name to point to his autograph P.S., also marked with an asterisk: the words "or maybe an Atty one." The reference to "Atty" is unclear.

Sir Neville Wilkinson (1869-1940) was illster King of Arms, Dublin Castle, from 1908 to 1940.

17 A Bride for the Unicom by E.W. Tocher (pseud. of William Denis Johnston, 1901-1984), which opened on 9 May 1933 at the Gate Theatre, broke with realistic staging and was called a "courageous experiment" (The Irish Times 10 May 1933: 6). Johnston used the pseudonym through 1934, after which time the early plays (Rhapsody in Green [1928; retitled and performed as The Old Lady Says No, 1929], The Moon in the Yellow River [1931], and A Bridefor the Unicom [1933]) appeared under his given name.

18 "Pelote" (is womanizing).

19 "Herzlichste Griisse" (most cordial greetings).

Thomas Mcgreevy Paris


Cooldrinagh Foxrock [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

Father died last Monday afternoon after an illness lasting just under a week, and was buried the following Wednesday morning in a little cemetery on the Greystones side of Bray Head, between the mountains and the sea.1 Mother and I nursed him while he was ill. The doctor saw him the morning he died and told us that he was much better. I was so delighted that I got into the brightest clothes I could find. The doctor was scarcely out of the house before he collapsed. I fear he suffered a great deal before he died about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. We were all with him. He was very beautiful when it was all over. I thought Mother would go to pieces, but she was and is wonderful. It is a very blank silent house now.

It is too soon to know how things will work out. We would all like to remain on here, but it may not be possible. Frank will carry on the office.2 My position of course is vaguer than ever. For the moment I answer the endless letters on her behalf and look after her as well as I can. Frank is up to his eyes in matters connected with the office and the estate, and it appears that I can be of no help to him. A brother of my Mother, living in England, of whom she is very fond, came over for the funeral and is staying with us until Tuesday next.3

He was in his sixty first year, but how much younger he seemed and was. Joking and swearing at the doctors as long as he had breath. He lay in the bed with sweet pea all over his face, making great oaths that when he got better he would never do a stroke ofwork. He would drive to the top ofHowth and lie in the bracken and fart. His last words were "Fight fight fight" and "What a morning". All the little things come back - memoire de l'escalier.4 I can't write about him, I can only walk the fields and climb the ditches after him.

God love thee. s/ Sam

TLS; 1 leaf.1 side; TCD, MS 10402/52.

1 William Beckett died on 26 June 1933; he was buried in Redford Protestant Cemetery, south of Bray, Co. Wicklow (see Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 166-167).

2 Frank Beckett had already been working at Beckett and Medcalf.

3 Edward Price Roe (known to SB as UncleNed, 1869 - c.1952); he was now living in Nottinghamshire, having returned to England from Africa where he had been "an accountant with the British Central Africa Company in Blantyre inNyasaland (now Malawi)" (Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 44, 621).

4 Howth, the hill above the district ofHowth on the north side of Dublin Bay. SB substitutes "memoire" (memory) for "esprit" in the expression "esprit de l'escalier"

(an inspired afterthought that comes to one only after leaving, that is, on the stairs).

Thomas Mcgreevy Florence


6 Clare Street Dublin

My dear Tom

Many thanks for Beatrice, Giotto & then Lungamo news. Indeed I wish to God I could join you there, but for this year at least I need not think ofgetting away.1 [...] Sometimes I'mjust fit society for the family noose & sometimes I'm like this poem.2 Chatto's took a short book of short stories called More Pricks

Than Kicks, and paid me 25 pounds less 25% advance on royalties, which cheered me up for a time.3

I'm afraid I didn't get much kick out of Coffey & Devlin, their pockets full ofcalm precious poems. It was pleasant to hear the Paris news, what films were on and the latest 10% of Surrealisme. I gave them the Enueg and we went to the Gallery (grosse erreur) and we had a drink and I haven't seen them since. Coffey seemed to find the Enueg highly delighting amusing delighting. Devlin didn't know what an algum tree was and I couldn't enlighten him. They also had pockets full of French jeunes [for jaunes], "lac des mains" and all the usual.4 I'm a kranky man & I don't like anyone.

The Income Tax sow-gelders are dunning me for enormous sums, notices in scarlet ink and threats to distrain & proceed regardless of costs. I go and see Mr Cagney, cagne cagneuse, and say that the whole thing is a tissue ofmisrepresentation, that I never earned so much in my life, that anyhow I can't pay and have no chattels and no costs and that if they proceed they must do so without me; Mr Cagneyscowls, sneers at my unemployed condition & makes a note of it.5 I met Michael Farrell and he destroyed me with an endless disparaging hyperbole on his own bland suspension between the vulgarities ofgreat talent and the roots in the anus of genius now & then. The little tubercular tot in the cot buttons across its doublebrested pilche [for double-breasted pilch], the little cheeks meet on the inside, the accumulated wisdom of the world unites the little lips like a zip fastener, and Mr Farrell is glad he is a doctor.6

In a moment of gush I applied for a job of assistant at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and got Charles Prentice &

Jack Yeats to act as referees. I think I'd be happy there for a time among the pigeons and not too far from the French charmers in the Garrick. Apart from my conoysership that can just separate Uccello from a handsaw I could cork the post as well [as] another.7 Also ifl took up residence in England between now & April I would recover my 6 pounds 10 from Chatlos. 8 But it won't come off & I don't expect it to.

Glad to hear the novel grows. Are you going down to Tarbert to finish it or have you found a room in Dublin?9 Do let me know your plans. I have to do another story for More Pricks, Belacqua redivivus, and I'm as stupid as a goat. If only I could get the

poems off now I'd be crowned. Nissssscht m666666glich! Ce qu'il est sentimentique! 10

Tante belle case. Give my love to San Miniato.11

Yours ever

s/ Sam

gape at this pothook of beauty on this palate it is final ifyou like

come down her she is paradise and then plush hymens on your eyeballs

on Butt Bridge take thought for yer buzzum the mixed declension of those mammae

cock up thine arse there is no other word for it cock her up well to the tulips that droop in the west swoon on the arch-gasometer

on Misery Hill brand-new pale livid

oh a most ferocious West African baboon's swoon on the lil puce

house of prayer something Heart of Mary the Bull and Pool Beg that will never meet not in this world whereas dart away through the cavorting scapes bucket o'er Victoria Bridge that's the idea slow down slink down the Ringsend Road Irishtown Sandymount puzzle find the Hell Fire the Merrion Flats scored with a thrillion sigmas Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour His Finger girls taken strippin that's the idea on the Bootersgrad breakwind and water the tide making the dun gulls in a panic the sands quicken in your old heart hide yourself not in the Rock keep on the move keep on the move

TIS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; enclosed draft of poem published as"Serena 3" in Echo's Bones; T env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, c/o Messrs. Thomas Cook & Son, Via Tomabuoni, Florence, Italy; pm 9-10-33, Dublin [on verso, pm 12-XI, Florence]; TCD, MS 10402/55.

1 Having traveled there from Austria on 28 September to meet Henry Church and his wife Barbara, McGreevy was now with them in Florence (McGreevy to his mother, 23 September 1933, TCD MS 10381/59). In Florence, Lungamo is the name given to the road along the Amo River. Giotto (ne Giotto di Bondone, c.1267-1337) designed the Campanile (bell tower) of the Duomo; his frescos are in Santa Croce Church in Florence. It is likely that McGreevy sent SB picture postcards with related images, and that one depicted Dante's Beatrice.

2 The poem is a draft of"Serena 3."

3 SB wrote to McGreevy: "I had been working at the short stories and had done about half or two thirds enough when it suddenly dried up and I had to leave it there. Perhaps I may get it going again now. But it is all jigsaw and I am not interested" (22 June 1933, TCD, MS 10402/51). Also in this letter, SB reported that Edward Titus had finally replied and returned Dream of Fair to Middling Women: "A most soothing letter from Titus at last, who finds himself forced to slide with the dollar, and abandon his Quarter and Mannekins" [for Manikin]. By the end of July, SB wrote to McGreevy from the"top room, 6 Clare St, where I've rigged up a rudimentary appartment [sic] where I pretend to work" (25 Uuly 1933], TCD, MS 10402/52); before 6 September, he submitted his stories to Charles Prentice:"I sent 10 contes, about 60,000 words, to Charles" (SB to McGreevy, 7 September 1933, TCD, MS 10402/54). "Contes" (stories).

Having had no pos11:tve response to Dream of Fair to Middling Women, SB may have decided to use selections from it to fill out the stories written for the new collection, initially called Draff. He sent it to Charles Prentice by 6 September: on 25 September Prentice wrote that "Chatto's would be delighted to publish the stories," although he asked for a livelier title for the book, "something tripping and conversational" (Prentice to SB, 6 September 1933, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 149/420, and 25 September 1933, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 150/134-135).

SB offered More Pricks Than Kicks as a new title and held out the possibility of adding another story or two to the book, according to Prentice's response of 29 September 1933: "Another 10,000 words, or even 5,000 for that matter, would, I am certain, help the book, and it would be lovely ifyou could manage to reel them out"(UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 150/196-197).

4 Denis Devlin wrote to McGreevy about their meetings with SB:

We have seen Sam Beckett twice in the last few days. He has been charming to us and we talked for hours about Paris and poetry: I was delighted to hear his account of the meeting with Breton and Eluard; Breton impressed him and Eluard inspires affection; which is proper; I think I shall like him. I am discovering him slowly; and according to his movement ofcourse, which is hesitating like a shy horse. He likes using only the essential phrase which makes conversation between him and Brian very amusing. ([23 September 1933], TCD, MS 8112/1)

Coffey and Devlin had proposed to publish poems by McGreevy, SB, and themselves as Christmas cards. SB had written to McGreevy: "About your poem scheme, I suppose I could cast before them the canal Enueg, they might know where Parnell Bridge was and the Fox & Geese, but to tell you the truth I'm not very keen" (7 September [1933], TCD, MS 10402/54). Devlin reported to McGreevy that SB "did promise us his quietest piece and gave it with an air of(and phrase of ) 'There; I understand perfectly your difficulties. Commercial, Christmas, Holy Ireland'. What must the others be like! However I like it and we can publish it in perfect safety for its surprise is not sexual nor theological" (23 September 1933, TCD, MS 8112/1). The series did not materialize. The poem "Enueg 1" is the one rejected by Dublin Magazine (see [27 November 1931], n. 2).

An algum tree: Juniperus excelsa or Grecian juniper.

Jaunes (a kind of cigarette): "lac des mains," reference obscure.

5 "Cagne cagneuse," a play on "cagne"(literally, knock-kneed, worn-out horse); the English equivalent of the phrase might be "Cag the nag," with reference to Mr. Cagney the tax collector.

6 Irish novelist and journalist Michael Farrell (1899-1962) studied Medicine at the National University and Trinity College Dublin. His five-volume novel Thy Tears Might Cease was Farrell's life's work; he could not bear to cut the novel, which was posthumously edited by Monk Gibbon to 100,000 words and published in 1963.

7 SB's application to the National Gallery (London) for the position of Assistant has not been found; the advertisement called for "a special knowledge of Art History and Study" with preference given "to those with proficiency in Foreign Languages" (The Times 8 and 11 September 1933: 3d). Prentice wrote to SB on 4 October: "I do hope that your application to the Nat. Gall. will come off with a bang. [...] They haven't written to me yet in my capacity of 'referee"' (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 150/245). The Garrick Theatre on Charing Cross Road was situated behind the National Gallery.

Florentine painter Paolo Uccello (ne Paolo di Dono, 1397-1475); a play on Hamlet's line where he claims to know a "hawk from a hand-saw" (Hamlet, II.ii.379); "uccello" (bird).

8 Along with the countersigned contract for More Pricks Than Kicks, Prentice sent SB the advance on royalties with the income tax deducted, as he was required to do for non-resident writers; he post-dated the cheque, to "fall within the next six-months report. If you come to live in England before April 5th, we shall pay you the balance of £6.5.0., but if you don't I'll send you the usual voucher regarding the deduction of Income Tax" (4 October 1933, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 150/245). Prentice's calculation is not correct.

9 McGreevy returned to Paris briefly, staying "long enough to verify various matters concerned with work," and then he went on to London. His plan was to settle in Dublin by mid-November: "I must not bury myself in Tarbert at first, shall have to make Dublin my headquarters for some time, but will get home when I can, at Christmas if not before" (McGreevy to his mother, 23 September 1933, TCD, MS 10381/59). He was still in London in mid-November: "I must stay on in London till I make sure of having plenty of work to keep me going when I go to Ireland" (McGreevy to his mother, 19 November 1933, TCD, MS 10381/62).

10 The story became "Echo's Bones" (NhD, Harvey collection). Prentice wrote to SB: "From the tone of your postcard, I infer that the 10,000 yelps will soon be parcelled up and on their way to Holyhead. Good for Belacqua" (2 November 1933, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 151/138; SB's postcard to Prentice has not been found).

Redivivus (brought back to life). Belacqua has to be brought back to life because he dies in the final story of the collection, "Draff."

Before 22 June, SB had sent Dream to Methuen, but had had no response. "Nissssscht mi:ii:ii:ii:ii:ii:iglich" (from "nicht mi:iglich" [not possible]) was part of the comic routine of the Swiss clown, Grock (ne Charles Adrien Wettach, 1880-1959). "Ce qu'il est sentimentique!" (How sentimantic he is!); "sentimentique" is a portmanteau word combining "sentimental" and "romantique."

11 "Tante belle cose" (all good things).

Although SB may refer to the town of San Miniato, which is approximately 25 miles from Florence, more probably he refers to the Florentine church of San Miniato al Monte.

T Homas M Cgr E Evy London

6/12/33 [for 5 December 1933] 6 Clare Street Dublin

My dear Tom

I haven't been up to anything let alone taper a la, why I couldn't tell you. 1 Perhaps it was the weather which has been fiendish, irresistible cold and damp. I was rejoiced to hear from you though sad also at the impression I got that you were very sad. However a letter from Charles this morning stating you in good form and with the prospects of work.2 That is good news. Indeed I wish to God I were in London - for a change or en passant - and that we could serve some of this time together again. I thought of apprenticing myself to some advertising firm in London. At least it would get me out of here for a bit and it might be entertaining. Or perhaps there is a faculty of advertising in London by this time. I don't know a damn about it but it has been in my mind for a long time and I had often been on the point of putting it up to father. Now I can put it up to mother. There is always someone to whom one can put it up. If there were only always someone in whom ...

I haven't been doing anything. Charles's fouting a la porte of Echo's Bones, the last story, into which I put all I knew and plenty that I was better still aware of, discouraged me profoundly, au point meme de provoquer ce qui suit:

Asylum under my tread all this day Their muffled revels as the flesh rots Breaking without fear or favour wind

The gantelope of sense and nonsense run Taken by the worms for what they are.

But no doubt he was right. I tell him so, therefore all that entre nous. 3 The proofs have begun to come in, and I returned a consignment, corrigees si on peut dire, to them to-day.4 If you have blank hours you would be kind to run your eye over them.

But ifnot it doesn't matter. They've been corrected so often, long before they got near Charles, that it's beyond further mitigation. Only compositor's errors. I hate the sight of them.


Shem toujours froisse dans la perfection, c'est degueulasse.5 Read Jeremy Taylor & Leibniz. Why two books, Holy Living & Holy Dying, when one would have done the trick.6 Surely the classical example of literary tautology. Leibniz a great cod, but full of splendid little pictures.

Horowitz gave a recital at the Royal, but the programme was dull and he out of form. I see the local band is going to give Prokoviev's [for Prokofiev's] Symphony and a Mozart concerto with the Fachiri, so I suppose one must go and take one's medicine. I caught catarrh from their last performance, all the strings distressed ladies and all the rest poilus off for the day. 7

God love thee.

sf Sam

TLS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; TenvtoThomas McGreevy Esq, c/o Mrs Dowden, 15 Cheyne Gardens, London; pm 5-12-33, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/57. Dating: from pm.

1 "Taper a la lmachineJ'" (to type).

2 On 28 November 1933. Prentice returned McGreevy's translations of three plays by Henry Church. Barnum, Indifference, and Vasthi, with regret that Chatto and Windus could not publish them (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 151/497; see also 13 May 11933], n. 15). McGreevy wrote to his mother: "Still stuck in London and still uncertain as to when I'll get home. The bigger schemes mature only slowly though prospects of bringing them off are not discouraging and as for smaller ones I am already reviewing for some ofthe weeklies here" (30 November 1933, TCD, MS 10381/63/1).

3 Prentice acknowledged receipt of"Echo's Bones" on 10 November, 1933 (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 151/241). He wrote to SB on 13 November 1933: "Do you mind if we leave it out of the book - that is, publish 'More Pricks Than Kicks' in the original form in which you sent it in? Though it's on the short side, we'll still be able to price it at 7/6d. 'Echo's Bones' would, I am sure, lose the book a great many readers." Prentice detailed his own reactions: "It is a nightmare. Just too terribly persuasive. It gives me the jim-jams. The same horrible and immediate switches ofthe focus, and the same wild unfathomable energy of the population. There are chunks I don't connect with. I am so sorry to feel like this. Perhaps it is only over the details, and I may have a correct inkling of the main impression. I am sorry, for I hate to be dense, but I hope I am not altogether insensitive. 'Echo's Bones' certainly did land on me with a wallop." However, Prentice took responsibility for what he called "a dreadful debacle - on my part, not on yours. [ ... J Yet the only plea for mercy I can make is that the icy touch of those revenant fingers was too much for me. I am sitting on the ground, and ashes are on my head. Please write kindly" (UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 151/277).

Fouting a la porte (kicking out; a joke anglicizing of a French expression). "Au point meme de provoquer ce qui suit" (to the point indeed of provoking the following). This is a draft of the poem, "Echo's Bones." SB wrote to Prentice before 17 November 1933, for Prentice replied: "Your forgiveness is like oil of absolution - but I cannot absolve myself for my failure. Thank you very much. !fl may, I'd like to keep 'Echo's Bones' [the story[ a little longer, but we'll go ahead with the setting up of the book" (17 November 1933, UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 151/325). More Pricks Than Kicks was given over to the printer on 20 November.

4 "Corrigees si on peut dire" (corrected, if you can call it that).

5 "Shem toujours froisse dans la perfection, c'est degueulasse" (Shem still all crinkled up in perfection, it is enough to make you throw up).

6 The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650) and The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651) written by Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Bishop of Down and Connor in Ireland after the Restoration. German philosopher. mathematician, and logician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716).

7 Vladimir Horowitz's concert at the Theatre Royal took place on 18 November 1933; the program included four chorale preludes by Bach arranged for piano by Busoni; Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 26 in E-flat major, op. 81a ("Das Lebewohl, Abwesenheit, und Wiedersehn" [more commonly known as "Les Adieux"[); Arabeske in C major, op. 18, by Robert Schumann (1810-1856); Liszt's "Apres une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi sonata," Annees de pelerinage, deuxieme annee, Italie, 2 versions, no. 7; two etudes, a mazurka, and the Scherzo in B minor, op. 20, by Chopin; the etudes "Pour Jes arpeges composes" and "Pour Jes cinq doigts," by Claude-Achille Debussy (1862-1918); and Horowitz's own "Variations on a Theme from Bizet's Opera Carmen" (The Irish Times 17 November 1933: 6; 20 November 1933: 4).

Rather than the program indicated by SB (a Mozart concerto and a symphony by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev [1891-19531), the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra presented a program featuring Hungarian-born violinist Adila Fachiri (1886-1962) on 3 March 1934. She played the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, op. 61, and the "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" for Orchestra and Solo Violin, op. 28, by French composer Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra played two pieces by Wagner: the Overture and Bacchanal from the opera Tannhiiuser and the "Forest Murmurs" from his opera Siegfried; it also played The Wand of Youth, op. 1, no. 2, by British composer Edward Elgar

(1857-1934) ("Dublin Philharmonic Society: Last Concert in Theatre Royal," The Irish Times 5 March 1934: 5).

Poilus (Other Ranks).

The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940

Chronology 1934

1934 By 23January

By 27January By 1 February

15 February

16 February By4April

By 7May By9 May


24May 22June


SB moves to London, living at48 Paultons Square. Recommends A. J. Leventhal's thesis to Chatto and Windus; it is rejected.

Begins psychotherapy with W. R. Bion, going three times a week.

Sends proofs of More Pricks Than Kicks to Rinehart, who forwards them to US partner, Farrar.

Contempo publishes "Home Olga." Publication ofNegro, Anthology Made by Nancy Cunard,


Chatto and Windus offers More Pricks Than Kicks to Harrison Smith and Haas in New York.

SB writes what he calls "a couple ofQuatschrains."

McGreevy submits SB's review ofJ[ames] B[lair] Leishman's translation of Rilke's Poems to The Criterion.

The Spectator publishes "Schwabenstreich," SB's review of the English translation, Mozart on the Journey to Prague, written by Eduard Morike.

Publication of More Pricks Than Kicks.

The Spectator publishes "Proust in Pieces," SB's review of Albert Feuillerat's Comment Proust a com pose son roman.

SB accepts Reavey's offer to represent More Pricks Than Kicks abroad.


13July August

2 August

By 7 August

By 16 August

By 27 August 2/3 September 23 October

1 November

December c. 20 December

31 December

Dublin Magazine publishes poem "Gnome" and SB's review of McGreevy's Poems, "Humanistic Quietism."

The Criterion publishes SB's review ofLeishman's translation of Rilke's Poems.

The Bookman publishes SB's story "A Case in a Thousand" and, under the pseudonym ofAndrew Belis, his critical essay "Recent Irish Poetry."

SB leaves London for Dublin.

The Bookman asks for an article on censorship in Ireland.

SB sends "Enueg" (later "Enueg 1") to The Bookman.

The Bookman rejects "Enueg" SB sends "Censorship in the Saorstat" to The Bookman.

Returns to London; moves to 34 Gertrude Street. Resumes psychotherapy.

More Pricks Than Kicks is placed on the "Index of Forbidden Books in Ireland."

SB sends poems to Poetry Magazine: "Dortmunder," "Echo's Bones," "Enueg," and "Moly" (later "Yoke of Liberty").

Reviews published in Christmas issue ofThe Bookman: "Ex Cathezra" (ofEzra Pound's Make It New), "Papini's Dante" (ofGiovanni Papini's Dante Vivo), and "The Essential and the Incidental" (of Sean O'Casey's

SB in Dublin for the holidays.

Charles Prentice resigns as Partner of Chatto and Windus.


27/1/24 [for 1934]

48 Paulton's Square

[London] S.W. 3

Cher ami1

Ta lettre, rer;:ue ce matin, m'a fait beaucoup de plaisir et j'espere que tu m'en adresseras beaucoup de semblables. Je n'ai eu aucune peine a la dechiffrer. Aussi tes communications, exprimees, j'ose [le] dire, avec une lucidite peu inferieure a celle des freres Grimm, n'ont-elles nullement embarrasse la connaissance tres imparfaite que j'ai de la langue allemande.2 Vas-y done de bon coeur - hebdomadairement, au moins.

Enchante d'apprendre que la vie te sourit, nonobstant le climat plutot vert de tes humanites, et que l'etrange quadrupede aux bosses inverties garde sa serenite. Cet animal-la, il m'a toujours inspire d'une [for une] certaine inquietude a son egard, c'est que la vie tres quietiste qu'il mene ne le pousse un de ces jours a se precipiter, a la far;:on d'un pore biblique, dans la mer. Ce serait a regretter. Tu ferais peut-etre bien de l'entretenir a ce sujet. Explique-lui que l'ennui est le plus supportable de tous les maux, etant le plus frequent, et que mieux vaut avoir le cafard que le ventre plein de homards. Si d'abord il a l'air de ne pas vouloir se laisser convaincre, tu n'as qu'a le prendre par son cote faible, a savoir sa vanite (car tout cheval est excessivement vain), en lui representant que la courbe de son echine aurait fait venir la salive aux levres de Botticelli, et que ce serait vraiment dommage, voire criminel, de priver les yeux des Howthiens d'un tel triomphe de sinuosite.3 Et enfin si, en maniere de conclusion, tu lui dis:

Que m'importe que tu sois sage, Sois beau et sois triste, ce sera fini, n'en doute pas, de sa resistance.Il se rendra. Il condescendra a etre beau, il est meme possible que sa tristesse, absorbee dans la conscience de sa rhapsodie dorsale que grace a toi il vient d'acquerir, s'evanouisse completement. Mais puisque la tristesse ajoute toujours a la beaute, puisqu'elle est comme !'element etemel, invariable, de ce que Baudelaire appelle le "divin gateau", du moins a mon avis, j'aimerais mieux que notre cheval reste fidele aux attitudes, boudeuses et melancoliques, que je lui ai toujours connues.4 Quoi qu'il en soit, et en relisant ce que je viens si peniblement d'enoncer, je constate que je m'en fous royalement, du cheval, de son sort, de ses bosses inverties et des esthetes de Howth. Qu'il se noie s'il veut. Qu'il agonise lentement, [en] proie aux plus affreuses douleurs, dans son champ, renverse sur le dos, les quatre jambes levees au ciel. Je m'en desinteresse totalement. N'en parlons plus.

Cissie m'a dit que tu fais du Bach. Malheureux! Toi, je veux dire, pas lui, qui ne l'a jamais ete. Jai du essuyer une enorme composition de lui, humoristiquement intitulee: Suite pour Orchestre, dirigee par !'ignoble Furtwangler, qui, parait'il, s'est recemment fait couvrir le meilleur de sa nudite de Hackenkreuze [for Hakenkreuze] entrelaces.5 Il a la charmante modestie de se laisser diriger par ses cuivres (qui soufflent comme seuls les buveurs de biere savent le faire), tout en faisant de sa petite main gauche des gestes tres oses a !'intention de ses premiers violons, qui n'y ont fait heureusement pas la moindre attention, et en agitant ses tendres chairs posterieures comme s'il avait une grosse envie de visiter le[s] lavabos.A peine m'etaisje remis de cet assaut qu'il a eu l'incroyable impertinence d'attaquer la 4me Symphonie de Schumann, qui ressemble moins a une symphonie qu'a une ouverture commencee par Lehar, terrninee par Goering et revue par Johnny Doyle (sinon par son chien), et qui ne vaut vraiment pas la peine d'etre consideree, sans parler d'etre attaquee.6 Il va de soi que Furtwangler !'assassin, avec la connivance de ses ames damnees, a remporte la victoire, si le fait de massacrer une partition qui n'a certainement jamais vecu peut constituer une victoire. Reduire rien a rien, et y mettre trois quarts d'heure, voila du beau! Puis enfin il a pu aller au[x] lavabos. Mais, au lieu d'y passer le reste de sa vie, il est revenu, suivi de ses bourreaux adjoints, afin de nous dechirer la 7me de Beethoven en tout petits morceaux. Monsieur Furtwangler,ban Nazi,il ne tolere point les mysteres, et c'est assez comme un oeufau plat ou,si tu preferes,comme un pied la-dedans, qu'il a bien voulu nous pre[s]enter cette musique. 11 a joue le demier mouvement comme un Standchen des plus elegants. Il a remporte un succes fou. Non content de boutonner cette pauvre symphonie jusqu'a l'etranglement, il s'est perrnis d'en gamir la boutonniere. ET [sic] de quoi,ban sang de ban Dieu? D'un Wiirstchen.7

Trois fois par semaine je me livre aux fouilles chez man psychiatre,ce qui m'a deja fait,je crois,du bien,dans le sens que je peux me tenir un peu plus tranquille et que les coups de panique la nuit deviennent mains frequents et mains aigus. Mais le traitement sera necessairement long,et j'en aurai peutetre pour des mois encore.Je ne m'en plains pas,je me considere tres fortune d'avoir pu l'entreprendre, c'est l'unique chose qui m'interesse actuellement,et comme �a c'est bien,car ces sortes de chose-la exigent qu'on s'y consacre a !'exclusion presque de tout autre interet.8 Par consequent,je n'ai pas le loisir,meme si j'en avais l'envie,de faire quoi que ce soit en fait de litterature. Et comme �a c'est peut-etre bien aussi. ]'en ai deja fait beaucoup trop, peu et pourtant trop, n'ayant jamais rien compris a rien. A part les tatonnements dont je parle et de nombreux stationnements devant des tableaux, je reste chez moi, ou je suis assez confortablement loge, vautre dans un fauteuil devant mon radiateur, en attendant qu'il soit temps d'aller me coucher, mouvement que maintenant je peux faire avec un peu plus de confiance qu'il y avait un mois. Et voila tout. Phase comme les autres.

Salue la famille, tres familierement. Fais-les ecrire, j'aimerais bien une lettre de Boss, et ecris toi-meme.

A toi

sf Sam

TIS; 2 leaves, 4 sides; Sinclair. Dating: SB lived at this address in 1934.

27/1/24 [for 1934]

48 Paulton's Square S.W.3

Dear Sonny, 1

Your letter, received this morning, gave me a great deal of pleasure, and I hope that you will send me many more like that. I had no difficulty in making it out. So you see your missives, expressed, I make so bold as to say, with a lucidity little short of that of the Grimm brothers, in no way troubled the very imperfect understanding that I have of the German language.2 So set to, without stint - weekly, at the least.

Delighted to hear that life is looking kindly on you, notwithstanding the rather green climate of your humanities, and that that strange quadruped with the inverted humps is keeping up his serenity. That animal has always inspired in me a certain anxiety, which is that the very quietistic life that he leads might drive him one of these days to throw himself, like the Biblical swine, into the sea. That would be a matter for regret. You might perhaps do well to engage him on this subject. Explain to him that ennui is the most bearable of all ills, being the commonest, and thatit is better to be down in the dumps than to have a bellyful of lobsters. If at first he looks unwilling to let himself be persuaded, all you have to do is to get hold of him by his weak side, that is his vanity (for every horse is exceedingly vain), by making out to him that the curve of his spine would have made Botticelli's mouth water, and that it would be a great pity, nay it would be criminal, if he deprived the Howthians of such a triumph of sinuousness. 3 And if, by way of conclusion, you say to him: 'What matter whether you are good, / Be beautiful and be sad', that will be, make no doubt ofit, the end ofhis resistance. He will give in. He will condescend to be beautiful. It is even possible that his sadness, absorbed into the awareness of his dorsal rhapsody, which thanks to you he has just acquired, will vanish altogether. But since sadness always adds to beauty, since it is the eternal, invariable element of what Baudelaire calls the 'divine cake', in my view at least, I would prefer our horse to remain faithful to the pouting, melancholic attitudes that I have always known him to have.4 However all that may be, and on re-reading what I have just, with such difficulty, put into words, I note that I do not give a tuppenny damn for the horse, his destiny, his inverted humps, or the aesthetes of Howth. Let him drown if he wants to. May he have a slow death, with the most frightful pains, in his field, on his back, with his four legs up in the air. I have no further interest in him whatsoever. No more of him.

Cissie tells me that that you are on to Bach. Poor wretch!

You, I mean, not Bach, who never was that. I have had to put up with a huge composition by him, humorously entitled: Suite for Orchestra, conducted by the ignoble Furtwangler, who, it appears, has had the better part of his nudity covered with interwoven swastikas. 5 He has the charming modesty ofletting himself be led by his brass-players, who blow as only beer-drinkers can, while making with his little left hand very daring gestures towards his first violins, who fortunately paid not the least attention to them, and swinging the soft fleshiness of his posterior as if he longed to go the lavatory. Hardly had I recovered from this assault when he had the impertinence to launch into Schumann's Fourth Symphony, which is less like a symphony than like an overture begun by Lehar, completed by Goering, and revised by Johnny Doyle (if not his dog), and which is not really worth thinking about, let alone launching into.6 Needless to say that the murderous Furtwangler, with the connivance of his damned souls, was victorious, ifmassacring a score that has certainly never been alive can count as a victory. To make nothing out of nothing, and take three-quarters of an hour over it, now there is an achievement! Then finally he was able to go to the lavatory. But instead of staying there for the rest of his life, he came back, followed by his assistant executioners, in order to tear into tatters, in front of us, Beethoven's 7th. Mr Furtwangler, like the good Nazi he is, cannot tolerate mysteries, and it was rather like a fried egg, or, ifyou prefer, like a foot put in it, that he presented this music. He played the last movement like the most elegant of Standchen. He had a rapturous reception. Not only did he button up that poor symphony to the point of strangulation, but he took the liberty of giving it a colourful buttonhole. And with what, in God's name? A Wurstchen.7

Three times a week I give myselfover to probing the depths with my psychiatrist, which has already, I think, done me some good, in the sense that I can keep a little calmer, and that the panic attacks in the night are less frequent and less acute. But the treatment will necessarily be long, and I may have months more of it yet. I am not complaining, I regard myself as very fortunate to have been able to embark on it, it is the only thing that interests me at the moment, and that is how it should be, for these sorts of things require one to attend to them to the exclusion of virtually anything else.8 As a result, I have not the leisure, even ifI had the desire, to do anything whatever in the way ofliterature. And perhaps that too is as it should be. I've already done far too much, little and yet too much, never having had any idea about anything. Apart from the gropings that I've spoken of, and a great number of moments spent standing in front ofpictures, I stay at home, where I am quite comfortable, draped in an armchair in front ofmy radiator, passing the time until I can go to bed, which is an operation I can carry out a little more confidently than a month ago. And that is all. A phase like any other.

Regards, fond regards to the family. Get them to write, I would like a letter from Boss, and write yourself.



1 SB's cousin Morris Sinclair was known in the family as "Sunny," although SB often used "Sonny," alluding to "Sonne" (sun).

2 Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm (see 23 March 1929, n. 2). Morris Sinclair observed, "the Grimm brothers [ ... J collected many of their folk tales from an old woman who lived in a hamlet just south of Kassel" (Morris Sinclair, 28 November 1993).

3 In his letter to SB. Morris Sinclair had described this horse in a field on Howth. Botticelli (ne Allesandro di Mariano di Felipepi, c. 1444-1510).

4 "Madrigal triste," a poem by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), opens with the lines: "Que m'importe que tu sois sage? / Sois belle! et sois triste!" ("What does it matter to me that you are wise?/ Be lovely - and be sad!") (Charles Baudelaire, Oeuvres completes, I, ed. Claude Pichois and Jean Ziegler, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris:

Gallimard, 1975-1976] 137-138; Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, The Flowers ofEvil, tr. Richard Howard [Boston: David R. Godine, 1982] 170-171).

SB also refers to Baudelaire's prose poem, "Le Gateau," in which a shared piece of bread becomes "gateau" to two brothers who fight over it, until it disappears (Baudelaire, Le Spleen de Paris in Oeuvres completes, I. 297-299).

5 On 22 January 1934, Wilhelm Furtwangler (1886-1954) conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at Queen's Hall. London: the concert comprised Bach's Suite for Orchestra no. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067, Schumann's Symphony no. 4 in D minor, op. 120, and Beethoven's Symphony no. 7 in A major, op. 92.

SB alludes to Furtwangler's decision to remain in Germany and to his continuing dealings with the Nazi regime (for full discussion of the latter: Hans-Hubert Schonzeler, Furtwangler [London: Gerald Duckworth, 1990] 48-90).

Hakenkreuze (swastikas).

6 Schumann's Symphony no. 4 was recorded by Furtwangler with the Berlin Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon, LPE 17 170). Franz Lehar (1870-1948), Hungarian-born Viennese composer and conductor, was best known for his operettas, especially The Meny Widow, and his military marches.

Hermann Goering (1893-1946), President of the Reichstag (1932) and later Commander of the Luftwaffe.

SB's reference to Johnny Doyle is not certain and may be generic. He may refer to

J.C. Doyle (n.d.), a vocalist famous for his renditions oflrish songs ("Well-Known Dublin Singer," Irish Times 10 November 1930: 4); or, asMorris Sinclair has suggested, he may refer toJ.M. Doyle, a postman in the Baily postal district (Howth, Co.Dublin) where the Sinclairs lived when they returned from Germany to Dublin (Morris Sinclair, 5 November 1994).

7 "Standchen" (serenade),"Wiirstchen" (sausage).

8 SB had recently begun psychotherapy with Wilfred Ruprecht Bion• (1897-1979). Although SB consistently uses the term "analysis," as Lois Oppenheim has observed, Bion was not yet qualified as a psychoanalyst (Lois Oppenheim, "A Preoccupation with Object-Representation: the Beckett-Rion Case Revisited," International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 82.4 [2001] 768).



48 Paulton's Sq.

[London] S.W. 3

Dear Nuala1

It's a great handicap to me in all my anabases and stases that I can't express myself in a straightforward manner, and that I cannot behave in a way that has the most tenuous propriety of relationship to circumstance. A great handicap. I regret it very much, more than I can ever hope to be able to tell. But there it is. One is not what one is not. Not for doing, I find in my Dante, but for not doing, is Virgil in Limbo, though honoured above the deadbom that are there, and above the throngs of men and women who exercised all the virtues at top pressure save only the theological group with which they were not familiar that are there also, with a roving commission as far as the purgatorial Eden, where he withdraws and the ladies take over.2 Well I might do worse than find myself as it were polarised between Democritus and Heraclitus for all eternity, in a place where sighing is out of melancholy and not out of torment. I would be familiar with the position. There seems to be contradiction inherent in the idea of Democritus doing anything so romantic, and indeed of Heraclitus doing anything so restrained, as sighing, but one must not mind that.3 There is really nothing that one should mind, or if there is I should be interested to know what for example. Perhaps Curtis would know.4 I have asked Percy and found his divulgations always somehow unsatisfactory.5 Perhaps the author ofthe Coloured Dorne would know, he might look it up for me in his Saint Teresa; or perhaps Mr R. B. Barry would know, he might find it in one of the Inns of Court, the Middle Temple Library say, which possesses some curious works on witchcraft; or if none of those know, perhaps the petrified asp at the junction of d'Olier, College, Pearse and Townsend Streets, if I have not forgotten my Dublin, might be persuaded to pronounce on the question, or the wild waves of the outfall at the Pigeon House, or even the noble etron which on the night ofmy departure I remarked in College Green and which is still there no doubt.6 But if none of these or cognate authoritie[s] know, or knowing decline to tell, then I must just stay as I am, and console myselfas best I can with the thought that I have been saved the trouble of moving. For the essence of all anabasis, I mean of all anabasis of good quality, is to be sought in its purity from destination and hence from schedule. That follows on most naturally, does it not, from what I have been saying, while from it again in its turn, if indeed the word turn has any sense in the context, I mean from this delicious conception of movement as gress, pure and mere gress, one arrives like a bird to its nest, though nest scarcely seems to be the right word in such a passage, at an elucidation of the crime immotive that never occurred and never could to Gide or to any ofhis kidney, or indeed to any person within earshot of the ringing grooves save only to myself, who I assure you could not be induced to part with it for love or money or any other incitement whatever, on account ofits inestimable antiphlogistic properties that exceed anything of the kind I ever tried, and I have tried everything, from cold water to reduce blushing to Guinness as an anterotic.7

I did not call on you after all, the weather made it impossible. Also I would like to correct now while I think of it an error that occurred I seem to remember in my last letter to you, where I spoke of changing for Harley Street and the Zoological Gardens.8 Of course one does not change, one alights. Alight for Monkey Hill, alight for the Wild Asses House, Small Rodents House, Small Cats House, Fellows Tea Pavilion, for the Adders, the Brush Turkies [for Turkeys], the Prairie Dogs and Waders, alight for the Gnus Paddock, the Goat Hills, the Gazellez [for GazellesJ Sheds and the Racoons [for Raccoons] Cages, for the Swine, the Lemurs, the Civets and the Birds of Prey, alight for Karin Stephen, Melanie Klein, Creighton Miller [for Crichton-Miller] and Burt White, alight to them that sprawl in darkness and in the shadow of - resurrection.9 Or go on to Hampstead and have a drink at the Spaniards, and look at your brother the fly, oh the Spanish fly, moving out of darkness into light, et sqq. Where do the cantharides go in the winter time? Amn't I after telling you, some go to Hampstead and the rest do like the swallows do, rush into a coagulum and drown themselves in a dewpond. Mass suicide, Percy knows all about it. 10 Hence we arrive at the couplet that deserves the Croix de Guerre, or perhaps better the Dunmow Flitch:

Light and sweetness, sweetness and light, Obliterate gloom, engender delight.11

Yes, I wrote two little poems, one after a brief interview with the Author of the Strange Necessity (positively surprising my dear), and the other after profound and prolonged communion with the strange (not to be believed my dear) flora and fauna of my sunken garden, and ut infra respectively they gallop along:

There once was a woman called West Whose distinction it was to be blest

With so unremitting A sense of the fitting

That she seldom, if ever, undressed.

(Until she met Wells, and then I supposed she had to.) 12 This poemetto has been well received in certain quarters. This other, which I now propose to you but only after some hesitation, and in a regular little storm of scraping and bowing and moping and mowing believe me, less well:

Mammon's bottoms,

La Goulue's, mine, a cob's, Whipt, caressed,

My mother's breast. But God's

A goat's, an ass's,

Alien beauty,

The Divine Comedy.13

You don't care for it. I don't care for it much myself. But that it is a poem and not verse, that it is a prayer and not a collect, I have not the slightest doubt, not the slightest.

It is hard to believe what you say ofDublin, that the youth, the talent and harmosity are flown. I bought yesterday a bottle of ink

(Said the elephant to the owl:

Oh what'll you have to drink? Said the elephant to the owl:

Oh what'll you have to drink? Said the elephant to the owl:

Oh what'll you have to drink? "Oh thank you kindly, sir", he said, ''I'll have a bottle of ink.") from a lady ofClonmel extraction and who dared not cook herself up with the vain hope of ever setting foot again in Fishguard.14 But then in the next breath you quote Percy, and indeed the passage was so real to me as I read it that I had to take out my handkerchief. Now I think you will be put to the pin o[f] your collarette to make Percy drinking coffee and saying things like that consist with Dublin bereft. I am thinking that I might well employ these long, sober (Kia-ora and the wildest scenes ofvirtue) evenings in writing a True-born Jackeen on the model of Defoe's True-born Englishman, though ofcourse infinitely more amusing and competent.15 He shall have it then hot from the vinegar.

My velleities of self-diffusion in this stew of LETTERS have been repulsed with the traditional contumely, so now I'm sulking and won't play. The book won't be out for a month at least. Can't get it taken in U.S.A.16 So I read the last word in obscenities in the British Museum, to whose incredible central sanctum I have gained admittance on the strength of an irrepressible anxiety to "consult the lesser know[n] French and Italian texts that are not available elsewhere", and then walk home across the string of Parks beginning with the Horse Guards, shivering and my feet in marmalade, past the celebrated pelicans that really have a most charitable expression and whose inward eye they deign to extravert and bliss of solitude interrupt readily at any time to feed (for who knows when they may have to disembowel themselves at a moment's notice?), and eat the most expensive egg that money can buy, though it is surely a strange thing that a rich man would be in and out of heaven twenty times over while you would be looking for a duck's egg in Old Chelsea, and perhaps this is the moment to mention that I am a Bigendian, not instinctively but by education. Instinctively I am a Smallendian, with the result that when I am tired or my mind clouded these two wretched affinities, the civilised for the large, and the primitive for the small, end ofthe egg, come into conflict and the egg is not eaten.17 No, I think I am all set now to give Liffey's stinking tide a long long miss, and indeed for the moment I have no choice in the matter, but must remain on here as long as this treatment lasts, and God knows how long that will be, probably more months than I like to contemplate. Anyhow I can't stop now, and dare not ifl could, for ifl did the second state of this man ...

So my life is the complete Comedie a tiroirs-vides. 18

My obeisances where obeisances are due, and thee I embrace, as Sordello Virgil, la 've il minor s'appiglia, and if you write me a very nice letter I'll give you the reference. 19

A toi

sf Sam

TLS; 2 leaves, 4 sides; Costello.

1 Nuala Costello• (1907-1984) began postgraduate study at the Sorbonne in 1929; in Paris, she met Lucia Joyce, and, through Giorgio and Helen Joyce, met SB (Patrick

O'Dwyer, "Letters from Paris," The Great Tuam Annual [1991] 73, 75). Of her, SB had written to McGreevy: "I met a Miss Costello (where is the accent?) once met chez Giorgio's flitch, when Shem was there and Colum and all the galere, affiancee then but now disponible, and she frightened me back into my ame des glaces. Who is she?" (7 September [1933], TCD, MS 10402/54). "Galere" (crew); "affiancee" (SB's conflation of "affianced" and "fiancee"); "disponible" (available); "ame des glaces" (soul of ice).

Helen Fleischman (nee Kastor, 1894-1963) married Giorgio Joyce in December 1930; Padraic Colum (1881-1972), Irish-American writer and critic.

2 In Dante's Inferno, Virgil is among the honored in Limbo, the first Circle of Hell, because as a pagan he could not ascend to Paradise. Virgil is allowed to lead Dante on his journey through the Circles ofHell and through Purgatory; when he withdraws, he says to Dante: '"per ch' io te sovra te corona e mitrio"' ("therefore over thyself! crown and mitre thee") (Dante, La Divina Commedia, Purgatorio, Canto XXVII, line 142; Dante, The Divine Comedy, II, Purgatorio, tr. Sinclair, 357).

Dante is led farther by the fair lady culling flowers, Matilda, and by Beatrice; these two lead him into Paradise. In keeping with his statement that "I can't express myselfin a straightforward manner," SB refers directly not to the locus classicus in which Limbo is depicted, Inferno Canto N, but to Virgil's account of himself delivered to Sordello in Purgatorio Canto VII, line 25: "'Non per far, ma per non fare"' ("Not for doing, but for not doing") (Dante, La Divina Commedia; Dante, The Divine Comedy, II, Purgatorio, tr. Sinclair, 95).

3 SB wrote "Democritus <sighing>doing."

In Inferno N, lines 136-138, the pre-Socratic philosophers Democritus (c.460-c.370 BC) and Heraclitus are presented. Democritus is reputed to have laughed at human folly, and Heraclitus is reputed to have wept at it; SB imagines himself "polarized between" the two extremes. SB cites from Purgatorio VII, lines 29-30: "ove i lamenti / non suonan come guai, ma son sospiri" (where the laments have no sound ofwailing but are sighs) (Dante, La Divina Commedia; Dante.The Divine Comedy, II, Purgatorio, tr. Sinclair, 95, 97).

4 Edmund Curtis, Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin from 1914 to 1943, was author ofThe Normans in Lower Italy (1912), A History ofMediaeval Ireland from 1110 to 1513 (1923), and, at that time, was writing A History of Ireland (1936).

5 SB may have asked this question in conversation.

6 Francis Stuart• (ne Henry Francis Montgomery Stuart, 1902-2000), Australianborn Irish writer, author of The Coloured Dome (1932) and Women and God (1931). Stuart was influenced by his reading of Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism (1912) and studied the lives of the saints. The "most important of all, to him, [was] St. Therese of Lisieux," according to his biographer Geoffrey Elborn: "Stuart speculated that ifSt. Therese 'had not been a nun what a lover she would have made.' This interpretation formed part of the foundation for Stuart's belief that the search for fulfilment through women was part of the same longing for a passionate relationship with God" (Geoffrey Elborn, Francis Stuart: A Life [Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1990] 73-74).

Ralph Brereton-Barry (1899-1943) graduated from Trinity College Dublin and was called to the Irish Bar in 1922, and to the English Bar (Gray's Inn) in 1933. As a member of one of the four Inns of Court, he would have had access to the library ofthe Middle Temple, whose Rare and Antiquarian historical collections include some books and tracts on witchcraft; however, there is no current collection as such (Stuart Adams, Library, Middle Temple, London, 1 April 2005).

Thejunction ofD'Olier, College, Pearse, and Townsend streets is on the west side ofTCD. Pigeon House: 25 January 1931, n. 6.

Etron (turd).

7 "Gress" (movement; a noun derived from "gressus," supine ofLat. verb "gradior, gradi, gressus" [to walk, to step]).

Crime immotive (unmotivated crime). Andre Gide's novel, Les Caves du Vatican (1914; The Caves of the Vatican), explores an "acte gratuit" (a gratuitous act) which takes the form ofa crime.

SB quotes from the poem "Locksley Hall" by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892): "Forward, forward let us range, / Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change" (Tennyson: A Selected Edition, Incorporating the Trinity College Manuscripts, ed. Christopher Ricks [Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1989] 192).

Guinness stout.

8 SB's previous letter to Nuala Costello has not been found. Harley Street, London Wl, has a concentration ofphysicians' consulting rooms; it is off Marylebone Road, near Regent's Park station at the southeast side of Regent's Park; the Zoological Gardens, off Prince Albert Road, near Primrose Hill, were on the northeast side of Regent's Park.

9 Within SB's list ofanimal houses in Regent's Park Zoo, he includes practitioners whose rooms might be found in the vicinity of nearby Harley Street: psychiatrist Karin Costelloe Stephen (1889-1953); psychoanalysts Melanie Klein (1882-1960) and Hugh Crichton-Miller (1877-1959); and surgeon and gynaecologist Harold J. Burt-White (1901-1952) who was much in the news on account ofreckless driving and a divorce case.

10 The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath (see 8 October 1932, n. 5).

An aphrodisiac, "Spanish fly," also known as cantharides. The dried bodies ofthe Lytta vesicatoria (also Cantharis vesicatoria) beetle, or blister beetle, are a natural inflammatory agent. Most cantharides pass the winter as coarctate larvae.

Et sqq. (Lat., and the following [abbreviation for et sequentes]).

In conversation with SB, Arland Ussher may have observed a similarity between the mass deaths of beetles and swallows, or this may be SB's invention. There was a contemporary occasion for such comparison, for in 1931, swallows died in massive numbers when their migration patterns were severely disrupted by storms in the Alps (see The Times 5, 7, 25, and 28 September 1931).

11 The Dunmow Flitch award was given to the "Happiest Couple." The expression "eating Dunmow bacon" was used of happily married couples, who had lived long together and never quarreled. It alludes to the custom begun in 1104: "Any person going to Dunmow, in Essex, and humbly kneeling on two sharp stones at the church door, might claim a flitch ofbacon ifhe could swear that for 12 months and a day he had never had a household brawl or wished himselfunmarried" (Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, rev. Adrian Room,16th edn. [New York, HarperResource-HarperCollins, 1999] 373). The Flitch Trials still are held in Little Dunmow before a jury ofsix spinsters and six bachelors.

12 Rebecca West, Strange Necessity (1928). West had an affair in the autumn of1913 with H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells (1866-1946), and a child by him, the writer Anthony West (1914-1987). SB's "interview" with Rebecca West is not documented.

Ut infra (as below).

13 "La Goulue" (greedy woman), the Moulin Rouge performer Louise Weber (1870-1929), whose nickname came from out-drinking anyone in the bar; she and her performing partner,Jacques Renaudin (nicknamed Valentin le Desosse, 1843-1907), were depicted by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) in his poster Moulin Rouge - La Goulue.

14 Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, 30 miles northwest of Waterford. Fishguard, Wales, on the Irish Sea, the ferryport to Rosslare, County Wexford, Ireland.

15 Kia-Ora is an orange fruit drink, originally lemon, created in Australia and marketed in Britain since 1913; "Kia-Ora" (Maori, good health).

Whether SB's proposal of a "TruebornJackeen" was in jest, or, asJohn Pilling asserts, a fictional project using Irish materials later abandoned, James Knowlson indicates that SB did make notes on Irish history for Joyce ('"For Interpolation': Beckett and English Literature," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 12006] 223); Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 638, n. 49; Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD MS 10971/2: Irish History," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 1612006] 126).

Jackeen (Anglo-Irish, a self-assertive, worthless fellow). Defoe's satirical poem was

The True-Born Englishman (1701).

16 More Pricks Than Kicks was published by Chatto and Windus on 24 May 1934, held up while Charles Prentice attempted to find a publisher in the United States. He first contacted the publisher of Joyce at Viking Press, Benjamin W. Huebsch (1876-1964), who declined (Prentice to Huebsch, 23 January 1934 [UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 153/ 175]; Prentice to SB, 23 January 1934 IUoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 153/177]; Huebsch to Prentice, 31 January 1934 [UoR, MS 2444 CW 57/21). Prentice then sent uncorrected proofs to Stanley Marshall Rinehart (1897-1969), who offered to forward them to his publishing partner John Farrar (1896-1974) (Prentice to Rinehart, 1 February 1934; Prentice to Rinehart, 7 February 1934; UoR, MS 2444 CW letterbook 153/307 and 1378). Having had no final word from Rinehart/Farrar, Prentice sent More Pricks Than Kicks to New York publishers, Harrison Smith and Robert Haas (1932-1936), as he wrote to

SB on 4 April 1934:

So, unless we click with Smith & Haas, or unless you would like us to try another Yank, I am rather inclined to think that the manufacture of the book should be put in hand when we hear from Smith & Haas, whatever their decision is. But just as you like. I don't want to hurry you a bit. The object of this letter is simply to find out what your own opinion is. (UoR, MS2444. CW letterbook 155/91)

17 SB's reading in the British Museum: 22 July 1932.

SB describes his walk across London parks from Trafalgar Square in the direction of Chelsea: the Horse Guards' Parade, St. James's Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens. The lake in St.James's Park is a sanctuary for ducks and pelicans.

Marmalade (anything soft, squishy). Reference to Matthew 19:24: "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." SB refers to Jonathan Swift's "A Voyage to Lilliput" in Gulliver's Travels (1726), in which Catholics are caricatured as Big-Endians and Protestants as Small-Endians, according to which end of a boiled egg should be broken first.

18 SB refers to his therapy with Bion. SB may allude to Matthew 12:45 and Luke 11:26, which both write: "the laststate ofthat man is worse than the first." Or he may allude to the second state of man discussed by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) in Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell: Drawnfrom Things Heard and Seen, in which "Our Second State of Man After Death" is one in which "we are given access to the deeper reaches of our minds, or our intentions and thoughts" (tr. George F. Dole, with notes by George F. Dole, Robert H. Kirven, and Jonathan Rose, The New CenturyEdition of the Works ofEmanuel Swedenborg, series ed. Jonathan Rose jWest Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2000] 380).

Comedie a tiroirs-vides (a play with lots of sub-plots, more commonly, a "roman a tiroirs" [a novel with lots of sub-plots]; SB catches up the literal meaning of "tiroirs"

]drawers of a chest] and adds "vides" [empty]).

19 Sordello embraces Virgil twice. With the first embrace, Sordello recognizes Virgil as a fellow Mantuan: "'O Mantovano, io son Sordello / de la tua terra!' e l'un l'altro abbracciava" ("O Mantuan, I am Sordello of thy city." And the one embraced the other) (Dante, La Divina Commedia, Purgatorio, Canto VI, lines 74-75; Dante, The Divine Comedy, II. Purgatorio. tr. Sinclair. 85). With the second, Sordello recognizes Virgil in humility: "la 've 'l minor s'appiglia" (clasping where the inferior does) (Dante, La Divina Commedia, Purgatorio, Canto VII, line 15 ]SB writes"ii" for"'!"]; Dante, The Divine Comedy, II, Purgatorio, tr. Sinclair, 95). SB quotes the reference from Canto VIL



48 Paulson's Square [London]

Cher Ami

Sais rassure. Les peccadilles d'omission n'ont pas d'emprise sur moi. Je veux dire que j'y suis tellement sujet moi-meme que leur manifestation chez autrui ne peut que me chauffer le coeur, chose dont j'ai assez besoin en ce moment. Merci done de ta lettre qui, pour s'etre fait attendre, ne m'a pas mains charme

!'esprit et egaye la solitude, et merci aussi de la coupure, ou je trouve que ce vieux chameau paranoi:aque n'est pas suffisam[m]ent maltraite. Mais c'est tout de meme un commencement --

Tu as de la chance de pouvoirjouer dans un orchestre, quelque moche qu'il puisse etre. C'est une occasion nonpareille pour te familiariser avec les details d'une partition--Je n'ai jamais pu me reconcilier avec la Symphonie Pastorale ou j'ai !'impression que Beethoven a verse tout ce qu'il avait de vulgaire, de facile et d'enfantin (et c'etait beaucoup). pour en finir avec une fois pour toutes.1 Jai entendu un superbe concert donne par le Quatuor Pro Arte, dont j'ai deja parle a Cissie et sur lequel partant je ne reviendrai maintenant pas-- Mais un autre, donne par le Quatuor Busch, qui presente actuellement dans une serie de cinq concerts tous les quatuors pour cordes de Beethoven, vaut la peine qu'on y fasse allusion.2 Le programme se composait de trois quatuors, le premier ("Harfen") de 1809, c'est a dire je crois, entre la Pastorale et la Septieme; le second de 1800; et le troisieme de 1825.3 C'est pour celui-ci que je suis alle et je peux dire que je n'ai ete nullement der;u- - Bien que ce ne soit que l'avant-dernier de ses quatuors il a pour Finale la derniere composition qui soit venue de sa main, un Allegro incomparablement beau. Mais c'est la Cavatina qui precede immediatement cet Allegro qui m'a le plus frappe - mouvement qui en calme finalite et intensite depasse tout ce que j'ai jamais entendu du venerable Ludwig et dont je ne l'aurais pas cru capable - vraiment si tu ne connais pas ce Quatuor deja (B Mol Mineur, op. 130) [for (si bemol majeur, op. 130)]. tu ferais bien de te le procurer.4 Le demier concert de la serie est pour samedi le dixsept, rete de notre infecte Patrice, et je viens de me garantir en quelque degre contre le souvenir de ses cochonneries zoologiques et botaniques en achetant un billet. 11 yaura le dernier Quatuor en F (op. 135) avec le celebre "Schwer Gefasste Entschluss": a II

Muss es sein? Es muss sein ! Es muss sein !5

Puis quelques jours plus tard, le 20 je crois, il ya Jacques Thibaud avec un programme formidable - embrassant la Chaconne de Vitali, le concerto en A du kleiner Wolferl, et une galaxie d'Espagnols.6 Mais meme en commern;:ant deja a faire des economies, je ne sais si je vais pouvoir me le payer. C'est vraiment une tempete de musique a Londres en ce moment, un tel embarras de richesses que si l'on pouvait se les payer tous on aurait de la peine a choisir entre les concerts qui ont lieu le meme jour. Mais voila par exemple une [for un] dilemme qui ne me trouble pas! Helas!

Il n'est pas possible d'exprimer les etranges douceurs que je ressens a l'approche du printemps, et si c'est la une phrase qui invite le ridicule tant pis pour moi. Positivementje ne l'aijamais regarde venir avec tant d'impatience et tant de soulagement. Et j'y pense comme a une victoire emportee sur la nuit, les cauchemars, les sueurs, la panique et la folie, et aux crocus et aux narcisses comme aux gages d'une vie au moins tolerable, deja goutee mais dans un passe si lointain que toute trace, etjusqu'au souvenir, en etait presque perdus. Que les puissances veuillent que je ne m'y trompe pas - la peninsule doit etre radieuse. Et le cheval s'est-il un peu renouvele parmi les Zephyrs? Ne manque pas de me rappeler a son souvenir.

Et le travail, cela avance? Cette anthologie Ruddiesque est en effet comme tu dis, une chose puante, et du reste pleine de pieges. Je te conseille d'etudier cela avec une carte de la France sous la main. Comme cela il y a au moins un interet geographique a en extraire. Autrement c'est une corvee intolerable. D'ailleurs je ne l'ai jamais lu. Fais surtout attention a la region proven(ale (Maurras, etc.), car c'est le pays d'election du noble professeur. Et ce n'est pas la peine de te dire que l'etude des textes qu'on donne a etudier est beaucoup moins importante que celle de celui qui les donne. Autrement dit, mets-toi dans la peau de Ruddy (il y a de la place) et fous-toi plus ou moins de ses anthologies.7

]'ai sur la conscience de ne pas avoir encore repondu a la lettre de ton auguste pere. Mais a mesure que les heures de lumiere [se] developpent et que s'y absorbent celles des tenebres, il se forme dans !'immense creuset de mon esprit les seules combinaisons verbales dignes de lui et de moi par rapport a lui. (Re]conforte-le done, quand par hasard il aurait besoin d'un tel soin, au moyen de cet avant-gout de la chose qui se prepare.

Devant ta magnifique mere, de la part de qui une accusation de reception de la divine lettre que je lui ai recemment adressee est vivement et instamment a souhaiter, je me prosterne et me remplis la bouche avidement de poussiere. Represente-lui cette attitude.

Et a toi, mon cher ami, je souhaite, maintenant et a l'avenir, tout ce qu'il ya de plus bienfaisant et propice dans un monde ou de telles vertus ont l'air de devenir de plus en plus rares.

Affectueusement Sam

ALS; 3 leaves, 3 sides; Sinclair.


48 Paulson's Square [London]

Dear Sunny,

Let me reassure you. Peccadillos ofomission have no hold on me. I mean that I am myself so subject to them that the fact of their appearing in someone else can only warm my heart, something I am rather in need of at the moment. So thank you for your letter, which, for all that it was long in coming, has none the less charmed my mind and enlivened my solitude, and thank you too for the cutting, in which I think that that paranoic old brute is not treated badly enough. But still it is a start.

How lucky you are to be able to play in an orchestra, however third-rate it is. It is a matchless opportunity to get to know the details of a score. I have never made my peace with the Pastoral Symphony into which I have the impression Beethoven poured everything that was vulgar, facile, and childish in him (and that was a great deal), so as to have done with it once and for all. 1 I heard a superb concert by the Pro Arte Quartet that I have already spoken ofto Cissie, and to which I shall therefore not return now. But another one, given by the Busch Quartet, which is at the moment putting on a series of five concerts in which they are performing all of Beethoven's string quartets, is worth a mention.2 The programme was made up of three quartets, the first one ('Harfen') from 1809, that is I think between the Pastoral and the Seventh; the second from 1800; and the third from 1825.3 This is the one that I went to, and I can say that I was in no way disappointed. Although it is only his penultimate quartet it has as its finale the last composition we have from his hand, an incomparably beautiful Allegro. But it is the Cavatina that immediately precedes that Allegro that made the greatest impression on me. A movement which in calm finality and intensity goes beyond anything I have ever heard by the venerable Ludwig, and which I would not have believed him capable of- really, ifyou are not already familiar with this quartet (B Flat minor, op. 130), you would do well to get hold ofit.4 The last concert in the series is on Saturday the 17th, feast of the unspeakable Patrick, and I have just gone some way to protecting myself against the memory of his vulgar zoological and botanical nonsense by buying a ticket. There will be the last Quartet in F (opus 135) with the famous 'Schwer Gefasste Entschluss':


Then a few days later, on the 20th I think, there is Jacques Thibaud with a tremendous programme - including the Vitali Chaconne, the Concerto in A by kleiner Wolfer!, and a galaxy of Spaniards.6 But even starting already to save up for it, I do not know whether I shall be able to afford it. There is a positive


storm of music in London just now, such a wealth of splendid things that even if one could afford them all it would be hard to choose between concerts happening on the same day. Now there is a dilemma that costs me no sleep! Alas!

The strange, gentle pleasures that I feel at the approach of spring are impossible of expression, and if that is a sentence inviting ridicule, so much the worse for me. I have positively never watched it coming with so much impatience and so much relief. And I think of it as a victory over darkness, nightmares, sweats, panic and madness, and of the crocuses and daffodils as the promise of a life at least bearable, once enjoyed but in a past so remote that all trace, even remembrance of it, had been almost lost. May the powers will it that I am not wrong - the peninsula must be radiant. And has the horse revived a little among the Zephyrs? Do remember me to him.

And how is the work going? This Ruddiesque anthology is indeed, as you say, a stinking affair, and moreover full of traps. My advice to you is to study it with a map of France to hand. That way there is at least a geographical interest to be got out of it. Otherwise it is an intolerable chore. Incidentally, I have never read it. Pay particular attention to the Proven�al part (Maurras, etc.), for that is the domain beloved of the noble Professor. And I need hardly tell you that the study of the texts that are being proposed for study is far less important than that of the person proposing them. In other words, put yourself in Ruddy's skin (there is room), and to hell more or less with his anthologies. 7

On my conscience is the fact that I have not replied to your august father's letter. But as the hours oflight grow, and those of darkness are absorbed into them, there are forming in the immense crucible of my mind the only verbal combinations worthy of him, and of me in relation to him. Comfort him, then, if perchance he had need ofsuch care, with this foretaste ofwhat is in preparation.

Before your magnificent mother, from whom an acknowledgement ofthe divine letter which I recently dispatched to her is most urgently and insistently to be wished, I prostrate myself and eagerly fill my mouth with dust. Go through these movements for me.

And to you, my dear friend, I wish, now and for the future, all that is most beneficent and propitious in a world where such virtues seem to be growing more and more scarce.



1 Beethoven's Symphony no. 6 in F major, op. 68 ("Pastoral").

2 The concert given by the Pro Arte Quartet at the BBC Broadcasting House on 16 February 1934 comprised Beethoven's String Quartet no. 14 in C-sharp minor, op. 131; String Quartet no. 4 in C major, op. 91 by Bela Bart6k (1881-1945); and Debussy's String Quartet in G minor, op. 10 ("Music This Week," The Times 12 February 1934: 8). The Busch Quartet played a series of ten concerts at Wigmore Hall between 24 February and 17 March 1934; they actually played the Beethoven string quartets in six concerts (26 February, and 2, 3, 9, 15, and 17 March).

3 On 2 March the Busch Quartet played Beethoven's String Quartet no. 10 in E-flat major, op. 74 ("Harp"); String Quartet no. 3 in D major, op. 18; and String Quartet no. 13 in B-flat major, op. 130. "Harp" was indeed written between Beethoven's Symphony no. 6 and Symphony no. 7 in A major, op. 92.

4 SB speaks ofthe Cavatina and Allegro of String Quartet no. 13 in B-flat major, op.

130. Beethoven originally composed the Grosse Fuge as a finale for this quartet; persuaded that it was too long, he published it separately (Grosse Fuge in B-flat major, op. 133) and composed the Allegro as a second ending (Philip Radcliffe, Beethoven's String Quartets, 2nd edn. !Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978] 135-137).

5 Beethoven's String Quartet no. 16 in F major, op. 135, was performed in the last Busch concert of the series on 17 March 1934, St. Patrick's Day. SB quotes the epigraph

of the final movement as well as its musical motif: "Der schwer gefasste Entschluss/ Muss es sein? Es muss sein! Es muss sein!" (The heart-wrenching decision/ Must it be? It must be! It must be!) Uohn Briggs, The Collector's Beethoven [Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978] 41-42; Radcliffe, Beethoven's String Quartets, 170-174).

6 From 1905 to 1935, French violinist Jacques Thibaud (1880-1953) often performed as a member of a trio with French pianist and conductor Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) and Catalan cellist and composer Pablo Casals (1876-1973).

The program of Thibaud's recital at Wigmore Hall. 20 March 1934, included the

Chaconne in G minor, then attributed to Italian composer Tomaso Battista Vitali (1663-1745); Violin Concerto in A major, K. 219, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791); the Violin Sonata in G major. by Belgian composer Guillaume Lekeu (1870-1894); "Fountain of Arethusa" from Myths. op. 30, no. 1. by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937); the malaguefla "Rumores de la Caleta," from Rernerdos de viaje, op. 71. no. 6, by Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909), arranged for violin by Austrian-born American violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962); "Danse originale," dedicated to Thibaud, by Enrique Granados y Campifla (1867-1916); and the Suite from the lyric drama La vida breve by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946). (For the current attribution of the Chaconne: Wolfgang Reich, "Die Chaconne g-Moll - von Vitali?" Beitrage zur Musikwissenschaft 2 [1965] 149-152.)

Withthe phrase. "kleinerWolferl" (littleWolfie), SB refers toWolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

7 In the 1933-1934 Calendar of Trinity College Dublin, Nouvelle Anthologie des troubadours, ed. Jean Audiau (Paris: Delagrave. 1928), is listed for the Michaelmas examinations, although the editor's name is incorrectly given as Audian (127). Rudmose-Brown was very interested in the Proven�al literary renaissance and was a member of the Societe des Felibriges.

Charles Maurras (1868-1952) was a member of the Ecole romane, founded by Jean Moreas (1856-1910), Ernest Raynaud (1864-1936), Maurice du Plessys (1864-1924), and Raymond de la Tailhede (1867-1938); the group sought a return to the classical tradition in reaction against the Symbolists, the Parnassians, and the Romantics. See also Roger Little, "Beckett's Mentor. Rudmose-Brown: Sketch for a Portrait," Irish

University Review 14 (spring 1984) 34-41.

Morris Sinclair Dublin

SB's errors of German in this letter have not been corrected.


48 Paulton's Square

London S.W. 3

Lieber Sonny

Wer einst Rosen pfliicken will, der soll die Zeit, die ihm auferlegt ist, dann und wann ermuntern. Verzeihe mir also, wenn ich mich benotigt finde, meinen franzosischen Quatsch augenblicklich fallen zu lassen. Zwar aus dieser unentbehrlichen Veranderung wird uns keine Vorteil entstehen, doch vielleicht ein bischen Spass. Vorteil! Was wollen sie eigentlich sagen, unsre [?schweizzige] Moralisten, 1 mit ihrem Schreien von Vorteil! Sie furchten sie so schrecklich vor dem Leben, das wenn sie aus irgendeinem Gegenstand keinen gewissen Gewinn ziehen konnen, so fuhlen sie sich wie geschlagen, wo nicht fast ermordet. Fur diesen Leute werden Spass und Vorteil allmahlich so durchaus unvertraglich, dass alle Handlung nur zum Spass gemacht ihnen wie eine Selbstverstiimmelung scheinen muss. Wenn ich den Glaube hatte, ohne den niemand hassen kann, wiirde ich sicher diesen Gegenstandsauger hassen.2

Ich wiinsche dir allen moglichen Erfolg im Feis. 3 Ich habe lange keine Musik gehort. Ausser Horowitz, der ein Paar Konzerten gibt, und dem Ring, d. h. die Saison, schon in vollem Gange und Klange, hat es nichts gegeben.4 Jedenfalls ist es mir, aus Grunden die mir Gott sei dank unbekannt sind, als ware ich von der Musik ausgeschlossen, und dazu habe ich keinen geringsten Appetit ....

Ich wollt' ich war' noch alter, und runziger und kalter ....

Mit meiner Manie fur alles, das mit der Frage nur die mindeste Beziehung hat, wirst du hoffentlich Nachsicht haben.

Ich habe gem diese Sommerzeit, weil dadurch werden die Finstemis und alle seine schlechte Dinge wenigstens aufgeschoben. Da ich Manichaer bin, in was die Dunkelheit betrifft.5

Hier spreize ich mich, kann und will nicht anders, und habe keine Ahnung, ob Gott mir hilft, oder nicht. Es gibt doch eine fast nie versagende Freude, namlich, das Denken an jenen Millionen, die weniger gliicklich als ich sind, oder sein sollten. Was fur ein Schmaus ist das! Da es aber klar wird, sobald man die

Sache ein bischen iiberlegt, dass zwischen Leiden und Fiihlen gar keine Verhaltnis festzustellen ist, so fangt auch jene Freude an, trtigerisch auszusehen. Wenn ich, zum Beispiel, in der Zeitung Iese, der arme Herr Dings solle morgen friih, ehe ich aus meinem Bette sein werde, hinrichten werden, und mich sofort zu gratulieren beginn, dass ich keine solche Nacht zuzubringen habe, so tausche ich mich, insofern ich zwei Umstande, anstatt zweier Gemiitsbewegungen, vergleiche. Und es ist hochstwahrscheinlich, dass der zum Tode Verurteilte wenigere Angst als ich hat. Wenigstens weiss er genau um was es sich handelt und genau um was er sich zu kiimmern hat, und das ist nun ein grosserer Trost als man im allgemeinen zu glauben ptlegt. So gross, dass viele Kranken Verbrecher werden, nur damit sie ihre Angst begrenzen und jenen Trost bekommen mogen. Jenseit der Spekulation kommt erst der Mensch in sein Eden, in jeden [for ?jenen] Schutzort wo keine Gefahr mehr ist, oder vielmehr eine, die bestimmt ist und die man zum Fokus bringen kann.

Neuerdings habe ich an den Lehrer der englischen Sprache viel gedacht, und mich gefragt, wie es ihm geht. Freilich muss ich mich bei ihm entschuldigen, dass ich seinen sehr vortrefflichen Brief noch nicht beantwortet habe.6 So bitte ich dich, ihm fur mich vorzustellen, diese Versaumung sei mir zum Trotz.7 Kaum nehme ich die Feder in der Hand, um irgendetwas auf englisch zusammenzusetzen, als ich die Empfindung habe, verpersonifiziert zu sein, wenn man einen solchen herrlichen Ausdruck gebrauchen darf.8 Deshalb wtirde alles, was ich damals schreiben konnte, meinem Vorhaben, dessen Wirkung sozusagen momentanisch gelamt ist, am fernsten liegen. So lohnt es sich kaum. Es ist ein fremdes Gefuhl, unwillkiirlich weit von sich zurtickzutreten und sich wie durch ein Schliisselloch zu beobachten. Fremd ja, und zum Briefschreiben iiberhaupt unpassend.

Ich weiss nicht, wann ich nach Hause zuriickgehen konnen werde. Der Aufenthalt in dieser Stadt gefallt mir nur wenig. Ausser den Bildem, die meistenteils, ihres Fensterladenglases wegen, nur tropfenweise in die Augen kommen, gibt es nichts, das man ansehen darf.9 Manchmal verlange ich nach jenen Bergen und Feldem, den ich so gut kenne, und die eine ganz andere Ruhe, als die zu dieser groben, englischen Landschaft gehorende, bilden. Wenn nur Dublin ungewohnt ware, so war' es angenehm, sich irgendwo in seiner Nahe niederzulassen.

Was fur ein Schlusszierat gehort zu diesem Klagelied? Man atmet, also ... ? Oder: Was Hanschen nicht lemt... ? Die Symphonie unvollendet zu lassen, das ist jedenfalls die Hauptsache. Dabei kann alles in Ordnung aussehen.



ALS; 3 leaves, 3 sides; Sinclair.


48 Paulton's Square

London S.W. 3

Dear Sunny,

Whoever wants to pick roses some day should now and then cheer up the time imposed on him. Forgive me therefore when I feel the urge to drop my French nonsense right away. It is true that out of this indispensable change no gain will accrue to us, but perhaps a bit of fun. Gain! What actually do they want to say, our[? Swiss] moralists, with their cries about gain!1 They are so terribly afraid oflife that ifthere is any object from which they can draw no sure profit, they feel beaten, if not nearly murdered. For these people fun and gain slowly become so completely irreconcilable that any action done just for fun must seem to them like self-mutilation. IfI had the faith without which no one can hate, I would surely hate this object-gobbler.2

I wish you every conceivable success in the Feis.3 I have not heard any music for a long time. Besides Horowitz, who is giving a few concerts, and the 'Ring' (i.e. the season) already in full swing and sound, there has been nothing.4 At any rate, it seems to me, for reasons unknown to me thank God, as ifl were cut off from music, and I have not the least bit of appetite for that.

I wish I were even older

And wrinklier and colder....

I hope you will make allowances for my obsession with everything that is even the least bit related to that question.

I am fond of this summertime because darkness and all its bad things are at least being postponed thereby. Since I am a Manichaean as far as darkness is concerned.5

Here I strut about, I cannot and will not do otherwise, and have no idea if God helps me or not. There is after all an almost never-failing joy, namely the thought of those millions who are less fortunate than I, or ought to be. What a feast that is! But as it becomes clear as soon as one reflects a bit on the matter that no relationship between suffering and feeling is to be found, then even that joy begins to look deceptive. If, for example, I read in the paper that poor Mr. So-and-so is to be executed early in the morning, before I get out of bed, and immediately start to congratulate myself that I do not have to spend such a night, I deceive myself in as much as I compare two circumstances instead of two emotions. And it is highly probable that the man condemned to death is less afraid than I. At least he knows exactly what is at stake and exactly what he has to attend to, and that is a greater comfort than one is generally inclined to believe. So great that many sick people become criminals solely in order to limit their fear and gain that comfort. Only beyond speculation does man reach his Eden, that refuge where there is no more danger, or rather one which is determined and which one can bring into focus.

Lately I have thought a good deal about the teacher of the English language and have wondered how he is getting on. Of course, I must apologize to him for not yet having answered his excellent letter.6 So I ask you to get him, on my behalf, to imagine that this omission might be in spite of myself. 7 No sooner do I take up my pen to compose something in English than I get the feeling of being "de-personified", if one may use such a marvellous expression.8 Therefore, everything that I might have written at that time would lie furthest away from my intention, the effect of which would be, so to say, momentarily paralysed. Thus it is hardly worth doing. It is a strange feeling to step back instinctively, well away from oneself, and observe oneself as through a keyhole. Strange, yes, and altogether unsuitable for letter writing.

I do not know when I shall be able to come home. Staying in this town gives me little pleasure. Except for the pictures, which because of their shop-window glass meet the eye for the most part only drop by drop, there is nothing that one is allowed to look at. 9 Sometimes I long for those mountains and fields, which I know so well, and which create a completely different calm from the one associated with this coarse English landscape. If only Dublin were unfamiliar, then it would be pleasant to settle somewhere nearby.

What kind of final embellishment might go with this lamentation? One breathes therefore ... ? Or: What little Johnny does not learn...? To leave the symphony unfinished, that at any rate is the main thing. With that everything can appear to be in order.



1 SB writes "schweizzige" but it is unclear what he meant to signify here: possibly "schweizer" (Swiss) or "schweissige" (sweaty) or even "geschwatzige" (chattering).

2 "Gegenstandsauger" (object-gobbler). possibly a play on the German word "Staubsauger" (vacuum cleaner, literally dust sucker).

3 Morris Sinclair was a violinist and competed in the Feis Ce6il. a Dublin music festival and competition. which began on 8 May 1934.

4 Vladimir Horowitz played three concerts in London during the following week: a charity concert at Queen's Hall on 8 May. a BBC concert at Queen's Hall on 9 May. and a recital at Queen"s Hall on 28 May 1934.

Two complete cycles ofWagner's opera festival Der Ring des Nibelungen (Das Rheingold, Die Walkiire, Siegfried, Gotterddmmerung) were performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from 1 to 18 May 1934. On 2 May, the third act of Die Walkiire was broadcast over the London Regional radio station.

5 As it stands, SB's statement of identification with Manichaeism is a grammatical and logical fragment.

6 SB refers to Morris Sinclair's father Boss Sinclair who gave English lessons in Kassel (Morris Sinclair, 1 May 2003; Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 153).

7 SB's German construction would have been correct had he used the word "erkla ren" (explain). By using "vorstellen" instead, he merges the two constructions possible with that verb and thereby the two meanings ("introduce" and "imagine"), with the result that neither form is used correctly. Considering the contents and tone of the letter, we have settled on "imagine."

8 SB is playing with German, as it were undoing the word "personifiziert" (person ified) with "verpersonifiziert" (de-personified).

9 In German, use of the expression "tropfenweise" with reference to painting is as startling as "drop by drop" is in English.

Nuala Costello Dublin

10/5 [1934] 48 Paulton's Sq.

[London] S.W. 3


You seem to be having a wunnerful time, with your new nastorquemada nyles.1 This is very deep. I am reading Amelia.2 I saw Man ofAran and felt I am afraid irretrievably glued to the seat. Very smart no doubt as far as it goes, sea, rocks, air and granite gobs very fine, but a sensationalisation ofAran wouldn't you be inclined to say, as Synge's embroidery a sentimentalisation. Also I felt the trues of montage and photography, very keenly, very keenly indeed. The boy fishing is pure Harold Lloyd. The tempest au ralenti is Eve's Revue. Komrade King caulking his curragh was very nice. The odd glimpse of the Pins also.3 Very depressing film, caricature of what we all do, struggling to ensure our dying every second, except that we acquire our 27 foot sharks in a less amusing manner. But so much mere nature all at once, is it not very dumpling. I was forgetting the rock flowers, they were a relief, like a preterite in Corneille at last. And no poteen?4 Surely a little poteen would not have been inessential. Didn't the wild waves make a strange noise, not specially marine I thought. There are better waves in Epstein's Finis Terrae.5 Smaller and better. In fact the whole thing was very Hugo, Hugo at his most Asti.Not Lautreamont, Lautreaval. Pauvres Gens oxygenated.6 I now find that the only possible development ofthis denigration is in indecency. And I scarcely know you well enough for that. But haven't I been very amusing. Ochone ochone I seem to have been most amusing.7 No doubt it[']s good exercise.

How can you [? be] so little equitable, when I obviously suffer from the acutest paraesthesia to all that is said and written to and ofme. When I hear a small boy giggle two liberties off I redden to the rotten roots ofmy white hair. The slightest unkindly cut is a dagger stuck in my heart, another dagger. So please never say anything to me that you know I couldn't care to hear. "Bloody cheek" was an awful thing to have said to me, a positive dumdum.

As I cannot give you the glittering account ofmy health that we all would wish, so I shall content myself with remarking, that the various eviscerations characteristic of my distemper are at the very top of their form. Can you imagine a quarry in ebullition. I have now ceased to wish to amuse you. Forgive me. Now whereas this interesting neolithic effervescence had hitherto been so forgiving as to confine itself roughly to my centre of inertia & environs, it has lately begun to embrace me without fear or favour from sinciput to planta. It takes my mind off my corns, no small favour I assure you. No ordinary somersault will take place one of these days, something tells me in the late autumn, ifsuch generosity ofrecul is any indication, and I am given to understand that it is an index of a prime order.

"And Autumn LIFE for him did choose

A season damp/dank with mists and rain, And took him, as the ev[e]ning dews Were settling o'er the fields again."

Pardon our emotion. Unseasonable with Commonwealth day so nigh.8

Was the blurb in the Observer sufficiently imbecile? Is it necessary to say that I have never read either Leprechaun or Telegraphie

Sans Egal, that my More Pricks are as free from Joycean portmanteaux as from allusion, and that I NEVER contract, can't do it my dear, I only bid.9 The major influences are Grock, Dante, Chaucer, Bernard de Mandeville and Uccello.10 Publication on Commonwealth Day fills my mind with a thousand tender fancies.

I postcarded you that I was sending Tom McGreevy's poems just released, with the fond hope that you would do the best you could for them. ls this an age of aesthetic integrity? I think not.

I have not yet sent them, but shall, to-day or to-morrow, which is also a day. Heap abuse on hardhearted Hanna when he has not got hundreds ofcopies in his window. Ceci me tient, je ne dis pas au coeur, organe qui n'offre plus de prise, mais enfin a une andouille quelconque.11

Are you connected, how remotely soever, with The Maid Of The Cyprus Isle, Miss Louisa Stuart Costello?12

I hear Percy has withdrawn definitively to Cappagh.13 But I have no doubt I am misinformed.

If you haven't read Green's Adrienne Mesurat, my advice to you is, don't. I paid a flying visit to The Country Boneyard. Never do this.

Up he went & in he passed

& down he came with such endeavour As he shall rue until at last

He rematriculate for ever. 14

I grow gnomic. It is the last phase.

Beautiful Greetings s/Sam

TLS; 1 leaf. 2 sides; Costello. Dating: from the publication of More Pricks Than Kicks,

24 May 1934.

1 "Nastorquemada nyles" has not been identified with certainty. The segment "Torquemada" may refer either to the Inquisitor General of the Spanish Holy Office, Tomas de Torquemada (1420-1498), or to the deviser of the cryptic crossword in The Observer from 1926 to 1939, Edward Powys Mathers (pseud. Torquemada, 1892-1939).

2 Henry Fielding, Amelia (1751).

3 American filmmaker Robert Flaherty (1884-1951) directed the documentary film Man ofAran (1934), which was shot on location in the Aran Islands, west of Galway Bay. Depicting a struggle of man against nature, the film was reviewed by Ivor Montagu as having turned "reality to romance" ("Romance and Reality," New Statesman and Nation 128 April 1934] 638). SB compares Flaherty to John Millington Synge (1871-1909), who lived among the Aran islanders for periods from 1898 to 1902; this is reflected in his play Riders to the Sea (1904) and recorded in his observations in Aran Islands (1907).

Flaherty used montage. SB compares the routines of the boy, played by Mickleen Dillane, to silent film comedian Harold Lloyd (1893-1971).

Trues (tricks); the "truca" used footage from two cameras to create special effects (Roger Boussinot, ed., L'Encylopedie du cinema !Paris; Bordas, 1967] 1437-1438; Maurice Bessy andJean-Louis Chardans. Dictionnaire du cinema et de la television, IV !Paris: Pauvert, 1971] 431-446). "Au ralenti" (in slow motion).

A blacksmith named Coleman "Tiger" King (n.d.) played Komrade King in Man ofAran.

The Twelve Pins, the mountain range northeast of Galway Bay.

4 The preterite is rarely used in Corneille's plays. "Poteen" (Irish, illicitly distilled whiskey).

5 French filmmakerJean Epstein (1897-1953) directed Finis terrae (1929), the first of his cycle of films made on the coast of Brittany.

6 SB refers to Asti Spumante. an Italian sparkling wine.

Victor Hugo's Les Pauvres gens (ThePoor People), collected in La Legende des siecles (1859). Comte de Lautreamont (ne Isidore Ducasse, 1846-1870), author of Les Chants de Maldoror (1868). SB plays with the last two syllables of Lautreamont's name: "amont"

(upstream) is replaced with its opposite, "aval" (downstream): "Lautreaval."

7 "Ochone" (an Irish exclamation of lament, heard in keening).

8 "From sinciput to planta" (frontal part of the skull to the sole of the foot). "Recul" (withdrawal or retreat).

SB quotes Synge's poem "Epitaph," but he substitutes "LIFE," for "Death" and "damp/dank" for "dank" U-M. Synge, Collected Works, I, Poems, ed. Robin Skelton

!London: Oxford University Press, 1962] 31).

In 1934 the Labour Party proposed that Empire Day should be renamed "Commonwealth Day" (The Times 28 April 1934: 14); More Pricks Than Kicks was to be published on that day, 24 May 1932. Commonwealth Day is now celebrated on the second Monday inMarch.

9 The advance notice about More Pricks Than Kicks in TheObserver read:

One of the few English books onMarcel Proust was the work ofMr. Samuel Beckett. Mr. Beckett now reveals himself as a writer of short stories. They are not conventional stories. The same young Dubliner appears in each of them. Together they form an epitome of his life. Imagine Mr. T. S. Eliot influenced by "The Crock of Gold," and not unmindful ofMr.Joyce's vocabulary, and you will have a notion of Mr. Beckett. Events in "More Pricks than Kicks," due on the 24th from Chatto, are ordinary; their narration is oblique. Mr. Beckett's mixture of mock heroic and low comedy surprises. When you expect him to expand, he contracts. The Dubliner in hospital is a triumph. Elsewhere, minor brilliancies abound. Mr. Beckett is allusive, and a future editor may have to provide notes. (Anon., "Books and Authors," 6 May 1934: 6)

SB refers to the story of the leprechauns of Gort na Cloca in TheCrock of Gold byJames Stephens and spins T. S. E. (Eliot's initials) into "Telegraphie Sans Egal" (telegraphy without equal) playing on "Telegraphie Sans Fil" (wireless), commonly referred to in France as TSF.

Playing on the notion of "contract" in the announcement, SB uses it in the sense found in the game of bridge.

10 Greek, the Swiss clown, see 9 October 1933, n. 10; for his influence: Pilling,

A Companion to "Dream ofFair to Middling Women," 33. Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1342/1343-1400).

Bernard de Mandeville (1670-1733) was a Dutch doctor and pamphleteer who settled in London after being implicated in a popular uprising in Rotterdam; his Fable of the Bees, or: Private Vices, Publick Benefits (1714) was influential on eighteenthcentury social philosophy.

The Florentine painter, Uccello.

11 Thomas McGreevy, Poems (1934). a



SB plays on the name ofDublin bookseller Fred Hanna, 29 Nassau Street, by reference to a popular song, "Hard-Hearted Hannah ... the vamp of Savannah," composed by Charles Bates, Robert Bigelow, and Jack Yellin (New York: Ager, Yellen and Bornstein, 1924/1950).

Ceci me tient, je ne dis pas au coeur, organe qui n'offre plus de prise, mais enfin une andouille quelconque. (Titls is close, I shall not say to my heart, an organ that no longer offers grip, but to some entrail or other.)

12 Irish-born miniature painter, poet, and novelist Louisa Stuart Costello (1799-1870) lived in Paris; her first poems were published as The Maid of the Cyprus Isle (1815).

13 Arland Ussher had moved from Dublin to the family home, Cappagh, Co. Waterford.

14 French-American writer Julien Green (1900-1998) wrote Adrienne Mesurat (1927; The Closed Garden).

In this title, SB alludes to "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray (1716-1771). The lines of verse are SB's own.



48 Paulton's, not Portland,

Square, [London] S.W. 3 right enough.

Cher ami

Vas-y et que toutes les putains de !'Olympe nous soient favorables. Shatupon & Windup t'enverront probablement te promener Rue des Batards sans nombre de Ponsieur Doumerde.1 Au besoin je peux te gratifier des epreuves, non pas en placards Dieu soit loue mais en pages, oui positivement en pages, et dont je me reservais le plaisir de me torcher les levres auxilia[i]res au plus triste de cet hiver de fecontent que j'entends venir avec un boucan de petard et de mats sous la tempete, plaisir auquel je veux bien renoncer aux interets de l'ars longa, et d'autant plus facilement que j'ai Zarathustra sous la main.2 Love & Lethe se traduit Mort Plus Precieuse.3

A toi

sf Sam Beckett

TIS; 1 leaf, 1 side; pencil signature; TxU.

23/6/34 48 Paulton's, not Portland,

Square, [London] S.W. 3 right enough.

Dear George,

Off you go, and may all the whores on Olympus look favourably on us. Shatupon & Windup will probably throw you out, down the Street of the Bastards (unnumbered) of Pister Doomerd.1 I can if necessary favour you with proofs, not in galleys God be praised but in pages, yes positively pages, which I had set aside for the pleasure ofwiping my secondary lips with at the darkest moment ofthis winter offecontent that I can hear coming with a terrible din ofbanger and masts before the storm, a pleasure which I am happy to renounce in the interests ofars longa, especially as I have Zarathustra to hand.2 Love & Lethe should be translated as Mort plus precieuse.3


Sam Beckett

1 Chatto and Windus had actively sought an American publisher for More Pricks Than Kicks prior to publication on 24 May 1934, and they responded to a request to represent the German rights on 12June 1934 (Chatto and Windus to Mrs. G.M. Griffiths, London; UoR. MS 2444 CW letterbook 156/479). That SB had proofs to offer makes it likely that Reavey had asked to be allowed to represent the stories to French or American publishers; even with SB's permission. Reavey would need to clear this with Chatto and Windus. John Pilling asserts that Reavey offered to publish SB's poems on a self-paying basis (A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 48). However, Chatto and Windus had already refused the poems, so there would be no question of Reavey needing their permission.

Ponsieur Doumerde is SB's corruption of Monsieur (Gaston] Doumergue (1863-1937), twelfth President of the Republic of France (1924-1931), retired but recalled to act as Premier Ministre during the Serge Alexandre Stavisky scandal (February through November 1934).

2 "Cet hiver de fecontent" alludes to Richard of Gloucester's opening line in Shakespeare's Richard III (I.i.1): "Now is the winter of our discontent"; SB conflates "recond" (fecund, fruitful) with "discontent."

Ars longa (art is long). The phrase, though used by Latin writers, is a translation of the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC), speaking of medical practice: "Life is short, the Art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult" (Hippocrates, "Aphorisms" in Hippocrates, Heraclitus, ed. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and

W. H. D. Rouse, tr. W. H. S. Jones, The Loeb Classical Library, IV [London: William Heinemann; New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1931] 99).

Zarathustra (in Greek, Zoroaster, n.d.), legendary teacher of ancient Persia. warned of corruption and the impending destruction of the world; Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) fictionalized him as a returning visionary in Also sprach Zarathustra (1883-1885; Thus Spoke Zarathustra).

3 "Mort Plus Precieuse" (Death More Precious).


In SB's story "Love and Lethe," the suicide pact between Belacqua and Ruby Tough ends in passion, a tum that SB marked with a line from a "Sonnet for Helene, LXXVII" by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585): "Car !'Amour et la Mort n'est qu'une mesme chose" (For Love and Death are but one thing) (Ronsard, Le Second Livre des sonnets pour Helene, LXXVII, in Oeuvres completes, I, ed. Jean Ceard, Daniel Menager, and Michel Simonin, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade (Paris: Gallimard, 1993] 423; "Love and Lethe" in More Pricks

Than Kicks [New York: Grove Press, 1972] 100).


[after 13 July - before 2 August 1934] 48 Paulton's Square

(London] S W 3

Cher Arni

Ravi de te savoir rer;:u, et si eminemment(.] 1 L'avenir t'appartient, a condition que tu ne prenne [for prennes] jamais au serieux ce que je te dis. Car je suis comedien.

Ne crois pas que le ballet soit de la musique. C'est precisement parce que la musique y joue un role subordonne que le ballet m'irrite.2 Car la musique serieuse ne peut pas servir.

Representer une musique d'une maniere particuliere, par [for au] moyen de danse, gestes, decors, costumes, etc., c'est la degrader, en en reduisant la valeur a une simple anecdote. 11 ya des gens qui ne savent se satisfaire que visuellement. Quant a moi, et pour mon malheur sans doute, je ne peux partir que les paupieres fermees.

Content de savoir que Boss ne m'en veut pas. Mais je le savais d'avance.3

Jus est une jolie expression. �a graisse le siege de la vie, organe dontje n'aijamais pu determiner la position.

Je suppose que tu vas t'installer dans Trinity. Pense-tu etudier le droit? Fai;:on de gagner la vie evidemment. Sonst ... 4

Malgre ce que je t'ai ecrit touchant l'impossibilite de travailler, je viens de me livrer a des efforts d'enrage pour ecrire ce que personne ne veut entendre.5 N'est-ce pas qu'on a des idees insensees, rien mains que des aberrations [sic].

Le soirje me promene pendant des heures, dans I'espoir de me faire un sommeil d'epuise. Et avec d'autant plus de satisfaction que le mouvement tout seul constitue une espece d'anesthesie.

La douce lumiere d'un Velasquez dans ma chambre ce matin.6 Mais dans l'apres midi ce sera un four. Tout a toi, et, encore une fois felicitations.


ALS; 2 leaves, 2 sides; Sinclair. Dating: examination results were not yet announced when SB wrote to Morris Sinclair on 13 July 1934, for he asks "Is Sizarship result out yet?" SB left London on 2 August, and he wrote to McGreevy on 3 August from Cooldrinagh (TCD, MS 10402/59).

[after 13 July- before 2 August 1934] 48 Paulton's Square

[London] S W 3

Dear Sunny,

Delighted that you have got it, and so splendidly.1 The future belongs to you, provided that you never take seriously what I tell you. For I am a player.

Do not believe that ballet is music. It is precisely because music has a subordinate part in it that ballet annoys me.2 For serious music cannot be ofuse. To represent a piece ofmusic in a particular way, by means of dancing, gestures, settings, costumes, etc., is to degrade it by reducing its value to mere anecdote. There are people who cannot achieve satisfaction unless they can see. As for me, to my misfortune no doubt, I cannot go off unless my eyes are closed.

Glad to hear that Boss bears me no ill-will. But that I knew beforehand.3

Juice is a pretty expression. It lubricates the seat of life, an organ whose exact position I have never been able to determine. I suppose that you are going to take rooms in Trinity. Do you think you will read Law? A way of making a living obviously.

Sonst ... 4

In spite ofwhat I wrote to you concerning the impossibility of working, I have just been making the most outlandish efforts to write what nobody wants to hear.5 We do have mad ideas,

don't we, nothing short of aberrations.

In the evenings I walk for hours, in the hope of tiring myself out in order to sleep. And enjoying it all the more since motion itself is a kind of anaesthesia.

A soft Velazquez light in my room this morning. But in the afternoon it will be an oven.

Ever and all yours, and, again, congratulations.


1 Morris Sinclair was awarded the Sizarship in 1934; he is identified in the 1934-1935 Calendar as a Rising Junior Freshman Sizar. Sizarships awarded by Trinity College Dublin are scholarships that exempt students from tuition and commons fees, based upon the results of a competitive examination; sizarships are tenable for four years.

2 On 13 July 1934, SB had written to Morris Sinclair: "Also saw a few ballets, among which de Falla's Tricorne, with Picasso decor & costumes. You would have loved it." Le Tricome (1919; The Three-cornered Hat), with set and costumes by Picasso and choreogra phy by Leonide Massine (ne Leonid Fyodorovich Myasin, 1896-1979), and with Massine in his original role as the Miller. The ballet was in repertory at Covent Garden Theatre beginning on 19 June 1934, with a performance that night and on 13 July 1934.

3 The publication of "The Smeraldina's Billet Doux" in More Pricks Than Kicks upset Peggy Sinclair's parents Cissie and Boss Sinclair (see Knowlson, Damned to Fame, 176-177).

4 Sinclair did not take up the study of law. "Sonst" (otherwise).

5 SB had written to Morris Sinclair on 13 July 1934: "I can't do any work, no more than a man can pick his snout and thread a needle at the same time. So I've nearly given up trying" (Sinclair).

Thomas Mcgreevy London

Tuesday [7 August 1934]

Beckett & Medcalf, Quantity Surveyors Frank E. Beckett. B.A.I. 6, Clare Street,


My dear Tom

Your letter this morning. Somehow things at home seem to be simpler, I seem to have grown indifferent to the atmosphere of coffee-stall emotions [...] But people's feelings don't seem to matter, one is nice ad lib. to all & sundry, offender & offended, with a basso profundo ofprivacy that never deserts one. It is only now that I begin to realize what the analysis has done for me.

[...] And now I am obliged to accept the whole panic as psychoneurotic - which leaves me in a hurry to get back & get on. Had a long walk with Geoffrey Sunday to Enniskerry & got soaked.1 He likes you very much & hopes to be writing to you soon.


I suppose it is always gratifying to know that one is missed. I seem to be sailing dangerously near Gide's BANAL. All that you see fit to Hester. Beef on the Tiles is cowardly composition, like all the painting & writing in this place.2 The terror of outline. I have it myself, but at least I know that I have.

I hear some creature called Kirwan (if that is how he spells it) has been abusing me right, left & centre all over London, but with particular emphasis in the Cafe Royal. A translator. I never heard of him.3

I saw Yeats's two latest- Resurrection & the King of the Ould Clock Tower at the Abbey Saturday. The ancient Hemolater at play. Balbus building his wall would be more dramatic. And the Valois rolling her uterine areas with conviction. And Dolan chanting what Yeats, greatly daring, can compose in the way of blasphemy, making the Christ controvert the Plato.4

A/fhe difference between the cities: Dublin consumes one's impatience, London one's patience. Which is the worse incendie?5 With no Npers, and all the journalists creeping about miserably, or filing mountains of copy that will never become public, Dublin is at her humanest.6

I think what you find cold in Milton I find final, for himself at least, conflagrations of conviction cooled down to a finality of literary emission. With Laurence [for Lawrence] it is the conflagration transmitted telle quelle, which could never mean anything, even if the conflagration were a less tedious kindling of damp to begin with.7 But I know that very often what I like to call the signs ofenthusiasm you call the wreck of enthusiasm.

The Bookman writes, postponing all articles on Gide, Rimbaud & kindred dangers, in favour of one on the wicked Censorship in Ireland. By all means. I tried to get the Criminal Law Amendment Act, but it has not yet been issued in the form of a bill, or even taken shape as such according to Eason's expert.8

Love ever. Write soon Sam

Frank & Geoffrey send salutations.

ALS; 2 leaves, 4 sides; letterhead, A date by SB; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, 15 Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, London S. W. 3; pm 8-8-34, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/60. Dating: pm 8 August 1934 was a Wednesday, and so the previous Tuesday was 7 August 1934.

1 Arthur Geoffrey Thompson• (known as Geoffrey, 1905-1976) was a pupil with SB at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Ulster, and later at Trinity College Dublin where he qualified in Medicine in 1928. From 1930 he was a Physician at Baggot Street Hospital in Dublin, and then in 1934 he went to London to study psychoanalysis.

2 In his essay "De !'influence en litterature," Andre Gide wrote: "Un grand homme n'a qu'un souci: devenir le plus humain possible, - disons mieux: DEVENIR BANAL" ("A great man has only one care: to become as human as possible, - I would rather say: TO BECOME BANAL") (Andre Gide, Oeuvres completes d'Andre Gide, III, ed. Louis Martin-Chauffier [Paris: Nouvelle Revue Fran�aise, 1933[ 262; in HJagopJ J. Nersoyan, Andre Gide: The Theism of an Atheist [Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1969] 193).

Hester Dowden, with whom McGreevy stayed in London.

SB's reference to Beefon the Tiles in the context of Irish painting and writing is not clear, although his mention ofan outline suggests Jean Cocteau's scenario LeBoeufsur le toit ou The Nothing Doing Bar (1920; The Ox on the Roo_n for the ballet composed by Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) as Le Boeufsur le toit, op. 58.

3 Patrick Kirwan (n.d.), a friend of Rupert Grayson, translator, and author ofBlack Exchange (1934), published by Grayson and Grayson. The Cafe Royal, 68 Regent Street, London.

4 The Abbey Theatre production of The Resurrection and The King of the Great Clock Tower by W. B. Yeats opened on 30 July 1934. The "ancient Hemolater" refers to Christ; astonished characters, who have been discussing the Resurrection, observe of the ghostly figure of Christ in the play: "the heart of a phantom is beating" (W. B. Yeats, The Collected Plays ofW. B. Yeats, 2nd edn. [New York: Macmillan and Co.,

1952] 372; see also Holloway.Joseph Holloway's Irish Theatre, II 1932-1937, ed. Hogan and O'Neill, 35).

The historical Lucius Cornelius Balbus (first century BC), a Phoenician who became a Roman consul and member ofthe first triumvirate, was a chiefofengineers. In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.Joyce describes a drawing on the door ofa water closet "ofa bearded man in a Roman dress with a brick in each hand and underneath was the name of the drawing: Balbus was building a wall" Uoyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a

Man, 43-44); this sentence was a common example in Latin textbooks (Mary Colum,

Life and the Dream [Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1947] 357).

Irish-born dancer, teacher, and choreographer Ninette de Valois (neeEdris Stannus, 1898-2001), who had been a soloist with the Ballets Russes (1923-1926) of Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872-1929), was Principal of the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet. Yeats dedicated The King of the Great Qock Tower to her ("Asking pardon for covering her expressive face with a mask"); she performed the role ofthe Queen who dances with the severed head ofthe Stroller (The Collected Plays ofW. B. Yeats, 397, 400).

Actor and Manager of the Abbey Theatre Michael J. Dolan (1884-1954) played the role ofMusician in The Resurrection. At the close ofthe play, the Musican sings, "Odour of blood when Christ was slain/ Made all Platonic tolerance vain/ And vain all Doric discipline" (The Collected Plays of W. B. Yeats, 373).

5 SB wrote "A" over "The" and joined them with a bracket. "Incendie" (fire).

6 A newspaper strike began in Dublin on 26 July and ended on 29 September 1934 (The Times 27 July 1934: 16; The Times 29 September 1934: 12).

7 SB compares John Milton (1608-1674) and D. H. Lawrence. "Telle quelle" Uust as it is).

8 The Bookman (London, 1891-1934).

Although the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which sought to protect young girls and suppress brothels and prostitution, was introduced in the Dail Eireann on 21 June 1934, it was not enacted until 28 February 1935. The proposed Act did not affect the censorship laws except to close a "loophole in the Censorship of Publications Act (1929), which outlawed the advertisement ofcontraceptives while not legally proscribing their importation or sale" Games M. Smith, "The Politics ofSexual Knowledge: The Origins oflreland's Containment Culture and 'The Carrigan Report' (1931)." Journal of the History of Sexuality 13.2 [April 2004] 213).

Eason and Sons, bookseller, manufacturing stationer, and publisher. 70 and 80-82

Middle Abbey Street, Dublin.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbe R T,co- Kerry

34 Gertrude Street

[London] S.W. 10

My dear Tom

Glad to hear from you & that all is well. My kindest respects to your Mother & sister. I hope you have the quiet time & rest that I know you are in need of & that your botherations will leave you quite alone.1[...] Glad to hear Higgins hasn't got his prop ofsong in pickle for me, the Olympic mistletoe one doesn't mind.2

I think I like this place, Mrs Frost (nee Queeney from dear old Athlone among the bushes) & Mr Frost, retired chauffeur & maid to some of the extinct nobility, know all about pipes of port & China tea, Fred Frost Jr. dentist's mechanic & person of incredible handiness about a house, installing baths & closets without the least aid or assistance, has just fixed up a reading lamp for me with which I can visit the remotest comers of the room, & Queeney Frost, the midinette complete with weak eyes that I had given up all hope of.3 A larval piano in front drawing room with the first note of Jeune Fille Aux Cheveux alas in abeyance.4 Mrs F. is a kind of mother on draught, you pull the pull & she appears with tea, Sanatogen, hot water to stupe a stye, every variety ofabstract succour & a heavy sane willing presence altogether.5 I am made free of the kitchen regions, which is better than a million golden gas-rings, & my collapses into an atmosphere of home-made jam & the Weekly Telegraph are encouraged without being solicited. A plaster for panic at all times, if it's only Mr F.'s snoring next door in the small hours or the young married couple upstairs (waiter at the Cadogan & maid to one of the somnolent furies at the Hans Crescent) waking up for a quick one.6 Big big room with plenty ofspace to pace the masterpieces up & down & linoleum like Braque seen from a great distance. Rent same as at P.S., extras haply very much less.7 I take nearly all my meals downstairs in the kitchen & she didn't flinch when I produced my Lapsang in favour of her Lipton's. For the moment at least all is well.

I got your letter this afternoon when I called round to 15. I looked in on Thursday for a tune but found the Steinway comme un pretre mis en morceaux & a man with a green baize cache-sexe-a-peine combing the wreck for moths. It was reassembled this morning but N. wouldn't hear ofit being touched till the tuner came on Mon.8 I protested there would be no harm trying but she swelled & perspired visibly on the right side of the threshold & I went off to the gallery in a pet. However I had already collected books & coat.

I rang up Bookman with my larynx quivering with sneers & girds, but Ross Williamson the Younger poured such ecstasies down the wire that I couldn't place one. The article on the Censorship had doubled him up with Hodder & Stoughton satisfactions, his brother was at that very moment en train de baver la-dessus (meaning that they were very doubtful about its propriety), they were living in the hope ofluring (who has been getting at them?) me out to Hammersmith, Norah Maguinness [for McGuinness] was on the verge of return, goodbye.9 Since when no proofs bad cess to them & no invite thank God. Then I went to see Goldsmith. La gueule rose et grave a en mourir. He had no news ofthe verges, i.e. bad news, so I didn't apply for particulars. Richard was back at the gears en route for the Loire.10 I said that when a man had got into the habit, as I would have seemed to, of estimating his life in terms of apprehending (the eyes closed at this first sign ofdanger & the wary wobble of the jowls) & the motive for living as the impulse to understand perhaps a little improvement on self-justification in the sphere of welfareworking, the only calamity was suspension of the faculty or, worse still, the need, to apprehend & understand. He stood up:

Some people apprehend too much, goodbye, know there's no good asking you for dinner, lunch some day, goodbye.

The covey seemed nice after the rest from him & we got going again. I had an appointment yesterday, but had to put him off on account ofmy eye which has been rather bad but which is all right to-day more or less, thanks to stuping, eye-shade & optrex.11 Also one of the more endearing derivatives ofimpetigo on my lip, where there is quite a little colony oferectile tissue as I discovered during my holiday. I have hopes ofanalysis going a bit faster now. IfI could get it over by Xmas I'd be crowned.

What a reliefthe Mont Ste. Victoire after all the anthropomorphised landscape - van Goyen, Avercamp, the Ruysdaels, Hobbema, even Claude, Wilson & Crome Yellow Esq., or paranthropomorphised by Watteau so that the Debarquement seems an illustration of "poursuivre ta pente pourvu qu'elle soit en montant", or hyperanthropomorphized by Rubens - Tellus in record travail, or castrated by Corot; after all the landscape "promoted" to the emotions of the hiker, postulated as concerned with the hiker (what an impertinence, worse than Aesop & the animals), alive the way a lap or a fist (Rosa) is alive. 12 Cezanne seems to have been the first to see landscape & state it as material of a strictly peculiar order, incommensurable with all human expressions whatsoever. Atomistic landscape with no velleities of vitalism, landscape with personality a la rigueur, but personality in its own terms, not in Pelman's, landscapality.13 Ruysdael's [for Ruisdael's] Entrance to the Forest - there is no entrance anymore nor any commerce with the forest, its dimensions are its secret & it has no communications to make.14 Cezanne leaves landscape maison d'alienes & a better understanding ofthe term "natural" for idiot.15

So the problem (as it would seem to preoccupy perhaps the least stultified of the younger Dublin decorators, viz.

McGonigail [forMacGonigal]) of how to state the emotion of Ruysdael in terms of post-impressionist painting must disappear as a problem as soon as it is realised that the Ruysdael emotion is no longer authentic & Cuyp's cows as irrelevant as Salomon's urinator in Merrion Square except as a contrivance to stress the discrepancy between that which cannot stay still for its phases & that which can. I felt that discrepancy acutely this last time in Dublin, myself as exhausted of meaning by the mountains, my sadness at being chained to the oar of my fidgets.16 And the Impressionists darting about & whining that the scene wouldn't rest easy! How far Cezanne had moved from the snapshot puerilities of Manet & Cie when he could understand the dynamic intrusion to be himself & so landscape to be something by definition unapproachably alien, unintelligible arrangement of atoms, not so much as ruffled by the kind attentions of the Reliability Joneses.17

Could there be any more ludicrous rationalisation of the itch to animise than the etat d'ame balls, banquets & parties.

Or - after Xerxes beating the sea, the Lexicographer kicking the stone & the Penman under the bed during the thunder - any irritation more mievre than that of Sade at the impossibilite d'outrager la nature. A. E.'s Gully would have thrilled him.18

Perhaps it is the one bright spot in a mechanistic age - the deanthropomorphizations of the artist. Even the portrait beginning to be dehumanised as the individual feels himself more & more hermetic & alone & his neighbour a coagulum as alien as a protoplast or God, incapable of loving or hating anyone but himself or of being loved or hated by anyone but himself.

God love thee & forgive the degueulade.19 Ever

sf Sam

The Folies Bergeres [for Bergere] was looking unspeakable but the Umbrellas lovely.20

TLS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; A env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Limerick, Irish Free State;

pm 10-9-34, London; TCD, MS 10402/63.

1 McGreevy is in Tarbert with his mother and one of his sisters. McGreevy had deferred his holiday due to work in London; he was also worried about his mother's and his own health (McGreevy to his mother, 29 August 1934 and 23 September 1934, TCD, MS 10381/70 and /71).

2 Irish critic and poet Frederick Robert Higgins (1896-1941) advocated that Irish poets write from folk materials. In his "Recent Irish Poetry," published in The Bookman under the pseudonym of Andrew Belis, SB admired the "good smell of dung" in Higgins's poetry but placed him among the "antiquarians"; in this essay SB quoted the poem that Higgins addresses "To my blackthorn stick": "'And here, as in green days you were the perch, /You're now the prop of song"' (The Bookman 86. 515 [August 19341 235-236); F. R. Higgins, Arable Holdings: Poems [Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1933] 7-8).

SB's essay had "raised a stonn" in Dublin: according to a letter from Denis Devlin to McGreevy: "It appears Yeats was furious: it appears that Austin Clarke [...J will pursue Sam to his grave; it appears Seamas [for Seumas! O'Sullivan thought he might have been mentioned at least"; while Higgins was "glad 'he got off so lightly'" (31 August 1934, TCD, MS 8112/5).

3 SB had just moved from Paultons Square to 34 Gertrude Street, Chelsea, two blocks north of the World's End pub on King's Road. Mrs. Frost was from Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland.

Pipes of port refers to a measure for 550 litres of port; "midinette" (shopgirl).

4 A "larval" piano is one with woodworm in the sounding board (Edward Beckett). The first note of Debussy's "Jeune Fille aux cheveux de Jin" is D-flat.

5 Sanatogen was the trade name of glycerophosphated casein, a protein supplement advertised as a nerve tonic to increase appetite and red blood corpuscles if taken daily.

6 The Weekly Telegraph (1862-1951), a Saturday newspaper with national circulation produced by The Sheffield Telegraph, with offices in London and Sheffield.

The Cadogan Hotel. 75 Sloane Street. London SWl; The Hans Crescent Hotel and Service Flats, 1 Hans Crescent, Belgravia, London SWl.

7 Georges Braque (1882-1963), French fauvist/cubist painter. P[aultonsj S[quarej.

8 15 Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, home of Mrs. Hester Dowden. N. is Mrs. Neighbour (n.d.), her housekeeper (Edmund Bentley, Far Horizon: A Biography of Hester Dowden, Medium and Psychic Investigator [London: Rider and Company. 1951144).

Comme un pretre mis en morceaux (like a priest torn to pieces); "cache-sexe-.ipeine" (a string that couldn't even be called G).

9 In response to the request ofBookman, as SB reported to McGreevy, "I ground out miserably 1800 words on Censorship for Bookman, which they will surely reject" (28 [for 27j August 1934, TCD, MS 10402/62).

The Editor of The Bookman from 1930 to spring 1934 was Hugh Ross Williamson (1901-1978); he was succeeded by his younger brother Reginald Pole Ross Williamson (1907-1966). The journal was in financial difficulty, so the publishers Hodder and Stoughton decided to halt publication; although the Williamson brothers then tried to buy the journal, the final issue of The Bookman was that of December 1934.

"En train de baver la-dessus" (slobbering over it). Reginald Ross Williamson lived in Hammersmith.

Irish-born painter, book illustrator, and designer Norah McGuinness (1901-1980) had studied in Paris and lived in London at this time.

10 Goldsmith has not been identified.

"La gueule rose et grave a en mourir" (all pink faced and desperately solemn). "Verges" (penises, i.e. pricks [More Pricks Than Kicks]).

Richard Aldington had spent June through early September in Austria recovering from an automobile accident, and now was driving to France.

11 "Covey," SB's usual nickname for W.R. Bion, is a variant on the slang "cove" (bloke).

Optrex was a commercial eye drop.

12 SB's reference to Mont. Sainte-Victoire by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) is to La Montagne Sainte-Victoire au Grand Pin (Venturi 454) from the collection of Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947); it was on loan to the National Gallery, London, from March 1934 and would have been on public display through that year Uacqueline Mccomish, The National Gallery, 26 April 1994).

Dutch artistsJan van Goyen (1596-1656), Hendrik Avercamp (1585-1634), Salomon van Ruysdael (c. 1600-1670), Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709); French artist Claude (le) Lorrain (ne Claude Gelee or Gellee, c.1604-1682); Welshpainter RichardWilson (c. 1713-1782) SB may refer to English artist John Crome (1768-1821) as "Crome Yellow Esq."

The landscape by Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), Pelerinage ii l'ile de Cythere (1717; known as Embarkation for the Island of Cythera, Louvre 8525); since 1961 it has been suggested that the theme of the painting is actually departure from the island of Cythera (Michael Levey, "The Real Theme of Watteau's Embarkation for Cythera," Burlington Magazine 103.698 [May 1961] 180-185; Margaret Morgan Grasselli and Pierre Rosenberg, Watteau, 1684-1721 [Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1984] 399-401). "Poursuivre ta pente pourvu qu'elle soit en montant" (follow your incline so long as

it is uphill), possibly from Andre Gide, Les Faux-Monnayeurs: "11 est bon de suivre sa pente, pourvu que ce soit en montant" (It's a good thing to follow one's inclination, provided it leads upward) (Romans: redts et soties, oeuvres lytiques, ed. Yvonne Davet and Jean-Jacques Thierry. Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1958) 1215; The Counteefeiters, tr. Dorothy Bussy [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927) 327).

SB characterizes the landcapes ofRubens in terms of Tellus, the Roman goddess of nature, in "travail" (labor). French realist painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875). In the fables attributed to Aesop (629-560 BC). animals have human attributes. Italian baroque painter, Salvator Rosa (1615-1673).

13 "A la rigueur" Uust about, perhaps).

W. J. Ennever (1869-1947) founded the Pelman Institute for the Scientific Development of Mind, Memory, and Personality in 1989 in London; Pelmanism was a memory theory based on association which was applied specifically to language learning; the method was widely advertised as a means to develop the mind's latent powers.

14 SB refers to a painting, not by Salomon van Ruysdael but by Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/1629-1682), Entrance to the Forest (National Gallery, London. 2563). Although identified as such in the National Gallery Illustrations: Continental Schools (excluding Italian) ([London: Printed for the Trustees. 19371 326), the attribution to Jacob van Ruisdael is now considered dubious; the painting appears as Ford in a Wood near a Church in Seymour Slive,Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue ofHis Paintings, Drawings and Etchings (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) 638.

15 "Maison d'alienes" (lunatic asylum).

16 Irish landscape painter Maurice J. MacGonigal (1900-1979). Dutch landscape painter Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691). The Halt (1667, NG! 507) by Salomon van Ruysdael includes a figure urinating against a wall on the far right side of the painting.

The National Gallery of Ireland is on Merrion Square.

17 "Manet & Cie" refers to Edouard Manet (1832-1883) and his fellow impressionists. SB substitutes "Reliability" for "Capability" and conflates the name ofEnglish land- scape architect Capability Brown (ne Lancelot Brown, 1716-1783) with that ofEnglish architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652).

18 "Etat d'ame" (mood).

Xerxes the Great (519-465 BC), King of Persia from 486 to 465 BC, built a bridge across the Strymon and two bridges of ships across the Hellespont; when these were destroyed by a storm, he had the sea whipped.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) refuted Bishop Berkeley's argument "to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal" by "striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone" Games Boswell, Boswell's Life of]ohnson, Together with Boswell's Journal ofa Tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary ofa Journey into North Wales, ed. George Birkbeck Hill, rev. and enlarged L. F. Powell, I, The Life {1709-1765} [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934] 471).

The "Penman" James Joyce feared thunderstorms: "The thunderstorm as a vehicle of divine power and wrath moved Joyce's imagination so profoundly that to the end of his life he trembled at the sound" (Ellmann,Jamesjoyce, 25).

Mievre (childishly vapid).

The Marquis de Sade (ne Donatien-Alphonse-Fran�ois, Comte de Sade, 1740-1814), wrote, for example, in La Nouvelle Justine ou, Les Malheurs de la vertu (1797): "l'impossibilite d'outrager la nature est, selon moi, le plus grand supplice de l'homme" (the impossibility of an outrage against nature is, for me, man's greatest torment) (Marquis de Sade, Oeuvres completes du Marquis de Sade, VI, ed. Annie Le Brun and Jean-Jacques Pauvert [Paris: Pauvert, 1987] 281).

AE's Seascape: The Gully (Municipal Gallery ofModern Art, now the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, no. 243) shows two female figures upon a rock, surrounded by the rush and eddy ofthe surf.

19 "Degueulade" (long puke).

20 Manet's Un Bar aux Folies-Bergere was on exhibit at the National Gallery from the collection of Samuel Courtauld from 1 March 1934. The painting had been in such poor condition that, when shown in the Manet Exhibition in Paris (1932), it was placed in a specially designed box that controlled conditions; after two years ofrestoration by Kennedy North, it was lent to the National Gallery (Frank Rutter, "Manet's 'Bar aux Folies-Bergere,"' Apollo 19.113 [May 19341 244-247).

Les Parap!uies (The Umbrellas; National Gallery 3268) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was part of the Hugh Lane bequest to the National Gallery that was disputed because of an unwitnessed codicil that altered his bequest to the National Gallery of London in favor of the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert,co. Kerry

Sunday [16 September 1934)

34 Gertrude Street

London S.W. 10

My dear Tom

Glad you had such a pleasant time at Dunquin & that your Mother is happy. I feel your holiday has been a great success so far & may it end with the beam in your mind that will make such a difference to you.1

Geoffrey is crossing Friday next & I am seeing him Saturday morning. Unfortunately he is only staying the week-end. But he will be telling you his plans himself. It seems on the cards that you will cross together -- 2

I am all right, belting along with the covey with great freedom of indecency & conviction. No work for myself -

I do not see any possibility of relationship, friendly or unfriendly, with the unintelligible, and what I feel in Cezanne is precisely the absence of a rapport that was all right for Rosa or Ruysdael for whom the animising mode was valid, but would have been false for him, because he had the sense of his incommensurability not only with life of such a different order as landscape but even with life of his own order, even with the life - one feels looking at the self-portrait in the Tate, not the Cezanne chauve but with the big hat - operative in himself.3 I can understand the humility in terms of "there but for the grace of G." or "there but for the disgrace ofthis old bastard", humility before the doomed & the assumed, but before the panoplies of blankness ... comprends pas. No doubt I exaggerate the improbability of turning into landscape one very fine day, is that why the Ghirlandaio Dafne means so much to me?" But from one's own ragbag of dissociations to the pantheistic monism of the Metamorphoses is a saut too perilleux altogether.5 Alas that Stendhal's thesis that the world had lost its energy when it substituted the devoir de discretion for the folie pour rien should be so true now: "La vie d'un homme etait une suite de hasards. Maintenant la civilisation a chasse le hasard, plus d'imprevu."6

I must think of Rousseau as a champion of the right to be alone and as an authentically tragic figure in so far as he was denied enjoyment ofthe right, not only by a society that considered solitude as a vice (il n'y a que le mechant qui soit seul) but by the infantile aspect, afraid of the dark, of his own constitution. And he knew it himself, that he would always fall for a show of tenderness as being more like the genuine uterine article than the face ofeven the Ile de St. Pierre: "Mon plus grand malheur fut toujours de ne pouvoir resister aux 'caresses'".7 Ifhe had known how to trim his sails between the two positions he would have suffered less. And why not whimper under the bougie?8 I haven't read the Contrat, but I suppose [J!!i� at least is an attempt to resolve the dichotomy or make the passage between its terms less of a gauntlet & more ofa right-of-way.9 But always the back ground of promeneur solitaire, micturating without fear or favour in a decor that does not demand to be entertained, & I think the freedom ample enough to allow of that would not object to Diderot's unbuttoning himself in a select public. A society that can be induced to put up with the "douceur du desoeuvrement" will put up with anything.10

Herewith divil the much better than nothing. Shall send a quid to-morrow or next day to await you chez Geoffrey.11

Love ever Sam -

Haven't yet been round to see Hester.12

ALS; 2 leaves. 4 sides; PS, upper left top margin ofside 1, written perpendicularly to the page; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq., Tarbert, Limerick, Irish Free State; pm 16-9-34, London; TCD, MS 10402/64. Dating: pm; 16 September 1934 was Sunday.

1 Dunquin, Co. Kerry, is a cliff-top village overlooking the Blasket Islands, near the Dingle Peninsula.

2 McGreevy returned to London from Dublin by 22 September (McGreevy to his mother, 23 September 1934, TCD, MS 10381/71). Geoffrey Thompson.

3 SB refers to a Portrait ofCezanne (1879-1882, Venturi 366, in the collection ofLord Ivor Spencer Churchill), on loan to the Tate Gallery from February 1934 to February 1935 Oane Ruddell, Tate Gallery Archive, 23 March 1994). Cezanne's Self-Portrait with Olive Wallpaper (sometimes called Cezanne chauve, 1880-1881, Venturi 365) was acquired by the Tate in 1926 through the Courtauld Fund, but is now in the National Gallery, London (NGL 4135).

4 SB wrote "<his>in terms of." "Comprends pas" ([!] don't understand).

Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio (c.1448-1494) did no painting of Daphne. SB may be referring to Apollo and Daphne (1470-1480, NGL 928), painted by Antonio Pollaiuolo (c.1432-1498), which depicts the dynamics ofthe chase just as Apollo has seized Daphne, whose arms have turned to tree branches so that she cannot be carried off by him. "Dafne" is the Italian spelling of"Daphne."

5 The Metamorphoses ofOvid (ne Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BC -AD ?17). "Pantheistic monism" is a term used by Baruch Spinoza (also Benedict de Spinoza, 1632-1677).

"Saut" (leap); "perilleux" (dangerous); SB separates the constituents of "saut peril leux" (acrobat's leap).

6 Before he seduces Mathilde (Mlle. de la Mole),Julienconsiders: "Son premier devoir etait la discretion" (His first duty was to be discreet) (Stendhal, Le Rouge et le noir: chronique du XIXe siecle [Paris; Llbrairie Gamier Freres, 1925; rpt. 1928] 360; Red and Black, ed. and tr. Robert M.Adams, Norton Critical Editions [NewYork:W.W. Norton & Co., 1969] 290). In the margin of his edition ofLe Rouge et lenoir, SBnoted: "Beyle's [']Folie pourrien· ... isme" ([Paris: Librairie Gamier Freres, 1925] 360; see also Pilling, ed., Beckett's Dream Notebook, 127-130; with appreciation to Mark Nixon). "Folie pour rien" (madness for its own sake). "La vie d'un homme etait une suite de hasards. Maintenant la civilisation a chasse le hasard, plus d'imprevu" ("The life of a man was one continual train of dangers. Nowadays civilization ... [has] eliminated danger, and the unexpected never happens")

(Le Rouge et le noir [1928] 329; Red and Black, 265-266). SB adds the underscore of"etait."

7 SB cites Denis Diderot's Le Fils nature! (1757), where Constance says, "]'en appelle a votre coeur, interrogez-le, et ii vous dira que l'homme de bien est dans la societe, et

qu'il n'y a que le mechant qui soit seul" (I appeal to your heart; that oracle will answer, "The virtuous man reveres society; [only] the wicked ... avoids it") (Le Fils nature! et les Entretiens sur "Le Fils nature!," ed. Jean-Pol Caput [Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1970] 82; D()111a!, or the Test of Virtue: A Comedy, tr. unattributed [London: privately printed, 1767[ 47).

In the fifth promenade of Les Reveries du promeneur solitaire (1782; The Reveries of the Solitary Walker), Rousseau wrote of his visit to the island of St.-Pierre in Lac de Bienne, north of Neuchatel, Switzerland, where he took a walking tour from 12 September to 25 October 1765.

In Confessions, Book 8, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: "Mon plus grand malheur fut toujours de ne pouvoir resister aux caresses" (It has always been my greatest misfortune not to be able to resist flattery) Gean-Jacques Rousseau, Oeuvres completes, I, ed. Bernard Gagnebin and Marcel Raymond, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1959] 371; Confessions. tr. Angela Scholar [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000] 362). SB adds the single quotation marks around "caresses."

8 SB refers to the "bougie" or catheter with which Rousseau was treated to relieve the painful effects of intermittent urine retention. The treatment itself was far from painless.

9 Rousseau's Du Contrat sodal, ou Prindpes du droit politique (1762; The Soda! Contract or Prindples ofPolitical Right) and his novel Emile ou de !'education (1762; Emile or On Education).

SB wrote "<reconcile the>resolve." He wrote " <it possible for a man to>the passage."

10 Rousseau's meditations, Les Reveries du promeneur solitaire.

"Douceur du desoeuvrement" (sweet pleasures of idleness).

11 "Divil" (Ir. colloq., devil, e.g. "divil the bit" [nothing at all]). SB enclosed a "quid" with his letter of 18 September [1934] to McGreevy, "Chez Geoffrey" (at Geoffrey Thompson's home), 36 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin (TCD, MS 10402/65).

12 Hester Dowden.


[1 November 1934)


In the magic the Homer dusk past the red spire of sanctuary I null and she royal hulk hasten to the violet lamp to the thin K'in music ofthe bawd.

She stands before me in the bright stall sustaining the jade splinters the scarred signaculum of purity quiet the eyes the eyes black till the plagal east shall resolve the long night phrase.

Then as a scroll, folded, and the glory of her dissolution enlarged in me, Habbakuk, mard of all sinners.

Schopenhauer is dead and the bawd puts her lute away.


The lips of her desire are grey and parted like a silk loop threatening a slight wanton wound.

She preys wearily on sensitive wild things proud to be torn by the grave crouch of her beauty. But she will die and her snare tendered so patiently to my vigilant sorrow will break and hang in a pitiful crescent.

ECHO'S B0NES3 asylum under my tread all this day their muffled revels as the flesh breaks breaking without fear or favour wind the gantelope of sense and nonsense run taken by the worms for what they are


Exeo in a spasm tired of my darling's red sputum from the Portobello Private Nursing Home its secret things and toil to the crest ofthe surge ofthe steep perilous bridge and lapse down blankly under the scream of the hoarding into a black west throttled with clouds.

Above the mansions the algum-trees the mountains my head sullenly clot of anger skewered aloft strangled in the cang of the wind bites like a dog against its chastisement.

I trundle along rapidly now on my ruined feet flush with the livid canal; at Parnell Bridge a dying barge carrying a cargo of nails and timber rocks itself softly in the foaming cloister of the lock; on the far bank a gang of down and outs would seem to be mending a beam.

Then for miles only wind and the weals creeping alongside on the water and the world opening up to the south across a lamentable parody of champaign land to the mountains and the stillborn evening turning a filthy green manuring the night fungus and the mind annulled wrecked in wind.

I splashed past a little wearish old man, Democritus, scuttling along between a crutch and a stick, his stump caught up horribly, like a claw, under his breech, smoking.

Then because a field on the left suddenly went up in a blaze ofshouting and urgent whistling and scarlet andblue ganzies I stopped and climbed a bank to look at the game.

A child fidgeting at the gate called up:

Would we be let in Mister? "Certainly" I said "you would."

But, afraid, he set off down the road.

Well I called after him "why wouldn't you go on in?" "Oh" he said, knowingly,

I was in that field before and I got put out. So on, derelict, as from a bush of gorse on fire in the mountain after dark, or, in Sumatra, the jungle hymen, the still flagrant rafflesia.

Next: a pitiful family of grey verminous hens perished out in the sunk field trembling, half asleep, against the closed door of a shed, with no visible means of roosting.

The great mushy toadstool green-black, oozing up after me, soaking up the tattered sky like an ink of pestilence, in my skull the wind going fetid, the water ...

Next: on the hill down from the Fox and Geese into Chapelizod a small malevolent goat, exiled on the road, remotely pucking the gate of his field; the Isolde Stores a great perturbation of sweaty heroes, endimanches, come hastening down for a pint of nepenthe or moly or half and half from watching the hurlers above in Kilmainham.

Blotches of drowned yellow in the pit of the Liffey; the fingers of the ladders hooked over the parapet, soliciting; a slush of vigilant gulls in the grey spew of the sewer.

Ah! the banner the banner of meat bleeding on the silk of the seas and the arctic flowers! (they do not exist)

TMSS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; enclosing letter not extant; env to The Editor, "POETRY," 232 East Erie Street. Chicago, ILL., U.S.A.; pm 1-11-34, London; SB's name and address at lower right margin side 1 and side 3 (only that on side 3 shown here); date stamped received Nov 8, 1934; AN on env. by other hands: /1) Efllusia; /2) The long one seems pure Joycean, but might be worth taking; /3) [in Haniet Monroe's hand[ Maybe I feel lukewarmish; ICU, Zabel Papers, Box 1/F 5. Dating; from pm.

1 Variants in this text of"Dortmunder" with respect to the version published in

Echo's Bones 119]: 1.3 "null and" replaced by "null she"; 1.10 "Then" replaced by "then";

1.13 "dead and" replaced by "dead, the."

2 "Moly" was published in The European Caravan (480) as "Yoke ofLiberty"; variants between the 1931 version and this text: line 5, "she" corrected to "She"; line 11, "tamed and watchful sorrow" replaced by "vigilant sorrow."

3 Variants between this text of"Echo's Bones" and the version published in Echo's Bones and Other Predpitates [36]: line 2. "breaks" replaced by "falls"; line 5, "worms" replaced by "maggots."

4 "Enueg" was first published as "Enueg 1" in Echo's Bones (1935) [12-15]. It had been submitted to Seumas O'Sullivan for Dublin Magazine by 27 November 1931 (TCD, MS 4644) and rejected before 20 December 1931. A carbon copy ofthe poem was found among the papers ofRichard Aldington, together with the poem then called "Enueg 2"; the poems came to Aldington before SB renamed "Enueg 2" as "Serena 1," that is before 4 November 1932 (ICSo, Collection 74/1/2; SB to McGreevy, TCD, MS 10402/35). SB sent a group of his poems to Chatto and Windus (rejected 27 July 1932), to the Hogarth Press (rejected mid-August 1932), then to Rickword (mid-August 1932, with no reply), and possibly to The Bookman (16 August 1934, which rejected a poem by 27 August 1934): no manuscript versions of these submissions have been found.

Then SB submitted this version ofthe poem to Poetry Magazine, on 1 November 1934.

Chronology 1935


19/20January By 29 January

3 February

8 February 14 February 26 February

15 March

20April 4May 20May

23-31 July

1 August

By 7 August 20August

By 8 September

18 September

SB returns to London, traveling with Frank Beckett.

Sends story "Lightning Calculation" to Lovat Dickson's Magazine; it is returned immediately.

Geoffrey Thompson arrives in London to assume position at Bethlem Royal Hospital.

SB sends "Lightning Calculation" to Life and Letters.

Lucia Joyce in London until 16 March.

SB attends the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Estella Solomons, Mary Duncan, and Louise Jacobs at Arlington Gallery, London.

Modifies the title of his collection of poems to

Echo's Bones and Other Precipitates.

Easter holiday in Dublin. SB visits Jack B. Yeats.

Returns to London.

SB's mother visits England: together they tour Porlock Weir, Stratford, Wells, Lynmouth, Winchester, Bath, Gloucester, and Rugby.

On his own, SB visits Samuel Johnson's birthplace, Lichfield.

Sends his poem "Da Tagte Es" to Dublin Magazine.

Begins Murphy.

Sees Nuala Costello in London.

Visits Geoffrey Thompson and goes "round" the ward with him.


2 October

13 October

2 November


By 25 December

Receives proofs of Echo's Bones and Other Predpitates.

Dines with Bion and attends C. G. Jung's third Tavistock Institute lecture.

Receives Reavey's prospectus for Echo's Bones.

Acts as best man at wedding of Geoffrey and Ursula Thompson, West Lulworth.

Publication of Echo's Bones.

SB returns to Dublin. Ill with pleurisy.

Thomas Mcgreevy London


Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

Thanks for your letter, & for sending papers. Hope the 10/got through all right. Sorry to hear about Dilly. Have you had to move to Miss Dawkins?1

The best days have been these spent walking with the dogs. One was specially lovely, over the fields from here across the 3 Rock & 2 Rock & back by Glencullen & the Lead Mines. It was so still that from the top of2 Rock I could hear a solitary accordeon [sic] played down near the Glencullen river, miles away. I thought of a Xmas morning not long ago standing at the back of the Scalp with Father, hearing singing coming from the Glencullen Chapel.2 Then the white air you can see so far through, giving the outlines without the stippling. Then the pink & green sunset that I never find anywhere else and when it was quite dark a little pub to rest & drink gin in.


Jack Yeats rang up on Saturday, but I was already on my way to Howth. Apparently he was exquis to Mother on the phone. I must call round. Boss is working in Harry's shop, while Harry still vacates the fort in the Langham. It seems a miracle is required, & Boss awaits it confidently.3

Yesterday evening I received an astonishing letter from one John Coghlan, Berkeley Road, Dublin, forwarded from Chattos, in praise of the Proust which he had been reading, and inquiring if I had written anything else. M.P.T.K. will change his tune. I was highly gratified, especially as it cheered up Mother. I had things out with her, mildly & cautiously, & now things are much more satisfactory. [...] I fear the analysis is going to tum out a failure. The heart has not been very good since coming over, & I had one paralyzing attack at Cissie's, the worst ever. Bion is now a dream habitue.4

I found Con & Ethna in such romantic chiaroscuro over a dying fire that I could not decently do more than make a bow & depart. Heureuse Jeunesse. 5 Sean O'Sullivan rang up, but I was not in, or at least that was the impression he received. I must look him up however, if only to pump him on the subject of the gallery. Nobody seems to know anything about it.6

I suppose you saw Francis Stuart's noble quadruped in the Irish Times. Why doesn't he go to bed with them & get rid of it that way. He looks more & more like Percy Ussher.7

I have been reading The Mill on the Floss. It is at least superior to Shakespeare's Histories. She seems to have understood infancy after her fashion. The humour is seedy. What a lot Dickens took from her. The facetious columnist especially.8

Dublin is as ever only more so. You ask for a fish & they give you a piece of bog oak. The form & features of the Gaelic bureaucrat are already highly stylicised. I have justified my visit by stealing back my little Larousse.9

Nancy Sinclair showed me a very nice Campendonk in the Junge Kunst series. Do you know his work? I only did from one picture the Boss had in Germany.10 I find it very interesting. But I think you would jib at the German canister.

Apologise to Hester for my stupid note. I was laid out that day. I shall look forward to playing the Ravel. Schone Griisse to

Hester & Dilly & Raven.11

Love ever


ALS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; [black edged env, does not match stationery[ to Thomas McGreevy Esq, 15 Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, London; pm 1-1-35, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/67.

1 Hester Dowden's friend, Irish playwright and novelist Geraldine Dorothy Cummins (known as Dilly, 1890-1969), had come to stay in Hester Dowden's home, 15 Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, London SW3, so that McGreevy was obliged to move to another house, that of George Henry Dawkins who lived at 22 Cheyne Walk.

2 SB describes landmarks of County Dublin: the mountains Three Rock and Two Rock, which are named for their outcroppings. The town of Glencullen (1.75 miles northwest of Two Rock, 4.5 miles west of Bray) and the Lead Mines in Carrickgollogan, which are marked by an abandoned rock chimney (3.75 miles west-northwest of Two Rock, and 2.5 miles west of Bray), were on the return route to Foxrock. A description of the Scalp: 13 May [1933], n. 14.

3 "Exquis" (delightful).

Boss and Cissie Sinclair Jived in Howth. Boss was working at Harris & Sinclair, dealers in works of art, 47 South Nassau Street; the firm was managed by Hany Sinclair. When he was in London, Hany Sinclair Jived at the Langham Hotel, Portland Place, London Wl (Morris Sinclair, 13 March 1991).

4 John Coghlan has not been identified. More Pricks Than Kicks.

Habitue (turns up regularly).

5 A. J. Leventhal and Ethna Maccarthy. "Heureuse jeunesse" (happy youth).

6 Thomas Bodkin resigned as Director of The National Gallery of Ireland, effective 1 March 1935, at a special meeting of the Board on 28 December 1934 ("National Gallery of Ireland, Resignation of Dr. Bodkin," The Irish Times 29 December 1934: 4).

7 Francis Stuart's poem,"A Racehorse at the Curragh" (The Irish Times 29 December 1934: 5).

8 The Mill on the Ross (1860) by George Eliot (pseud. of Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880). SB may refer to the character Jefferson Brick, a war correspondent for the New York Rowdy Journal in Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-1844) by Dickens.

9 The Petit Larousse, a French dictionary and encyclopedia.

10 The book on German expressionist Heinrich Campendonk (1889-1957) was by Georg Biermann, Heinrich Campendonk, Junge Kunst (Leipzig: Verlag von Klinkhardt und Biermann, 1921). The Sinclairs owned Campendonk's painting A Dream (Morris Sinclair, 20 September 1990; private collection, on long-term loan to the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London, LP.2002.xx.16).

11 SB's note toHester Dowden has not been found. For Ravel's "Pavane," see 24 February 1931, n. 4. "Schone Griisse" (warm greetings).

ThomasHolmes Ravenhill (known as Raven, 1881-1952) studied medicine at the University of Birmingham; he conducted pioneering research in high-altitude medicine as a medical officer in Chile and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1914 to 1918.After the war, he left medicine and became a painter, lodging inHester Dowden's house in Chelsea for over twenty years (Bentley, Far Horizon: A Biography of Hester Dowden, 58; J.B. West, "T.H. Ravenhill and His Contributions to Mountain Sickness",Journal ofApplied Physiology 80.3 [March 1996J 715-724).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tar Bert, Co. Kerry

29/1 [1935]

My dear Tom

34 Gertrude St

[London] S.W. 10

I have your news from Hester whom I saw last Sunday. I know how awful it must be for you to have it drag on and on.

There is nothing to say. I can only hope you have found some means of patience & comfort. 1

I came back with Frank last Sunday week. He returned, & Geoffrey arrived, on the Tuesday morning. Geoffrey went back on the Wednesday night. He has secured a post at an asylum near Beckenharn, & will be corning over at the end of this week to stay three months at least, for which I am very grateful, as you can imagine. I have resumed with Bion and am feeling better, in spite of all the symptoms, which left me more or less alone during the holiday, having come flocking back. It is a kind of confirmation of the analysis.2

I had tea & a long conversation with Raven Sunday afternoon in his studio. But he is impossible to talk with. He has obviously been through it. He does not seem to have emerged altogether.

Hester looks very well and apparently her concert was a great success. I am invited to dine there this evening and try the Infanta.3

I have sent a new short story to Lovat Dickson. It is very short & very tenuous. I think it would probably stand a better chance with the Evening Standard. I mean to try & see Muir. Perhaps he could put me in the way of some translations.4 The National Gallery after the "5th in Christendom" ("Amateur" in Irish Times) is like the 15 acres after a cabbage allotment.5


It is an enormous relief being back in London. I miss you acutely. I had to go with a party of Frank's to "Young England," and so was obliged to sit it out, an exasperation beyond all description. I should look up Maccarthy, but dread the trend of conscientious solicitude it sets up inside me.6

I have read Jonson's two Everyman & Poetaster & begun Volpone, which opens superbly. The longueurs of culture are at least an improvement on the longueurs offacility. What a pity the lexicographical f keeps creeping in so often.7

God love thee

Yours ever


ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Limerick, Co. Kerry, Irish Free State; pm 29-1-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/69.

1 McGreevy's mother was ill.

2 SB and Frank Beckett arrived in London on 20 January.

Geoffrey Thompson came to London on 22 January to be interviewed for a position at the Bethlem Royal Hospital near Beckenham; he began there on 4 February 1935. Study of psychiatric medicine was not possible in Dublin, as SB wrote to McGreevy: "Geoffrey says a psychoanalyst would be run out of the town. ls that really possible? By the doctors themselves in the first place, he says" (18 January 1935, TCD, MS 10402/68).

3 Hester Dowden was a concert pianist; this concert has not been identified. "Infanta": see 24 February 1931, n. 4.

4 Horatio Henry Lovat Dickson (1902-1987), Australian-born London publisher and biographer, was Associate Editor ofFortnightly Review (1929-1932), Editor ofReview of Reviews (1930-1932), Editor ofLovat Dickson's Magazine (1934-1937), a journal devoted to short stories, and Managing Editor of Lovat Dickson Ltd. (1932-1938). SB submitted "Lightning Calculation" to Lovat Dickson (Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 50-51; Cohn, A Beckett Canon, 70-71; unpublished manuscript of "Lightning Calculation," BIF, UoR, MS 2902).

The Evening Standard, London newspaper (1827 to present, under various titles). The translations of Scottish-born poet and literary critic Edwin Muir (1887-1959), done with his wife Willa Muir (nee Anderson, 1890-1970), included books by Lion Feuchtwanger (1889-1958), Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946), Franz Kafka (1883-1924), and Heinrich Mann (1871-1950), published by the London publishers Martin Secker, Routledge, and Gollancz. Muir had reviewed SB's More Pricks Than Kicks in "New Short Stories," The Listener 12.268 (4 July 1934) 42.

5 In response to the news of Thomas Bodkin's resignation as Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, a letter to The Irish Times signed "Amateur" pays tribute to his leadership, indicating that "Our Gallery ranks fifth in the world," and wonders whether Bodkin might stay ifoffered "an adequate emolument" ("Dr. Bodkin," The Irish Times 12January 1935: 6).

The fifteen acres refers to the broad open space in Dublin's Phoenix Park, by contrast to the small plots of land leased to non-landowners so that they could grow their own produce (MacThomais, Me Jewel and Darlin' Dublin, 111; Declan Kiberd, 12 September 2006).

6 Young England, a patriotic melodrama by Walter Reynolds (1851-1941), proprietor ofthe Theatre Royal (Leeds), was voted by critics as "the worst show that had opened in London in 20 years"; it rapidly developed a cult following and "a quarter ofa million people saw the play," including a person who "boasted of150 visits" ("'Wrong Door, Wrong Door,"' Time [25 December 1939] 24-25; "Daly's Theatre: 'Young England,"' The Times 22 January 1935: 10; "The Victoria Palace: Shows," www.victoriapalacetheatre. co.uk [History]. 24 July 2005).

Desmond Maccarthy.

7 Everyman in his Humour (1598), Everyman out of his Humour (1599), Poetaster (1601),

Volpone (1606): plays ofBenJonson (1572-1637).

The long "s" ("f") was the standard representation of the letter "s" in roman fonts until the late 1700s in English.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

8/2 [1935] 34 Gertrude St

[London] S.W. 10

My dear Tom

It is good news that you have the translation, even of a little sensationalist like M. Also that you are keeping well. You ought to get out a bit more. Have you only your married sister with you now?1

Of myself there is nothing to tell, except that the feeling of relief & vitality ofthe first week after my return has quite gone, & now I feel beyond description worthless, sordid & incapacitated. Basta.2

I heard Maryjo Prado play at Hester's last Sunday week. The Footner turned up. I don't like her. Hester says she is intelligent. I feel her Jansenist precieuse. The Prado played some things well, a Rameau gavotte & variations that I did not know, Scriabin, the Vie de Brevet, Prokoviev's [for Prokofiev's] Tentations Diaboliques [for "Suggestion Diabolique"], & some flashy Dohnyani [for Dohnanyi]. But her Chopin & Debussy were dragged out by the scruff of the neck, very disagreeable. She sits perched up above the keyboard like Mme. Mahieu at the seat of custom. Her left hand in the Scriabin was extremely scrupulous & good. I suppose now I must go to her concert at the Aeolian Hall next Thursday. Mr Prado was sehr sympathisch.3 I had lunch with Hester & Raven last Sunday afternoon, & played duets with her afterwards. The Infanta could go quite well. She offered me a latch+key to come in & practise whenever I liked, but I contrived to parry this kindness. Since then I have not been round. I get terribly tired of all the psychic evidence, wonder what it has to do with the psyche as I experience that old bastard. Also the dogs & cats.4

Am reading the Cousine Bette. The bathos ofstyle & thought is so enormous that I wonder is he writing seriously or in parody. And yet I go on reading it. I have finished with Adler. Another

one track mind. Only the dogmatist seems able to put it across.5 I wish you were to talk pictures, though I know you don't like talking much of the Dutchmen. I thought Teniers was the last word in Netherland drawing till I looked into the Brouwers, alas so scarce. I found a lovely one in the Victoria & Albert, a man playing a lute. The one in the National, with the woman pulling the man's hair, is invisible. Their only other is in what the attendant calls the "reference section".6 Do they employ some journalist, I wonder, to invent these expressions. Also in the

V. & A. an adorable tiny Terborch, portrait of a man in black, tucked away behind a screen in the Forster Collection. I have been promising myself a long look at the Dulwich Cuyps, but every morning finds me shirking the cold journey. 7

Geoffrey arrived last Sunday & is now sumptuously installed at the Bethlem Royal Hospital near Beckenham. I have seen him only once. Perhaps it will be somewhere to go in the spring.8


I ran into Mr Arthur Hillis, & de fil en aiguille to his Cheyne Walk first floor flat, very nice, with Paul Henry at first hand & Peter de Hooch at an infinite remove, reconciled somehow. He is really very decent, is a Hispanophile, with Spanish Petit Larousse, a Bechstein piano & a good gramophone, & records of Cortot playing Seguidillas, Malaguena, etc. His background is the classics, and he dilated learnedly extempore on the influence ofthat minor author Theophrastus on the English Renaissance in general & John Earle in particular.9

To-morrow afternoon I have the Lener, but alas one cannot

book a seat for a mood. 10 A sad little letter from Maurice Sinclair from Ronda, drinking a lot ofwine & frileux playing his fiddle in olive-groves on the rock, & reading Maupassant. He is going on to Seville, sometime. It does not sound as though he were doing much good. Cissie has left the Adelaide & gone home, very little the better.11

Nothing more from Lucia Gottlob. Helen has got Giorgio where she wants him now. The Costello seems to have cast me off & kein Wunder.12 Lovat Dickson sent back the story by return. I sent it on to Life & Letters. I have neither seen nor sought to see Charles. 13 The thought of venturing forth into the cold world in the evening is intolerable. I feel I must squabble with Bion, & so I do. On Monday I go for the 133rd time.14

God love thee & write again soon. s/ Sam

TIS; 2 leaves, 2 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Limerick, Co. Kerry, l.F.S.;

pm 8-2-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/70.

1 McGreevy translated Les Celibataires (1934), by French writer Henry Millon de Montherlant (1895-1972), as Lamentfor the Death ofan Upper Class (London: John Miles, 1935). McGreevy's unmarried sister Margaret McGreevy (known as Ciss, 1887-1952) was at home during this time; his sister Honora Phelan (nee McGreevy, known as Nora, 1891-1974) also lived in Tarbert.

2 "Basta" (enough).

3 Mary Jo Prado (nee Turner, n.d.) was married to Flavio Prado Uchoa (n.d.), resident ofLondon and Sao Paulo, Brazil. whom SB found "sehr sympathisch" (very pleasant). Mary Jo Prado played: "Gavotte" from Nouvelles suites de pieces de clavedn . . . avec des remarques sur les differens genres de musique, by French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764); music by Russian composer Aleksandr Scriabin (1872-1915); "Two Dances" from Manuel de Falla's lyric drama La vida breve; Prokofiev's "Navazhdeniye" ("Suggestion diabolique") from Four Pieces (rev. of Four Pieces, 1908), op. 4, no. 4; and music by Hungarian composer Erno Dohnanyi (ne Ernst von

Dohnanyi, 1877-1960).

Amica de Biden Footner (1874-1961), British portrait painter, whose subjects included many prominent persons; her sister recalled the "directness and naivety of her conversation" (The Times, 20 October 1961: 15).

Mme. Mahieu (n.d.), proprietor ofCafe le Mahieu.

There is no indication ofa concert by Mary Jo Prado on 14 February 1935 at Aeolian Hall; however, a piano recital was given there that evening by Elena Cavalcanti (n.d.) ("Music this Week," The Times 11 February 1935: 8).

4 Hester Dowden, known for her experiments in automatic writing as a professional medium, had built "a clientele second to none throughout the country" (Bentley, Far Horizon: A Biography of Hester Dowden, 44). Hester Dowden's pets included Siamese cats and Pekinese dogs. "Infanta": see 24 February 1931, n. 4.

5 Balzac, La Cousine Bette (1846; Cousin Bette).

Alfred Adler (1870-1937), Austrian-born psychologist. SB's notes on psychology include those taken on Adler's The Neurotic Constitution: Outlines of a Comparative Individualistic Psychology and Psychotherapy, tr. Bernard Glueck and John E. Lind (New York: Moffat, 1916; rpt. London: Kegan Paul. 1921); these notes are undated, and SB may have read other works by Adler (TCD, MS 10971/8/f 24r-33r).

6 Flemish painter David Teniers the younger (1610-1690), who was influenced by Brouwer.

Adriaen Brouwer (c.1605-1638) was a Flemish painter who spent much of his working life in Holland. Interior of a Room with Figures: A Man Playing a Lute and a Woman (c.1635, Victoria and Albert Museum, CAI/80).

The Brouwer painting in the National Gallery described by SB is Tavern Scene (NGL 6591), on loan from Sir Edmund Bacon "from July 1907 until at least 1971"; it was acquired by the National Gallery in July 2002 (Alan Crookham and Flavia Dietrich-England, 1 July 2005). The painting in the "reference section" (or lower galleries) then attributed to Brouwer was entitled Three Boors Drinking (NGL 2569) (National Gallery Illustrations, Continental Schools {excluding Italian], 36); it is now attributed to "style of [Adriaen] Brouwer" and is entitled Four Peasants in a Cellar (Gregory Martin, The Flemish School, drca 1600 - drca 1900 [London: National Gallery, 1970] 12).

7 Gerard Ter Borch the younger (also Terborch, 1617-1681), Man in Black Dress, measures 19 x 21.6 cm (Forster Bequest, F. 35, V&A); the Collection was a bequest of John Forster (1812-1876). The collection of the Dulwich College Picture Gallery contains Flemish, Italian, and Dutch art, including many paintings by Dutch artist Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691).

8 Geoffrey Thompson was Senior House Physician at Bethlem Royal Hospital from 4 February to 31 October 1935 and extended his service there to January 1936.

9 "De fil en aiguille" (by easy stages). Arthur Hillis lived at 131 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea. Hillis's Bechstein piano was his father's wedding gift to his mother. Hillis owned a painting by Paul Henry (1876-1958), Irish portrait and landscape artist, and an interior scene painted by Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684), who was associated with the School of Delft.

Alfred Cortot recorded Albeniz's"Seguidillas" from Suite espafiola, op. 232, no. 5, and the malaguefia "Rumores de Ia Caleta" from Recuerdos de viaje, op. 71, no. 6, also by Albeniz (see"Alfred Cortot plays Short Works," Biddulph Recordings, LHW 020, 1994, and "Alfred Cortot: Rare 78 rpm Recordings & Rare Pressings 1919-1947," Music & Arts, CD-615, 1989).

Arthur Hillis read Classics and Law at Trinity College Dublin. Greek philosopher Theophrastus (c.372-287 BC), head of the Peripatetic School after Aristotle, is known for his study of"Characters," human types related to the humour theory of personality dominant through the English Renaissance. John Earle (1601-1665) wrote a collection of character sketches, Microcosmographie (1628), based on the model of Theophrastus.

10 SB's ticket for the Lener Quartet, playing a Beethoven program at Queen's Hall, was not for 9 February, but for 3 pm on 9 March 1935 (see below, 20 February 1935 and

10 March 1935).

11 Ronda is a city built on a high plateau in the Andalusia region of Spain. "Frileux" (sensitive to cold).

French writerGuy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

CissieSinclair had been treated at the Adelaide Hospital in Dublin.

12 Lucia Joyce. "Gottlob" (God be praised).

Giorgio Joyce and his wife Helen were in New York, where he was pursuing a musical career (Ellmann, James Joyce, 678, 683).

Nuala Costello. "Kein Wunder" (no wonder).

13 SB's story "Lightning Calculation" was sent on to Life and Letters which, from November 1934, was edited by Richard Ellis Roberts (Pilling, A Samuel Beckett Chronology, 51).

Charles Prentice.

14 SB had been in therapy with Bion for a little more than a year.

Thomas M Cgr E Evy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

14/2 [1935]

34 Gertrude Street

[London] S.W. 10

My dear Tom

Delighted at the prospect of seeing you soon. Will you be going to Cheyne Gardens?1

There is nothing in the Criterion.2

Frank's friend Guilford arrived yesterday, & I have to be with him rather more than I would ifhe were not Frank's friend.3 I know Hester will be froissee ifI do not tum up at the Aeolian this evening & hear the Prado, but I do not think I will be able. I have not been round to 15 for a long time now, so the lnfanta is no further.4

I have seen very little of Geoffrey. He has no time to spare, between the detainees at Bethlem, Hadfield & Miss What is her name, and I have seen nothing ofhim.5

By the way did you ever receive Sorel's Chute de la Royaute that I sent you from Dublin. It was very scantily parcelled & I felt doubtful about it at the time.6

I see no prospect of the analysis coming to an end. But I realize how lost I would be bereft of my incapacitation. When will the old sub renounce?7

Stella is giving a show at the Arlington Galleries. Here is a photo of her looking like Holofernes Leyster. She promised in Dublin that she would send me a card, but she has not.8

I finished Cousine Bette - incomprehensibly. A Stock Exchange Hugo. Now I am reading the divine Jane. I think she has much to teach me.9 It is curious how English literature has never freed itself from the old morality typifications & simplifications. I suppose the cult of the horse has something to do with it. But writing infect[ed] with selective breeding of the vices & virtues becomes tiresome, whether resulting in humours a la Jonson or Coglioni Lorenziani. Isn't Aldington straight out of the Chester cycle?10

The two Rests on the Flight School of Patinir are lovely. If the little Flemish annexe contained a chair it would be perfect. The Master from Delft Crucifixion triptych is inexhaustible. There are passages straight out of Bosch apparently. 11 If only one could afford the choices in the Classiker der Kunst [for Klassiker]. Zwemmer's have a number at reduced prices. I nearly bought a Brouwer in the K[u]nstlermappen series, but withheld my hand like Michelangelo from Brutus. 6/- with 6 coloured plates, including an astonishing landscape.12



ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; enclosure, cutting from the Daily Sketch 12 February 1935: n.p.. featuring a photo of Estella Solomons with the caption "Irish Art" (AN added to portion of headline above the pictures, wavy underscoring, addition of double exclamation points: FUNDS HEAVY); env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Limerick,

Co. Kerry, l.F.S.; pm 14-2-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/71. Dating: from pm and enclosure.

1 When he was in London, McGreevy usually stayed at Hester Dowden's home, 15 Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, London SW3.

2 McGreevy anticipated a review in The Criterion of his Poems which had been published in May 1934 by William Heinemann Ltd. in London, and in November 1934 by Viking in New York; none appeared.

3 James H. Guilford (1903-1997) lived in Foxrock, near the Beckett family home.

4 "Froissee" (offended). The concert on 14 February was not by Mary Jo Prado (see 8 February 1935, n. 3). SB had been invited to use Hester Dowden's piano when he liked (see 29 January [19351, n. 3.

5 Geoffrey Thompson joined the Tavistock Clinic in 1935. James Arthur Hadfield (1882-1967) was Director ofStudies and a consultant ofthe Tavistock Clinic from 1928 to 1951. Thompson was courting Ursula Stenhouse (1911-2001), who taught at Crohamhurst School in Croydon (1933-1935), and then Croydon High School for Girls, south ofLondon (Deborah Thompson, 13 June 1994).

6 Albert Sorel (1842-1906), La Chute de la royaute 1789-1795, the second ofthe eight· volume L'Europe et la revolutionfra11faise (1885-1904); rpt. Paris: Pion, Nourrit: 1914-1922.

7 Sub: subconscious.

8 "Pictures ofCornwall, Yorkshire, Donegal, Portraits, Etchings," the group exhi· bition by Estella Solomons, Mary Duncan (1885-1967), and Louise R. Jacobs (1880-1946), was held at The Arlington Gallery, from 26 February to 8 March 1935.

A notice ofthe show appeared in the Daily Sketch, 12 February 1935, with Estella Solomons's picture (n.p.). SB compares her photograph to Judith Holding the Head of Holofemes (NG! 186) by Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), probably alluding to what McGreevy later describes as Judith's "purposeful expression" (Pictures in the Irish National Gallery, 47). SB conflates this image with Judith Leyster (1609-1660), Dutch artist, whose An Interior: Woman Sewing by Candlelight is also in the collection of the National Gallery ofIreland (NG! 468).

9 Balzac's La Cousine Bette is compared to the writings ofVictor Hugo. English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817).

10 In the medieval morality play characters often exemplified virtues and vices. The humour theory ofhuman types and behaviors was exemplified by Ben Jonson's

Everyman in His Humour (1598) and Everyman Out ofHis Humour (1599). "Coglioni Lorenziani" (Lawrentian balls) is an allusion to D. H. Lawrence.

SB places Richard Aldington and/or the characters in his novels in the context of the Chester cycle plays which enacted biblical narratives to illuminate themes ofsin and redemption; Aldington's Death ofa Hero (1929), The Colonel's Daughter (1931), All Men are Enemies (1933).

11 Joachim Patinir (also Patenir, Patenier, c.1480-1524), early Flemish landscapist. SB refers to two paintings ascribed to the School ofPatinir: Rest on the Flight into Egypt (NGL 3115) and The Flight into Egypt (NGL 1084). The Master from Delft (fl. 1490-1520) triptych Scenesfrom the Passion ofChrist (NGL 2922) depicts the Crucifixion in the central panel, with scenes ofthe Procession to Calvary, Judas hanging from a withered tree, the Virgin swooning with Saint John and three Holy Women, and the Agony and preparation for the Capture. Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516).

In the National Gallery, London, the little Flemish annex, room XIII, was offa corridor between rooms XII and XN; these rooms were rearranged and remodeled in 1935.

12 The Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben (1904-1937) was a series of comprehensive studies with illustrations that included works by painters such as Rembrandt, Titian, Diirer, and Rubens. The London bookstore A. Zwemmer, 76-78 Charing Cross Road, specialized in fine art books. The volume on Adriaen Brouwer in the Kiinstlermappen series (no. 83) was written by Kurt Zoege van Marteuffel, Adriaen Brouwer: acht farbige Wiedergaben seiner Werke (Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1936).

Michelangelo (ne Michelangelo Buonarroti. 1475-1564) began sculpting a bust of Brutus (1540, Museo Nazionale de!Bargello, Florence) "as a tribute to the republican spirit of Florence," but abandoned the project when "reminded of the crime" of Brutus' murder of Caesar (Howard Hibbard, Michelangelo, 2nd edn. [Cambridge, MA: Harper andRow, 1985] 264).

T Homas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

20/2 [1935]

34 Gertrude Street

London S.W[.] 10

My dear Tom

It is good news that I may look forward to seeing you in a fortnight. Herewith the spinsterian pound. I have seen nothing at all of Hester. I feel no inclination to ring up & ask may I go in & play, even ifl felt like playing, and I don't. She took my address carefully on two occasions & she can write & invite me if she wants me, which I believe & frankly hope she does not. It is a strain there always and the animals like Renard's hedgehog - a decaying pudenda with nowhere to go, how castrated soever.1

I went to my concert a month too soon. It is not till the 9th ofMarch.2

Frank's pal has been liquidated without casualty. It was only about a ptosis belt that he came, so he is as far from the sights of it as ever.3

I like Jane's manner, in the sense that there is material that can be treated most conveniently in the crochet mode, and somehow Elinor Dashwood is realised as concubine no less desirable than Fielding's Sophie. I suppose the Baron Hulot was for much in the elaboration of Charlus.4 Brouwer ran away from Hals & Haarlem, & Rubens & Rembrandt owned pictures by him, & so I think did Teniers.5 It is very hard to see the Elsheimers in the German room, but the Tobias & the Angel seems exquisite. Rubens let off a lot of obituary steam for him, deplored his "indolence"!6 The Geertgen Adoration must be one of the earliest spotlight paintings. Surely it is only half the story to date them from Raphael's Liberation of St. Peter. I never saw the Oxford Uccello mentioned in this connection either.7

Miss B. O'Brien is in Florence "studying the Old Masters". Perhaps Dermot [for Dermod] is working her up for the Gallery.8 Mary Manning is now Mrs Mark De Wolfle] Howe & on her honeymoon to New York & the ... Bermudas!9 Do you know the story of the chaste centipede, who said to her suitor, crossing her thousand legs: "No, a thousand times no."

Lucia is in Grosvenor Place with her aunt, who .. "is on her way to Ireland", whatever that means.10 She wrote wanting to see me. I have done nothing - except make detours.

I have seen nothing of Geoffrey, but have planned to go down & see him at the hospital next Sunday.11 It may help to solve the destination of the day. I inspected the plaster caricatures of Vischer & Kraft in the V. & A. Nothing. The Great Hall was full of whores. The Raphael Room is closed.12

The Maccarthy has taken her picture.13

I go on with Bion ... histoire d'elan acquis. I see no reason why it should ever come to an end. The old heart pounces now & then, as though to console me for the intolerable symptoms of an improvement. Mother writes, she supposes I am brimming over with material for books ... anything rather than desoeuvrement.14

Estella S. sent me a card for vernissage (et comment) next Tuesday. She is with Mary Duncan & Louise Jacobs at the Arlington. Landscapes from Donegal & Yorkshire.15

Last night I dropped my glasses from balcony of this room into the area. 16 I found the lenses this morning, unbroken. I was wanting to scrap the frame anyway.

Love Sam

ALS; 1 leaf, 2 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Limerick, Co. Keny, in lower left comer Irish Free State; pm 20-2-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/72. Dating: pm and opening of the Arlington Gallery before exhibition March 1935.

1 McGreevy did not arrive in London as he had planned (see 10 March 1935).

Hester Dowden had offered SB the use ofher piano. SB compares the cats and dogs of her household to Renard's "'Le Herisson," in Histoires naturelles, a series of humorous vignettes written first for newspaper publication and then collected:

Le Herisson

Essuyez votre ... S. V. P.


II faut me prendre comme je suis et ne pas trop serrer.

The Hedgehog

Please wipe your


You have to take me as I am and not squeeze too tightly.

Uules Renard, Oeuvres, II, ed. Leon Guichard, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1971] 126)

2 The Lener Quartet at Queen's Hall on 9 March 1935 (see 8 February 1935, n. 10).

3 James Guilford was in London to consult specialists; a ptosis belt is used to alleviate the symptoms of a hernia.

4 SB compares Elinor Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1811) with Joseph Fielding's character, Sophia Weston, in Tom Jones (1749). He also sees Baron Hulot, a character from Balzac's La Cousine Bette, as a forerunner of the Baron de Charlus in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu. SB uses a Gallicism, "'etre pour beaucoup dans" for "'to count for a good deal in."

5 Adriaen Brouwer served an apprenticeship in Haarlem under Frans Hals (c.1581-1666); he left for Amsterdam, later returned to Haarlem from c.1625 to 1631, and then spent the remainder of his life in Antwerp (Gerard Knuttel, Adriaen Brouwer: The Master and His Work, tr.]. G. Talma-Schilthuis and Robert Wheaton [The Hague: L.J. C.

Bancher, 1962] 109). Rubens owned seventeen Brouwers (179); Rembrandt's collection of Brouwer included seven paintings, another "after Brouwer," and a book of drawings (Kenneth Clark, Remm-andt and the Italian Renaissance [London: John Murray, 1966] 193-202). Brouwer influenced Teniers the younger, but the only evidence that Teniers owned a painting by Brouwer is Teniers's painting The Artist in His Studio (1635, private collection) which depicts Teniers painting a self.portrait in his studio which is hung with thirty-three paintings by himself and contemporaries, including Brouwer's Drinker Asleep (The Sleeping Toper, AH:64:05, Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California; Margret Klinge, David Teniers the Younger: Paintings - Drawings, Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum Voor Schoene Kunsten, 11 May-1 September 1991 [Ghent: Snoeck-Ducaju and Zoon, 1991] 50, 52-53; Margret Klinge, 14 February 2007).

6 The paintings ofAdam Elsheimer (1578-1610) in the German room (XIX) of the National Gallery in London included St. Paul on Malta (c.1600, NGL 3535, also known as The Shipwreck of St. Paul), St. Lawrence Being Prepared for Martyrdom (c.1600-1601, NGL 1014), The Baptism of Christ (c.1599, NGL 3904), and Tobias and the Archangel Raphael

(c.1650, NGL 1424, then attributed to Elsheimer, now considered to be after Elsheimer). On 14 January 1611, Rubens wrote to a biologist and collector living in Rome, Dr. Johann Faber (fl. early seventeenth century), who had informed him of Elsheimer's death: Elsheimer "had no equal in small figures, in Landscapes, and in many other subjects. He has died in the flower of his studies." Rubens deplored Elsheimer's "sin of sloth, by which he has deprived the world of the most beautiful things" (Keith

Andrews, Adam Elsheimer: Paintings - Drawings - Prints [New York: Rizzoli, 1977] 51).

7 SB refers to The Nativity (late fifteenth century, NGL 4081) by Geertgen tot SintJans

{1460/1465-1495), noting that it was earlier than the Liberation of St. Peter from Prison

{1513-1514) by Raphael, which was painted over a window-opening in the Vatican (Frederick Hartt, History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, 3rd edn. [New York: Harry N.Abrams, 1987] 513-514).Also earlier is Uccello's Hunt in the Forest (c.1470,Ashmolean MuseumA79).

8 Irish artist, Rose Brigid O'Brien (m. Ganly, 1909-2002) was the daughter of Dermod O'Brien, who was on the Board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery oflreland; the museum was seeking a new Director.

9 Irish writer Mary Manning• (1905-1999) married the American historian and biographer Mark de Wolfe Howe {1906-1967) on 28 February 1935.

10 Lucia Joyce arrived in London on 14 February 1935 with her aunt, Mrs. Eileen Schaurek (nee Eileen Isabel Mary Xavier Brigid Joyce, 1889-1963), with whom she stayed at the Mascot Hotel in York Street, not Grosvenor Place. While Mrs. Schaurek was in Dublin (24 February to 1 March), Lucia Joyce stayed with Harriet Weaver at 74 Gloucester Place. However, from 26 to 27 February, she stayed on her own in a hotel on Gloucester Street, returning afterwards to stay again with Harriet Weaver. Lucia left for Ireland with her aunt on 16 March 1935 (Ellmann, James Joyce, 681; Carol Loeb

Shloss, Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake [New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003] 308-312, 509; Brenda Maddox, Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom [Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988] 305-309). According to Joyce's letter to Giorgio and Helen Joyce,

19 February 1935, during this period Lucia met SB "a few times and they had dinner together" Ooyce, Letters of]ames Joyce, III. 344).

11 Geoffrey Thompson was in Beckenham.

12 Nineteenth-century plaster casts in the Victoria and Albert collection (room 46A) included the highly ornamented Gothic canopy and enclosure of the Tomb ofSt. Sebaldus (1508-1519, St. Sebalduskirche, Nuremberg; V&A repro. 1869-14) by Peter Vischer the elder (c.1460-1529) that was decorated with statuettes and reliefs; other works by Peter Vischer in the collection were casts of the Monument of Count Otto N of Henneberg (1488, Stadtkirche, Romhild; V&A repro. 1873-580:1) and of A Bronze Monument (1497, Magdeburg Cathedral; V&A repro. 1904-55:0). Also among the collection of casts in this room was the Schreyer-Landauer Monument (1490-1492, St. Sebalduskirche, Nuremberg; V&A repro. 1872-53) by German sculptor Adam Kraft (also Krafft, fl.1490-1509).

The Raphael Room (48), with cartoons for tapestries commissioned by Pope Leo X (1515) for the Sistine Chapel, was closed intermittently between April 1934 and August 1935, as paintings were removed in stages for repair. The records of the Victoria and Albert Museum indicate that the cartoon then known as "Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate" (now "The Healing of the Lame Man," 1515-1516) was removed in early February 1935, treated, and replaced in its frame on 6 March 1935 (Alison Baber, National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum. 1 June 1994, from the Museum's registered papers). The "Great Hall" may have been the main entrance to the Museum or the Octagon Court which displayed loan exhibitions; there are no records to confirm what was exhibited there in 1935 (Alison Baber, 13 June 1994).

13 Ethna MacCarthy's painting, Portrait of a Lady (inscribed 1599 "age 61") by the School of Pourbus, had been offered at auction (Sotheby's, 13 June 1934, no. 85) but had not met the reserve price. The Pourbus family of Flemish painters included Pieter Pourbus (1523/1524-1584), his son Frans Pourbus (1545/1546-1581), and Frans Pourbus II (1569-1622). SB had been asked to pick up the painting and keep it for MacCarthy.

14 "Histoire d'elan acquis" ijust a matter of momentum). "Desoeuvrement" (having nothing to do, idleness).

15 "Vernissage (et comment)" (private view [and howl). The exhibition opened for private view on 26 February 1935. Mary Duncan's landscapes were largely of Cornwall, those by Louise Jacobs were of Yorkshire, and those by Estella Solomons were of Donegal.

16 SB wrote " <this>balcony of this room .

Thomas Mcgreevy

Tarbert, Limerick, Co_ Kerry

10/3 (1935]

34 Gertrude Street London SW10

My dear Tom

Very glad to have your letter & touched at your bothering your head about my old Grillen. 1 All I ever got from the

Imitation went to confirm & reinforce my own way of living, a way ofliving that tried to be a solution & failed. I found quantities of phrases like qui melius scit pati majorem tenebit pacem, or, Nolle consolari ab aliqua creatura magnae puritatis signum est, or the lovely per viam pacis ad patriam perpetuae claritatis, that seemed to be made for me and which I have never forgotten.2 Amg many others. But they all conduced to the isolationism that was not to prove very splendid. What is one to make of "seldom we come home without hurting of conscience" and "the glad going out & sorrowful coming home" and "be ye sorry in your chambers" but a quietism of the sparrow alone upon the housetop & the solitary bird under the eaves? An abject self-referring quietism indeed, beside the alert quiet ofone who always had Jesus for his darling, but the only kind that I. who seem never to have had the least faculty or disposition for the supernatural, could elicit from the text. and then only by means of a substitution ofterms very different from the one you propose.3 I mean that I replaced the plenitude that he calls "God", not by "goodness", but by a pleroma only to be sought among my own feathers or entrails, a principle of self the possession of which was to provide a rationale & the communion with which a sense of Grace. Thus the Imitation could be made [to] subserve the "Sin" of Luciferian concentration. And I know that now I would be no more capable of approaching its hypostatics & analogies "meekly, simply & truly", than I was when I first twisted them into a programme of self-sufficiency. I would still find it, so far from being a compendium of Christian behaviour, with oeuvres pies, humility, utility, self-effacement, etc. etc., in all probability conceived & composed on the rebound from the fiasco of just such an effort in behaviour, your "long, long experience of unhappiness"; and that ifcertain forms of contact are commended by the way, it is very much by the way, and incidental & secondary to the fundamental contact - for him, with "God". So that to read "goodness & disinterestedness" every time for "God". would seem the accidental for the essential with a vengeance & a mining of the text; whereas to allow the sceptical position (which I hope is not complacent in my case, however it may be a tyranny), & replace a principle of faith, absolute & infinite, by one personal & finite of fact, would be to preserve its magnificent basis of distinction between primary & secondary, in the interests of a very baroque solipsism if you like.4 I cannot see how "goodness" is to be made a foundation or a beginning of anything. Arn I to set my teeth & be disinterested?

When I cannot answer for myself, and do not dispose of myself, how can I serve? Will the demon - pretiosa margarita! - disable me any the less with sweats & shudders & panics & rages & rigors & heart burstings because my motives are unselfish & the welfare of others my concern? Macche!5 Or is there some way of devoting pain & monstrosity & incapacitation to the service of a deserving cause? Is one to insist on a crucifixion for which there is no demand?

For me the position is really a simple & straightforward one, or was until complicated by the analysis, obviously necessarily. For years I was unhappy, consciously & deliberately ever since I left school & went into T.C.D., so that I isolated myself more & more, undertook less & less & lent myself to a crescendo of disparagement of others & myself. But in all that there was nothing that struck me as morbid. The misery & solitude & apathy & the sneers were the elements of an index of superiority & guaranteed the feeling of arrogant "otherness", which seemed as right & natural & as little morbid as the ways in which it was not so much expressed as implied & reserved & kept available for a possible utterance in the future. It was not until that way of living, or rather negation of living, developed such terrifying physical symptoms that it could no longer be pursued, that I became aware of anything morbid in myself. In short, if the heart had not put the fear of death into me I would be still boozing & sneering & lounging around & feeling that I was too good for anything else. It was with a specific fear & a specific complaint that I went to Geoffrey, then to Bion, to learn that the "specific fear & complaint" was the least important symptom of a diseased condition that began in a time which I could not remember, in my "pre-history", a bubble on the puddle; and that the fatuous torments which I had treasured as denoting the superior man were all part of the same pathology. That was the picture as I was obliged to accept it, and that is still largely the picture, and I cannot see that it allows of any philosophical or ethical or Christlike imitative pentimenti, or in what way they could redeem a composition that was invalid from the word "go" & has to be broken up altogether.6 If the heart still bubbles it is because the puddle has not been drained, and the fact of its bubbling more fiercely than ever is perhaps open to receive consolation from the waste that splutters most, when the bath is nearly empty.

Ifl cod myself with all this I cod myself & that is all. It will have been an expensive canular. 7 I have tried to face the possibility of its failing to render the business of remaining alive tolerable, & I have not been able to. It claims to do more, but if it does as much the year of two fears or three fears will seem to me better spent than any others I can point to up till now.

Reavey has been active, founding a branch of his International Bureau over here, or something equally interesting. Your defection at the 6 Bells was still present in his mind. I was wishing I had his precious Anthologie Surrealiste to return to him. But he will be back in a fortnight. He is full of translations, anthologies, adaptations & centos & transactions of every kind. He showed me a poem that surprised me it was so much better than anything I had seen of his hitherto. 8

The Lucia ember flared up & fizzled out. But more of that viva voce.

I do not see much of Hester, but it always goes very well when I go round, and we play the Pavane with special reference to the obeisances in the dance.9

The news from home is good. I sent Mother Morton's In the Steps of the Master for her birthday & she was delighted. 1° Frank never writes.

I spent an evening with Geoffrey and to-day I am going down to Eden Park to spend afternoon & evening. He is in excellent form and is now attached to the outpatients psychological department at Bart's, so that he can proceed to little analyses on his own!11

I went to the Lener playing the Rasumovsky Quartets at Queen's Hall yesterday & was very disappointed. Their playing seemed dry & finickety to the point of Old Maidishness & Ludvig never so Rembrandtesque.12

Stella's exhibition with Louise Jacobs & Mary Duncan was really lamentable. She had a 10 year old portrait of Jack Yeats priced at £100! The place was packed with the chosen & faithful for the opening day. I was talking to Louise Jacobs, on whose work alone the eye could rest, & who personally seems an agreeable woman.13 Seumas says he will publish my four wan lines about the surrogate goodbyes in his April number. But that means nothing.14 I have been reading Wahrheit und Dichtung in Hester's copy and have got to the Strassberg [for Strasburg] period & contact with Herder. I find parts of it absorbing, for example the literary picture during his Leipzig phase. The early years in Frankfurt, long description ofcrowning ofKing ofHesse etc., are dull. What an awful shit ofa Father he had.15 They are doing The Alchemist at the Embassy next week & I hope to go. What an admirable dramatic unity of place the besieged house provides & how much he makes of it. The feverish, obsidional atmosphere of Nourri dans le serail etc-16

I spend most of my time, when not with Bion or walking, reading on top of the fire. Snow yesterday. I occasionally see Maccarthy. Ethna has had her picture taken away for removal to Dublin.17

Do hurry up & come over.

My best wishes for comfort & contentment to your mother.

The Spring should make things a bit gayer for her.

Love ever


ALS; 3 leaves, 6 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Limerick, Co Kerry. Irish Free State; pm 11-3-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/73. Dating: from pm; concert by Lener Quartet at Queen's Hall, 9 March 1935.

1 SB may use the term "Grillen," as Goethe frequently did, "to denote his moodiness and troubles" (Mark Nixon, '"Scraps ofGerman': Samuel Beckett reading German Literature," Notes Diverse Halo, Special issue SBT/A 16 [2006[ 265).

2 a



German-born theologian Thomas a Kempis (ne Thomas Haernrnerlein, 1380-1471) wrote what is known in English as The Imitation of Christ in 1441; it was first published in 1471. Latin citations that follow in this and related notes are from Thomas Kempis, De imitatione Christi libri quatuor: sacrae scripturae textuum adnotatione et variis rerum indiabus lorupletata, new edn. (Mechliniae, Belgium: H. Dessain, 1921); sections and subsections of the text are given in roman numerals followed by the page reference in arabic numerals. Modern English translations are taken from Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, ed. Ernest Rhys, EveI}'1l1an's Library (London: J. M. Dent; New York: E. P. Dutton, 1910), which is widely available. Rhys's translation is based on the first English translation, De imitatione Christi, ed. J. K. Ingram, Early English Text Society Extra Series (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Turner and Co., 1893). For the convenience of readers as well as scholors of the classical text, page references are given to both English translations. SB's notes are in his Notebook for

Dream of Fair to Middling Women, BIF, UoR, MS 5000; see Pilling (ed.), Beckett's Dream Notebook, 80-87.

"Qui melius scit pati, majorem tenebit pacem" (II.iii, 87) ("He that can well suffer shall find most peace") (Rhys, 66; Ingram, 43).

"Nolle consolari ab aliqua creatura, magnae puritatis, et internae fiduciae signum est" (II.vi, 93) ("For a man not to wish to be comforted by any creature is a token ofgreat purity") (Rhys, 72; Ingram, 47).

"Per viam pacis, ad patriam perpetuae claritatis" (III.lxiv, 296) ("Direct him by the way of peace to the country of everlasting clearness") (Rhys, 228; Ingram, 150).

3 In "Of Eschewing Superfluity of Words" (l.x), Thomas a Kempis asks why we do not simply avoid conversation, since "seldom we come home without hurting of conscience"; he suggests that "we seek comfort each from the other and to relieve the heart that is made weary with divers thoughts," but concludes that "such outward comfort is a great hindering ofinward and heavenly consolation" (Rhys, 16; Ingram, 11). From I.xx, "OfLove of Silence and to Be Alone," Thomas a Kempis cites: "Be ye sorry in your chambers" (from Isaiah 26:20) (Rhys, 37; Ingram, 25). He advises withdrawal from the world: "Laetus exitus tristem saepe reditum parit: et laeta vigilia serotina triste mane facit" ("glad going out ofttimes bringeth forth a sorrowful coming home and a

glad watching over evening bringeth forth a sorry morning") (Rhys, 38; Ingram, 25).

From N.xii, "With how great Diligence he ought to prepare himself that should receive the Sacrament of Christ." Thomas Kempis's advice is to shut oneself in as "passer solitarius in tecto" ("a solitary bird under the evesings leaves]") (Rhys, 268; Ingram, 276).

4 "Pleroma" (Gk., fullness, abundance), related to Gnosticism.

From Kempis, l.v, "Of Reading of the Scriptures": "If thou wilt draw profit in reading read meekly simply and truly, not desiring to have a name of knowledge" (Rhys, 10; Ingram, 107).

"Oeuvres pies" (works of piety).

SB seems to be quoting from McGreevy's letter to him which has not been found.

5 a



"Pretiosa margarita" (precious pearl), an analogy to the Kingdom of Heaven (see Matthew 13:45-46).

Thomas Kempis wrote: "Quam multi ore tenus praedicant, sed vita longe dissen tiunt: ipsa tamen est pretiosa margarita, a multis absc6ndita" (III.xxxvii, 213) ("Many preach with the mouth but in living they depart far therefrom. Nevertheless it is a precious margaret (pearl) and hid from many") (Rhys, 167; Ingram, 108).

SB wrote "<terrors> shudders." "Macche" (It. colloq., Come off it!).

6 "Pentimenti" (acts of contrition).

7 "Canular" (Ecole Normale Superieure slang, practical joke).

8 With Marc Lvovich Slonim (1894-1976), George Reavey had founded the Bureau Litteraire Europeen, 4, Square Leon Guillot, Paris XV; for several years, following work on The European Caravan, he had been interested in establishing a London base for his agency as the European Literary Bureau.

The Six Bells was a pub on King's Road near Glebe Place, Chelsea. Petite Anthologie poetique du surrealisme, ed. Georges Hugnet (Paris: Editions Jeanne Bucher, 1934).

With Slonim, Reavey edited and translated from the Russian Soviet Literature: An Anthology (London: Wishart and Co., 1933; tr. into French as Anthologie de la litterature

sovietique, 1918-1934 [Paris: Gallimard, 19351). His edition ofPaul Eluard's poems, Thorns of Thunder, included many translated by SB; it was released in conjunction with The International Surrealist Exhibition in London (11 June to 4 July 1936).

Reavey had embarked on the first of his translations of the works of Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdyaev (1874-1948), Smysl istorii (1923; The Meaning of History, 1936).

Reavey's current poetry was based on centos: e.g. the two collections he published in 1935: Faust's Metamorphoses: Poems; Nostradam: A Sequence of Poems, Europa Poets

1 (Paris: Europa Press, 1935); Signes d'adieu (Frailty of Love), tr. Pierre Chamay, Europa Poets (Paris: Editions Europa, 1935). It is not known which poem Reavey had shown SB.

9 Lucia Joyce in London: see 20 February [1935], n. 10.

SB and Hester Dowden were playing Ravel's Pavane pour une Infante defunte for piano, four hands (24 February 1931, n.4).

10 In the Steps of the Master (1934) by H[enry] V[ollam] Morton (1892-1979). May Beckett's birthday was 1 March.

11 Eden Park, an area of southeast London, near Beckenham. St. Bartholomew's Hospital (Barts). Westsmithfield, London, EC 1.

12 The Lener String Quartet played all ofBeethoven's Rasumovsky Quartets, op. 59, at Queen's Hall on 9 March 1935.

13 The exhibition Landscapes from Donegal to Yorkshire: 20 February [1935], n. 15.

Estella Solomons's portrait ofJack Yeats, painted in 1922, is now in the collection of the Sligo County Library and Museum; she had included her portraits in the exhibition at the urging of Louise Jacobs (Louise Jacobs to Stella Solomons Starkey, 10 October 1934, TCD, MS 4644/1208).Jacobs's paintings included landscapes (The Cafe Montmartre, A Tournament in Toyland, Red Roofs of Whitby) as well as portraits (TCD, MS 4644/3521; Michael Jacobs).

14 SB was disappointed: "The Dublin Magazine is out, but my poem not in" (SB to McGreevy, 26 April 1935, TCD, MS 10402/74). In a letter to Leventhal, SB wrote: "[O'Sullivan] has a quatrain of mine, due in the last awful issue, but perhaps he has smoked its indiscriminate application to death-bed & whoral turns"; SB enclosed the poem "Da Tagte Es" (7 August [1935], TxU).

15 Goethe's autobiography Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit (1811-1833; Memoirs of Goethe: Written by Himself ). SB may have read an edition that presented the title in "inverted word order," namely Aus meinem Leben: Wahrheit und Dichtung, of which there are several. Notes on his reading of Goethe can be found in TCD, MS 10971/1; for a description: Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD, MS 10971/1: German Literature," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 (2006) 115-116, 120-123.

SB had read as far as Goethe's meeting with the German philosopher, Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) (Book X). Goethe himself depicts his father as imperious, yet respected.

16 The action ofBenJonson's The Alchemist (1610) is set in a single house ofa doctor. SB quotes from Racine's Bajazet (1672): "Nourri dans le serail, j'en connais !es detours"

("In the Seraglio reared, I know its ways") Uean Racine, Bajazet [Paris:Editions du Seuil, 1947] 124; Jean Racine, Complete Plays, II, tr. Samuel Solomon, [New York: Modem Library, 1969] 64).

17 MacCarthy's painting: see 20 February [1935], n. 13.


[15 March 1935]

[no greeting]

34 Gertrude St London S.W.19.

Not Poems after all, but: Echo's Bones, and Other Precipitates.1 C'est plus modeste.2


TPCI; 1 leaf, 2 sides; to Monsieur George Reavey, Bureau Litteraire Europeen, Rue Bonaparte 13, Paris 6me; pm 15-3-35, London, pm 16-3-35, Paris; AN recto, in another

hand Giacometti, 46 Rue Hippolyte, XVMaindron Rue d'Alesia; AN verso, in another hand 6 March 1935; TxU. Dating: from pm.

1 For the title of the book, SB chose the title of the final poem in the collection.

2 "C'est plus modeste." (It is more modest.)

Thomas Mcgreevy London


Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

My dear Tom

Glad to hear that Devlin's visit was a success. Did you see his poem in Saturday's Irish Times? An agreeable change from all the Hymns Ancient & Modern. 1

Except for the heart bad a couple of nights, things have been pretty well with me. I have been a lot with Mother, & note with pleasure that she forgets to be wretched more often than formerly. Also walking enormously. Quando il piede cammina il cuore gode.2

Yesterday afternoon I had Jack Yeats all to myself, not even Madame, from 3 to past 6, and saw some quite new pictures. He seems to be having a freer period. The one in the Academy - Low Tide - bought by Meredith for the Municipal is overwhelming.3 He can only recall my watercolour very vaguely, as being probably the fish market in Sligo.4 He was asking for you, and stressed the advisability of your not failing to apply for the Gallery, though saying nothing to make it appear that he was in the know.5 He had some story from Miss Purser of the Lun;:at, now exposed in the Municipal, having been attacked with spits & sticks. In the end we went out, down to Charlemont House to find out about Sunday opening, & then to Jury's for a drink. He parted as usual with an offer to buy me a Herald. I hope to see him again before I leave, but do not expect ever to have him like that again.6


I went one evening with Leventhal to see Ethna. She has some kind of a job in the Castle. The Pourbus seems held up indefinitely in the Customs.7 She lent me two volumes of Albeniz. I have found some charming and playable de Falla of my own.8

I am getting on well with the Torre. It is a pity that he can't keep off the flowers of speech. The precedent hunting seems very brilliant, though I imagine a historian would cavil at the Revolution as merely an episode in a national tradition of antifeudalism, and at the sequitur from the rejection of the Reform to the convocation of the States General. But for me the simplification & easy going dogmatism is good enough.9


I suppose you remember the little Del Mazo Musicians in the Gallery. I seem to remember your having spoken of it as a pet of yours. It is charming, with something of Watteau in it. The Wilson Tivoli views are good, one is almost a replica of the one in Dulwich.10

Second lesson at church this evening was the passage of Christ's commission to Peter. "Care my lambs, care my sheep, care my sheep", & the "Peter, lovest thou me" thrice. Poor Peter, he was always getting it in threes. Anyway I remembered the Raphael Cartoon of the Commission, & the rest of the service was easy, even a sermon all about demes & 1/120th part of a [? lav] per caput (si on peut dire).11

Dublin is lovely with no trams & buses, the hills & sea seem to have crept nearer.12

I expect to stay the month, which means I would be back in London to-morrow fortnight. I don't want to accept this life quite yet, but I loathe the thought of returning to London. However, it must be.

I wonder did you remember to take the books I left at

Gertrude St. to the library?

No news from Geoffrey. C'est !'amour. Schone Griisse to Hester & Dilly.13

Love ever


ALS; 3 leaves. 6 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, 15 Cheyne Gardens, London S.W. 3;

pm 6-5-35, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/75.

1 Denis Devlin had joined the Department of External Affairs and was traveling in connection with his work. Devlin's poem "Moments" was in three parts, each beginning from a specific observation; whereas earlier poems had been drawn principally from religious or historical contexts ("Moments," The Irish Times 4 May 1935: 7; see Denis Devlin, Collected Poems ofDenis Devlin, ed.J. C. C. Mays [Dublin: Dedalus Press, 1989] 93-99, 107-108).

2 "Quando ii piede cammina ii cuore gode" (When the foot walks, the heart gladdens). Source unknown, probably proverbial.

3 Yeats was aware of SB's preference, as he wrote to McGreevy on 13 February 1935: "I tried to get Beckett on the phone one day but he was away. I wanted to arrange a day for him to come here - when there wouldn't be other visitors as he doesn't so much like having them about" (TCD, MS 10381/125). His wife was artist Mary Cottenham Yeats(nee White, known as Cottie, 1867-1947).

Low Tide(1935, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, no. 727; Pyle 454) was shown in

the 1935 Royal Hibernian Academy Exhibition; it was sold to Justice James Creed Meredith(1875-1942), who in 1937 presented it to the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art(Pyle.Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonne ofthe Oil Paintings, I, 312; III, 196).

4 The watercolor is Corner Boys(private collection, Pyle 701)(Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: His Watercolours, Drawings and Pastels [Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1993] 165).

5 The position of Director of the National Gallery oflreland was advertised for two weeks from 9 April 1935; the advertisement announced a closing date for applications of 21 May 1935 and stated that "Personal canvassing of members of the Board is prohibited" (The Irish Times 9 April 1935: 6). Jack Yeats counseled McGreevy: "I wish you were certain to get the directorship of the National Gallery here. I am sure you have a good chance"(13 February 1935, TCD, MS 10381/125); later he sent a copy of the advertisement, and wrote: "I daresay that the field will be so overwhelming on each other that, if you came ghost up along, determinedly, you might, just, get it"(15 April 1935, TCD MS 10381/126). Brian Coffey, whose father Dr. Denis Coffey(1865-1945) was President of University College Dublin and a member of the Board, also encouraged McGreevy (16 May 1935, TCD MS 8110/19). McGreevy applied for the position on 18 May, but he was not invited to interview.

6 The attack on Lurc;:at's Decorative Landscape(Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, no. 709) was reported to the City Manager by the Curator, John J. Reynolds(n.d., Curator from 14 April 1924 to 30 September 1935)(26, 27 April 1935, Records of the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art). SB reported to McGreevy: "A large hole was clean through the middle sky, with scratches extending left to the 'magic' !edgy passage, & what looked like spit marks" (15 May 1935, TCD, MS MS 10402/76). Sarah Purser, Dublin artist and art patron, had accepted the Lurc;:at painting on behalf of the Society of Friends of the National Collections of Ireland: 4 November [for 3 November 1932], n. 4. SB writes about the damage in "La Peinture des van Velde ou le Monde et le Pantalon," Cahiers d'Art, 20-21(1945-1946) 349; rpt. in Samuel Beckett, Disjecta, 119.

Jury's Hotel was then located at 6-8 College Green; Yeats was a regular reader of the Evening Herald(1891- ).

7 Ethna MacCarthy's painting by Pourbus: see 20 February [1935], n. 13. Her position in Dublin Castle is not known.

8 It is not known which of the piano scores of Isaac Albeniz had been lent to SB by Ethna Maccarthy. Manuel de Falla's compositions for piano are numerous and include piano adaptations of music from his ballet scores.

9 Guillermo de Torre(1900-1971), Spanish critic, was a member of an experimental poetic movement, "ultraism"(fl. 1919-1923); in South America it included such poets as Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) and Chilean poet and diplomat

Pablo Neruda (ne Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, 1904-1973). SB may have been reading Torre's Literaturas europeas de vanguardia (1925); Torre was a founder of La Gaceta Literaria (Madrid) and had contributed to The New Review 1,4 (Winter 1931-1932).

10 The Musicians (NG! 659) by Spanish painter Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo (c.1613-1667) is compared to paintings by Antoine Watteau. Of the two paintings by Richard Wilson in the collection of the National Gallery oflreland, A View of Tivoli over the Campagna (NG! 746) and A View of Tivoli (NG! 747), the first is more similar in composition to Dulwich's Tivoli, the Cascatelle and the "Villa ofMaecenas" (DPG 171).

11 Christ's commission to Peter Uohn 21:15-17) was one of the lessons in the Jectionary appointed for the evening service on the second Sunday after Easter (5 May 1935).

SB refers to Christ's Charge to Peter, one ofthe seven Raphael cartoons in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (see 20 February [1935], n. 12; www.vam.ac.ukf).

SB's reference to "Demes" is unclear. A legal term of minimum repayment is 1/120th part of the remains of a debt. The second lesson for the evening service was Philippians 3:7-21; verse 9 speaks of the difference between worldly possession and faith: "not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but . . . the righteousness which is of God by Faith" (The Book of Common Prayer . ..The Church of Ireland [Dublin: Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Church of Ireland, 1927] xxxvii).

Si on peut dire (to put it that way).

12 Tram and bus drivers were on strike in Dublin; service resumed only on 18 May 1935 ("Sixty Days of Tramway Strike," The Irish Times 1 May 1935: 8; "Trams and Buses To-Day," The Irish Times 18 May 1935: 9).

13 SB refers to Thompson's courtship ofUrsula Stenhouse; "c'est !'amour" (it's love). "Schone Griisse" (warm greetings). Hester Dowden, Geraldine Cummins (Dilly).



34 Gertrude Street London s_w.10

Cher ami

Nostradamus et Michel de !'Hospital en collaboration, astres et cadastres, vraie cellule de l'histoire. 1 Tes poemes en retirent la membrane. Poles et principes male et femelle, castagnettes de meme si tu veux, c'est plutot a celui-ci que je me surprends a songer par tous les secteurs de ton cycle, ce qui est dans ton dessein sans doute.2 Mais felicitations avant tout de cette menace ou promesse grandissant comme orgasme a echeance imprevisible, celle du tres Saint-Barthelemy, qui n'est apres tout qu'une fa�on de ..gemir, et dont le firmament n'est guere plus console que d'un pet en combustion.3

Taus les signes sont d'adieu.4 Ll.che-moi en [for Lache-m'en] un tout de meme.

Amities s/ Sam

ALS; 1 leaf. 1 side; TxU.


34 Gertrude Street London S.W.10

Dear George,

Nostradamus and Michel de l'Hospital in collaboration, celestial bodies and terrestrial plots, a true cell of history.1 Your poems pull the membrane from it.Male and female poles and principles, ditto castanets if you like, this is the one I catch myself musing over through all the sectors of your cycle, which is no doubt part of your design.2 But congratulations above all on that threat or promise, swelling like some orgasm whose term is unpredictable, of the very Saintly Bartholomew, which is after all only a manner of ... moaning, something no more consoling to the firmament than afart on fire.3

All signs are offarewell.4 Let me have one all the same.

All the best Sam

1 For the sequence of poems Nostradam, Reavey cites as an epigraph lines from

D. H. Lawrence's poem '"The Ship of Death":

"Build then the ship ofdeath, for you must take The longest journey[,] to oblivion.

And die the death, the long and painful death That lies between the old selfand the new. ([31)"

The poems in the first section of Nostradam, "A Word for Nostradamus" (9-22), explore political and religious upheaval following the death ofHemy II (1519-1559), as predicted by French physician and astrologer Nostradamus (Latin name ofMichel de Notredame, 1503-1566). Michel de !'Hospital ( c.1505-1573) represented Henry II at the Council ofTrent (1545-1563), and, after the King's death, became Chancellor ofFrance from 1560 to 1568; he advocated policy reform and religious toleration, but as the Wars of Religion (Catholics vs. Huguenots) resumed in 1567, L'Hospital and the moderates were discredited.

Reavey's epigraph for this section is drawn from Nostradamus, I, 53, although it modernizes some words:

"Lorsqu'on [for Las qu'on] verra grand peuple tourmente Et la Joy sainte [for Loy Saincte] en totale ruine

Par autres fois [for loix] toute la Chrestiente Quand d'or d'argent trouve nouvelle mine."

("Alas, how a great people shall be tormented And the Holy Laws in total ruin,

By other laws, all Christianity troubled,

When new mines ofgold and silver will be found.")

(The Complcte Prophecies ofNostradamus, ed. and tr. Henry C.Roberts, [New York: Crown, 1947] 26)

Reavey dedicated the poem "Tell me that Dream" to SB; it considers Nostradamus's dream ofdeath (Nostradam, 13).

2 The second sequence ofsix poems in Reavey's Nostradam is entitled "A La Belle Dame -Sans Merci" (21-28). SB alludes to the contrasts between the two sections of Nostradam.

3 On the feast day of St. Bartholomew in 1572, a massacre of French Huguenots began in Paris and continued in the countryside for a month.

Fa�on de .. gemir (manner of.. moaning, adapted from "fa�on de parler" [manner ofspeaking])

4 SB alludes to Reavey's Signes d'adieu.


23/6/35 34 Gertrude St

London SW 10

Cher ami

Oui, elle et lui foyers de la vie ellipse de solitudes. On finira bien par ne plus se donner la peine de verifier les distances.

Je suis bien aise de pouvoir te dire que tes Signes me plaisent plus que tout ce que j'ai lu de toi jusqu'ici. 1 Comme articulation - lyrisme succinct, pensee qui n'insiste pas, litote sans secheresse - ils ne risquent guere de se perdre. (Femmes si reelles et quatre derniers vers de Souci Tristesse).2 Mais c'est avant tout comme temperament que j'en admire la qualite, temperament que je ne me souviens pas d'avoir trouve ailleurs sinon dans les !I"agiques de Jouve, qui l'a toutefois beaucoup plus indique.3

Je n'ai pas besoin de }'original pour comprendre que la traduction est excellente.4

Merci infiniment. A toi Sam

ALS; 1 leaf, 1 side; TxU.

Dear George

Yes, he and she sources oflife ellipsis ofsolitudes. We shall end up not troubling to check the distances.

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that I like your Signes more than anything I've read of yours up till now. 1 As articulation - succinct lyricism, unobtrusive thought, litotes without dryness - they are in no danger oflosing their way. ("Femmes si reelles" and last four lines of "Souci tristesse").2 But it is above all for their temperament that I admire the quality of them, a temperament that I cannot remember finding anywhere except in Jouve's Tragiques, where in any case it is much more insistent.3

I do not need the original to understand that the translation is excellent.4

Very many thanks



1 Reavey, Signes d'adieu.

2 Reavey's poem:

Femmes si reelles votre realite n'est pas sure quant a ce qui est des caresses signes d'adieu d'etoiles mourantes apposition des mains mesintelligence des levres et des yeux l'enchainement de certains moments et l'inconsequence de la plupart.

SB discusses the four last lines of:

Souci tristesse ainsi parle cette musique mais le coeur s'y laisserait prendre? Jamais! c'est une ravine ou !'on s'affaisse 6 destin plus fort que l'acier et plus puissant que tout vouloir ii est la tapi dans cette musique et le desir vous effleure mais dans Jes failles des montagnes la neige s'ecoule en torrents.



3 Tragiques (1923), a collection ofpoems by Pierre-Jeanjouve (1887-1976).

4 Signes d'adieu, the French translation ofReavey's poems: 10 March [1935], n. 8; an English edition, Frailty of Love, was announced, but it was not published.

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Ireland

8 Sep [1935] 34 Gertrude St


My dear Tom

The discrepancy between mind and body is terrible. It is something that the four of you are together.1 And that you have been able to feel close to her if only briefly. May it all be over soon, for her and for you all.

I have been as you know me. I miss you greatly. I had a card from Hester announcing remove to Sorrento.2 Geoffrey was round, less Cytherean. We had a lovely walk in Battersea Park.3 I would like to live in a perpetual September. One does one's best to prefer Spring, in vain. I had a letter from Simon & Schuster, asking to see all available material. I told Chatto's to send Proust & Pricks. Parsons expressed himself overcome by the sound of my voice after so long. Were he not just on the point of going on holiday, etc. When could Chatto's look forward to hearing from me in my hack's capacity. So long now since. No news of Charles if not a card from the midlands, where wonderful dinners are being had by him. No inquiries for you.4

I have been working over the poems, in the expectation of proofs which have not come. The Undertaker's Man is the hardest to mitigate. It never was a poem and the best I can do now is to cut my losses. Yet it has something that will not let me leave it out altogether. They will provoke the irritated guffaw & heehaw all right. Deja quelquechose. I have also been working at other stuff, I fear involontairement trivial.5 Well if it is so and I am so, amen. Really anything at all is better than the perpetual blankness and obliteration before the fact. I hope to keep at it.

Miss Costello turned up from Las Palrnas, but Poggioli was the best I could put up. Their spaghetti alla B. are very aphrodisiac, pace Geoffrey and the courting extremists. We went to a brief Spanish colour film in Tottenham Court Rd., La Cucaracha.6 That cooled me off. And a good thing, with such an unclitoridian companion.

[ ...]

I begin to think I have gerontophilia on top of the rest. The little shabby respectable old men you see on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, pottering about doing odd jobs in the garden, or flying kites immense distances at the Round Pond, Kensington. Yesterday there was a regular club ofthe latter, with a sprinkling of grandchildren, sitting in a crescent waiting for a wind. The kites lying in the grass with their long tails beautifully cared for, all assembled and ready. For they bring them in separate pieces, the sticks and tail rolled up in the canvas and a huge spool of string. Some have boats as well, but not the real enthusiasts. Then great perturbation to get them off at the first breath of wind. They fly them almost out of sight, yesterday it was over the trees to the south, into an absolutely cloudless viridescent evening sky. Then when the string is run out they simply sit there watching them, chucking at the string, the way coachmen do at a reins, presumably to keep them from losing height. There seems to be no competition at all involved. Then after about an hour they wind them gently in and go home. I was really rooted to the spot yesterday, unable to go away and wondering what was keeping me. Extraordinary effect too of birds flying close to the kites but beneath them. My next old man, or old young man, not of the big world but of the little world, must be a kite-flyer. So absolutely disinterested, like a poem, or useful in the depths where demand and supply coincide, and the prayer is the god. Yes, prayer rather than poem, in order to be quite clear, because poems are prayers, of Dives and Lazarus one flesh. 7

Then there is the "old boy" of the house opposite, whose seizure of course remains the felony that was first described to me, and whose cup is still on the sill where he left it, though the crusts have been taken away. I suppose they keep hens in the back. Well, I suppose the less dirty clouds of dirty glory people trail about with them, the more likeable they are, and so the clean old man takes the eye. The doctrine of reminiscence may hold for turds. And even they cool quickly.8

Miss Costello said to me: "You haven't a good word to say for anyone but the failures". I thought that was quite the nicest thing anyone had said to me for a long time.

You know all I wish for you. That the hope of your Arrangement be not much longer deferred, to begin with.9 Then the rest.

Love ever s/ Sam

TIS; I leaf, 2 sides; TCD, MS 10402/80. Dating: in a letter of 31 August 1935 (TCD), SB writes to McGreevy that his brother Frank is in Donegal for a fortnight, and on 22 September 1935 that Frank and May Beckett have moved to Killiney. Previous publication: The paragraph beginning "I begin to think ..." is published in Deirdre Bair, Samuel Beckett: A Biography (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978) 207.

1 McGreevy wrote to Richard Aldington: "My mother has been very bad but is easier now. her mind as clear as ever" (10 September 1935, TxU: Derek Patmore). Two of McGreevy's six sisters were with him in Tarbert - Honora Phelan and Margaret McGreevy.

2 Hester Dowden was on holiday in Ireland; having stayed in Bray with her friend Geraldine Cummins, she was now visiting her daughter Dolly Robinson at her home, "Sorrento," in Dalkey (Cummins to Thomas McGreevy, 14 August 1935, TCD MS 8111).

3 Geoffrey Thompson. Battersea Park, London SW 11, on the Thames.

4 The New York publishers, Simon and Schuster.

Ian Parsons (1906-1980) was an Editor at Chatto and Windus. By "hack work" SB refers to his critical writing. In 1932, he had proposed a study of Gide to Chatto and Windus (see 13 [September 1932J, n. 3).

Charles Prentice had retired as a Director at Chatto and Windus at the end of 1934 (Prentice to Harold Raymond [1887-1975], a Partner in Chatto and Windus, 3 January 1935, enclosing a copy of the "Deed of Release, duly signed & witnessed" [UoR, MS 2444 CW 54/131). SB reports Parsons's latest news of Prentice; unsurprisingly,

McGreevy misunderstood this to mean that Prentice had stayed in contact with SB, though not with him: "Sam gets an odd postcard with no mention of me ever" (McGreevy to Richard Aldington, 11 September 1935, TxU, Derek Patmore collection).

5 SB was expecting to receive proofs of his first collection of poems, Echo's Bones, published by The Europa Press in November 1935. By "The Undertaker's Man," he refers to "Malacoda" [33-34[.

Deja quelquechose [for quelque chose] (better than nothing); "involontairement" (involuntarily).

6 Nuala Costello. Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Poggioli was an Italian restaurant,

5 Charlotte Street, Soho. La Cucaracha (1934), directed by Lloyd Corrigan (1900-1969).

7 "Gerontophi!ia" is a term included in SB's notes taken on Ernest Jones's Papers in Psycho-Analysis (1923) (TCD, MS 10971/8/18).

SB wrote " <prayers>poems are prayers."

Dives and Lazarus refers to the parable of the rich man, Dives, whose petition was not granted, whereas that of Lazarus was (Luke 16:19-31).

8 The "old boy" and his felony are described in Bair, Samuel Beckett, 207, where no source is given.

9 McGreevy's novel Arrangement, also entitled Neither will I, was never published (see TCD, MS 8039/55).

Thomas Mcgreevy Tarbert, Co. Kerry

Sunday [22 September 1935]

34 Gertrude St., [London]

Dear Tom

I lunched to-day with Hester & Raven. She looks a new woman after her holiday. Result I suppose of having fixed things with Dolly. She seems to have got about a lot & seen all the Jonsons, from O'Casey up or down. She was overjoyed at my being able to identify Longford from her description of eunuch seen at first night of Higgins, who she calls O'Higgins. 1 She appears to know of your name in connexion with Municipal Gallery, but says she heard of nothing but highest praise of

Reynolds. Funny you heard nothing more from Stewart. Perhaps the Munden in is coming a cropper.2

I had no application for a poem, & proofs of mine have not yet come. Had a card from Reavey from Toledo - Count Orgel [for Orgaz]. Nothing more from S. & S. Chatto's may not have bothered sending the books. Should not think anything is likely to come of it, unless they want to have me under contract for a possible some thing some day.3

I have been forcing myself to keep at the book, & it crawls forward. I have done about 9000 words. It is poor stuff & I have no interest in it.4

The intestinal pains are worse than they have been so far. Bion is not interested. Geoffrey checks a smile. I feel absolutely certain that I will get no further with analysis than I have done, that from now on it is money thrown away. Yet I have not the courage to call it off. I also feel certain that there is something wrong with my guts, yet have not the courage to consult a doctor on my own. Where one is as devoid of courage as I am there seems to be nothing more to be said or done.

Geoffrey is getting married on Nov. 2nd down at Lulworth Cove, Dorset, in church. I had long ago promised to be his witness in registry office, so now find myself booked for the misfortunes of Hairy. I was down at Bedlam this day week & went round the wards for the first time, with scarcely any sense of horror, though I saw everything, from mild depression to profound dementia.5

I went to Woizikovski [for Woizikovsky] ballet Thursday & saw Sylphides, which I find positively ugly, Amour Sorcier & Petrouchka. Tarakanova danced the Widow & the Doll extremely well. I went with Hillis whom I ran into again in King's Road. I dined with him one evening in Cheyne Walk, & he played the Debussy Quartet for me & some songs (si on peut dire) from Pelleas. Very pleasant. He is very pleasant, knows a lot of music. Woizikovski does not dance so subtly as Massine, yet the Petrouchka as philosophy was elucidated without any attempt to do so having appeared, the man of low humanity worshipping the earthball, & the man of high execrating his creator.6

News from home satisfactory. They have reached Killiney at last.7 Frank never writes, but Mother seems happier. All the visitors have left, which means strain intensified for both of them.

Raven was very gay (for him) & breathed forth guarantees concerning your books. I have the Boissier down for renewal on Wednesday & shall not forget.8 It is no trouble. I am glad you have your catalogue. I have not been to a gallery for weeks. Preoccupation with the writing sucks all the attention I have out of me. If one could even look forward to going to bed!

Montchretien I don't know at all. Hester was saying very nice things of the Montherlant, & of Guy de Pourtales' Chopin, which I must say I should not care to face.9 I have got stuck in the Rabelais again, on the voyage round the world to consult the oracle of the Bottle.10

The weather had been so exquisite that it was impossible to stay in, especially at dusk, but since the monstrous moon of last Thursday week it has gone to bits. The kites at the Round Pond yesterday were plunging & writhing all over the sky. The book closes with an old man flying his kite, if such occasions ever arise.11

Cissie has moved from Howth & is now in Moyne Road, Rathgar. She has hired a piano & writes very happy at having a sanctuary, except that Boss refuses to leave Newcastle.12

Hilliard is still about. I walked out ofthe door one morning and there he was playing cricket with the street-urchins. No doubt he is staying with Paddy Trench whom I see flying about on an old motor-bike.13

Your mother's powers ofrecovery are amazing & hope they bring her to something worth having. It is certainly very awkward about Delia, though I am sure you are blessing the extra presence in the house.16

Love ever


ALS; 3 leaves, 3 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, Tarbert, Co Keny, Irish Free State; pm 23-9-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/81. Dating: pm; Thursday 19 September 1935 was the only evening that the Woizikovsky ballet included Les Sylphides, L'Amour Sorrier, and Petrouchka on the same program at the Coliseum.

1 Hester Dowden and Thomas Holmes Ravenhill. Hester Dowden had just returned from Ireland and a visit with her daughter Dolly Robinson; the allusion to Ben Jonson suggests that she had seen all of the playwrights connected with the Abbey Theatre, of which her son-in-law Lennox Robinson was Director.

Edward Arthur Henry Pakenham, sixth Earl of Longford (1902-1961), theatrical producer and dramatist, supported the fledgling Gate Theatre from 1931 to 1936, at which time it divided into the Gate Company and the Longford Players, each group playing six months in residence in Dublin and six months touring.

F. R. Higgins became a Director of the Abbey Theatre in 1935; the opening of his verse play The Deuce of]acks, on 16 September 1935, was attended by Lord Longford and Irish playwright Sean O'Casey (1880-1964) (Holloway.Joseph Holloway's Irish Theatre, II, 1932-1937, 48).

2 John J. Reynolds (n.d.) was Curator of the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art from 1924 until 30 September 1935; he was replaced by John F. Kelly (n.d.) on 1 October 1935.

William McCausland Stewart (1900-1989), then Professor of French at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, had mentioned the Directorship of the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art to McGreevy and indicated that if McGreevy were interested he should be in touch with W. B. Yeats and Dermod O'Brien to support his application (Stewart to McGreevy, 19 August 1935 ITCD, MS 8136/76]; Susan Schriebman, 15 January 2007).

Miinden in (Ger., flowing out, as at the mouth ofa river).

3 Proofs of Echo's Bones were awaited from George Reavey, Europa Press. Reavey had sent a card from Spain depicting The Burial of Count Orgaz (1586, Church of Santo

Tome, Toledo) by Crete-born artist El Greco (ne Domenikos Theotokopoulos, 1541-1614); SB was familiar with the painting, having referred to it in Dream of Pair to Middling Women: "Her great eyes I - .. J went as big and black as El Greco painted, with a couple of good wet slaps from his laden brush, in the Burial of the Count ofOrgaz the debauched eyes of his son or was it his mistress?" (174).

The request of Simon and Schuster: 8 September 1935.

4 The manuscript of Murphy.

5 SB was best man for Geoffrey and Ursula Thompson on 2 November 1935 in Lulworth, England (Cynthia Frazier, 18July 1994). SB's character Capper Quin, "known to his admirers as Hairy," was best man for Belacqua's marriage to Thelma bboggs (More Pricks Than Kicks, 124).

Thompson was Senior House Physician at Bethlem Royal Hospital (popularly known as Bedlam), although by 1914 it was described as a "charitable institution for the better-class insane, especially for curable cases (over 50% are dismissed as cured") (Findlay Muirhead, London and Its Environs, 2nd edn., The Blue Guides [London: Macmillan, 1922] 319.

6 The company of Polish dancer and choreographer Leon Woizikovsky (1899-1975) performed on Thursday 19 September 1935 at the London Coliseum. The ballet Les Sylphides (1909; previously entitled Chopiniana) was choreographed by Michel Fokine (1880-1942) and orchestrated by Aleksandr Konstantinovich Glazunov (1865-1936), Igor Stravinsky, and Sergei lvanovich Taneyev (1856-1915), from music by Frederic Chopin.

In the ballet L'Amour sorder (1935; Love the Magidan), Woizikovsky created new choreography for Manuel de Falla's one-act ballet El amor brujo (1916-1917); in this production, the Widow was danced by Nina Tarakanova (1915-1994); she also performed the role of the Ballerina/Doll choreographed by Michel Fokine in Stravinsky's ballet Petrouchka (also Petrushka).

Arthur Hillis recalled SB's enthusiasm for Petrushka, and also that SB was particularly interested in the structure of Debussy's String Quartet in G minor, op. 10: how the piece builds in the first three movements and then "blows it to bits in the fourth" (Arthur Hillis, 3 July 1992). Selections from Debussy's opera in four acts, Pellfos et Melisande, were recorded as "A Collector's Pelleas" (Paris Recordings, VAIA 1083, 1927-1928).

Si on peut dire (if I may call them that).

Leonide Massine played leading roles in Diaghilev's ballets between 1914 and 1928. Woizikovsky was a member of the Diaghilev Ballets Russes from 1915 to 1929, where he and Massine alternated in major roles.

In Petrushka, the Blackamoor infers that the coconut contains a powerful god and salutes it, and the Old Wizard defuses the dismay of onlookers by showing that Petrushka is merely a puppet.

7 May and Frank Beckett had moved temporarily to a house in Killiney.

8 Ravenhill reacted positively to McGreevy's recent publications: Poems (1934), and his translation, Lament for the Death of an Upper Class.

While McGreevy was away from London, SB renewed the loan of a library book by Gaston Boissier (ne Marie-Louis-Antoine-Gaston Boissier, 1823-1908), French classical scholar.

9 Antoine de Montchretien (c.1575-1621), French dramatist and economist.

Guy de Pourtales (1881-1941), Chopin; ou, le Poete (Paris: Gallimard, 1926), which was translated as Frederick Chopin: A Man of Solitude, tr. Charles Bayly Jr. (London: T. Butterworth, 1927).

10 SB had purchased Rabelais's Gargantua et Pantagruel (1532-1533) in the Genie de la France edition (Paris: R. Hilsum, 1932; Paris: Gallimard, 1932) in four volumes (SB to McGreevy, 25 Uuly 1935], TCD, MS 10402/77). Rabelais relates a quest around the world to reach the "oracle of the Holy Bottle" (Books III-V). Although notes taken from this edition are included in TCD, MS 10969, there are none from books IV or V (Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD, MS 10969: Germany, Europe, and the French Revolution. Rabelais," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 [2006] 96-97, 102-103).

11 The ending of Murphy: see 8 September 1935.

12 With her children Nancy, Deirdre, and Morris, Cissie Sinclair had moved to 85 Moyne Road, Rathgar, Co. Dublin; the house belonged to the Beckett family estate. Boss Sinclair was being treated at the National Hospital for Consumption in Ireland, known as Newcastle Sanatorium, in Newtownmountkennedy, near Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

13 Robert Martin Hilliard (1904-1937) studied at Trinity College Dublin, represented Ireland as a featherweight boxer in the 1928 Olympic Games, was ordained and took a parish in the Church of Ireland in Belfast (1933-1934); he moved to London where he worked as a journalist (1935) (Chalmers [Terry] Trench, 27 August 1993, and 13 September 1993; Rev. Barr to Terry Trench, 28 September 1993; John Corcoran, "The Rev. Robert Martin Hilliard (1904-1937)," Keny Archaeological and Historical Society Journal, 2nd series, 5 [2005] 207-219).

Patrick Trench (1896-1939), the elder son of the TCDEnglish Professor Wilbraham

Fitzjohn Trench, lived at 351 King's Road in September 1935.

16 Bridget McGreevy (known as Delia, 1896-1977) had not found a teaching posi tion, and thus remained in Tarbert at the McGreevy family home.

Thomas Mcgreevy T Arbert, Co. Kerry

Oct. 8th '35

34 Gertrude St

[London] S.W. 10

Dear Tom

I did not find your letter in Observer but expect it will be in next Sunday. What a paper - tout de meme! The pompous trimming of that pisspot Garvin. Next week you will have it starched & unfurled. 1

It is good news that your sister has found even temporary work, I supposed [for suppose] it has saved the situation vis-a-vis your mother.

I think I saw Hester last Saturday night week. I went round & found her with the niece & husband.2 I have not been round since. I dined one evening with Bion, a hurried but good sole at the Etoile in Charlotte St., & went on to hear Jung at the Institute of Psychological Medicine. He struck me as a kind of super AE, the mind infinitely more ample, provocative & penetrating, but the same cuttle-fish's discharge & escapes from the issue in the end.3 He let fall some remarkable things nevertheless. He protests so vehemently that he is not a mystic that he must be one of the very most nebulous kind. Certainly he cannot keep the terminology out of his speech, but I suppose that is a difficulty for everyone. His lecture the night I went consisted mainly in the so called synthetic (versus Freudian analytic) interpretation of three dreams of a patient who finally went to the dogs because he insisted on taking a certain element in the dreams as the Oedipus position when Jung told him it was nothing of the kind! However he lost his neurosis among the dogs - again according to Jung.4 The mind is I suppose the best Swiss, Lavater & Rousseau, mixture of enthusiasm & Euclid, a methodical rhapsode.5 Jolas's pigeon all right, but I should think in the end less than the dirt under Freud's nails.6 I can't imagine his curing a fly of neurosis, & yet he is said to have actually cured cases of schizophrenia. If this is true he is the first to do it. He insists on patients having their horoscopes cast!7

Bion off the job is pleasant, but against a background of tooth & yank camps that makes me tremble.8 I hope he hasn't done us both a disservice by inviting me to meet him in that way.

I don't think I shall go on with the analysis after Xmas. I don't expect the troubles I hoped first & foremost to get rid of via analysis will be gone then any more than they are now. Tant pis. I must use me to them.9

As to going away even to Spain, I fear that is unlikely for some time. Mother will be feeling there is a lot of me due to her, & perhaps after all I may find myself immune to Dublin now, & able to work there. She writes from Killiney more happily I think than since it happened, & with a new sense of how she must accept what is left behind. She went to see Count of Montecristo film with Frank! Miracle.10

I expect the proofs of the poems this week. All this business of sending be done. The Undertaker's Man is well changed, the rest more or less as you know them. It will be a relief to have them out & abused.11

I have been working hard at the book & it goes very slowly, but I do not think there is any doubt now that it will be finished sooner or later. The feeling that I must jettison the whole thing has passed, only the labour of writing the remainder is left.12 There is little excitement attached to it, each chapter loses its colour & interest as soon as the next is begun. I have done about 20 000 words. Perhaps I will send you a chapter & chance its getting through, but I think I would rather wait till you can have it all together.

I never see Geoffrey. He is leaving Bethlem at the end of this month, & so far as I know his plan to get married on Nov. 2nd still holds good, with me holding the hat. What a bloody nuisance.13 I went one day to the Gallery & saw a lot in the Segers that

I had not seen before & in the Fabritius musician. 14 There are various shows one might go to, but I have not been to any. Hillis wants me to go to Boris on Thursday, but even purified ofRimsky that strikes me as too large & too hot a potato altogether. I think there is a quartet at Wigmore Hall that evening playing Brahms, Wolf & Sibelius, & we might go to that. Hillis - c;a va. There is Otway's Soldier's Fortune, T.S.E.'s Sweeney & the Ballets Jooss and a new Garbo Karenina. Perhaps the last might be managed.15 Ervine broke all his records in the Ob. I sent you. "Yes, my dear"! But Maccarthy on Mr 'Awkins wasn't far behind. Thank

God one can write without an eye on these pukes.16

I trust Devlin was kind to us. I fear he has hooked on to Dev a little late in the day. 17

Did I tell you I had a letter from Jack Yeats with news of the picture which he has traced? He had been to Tobias & Angel at Abbey. What is that?18

Mrs Frost has had a row with the pair of Lieblings above, over their wireless which never stops, & they are going. Next Saturday. God be praised. Now perhaps I shall be able to keep some stamps. She wonders would Geoffrey & wife take it over! Then the bed would creak to a purpose.19

Your Boissier falls due again this week & I shall not forget to renew it.20 I have been reading nothing at all. The Evening Standard & Baedeker's Paris before starting to lie awake.21 Sleeping very badly, I suppose because of the book. How hard it is to reach a tolerable arrangement between working & living. Cissie owes me a letter this long time. I do not think Boss is strong enough to write. He will not leave Newcastle. No news from Simon & Schuster. I wonder did Chatto's let me down.22

Haven't the interest to inquire.

God love thee Sam

ALS; 2 leaves, 4 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq. Tarbert, Co Keny, Irish Free State;

pm 9-10-35, London; TCD, MS 10402/83.

1 McGreevy's letter, "Italian Art Problem," discussed the nude figures in the background of Michelangelo's Holy Family with the Infant St. John the Baptist (c.1506/1508, painted for the Doni family, Uffizi Gallery, Florence) as representing the Law of Nature while the foregrounded Holy Family represented the Law of Grace (The Observer 13 October 1935: 15).

Tout de meme (all the same).

James Louis Garvin (1868-1947) was Editor of The Observer from 1908 to 1942 and of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (13th and 14th edns.). His editorial, "Keep Out This Time," claimed that the attack of the Italian army on Adowa, Abyssinia, confirmed his view that Mussolini and Hitler posed a genuine threat, that Britain's policy of sanctions was fallacious and inept, and that the Letter of Covenant of the League of Nations was invalid after the withdrawal of the United States, Japan, and Germany (The Observer 6 October 1935: 18).

2 SB refers to McGreevy's sister Delia.

Hester Dowden's niece has not been identified; her sister Hilda Mary Dowden (1875-1936) did not many.

3 L'Etoile, 30 Charlotte Street, Soho.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was invited by the Institute of Medical Psychology (Tavistock Clinic) to give a series of five lectures from 30 September to 4 October 1935. Bion was a discussant for lectures two and four; he took SB to the third lecture (Wednesday, 2 October 1935).

AE was interested in theosophy, ancient Irish myth, and mysticism.

4 Following his lecture, Jung was asked how he would fit mysticism into his scheme of psychology and the psyche. He responded: "Mystics are people who have a particularly vivid experience of the processes of the collective unconscious. Mystical experience is experience of archetypes." He added that he made no distinction between archetypal forms and mystical forms (C. G. Jung, Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice, The Tavistock Lectures [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1968] 110-111). Jung discussed the "anima figure" in dreams in his lecture (99-100). He also told of a patient who wanted to be a professor although his dreams indicated this goal to be beyond his ability; the patient, however, thought his dreams represented an unrealized incestuous wish that could be overcome. Jung reported: "it took him just about three months to lose his position and go to the dogs" (96-105).

5 SB wrote " <He is very>The mind."

Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801), Swiss poet, physiognomist, and theologian, a close friend of Herder and Goethe. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, citizen of Geneva. Euclid, (third century BC).

6 "In Jung's writings Jolas found the metaphysics he had sought in vain in Freud's work" (Eugene Jolas. Man from Babel, xxi-xxii).

7 In discussion following the third Tavistock lecture, Jung concluded, "I cannot cure schizophrenia in principle. Occasionally by great good chance I can synthesize the fragments" Uung, Analytical Psychology, 113).

Jung wrote on 6 September 1947 to B. V. Raman, Astrological Magazine (India): "In cases of difficult psychological diagnosis I usually get a horoscope in order to have a further point of view from an entirely different angle" (C. G. Jung, C. G. Jung: Letters, I, ed. Gerhard Adler and Aniela Jaffe, tr. R. F. C. Hull [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973] 475; see also Aniela Jaffe, From the Life and Work of C. G. Jung, tr. R. F. C. Hull and Murray Stein [Einsiedeln, Switzerland: Daimon Verlag, 1989] 17-45).

8 "Tooth and yank camps," an allusion to the proponents of rival psychoanalytic theories.

9 "Tant pis" (too bad). "Use me to them" (Gallicism for "get used to them").

10 The Count of Monte Cristo (1934), directed by American-born Rowland V. Lee (1891-1975), featuring Robert Donat (1905-1958) and Elissa Landi (nee Elizabeth Marie Christine Kiihnelt, 1904-1948), was shown at the Metropole in Dublin during the week of23 September 1935.

11 Europa Press, publisher of SB's Echo's Bones, depended upon subscriptions to underwrite the costs of printing a book. SB refers to his poem "Malacoda."

12 SB was working on the draft ofMurphy.

13 The Thompsons' wedding: see 22 September 1935, n. 5.

14 A Mountainous Landscape (NGL 4383), then ascribed to Hercules Segers (also Seghers, c.1589-c.1638) is now ascribed to an imitator ofSegers (Neil Maclaren, The Dutch School, 1600-1900, 1, rev. Christopher Brown [London: National Gallery, 1991[

420). Dutch painter Carel Fabritius (1622-1654), A View of Delft with Musical Instrument Seller's Stall (1652, NGL 3714).

15 Hillis proposed that they attend the opera Boris Godunov by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881), which opened the Sadler's Wells 1935-1936 season on

29 September 1935. The production was billed as the first English production of the original 1869 version of the opera; Mussorgsky revised it in 1872, and his musical executor Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov also reorchestrated the opera in 1896 and 1908.

SB conflates two concerts. On Saturday, 12 October in Wigmore Hall, the Isolde Menges Quartet played String Quartet in D minor, op. 56 ("Voces Intimae"), by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957); the string quartet Serenade in G major ("Italian Serenade") by Austrian composer Hugo Wolf (1860-1903); and String Quartet in D major, op. 9, by Belgian-born French composer Cesar Franck (1822-1890). On Thursday 17 October in Wigmore Hall, the Isolde Menges Quartet led by violinist Isolde Menges (1893-1976), with the addition of Helen Just (1903-1989) and Alfred De Reygher[e] (fl. 1930s-1940s), played Tchaikovsky's string sextet Souvenir de Florence in D major, op. 70; Brahms's String Sextet no. 2 in G major, op. 36; and the String Sextet by English composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941).

<;:a va (is all right).

The Soldier's Fortune (1680) by English playwright Thomas Otway (1652-1685) was playing at the Ambassadors Theatre. T. S. Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes (1926) was at the Westminster Theatre; the Ballets Jooss, the company ofGerman dancer and choreographer Kurt Jooss (1901-1979), was performing The Green Table and The Mirror in repertoire with Ballade, The Big City, and Ball in Vienna at the Gaiety Theatre. The film of Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo (1905-1990) was playing at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square.

16 St. John Ervine (ne John Greer Ervine, 1883-1971), Irish-born playwright and novelist, wrote a column, "At the Play," for The Obsen,er; a young reader had written that a sector of theatre audiences wished merely to be entertained by plays "that have nothing to do with their everyday life ... Do you see what I mean?" Ervine's retort was "Yes, my dear, I see" ("The Generations Disagree," 6 October 1935: 17).

As Book Editor of The Sunday Times, Desmond MacCarthy reviewed Anthony Hope ana His Books (1935) by Sir Charles Mallet (1863-1947) ("Anthony Hope: Achievements and Disappointments," 6 October 1935: 6). Anthony Hope ana His Books was a biography of Anthony Hope (ne Anthony Hope Hawkins, 1863-1933), author of The Prisoner of Zenda (1894).

17 Denis Devlin broadcast readings and comments on literature on Irish radio; he wrote to McGreevy: "I don't know whether you may have listened to 2RN last night (i.e. the 4th instant) and heard my marvellous recital of your Nocturne of the Self-Evident Presence. It ran 'Mr. Thomas McGreevy, an Irishman, who has been most incomprehensibly neglected.' [...] Are you pleased? I am glad to have got the chance.'' Apparently McGreevy had not heard the broadcast, because Devlin continued this letter on 22 October: "I am chagrined that you did not hear me" (5 October 1935 continued 22 October 1935, TCD, MS 8112/7). The Dublin radio station was 2RN. "Nocturne of the Self-Evident Presence" was originally published by MacGreevy under the pseudonym L. St. Senan in The Irish Statesman 7.3 (25 September 1926) 57; rpt. MacGreevy, Collected Poems of Thomas MacGreevy, ed. Schreibman, 42-43.

Devlin worked in the Department of External Affairs; as Secretary to the legation, he accompanied Eamon De Valera (popularly known as Dev, 1882-1975), then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Irish Free State and Head of Council of the League of Nations, to the League of Nations in Geneva (3 September to 2 October 1935) (Devlin, Collected Poems of Denis Devlin, 19; "Back from Geneva," The Irish Times 2 October 1933: 7).

18 Yeats may have traced the provenance of Comer Boys, which had had an owner previous to SB (see 5 May 1935, n. 4).

Tobias and the Angel by Scottish playwright James Bridie (ne Osborne Henry Mavor, 1888-1951) was performed at the Gaiety Theatre (not the Abbey Theatre) as part of the Dublin Summer School of Acting on Sunday, 22 September 1935 (The Irish Times 23 September 1935: 8).

19 Mrs. Frost, SB's landlady at 34 Gertrude Street. The "Lieblings" (lovers), presum- ably the couple described in 8 September 1934.

Geoffrey Thompson and Ursula Stenhouse were shortly to be married.

20 Boissier: see 22 September 1935, n. 8.

21 German publisher Karl Baedeker (1801-1859) published travel guides for various regions of Europe; updated versions continue to be published.

22 Simon and Schuster and SB's request to Chatto and Windus: 8 September 1935.



Dear George

34 Gertrude Street London SW10

Thanks for letter & prospectus. Further victims: Charles Rowe, Esq., F.T.C.D., Trinity College, Dublin. Miss Frances Steen, Carrickmines, Co. Dublin. 1

It is better for you to diffuse them, but let me have a dozen in case I think of someone else.

The American publishers I have in mind are Messrs. Simon & Schuster, 386 Fourth Avenue, New York. They wrote to me about a month & a half ago, asking to see whatever material I had available for publication in USA. I sent them Proust & Pricks & have not yet had their decision. They seem well disposed. This being the position, it occurs to me that they ought to be offered the first refusal ofBones, also that it might be advisable to wait for their decision as to prose before submitting the verse. However I leave you to deal with the matter as you think best. I am quite satisfied with 20% for EP [for EB].2

I hope the Bones are not covered in the canary of the prospectus. Ifthis is your dastardly intention and the covers have not yet been put in hand, be an angel and change it to PUTIY.3

Yours ever s/ Sam

TIS; 1 leaf, 1 side; AN in another hand: checkmarks, and underscoring; TxU.

1 Charles Henry Rowe, Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin.

Frances Steen (n.d.), schoolmate of SB's at Earlsfort House School, Dublin; her brother, Robert Ellsworth Steen (1902-1981) was a friend of SB's at TCD, and they golfed together at Carrickrnines, Co. Dublin.

2 Echo's Bones.

3 The color of the prospectus was warm gold; the color of the final cover for Echo's Bones was putty.


Saturday [after 13 October 1935]

34 Gertrude St [London] SWlO

Cher ami

It might be a good idea to send a copy to Observer, "for favour of etc.", & if so to Humbert Wolfe, lest it should fall into black claws of Austin Clarke.1

For distribution in Dublin I know:

Mr PEMBRY [for Pembrey] Green's [for Greene's] Library, Clare St. & both Tom & Brian know

Mr NAIRN, Combridge's, Grafton Street Hodges & Figgis also might take a few copies.2

Looking over it at leisure I am very pleased with layout. I only find one mistake: there should be a space in Enueg 2 between "doch I assure thee" & "lying on O'Connell Bridge." Pas serieux-3

I have sent out 5 more prospectuses this morning that may bring a few more bob.

A mardi


I have found MS of Serena III which you can have 4

ALS; 1 leaf folded, 2 sides; from "Looking over it ... ", text appears upside down because SB has turned the folded page; PS written to left of signature; TxU. Dating: in 15 March 1935, SB gives his choice of title for the volume of poems; in 8 October 1935, SB anticipates proofs that week; in SB's letter to Reavey of 13 October 1935, SB discusses the color of the cover. The imprint of Echo's Bones gives the publication date as November 1935. "Enueg 2" was published in Echo's Bones without the correction SB requested in this letter, and with "Serena III" (published as "Serena 3," Echo's Bones [31-321). The date, therefore, is after 13 October, but before 30 November 1935, probably early to mid-November.

1 Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940), English poet, satirist, and civil servant. Austin Clarke reviewed for the Times Literary Supplement and The Spectator; SB was wary of retaliation (see 8 September 1934, n. 2).

2 Herbert S. Pembrey (1909-2000), sub-postmaster and proprietor with his father, Herbert H. Pembrey, of Greene's Library, 16 Clare Street.

Thomas McGreevy; Brian Coffey.

Ernest Nairn (d. 1970), a book expert who worked for about fifty years at Combridges, at 18-20 Grafton Street in 1935. Hodges & Figgis, bookstore, was then at 20 Nassau Street.

3 See discussion of dating above.

Pas serieux (anglicism for "pas grave" [no great matter]). Reavey may have misunderstood SB's comment, as the page layout was not altered in this or in subsequent editions.

4 "A mardi" (till Tuesday).

Chronology 1936

1936 January

18January 24January 1 February 2March

7 March By25 March

By 9April 2May 6May

By 7 May By 9June 11June

27 June 29June

SB pursues interest in film theory and methods. Visits Jack B. Yeats.

T. S. Eliot speaks at University College Dublin.

SB visitsJack B. Yeats with Morris Sinclair. Applies to study with Eisenstein.

Germans occupy the Rhineland.

SB travels with Frank Beckett to Galway. Visits Clonmacnoise.

Tells Reavey that transition can choose any poems to publish from Echo's Bones.

Declines to undertake more translations of Eluard's poems for Reavey.

Offers transition the unpublished "Censorship in the Saorstat," updating it with the censorship registry number for More Pricks Than Kicks.

Buys Jack B. Yeats's painting Morning.

Finishes a first draft of Murphy. Opening of the International Surrealist

Exhibition, New Burlington Galleries, London. Publication ofEluard's Thorns of Thunder with SB's translations.

Murphy typescript finished.

SB sends Murphy to Ian Parsons at Chatto and Windus, to Charles Prentice, and to McGreevy.


By 7 July

15 July Mid-July By 17 July

17 July

By 6 August

12 August

18 August

By 19August c. 31 August

6 September

29 September

30 September

2 October

By 5 October

7 October

3 November

5 November

13 November

4 December

Dublin Magazine publishes "An Imaginative Work!" SB's review of The Amaranthers by Jack B. Yeats.

SB sends Murphy to Simon and Schuster in New York.

Chatto and Windus rejects Murphy.

SB sends poem "Cascando" to Dublin Magazine.

Sends Murphy to Frere-Reeves at Heinemann. Receives author's copy of Thorns of Thunder.

Spanish Civil War begins. Heinemann rejects Murphy.

SB translates Samuel Johnson's Letter to Lord Chesterfield into German in his notebook.

Drafts German translation of"Cascando."

Sends Murphy to Reavey so that he can act as agent.

Visits Arland Ussher at Cappagh with Joe Hone; sees Ardmore and Cashel.

Reavey visits Dublin from Belfast. SB leaves for Germany.

Arrives in Le Havre. Arrives in Hamburg.

Simon and Schuster rejects Murphy. Dublin Magazine publishes poem "Cascando."

SB settles in the Pension Hoppe, Hamburg. Visits Lubeck.

German museums ordered to remove "decadent art."

SB refuses to accept cuts in Murphy requested by Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Asks Reavey how to acquire permission to use "apes at chess" for frontispiece of Murphy.

Leaves Hamburg; visits Liineburg.

5 December

6 December

7 December

8 December

10 December

11 December c. 16-17 December

In Hanover; visits home of Leibniz. In Brunswick.

In Riddagshausen.

In Wolfenbiittel; visits Lessing Museum. In Hildesheim.

Arrives in Berlin.

Settles in Pension Kempt, Berlin.


9/1/35 [for 1936]

6 Clare Street Dublin

Dear George

Thanks for your card. I am more or less all right again now. Coffey left here I think last Friday, for a lecture at Sorbonne

Sat. morning, so I suppose you didn't see him in London.He said he had sent you some more Bones.1 Yes, let me have as many more as I am due.I think he got my copy of the This Quarter in question. I said i [sic] was not keen on doing more translations, but would if necessary.2 He appears to want to make the philosophical series very serious & Fach. But my Geulincx could only be a literary fantasia.3

I am glad to hear ofthe European Quarterly.I suppose I have odd poems, or perhaps I might let you have an excerpt from the prose work I mentioned. But there doesn't seem to be much, among my papers or in my mind.4 I have not seen Devlin. He works in an office, you know.Then in the evening the ballroom.

Codpiece Bordel de Danse, Gipsy Scrotum and his Band. Ne suis pas a la hauteur.5

My friends here esquivent the Bones for the more part, which means the bolus has gone home.What shall they say, my not even enemies. May it stick in their anus. "I am sure you were not born with a pop." But am I not sparkling? Then how should the birth be still? Sois calme, 6 mon souleur ..6 Andersen was the byblow of a Frenchman from the Marne. Ca explique Dieu.7

How much longer London? As I broached the stairs to your party, as to observatory platform at uranal distance from the young lady whose name escapes me altogether don't you know, the gan;on tirebouchon (ce qui m'interesse, c'est le tirebouchon, non pas le Chandon - Gide) smirked his inadequacy. His heart was not pure. Non pas le condom.8

Hommages to Miss Cordon non pas bas bleu. 9 Your obedient servant s/Sam

Ce n'est pas au pelican Pas si pitoyable

Ni a Marie Pas si pure Mais a Lucie

Egyptienne oui et peaussiere aussi

Qui ne m'a pas gueri mais qui aurait pu Et a.Jude

Dontj'ai adorore la depouille Quej'adresse la cause desesperee Qu'on dirait la mienne. 10

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; TxU. Dating: Echo's Bones was published in November 1935, and so the year must be 1936.

1 SB had been ill with pleurisy (SB to McGreevy 31 December [1935J, TCD, MS 10402/84).

Brian Coffey left Dublin for Paris on Friday, 3 January 1936. Before he had left Paris for the Christmas holidays in Dublin, he had sent George Reavey copies ofEcho's Bones, which had been published by Europa Press in Paris (Brian Coffey to George Reavey, 17 December 1935; TxU).

2 SB wrote " <He came down here to see me, as I was not yet promenable,>I think." Coffey had taken SB's copy of This Quarter 5.1 (September 1932} in which SB's translations of Paul Eluard's poems ("Lady Love," "Out of Sight in the Direction of My Body," "Scarcely Disfigured," "The Invention," "Definition," "A Life Uncovered or The Human Pyramid," "The Queen of Diamonds," "Do Thou Sleep," "Second Nature," "Scene," "All-Proof: Universe-Solitude," and "Confections") had appeared (86-98). Reavey was preparing Thorns of Thunder, a collection ofEluard's poems in translation, which included SB's translations already published in This Quarter; Reavey had apparently asked, through Coffey, ifSB would prepare more.

3 Brian Coffey had in mind a monograph series on philosophers; he was studying the philosophy of science with Catholic thinker Jacques Maritain {1882-1973) at the lnstitut Catholique de Paris.

Fach {professional).

Despite his disclaimer, SB pursued study of Flemish metaphysican Arnold Geulincx

{1624-1669) in the library ofTrinity College Dublin, as he wrote to McGreevy: "I put my foot within the abhorred gates [ofTCDJ for the first time since the escape, on a commission from Ruddy. And I fear I shall have to penetrate more deeply, in search ofGeulincx, who does not exist in the National, but does in TCD" (9 January 1935 [for 1936[, TCD, MS 10402/85). SB read and took extensive notes in Latin from the Ethica ofArnold Geulincx, in the edition Arnoldi Geulincx antverpiensis Opera Philosophica. Sumptibus providernnt Sortis spinozianae curatores, 3 vols., ed. Jan Pieter Nicolaas Land {The Hague: apud Martinum Nijhoff, 1891-1893). For SB's notes on his reading of Geuiincx, see TCD, MS 10971/6; Everett Frost andJane Maxwell, "TCD MS 10971/6 Latin excerpts fromArnoldus Geulincx and R. P. Gredt," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 (2006) 141-155.

4 As SB wrote to McGreevy, "A card from Reavey, decided to launch European Quarterly . . What would I like to give him for nothing?" (9 January 1935 [for 19361). It is not known what poems or prose SB had in mind, although a poem appears at the end of the present letter. Reavey did not establish a quarterly journal.

5 Denis Devlin (see 5 May 1935, n. 1).

Borde! de Danse (Dance Brothel). "Ne suis pas a la hauteur" ([I'm] not up to it).

6 Echo's Bones was mentioned as forthcoming in the "Irishman's Diary: Irish Writers," The Irish Times 7 December 1935: 6. "Esquivent" (are dodging); "the more part" (Gallicism for "the most part"). SB wrote to McGreevy: "No professional reactions to the poems in any quarter that I know of. Con & Ethna were able to get out ofthe awkward position by remarking that they were already familiar with most ofthem. Ruddy had only feuillete" (9 January 1935 [for 1936[, TCD, MS 10402/85). "Feuillete" (leafed through).

SB imagines a response to the line from "Sanies I": "I was born with a pop with the green of the larches" (Echo's Bones, [191). He mentally prepares a retort with wordplay based on sparkling wine/water and still, birth, and stillbirth.

In "Sois calme, 6 mon soiileur" (Be calm, oh my intoxicator), SB makes play with the opening line of Baudelaire's poem "Recueillement": "Sois sage, 6 ma Douleur" (Behave, my sorrow) (Baudelaire, Oeuvres completes, I, 140; Baudelaire, Les Reurs du Mal, The Rowers of Evil, 173).

7 Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in wedlock, his parents having married two months before his birth (1805); his father, Hans Andersen, was a journeyman shoemaker from Odense (Elias Bredsdorff, Hans Christian Andersen: The Story of His Life and Work, 1805-75 [London: Phaidon Press, 1975[ 15-16).

·c;;a explique Dieu" (That explains God).

8 The young woman, as far distant as the planet Uranus, has not been identified. "Gar�on tirebouchon (ce qui m'interesse, c'est le tirebouchon, non pas le Chandon -

Gide)" (The waiter with the corkscrew [what interests me is the corkscrew, not the Chandon - Gide]). Reference unclear.

Non pas le condom (Not the condom).

9 "Hommages to Miss Cordon non pas bas bleu" (Respects to Miss Cordon not bleu): "bas bleu" (bluestocking). Punning combines this with "Cordon bleu." The subject of SB's reference is not known.

10 This version of the poem varies from that published in French in SB's Dream of Fair to Middling Women, 21. For a discussion of sources and nuances, see also Pilling, A Companion to "Dream of Fair to Middling Women," 54-55. SB did not translate this poem.

It is not to the pelican Not so pitiable

Nor to Marie Not so pure But to Lucie

Yes, the Egyptian (and in the leather trade) Who did not cure me but who might have And to Jude

Whose hide I adorored

That I put the desperate case That might look like mine.

Thomas Mcgreevy London

16/1 [1936]

Foxrock [Co. Dublin]

Dear Tom

Very glad to have your letter & poems. The verdict ofOxford is final & excellent. I do not care so much for its preparation. Davies matters as little as the jelly. j'irai dans le desert I liked also. But is it not rather from the desert. Call it camp foutu. 1

Rutter turns out to be ofsome service at last - in his indication ofVollard's new book.2

I found Devlin the other day among his external affairs & am lunching with him to-morrow. His poems are in hand & he has a new prose-cum-verse romance. But he said he had written to you himself. He wondered were you bose with him. I said: Macche!3

The weather is dreadful & I cannot get warm. I trailed down to Newcastle one day with Cissie to see Boss. Always when I get there I am glummer than the whole institution put together. On the way back a hard hit publican in Bray quoted Daniel O'Connell to prove there was no hope remaining for this country. A cow, a cow, my Free State for a cow. In the train from Bray, vainly unrecognized, the pestiferous Michael Farrell fresh from Kilmacanogue & next doordom to All Forlorn (whose elucubration on Coriolanus at the Abbey I trust you read in the Chelsea Library). He is finishing a work, really very beautiful, & admired by All Forlorn, himselfnaively 5 minutes later extolled by Farrell as a critic!4

No news from Coffey since I saw him here. I shall have to go into TCD after Geulincx, as he does not exist in National Library. I suddenly see that Murphy is break down between his ubi nihil vales ibi nihil velis (positive) & Malraux's Il est difficile a celui qui vit hors du monde de ne pas rechercher les siens (negation). I have not done a tap since I saw you. Shelves are going up slowly in the room where I hope to dig in, and books slowly from Clare Street.5

The X-Ray shows nothing. Je m'en doutais.

I was hoping to see JBY last Saturday but went to the Gallery instead. Not a picture touched, only two "British" rooms closed. 6 Bion in his last acknowledgment ofthe filthy "trusted I had by now taken up my work with pleasure and satisfaction", as he was sure I must "even though not entirely freed from neuroses"! Mother's whole idea of course is to get me committed to life here. And my travel-courage is so gone that the collapse is more than likely. I find myself more than ever frightened by the prospect of effort, initiative & even the little self-assertion of getting about from one place to another. Solitude here, perhaps more sober than before, seems the upshot of the London Torture. Indeed I do not see what difference the analysis has made. Relations with M. as thorny as ever and the nights no better.7 A heart attack last night that would have done credit to three years ago. The only plane on which I feel my defeat not proven is the literary. Warte nur ... 8 Frank I feel censorious as not before. He is so successful.9 To-day gone to Galway, not to return till Saturday.

I have not seen Ruddy since. It is very difficult to get across from here, and when one does ... But I hear he gets on well. 10 I have seen all the Jew faithful, Con etc., but really feel I do not want to see them any more. If nothing has survived but the habit, to insist is like doffing to the Cenotaph.11 Now, just as I seem to have committed myself to some months here, London & you & Geoffrey seem the sanctuary & reality. Perhaps the flight will be sooner than I expect, but no more Bion. As I write, think, move, speak, praise & blame, I see myselfliving up to the specimen that these 2 years have taught me I am. The word is not out before I am blushing for my automatism.

Geoffrey seems to be working too hard at the Maudsley. He has applied for a demonstratorship in physiology, 4 hours a week well paid & work that would give him no trouble. Then he could give up the Maudsley. I should say he has a very good chance ofgetting in. He will be upset by the death ofAndy Frank Dixon announced in to-day's paper. One of the few good minds left in the place.12

Poor Dilly, in the running for Lynd's good opinion. Surely your gaffe will save her. Greetings to her & Hester & Raven.13 Write very soon again.



Sean O'Sullivan was over taking plan & elevation of Shem. He asked did I dive with my glasses on. Sean liked Leon (for Leon]. They all got jolly together, chez Fourquet [for Fouquet]. Parait que Lucia est .i Londres. 14

ALS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, 15 Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, London SW 3; pm 20-1-36, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/86. Dating: from pm.

1 McGreevy's letter to SB has not been found; it is not known which of the poems he enclosed.

W. B. Yeats selected and introduced the poems included in The Oxford Book ofModem

Verse: 1892-1935 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1936).

McGreevy was aware that his poems "Aodh Ruadh 6 Domhnaill" and "Homage to Jack Yeats" would be included (333-335). Since his friend George Yeats (nee Bertha Georgie Hyde-Lee, 1892-1968) was handling permissions and compiling the index for the anthology in early January 1936, McGreevy is likely to have seen the other poems selected (Ann Saddlemyer. Becoming George, 495-496).

Welsh-born poetWilliam Henry Davies (1870-1940) was represented in the anthology by seven poems (128-133).

The poem referred to as "j'irai dans le desert" (I will go into the desert) has not been identified.

Camp foutu (off duly buggered); SB deliberately inverts "foutre le camp" (to get away or to bugger off).

2 Frank Rutter (1876-1937), Art Critic for The Sunday Times, wrote an appreciative review of Recollections of a Picture Dealer {1936), the memoirs of the Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard (1867-1939), saying that it was "full of absorbingly interesting subject-matter and good stories" ("Oddest Art Dealer, Ambroise Vollard: Memories of Famous Painters," 12 January 1936: 5).

3 Devlin's collection of poems, Intercessions, was not actually published until August 1937. SB's reference to Devlin's "prose-cum-verse romance" is not clear. Although there is an undated TMS draft entitled "Prose" in the Devlin archives, the "prosecum-verse romance" may refer to a group of poems called Adventure, "the generic title of a number of MS poems dating from the early thirties, which D[enis] D[evlin] never published as a group or sequence"; the first of these, "The Statue and the Perturbed Burghers," appeared in a second draft as "Romance sentimentale" (National Library of Ireland, The Literary Papers of Denis Devlin, MS 38, Box 5; Devlin, Collected Poems ofDenis Devlin, 334).

Bose (angry): "Macche" (Come off it).

4 Bray, on the coast road, at the southern end ofKilliney Bay, was the terminus of the rail line from Dublin. Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), the "Liberator" who led the campaign for Catholic emancipation of Ireland (April 1829) advocating political rather than violent means; as Mayor of Dublin (1843), he led the failed movement to repeal the Act of Union in order to secure an Irish parliament. "A cow, a cow, my Free State for a cow" parodies "A horse, a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" (Shakespeare, Richard III, V.iv.7).

Michael Farrell wrote for The Bell and Radio Eireann: see 9 October 1933, n. 6.

Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow, on the slopes of Sugarloaf.

All Forlorn is SB's rendering of Irish writer Sean O'Faolain (ne John Whelan, 1900-1991), who lived in Kilmacanogue. O'Faolain wrote a letter to the Editor that condemned the Irish Times drama critic for only "watery approval" of the Abbey Theatre production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, directed by Hugh Hunt (1911-1993), which he felt was a "dashing" and "vigorous" performance (The Irish Times 15 January 1936: 3; see also Holloway.Joseph Holloway's Irish Theatre, II, 1932-1937, 50-51).

SB wrote "<Gate>" and inserted above "Abbey." The Chelsea Library in Manresa Road, near McGreevy's residence in Cheyne Gardens.

5 Brian Coffey was in Paris. Geulincx: see 9 January 1936, n. 3.

In Ethica, Tract I, Cap. II, S. IL, Paragraph 3 (p. 37), Geulincx discusses "Sui Despectio" (Contempt of Self); his note to this term includes the phrase "Ubi nihil vales, ibi nihil etiam velis" (Opera philosophica, Ill, 222; Where you are worth nothing, may you also wish for nothing [tr. GC)). a



Andre Malraux writes in La Condition humaine (1933): "Solitude demiere, car ii est difficile celui qui vit hors du monde de ne pas rechercher Jes siens" ("The ultimate solitude, for it is difficult for one who lives isolated from the everyday world not to seek others like himself") (Malraux, Romans. Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Paris: Gallimard, 1947] 353; Malraux, Man's Fate, tr. Stuart Gilbert [New York: Random House, 1961] 246). See SB's Murphy, 178-179.

SB wrote to McGreevy on 9 January 1935 [for 1936]: "I feel I shall finish it all right, and begin it again, somehow after all" (TCD, MS 10402/85). He was setting up a work space at the family home, moving back the books from the study he had had at the office of Beckett and Medcalf, 6 Clare Street, prior to his move to London in 1934.

6 "Je m'en doutais." (I thought as much.) Jack B. Yeats.

Shortly after his appointment as Director of the National Gallery of Ireland in October 1935, George Furlong (1898-1987) undertook a refurbishment ofthe museum and restoration of the collection. The re-hanging took place later in 1936, when the museum was closed from the end of September to the end of November.

7 SB notes Bion's response to the final payment which marked closure of SB's therapy with him. "M." refers to Mother.

8 "Warte nur ... "(just wait). From Goethe's "Ein Gleiches" ("Another Night Song") (Christopher Middleton, ed., Johann Wo!/gang von Goethe Selected Poems [Boston: Suhrkamp/Jnsel, 1983] 58-59).

9 Frank Beckett was running Beckett and Medcalf, Quantity Surveyors.

10 Rudmose-Brown had been ill and was recovering at his home, 8 Shanganagh Terrace, on the road from Ballybrack to Killiney.

11 A. ]. Leventhal.

George Atkinson (1880-1941), Headmaster of the Metropolitan School of Art from

1918 to 1936 and Director of the National College ofArt from 1936 to 1941, designed the Cenotaph or Celtic Cross Memorial. It was installed on Leinster Lawn in 1923 as a temporary monument; in 1950 the Cenotaph was replaced by a granite obelisk (Frederick O'Dwyer, Lost Dublin [Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1981] 50, 56).

12 Geoffrey Thompson was then working at the Maudsley Hospital, London. Andrew Francis Dixon (1868-1936), Professor of Anatomy and Chirurgery and Dean of the Faculty of Physic at Trinity College Dublin, died on 15 January; Geoffrey Thompson had been his student.

13 Geraldine Cummins hoped for a good review of her novel Fires of Beltane (1936) from Robert Lynd (1879-1949), Literary Editor of the News Chronicle and contributor to the New Statesman. McGreevy reviewed it for Time and Tide 17.37 (12 September 1936) 1260.

Hester Dowden and Thomas Holmes Ravenhill.

14 Sean O'Sullivan had been in Paris to sketch James Joyce for a portrait commissioned by Joyce's friend Constantine Curran (1880-1975) ijames Joyce to Constantine Curran, 18 September 1935, in Joyce, Letters of]ames]oyce, I, 384). See a drawing from this sitting dated 1935 (NG!, 2027).

Paul Leon. a



Fouquet's was Joyce's favorite restaurant, 99 Avenue des Champs-Elysees. "Parait que Lucia est Londres" (Appears that Lucia is in London). Actually Lucia Joyce was in St. Andrew's Hospital, Northampton, for ten weeks from mid-December 1935 through February 1936 (Shloss, Lucia Joyce, 373-374; Jane Lidderdale and Mary Nicholson, Dear Miss Weaver: Haniet Shaw Weaver 1876-1961 [London: Faber and Faber, 1970] 355-356).

Thomas Mc Greevy London

29/1/35 [for 1936]

Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

Dear Tom

Thanks for your letter. Galley & page of home counties sound last two straws. Hope they are paying you pro rata. 1


I went round to JBY last Sat. week, found him all alone & Mrs invisible with a 'acking corf. He has painted a lot of new small pictures for exhibition in London in March, I forget where but not at Alpine, some gallery in Vigo St. I think.2 The new stuff, some of it, is superb. One small picture especially, Morning, almost a skyscape, wide street leading into Sligo looking west as usual, with boy on a horse 30 pounds. If I had ten I would beard him with an easy payments proposition. But I have not.

I let fall hints here that were understood but not implemented. But I have not given up hope of raising it. Do you think he would be amenable to instalments. It's a long time since I saw a picture I wanted so much. I ran into him again yesterday in the library, but he was uneasy & looked ill and wouldn't have a drink. I hope to bring young Sinclair round to see him next Sunday.3

I was at the Gate to see Berkeley Square, ragged adaptation ofthe ragged Sense ofthe Past, last Tuesday. Quite well played in parts by Mace. [for MacL], to whom in the comp[an]y ofMme. & M. Jammet I was presented earlier in the afternnoon. Ofcourse it is not a play at all, but a very interesting psychological situation with all kinds of unuttered obiters that are scarcely developed in the book either as well as I remember.4 The whole of dirty

Dublin was there, from Longfords & bloodshot blue eyed fourth estaters to Seumas [for Seamus] McCall & Skeffington mit Frau. McCall now highly successful journalist, novelist & biographer, with as many publishers as he has faculties. He has done 25,000 on T. Moore and is commissioned to do a large work on Mitchel, by what London firm I forget, as [has] he that he owes me best part of a pound. He is so morally self-righteous, living in "Fort of the Oak", Dalkey, & at the same time so widely read, that I sent him a copy of the Bones.5

Last night I went across to the Jammet's in Blackrock.

Good coffee & fine. But it didn't go. They are the enemy & one shouldn't go near them. The commercial attache, M. Lyord (?), deaf, bald & obesely wizened, complete with Gaeltacht fiancee, Miss Larkin ("c'est une Titiane!"), was there, walking up & down sopping up oeufs sur le plat with sandwiches ofsaumon fume.6 TSE has been all over the place, speaking at National to a motion affirmed by Rev. Burke-Savage, S.J., who savaged what he didn't burke, & then alone next day on Relation of Literatures, tralalala. Shem "an unconscious tribute to a Catholic education acquired at a time when few people were educated at all." The old fall back on pedagogics. His murder was played by the National Dramatic. I think he was staying with Curran.7 I haven't seen anything more of Devlin, who was reading his poems at [2]RN last night. He thinks of calling his poems with Reavey Intercessions, which I think is an excellent title.8 I borrowed a lot of works on cinema from young Montgomery, who is certainly a curious little card: Pudovkin, Arnheim & back numbers of Close Up with stuff by Eisenstein. How I would like to go to Moscow and work under Eisenstein for a year. Then one would be beautifully qualified for the execrations on another plane.9 Nothing by the way from Reavey, not a word about the poems & no sign of the oustanding copies that are due to me. Nor from Coffey, who promised me Geulincx & Eluard informations. And no reactions here to the poems of any kind whatsoever.10

It is good of you to be willing to see Bion, but I think the less that scab is scratched the better. As you say, he has been as probe as he could, with the probities respectively homologous to mother & me.11 But there is one thing you might do for me if you will. Of the two coats I sent to myself here before leaving London, identically addressed & declared, one came through without demand, the other with demand for 3/6 which I refused to pay & sent the parcel away from the door, thinking I could go into the offices in town after Xmas & explain about it. When I went in the other day they said they had sent it back to the sender according to the regulations, which means that it ought now to be with Mrs. Frost, though I have no intimation from her. Would you go round & see? If [it] is there you might address it to me marked: old leather coat, bought in Dublin, personal belongings. It appears the personal is the keyword. Mother is most anxious that the gardener should enjoy it before the Spring sets in. Forgive me for bothering you. Ifit is not there don't bother about it any further. And love to Mrs Frost et famille. 12

I have not been able to get over to see Ruddy again, & I hear he has been complaining about me. It is very hard to get from here. He is so much better now that he is up but will not be lecturing this term. Ethna Maccarthy has got the job ofdoing his Provern;:al lectures and I have been helping her out of the Tresor du Felibrige. Aubanel seems the best of them. They have Mistral's Mireio & Memori et Raconte. She is doing medicine in

TCD now and the two are too much for her.13

Cissie pushed up some Italian books that had been left behind by outgoing tenant, Machiavelli's plays including the Mandragora, nice editions ofManzoni and that old bumsucking pedantVarchi (cinquecento) and the Gerusalemme. Also Giusti's poetry. All bought at Florence by Maud Joynt, at the end of last century. She might have been nice to know.14

I have got all my stuff together in this little room at last, and shelves up. I wish you could see my four old men over the mantelpiece, the Chartres Aristotle & Pere Eternel, the Buonarotti Crepusocolo [for Buonarroti Crepuscolo] & the Tete du Christ du Calvaire from the Puits de Moi:se at Dijon. If you can't get a woman ... 15 I have done next to no work on Murphy, all the sense & impulse seem to have collapsed. There are three, four, chapters to write, only about 12000, but I don't think they will be. Yes, sometime I hope I may get away, perhaps to Bavaria in the early summer. Then it would be too late for Spain. Or better still to Luneburg & Hanover, from Cove to Hamburg etc.16

I met one Fitzgerald, cinematography expert, I think the father of Jelly. He was very nice and showed a little film on a pillow cover. He has a good 16mm. camera & projector and seems to know a lot about the actual tricks of phot[o]graphy. Mais pauvre en genie. And no interest in montage. How should one set about getting into a decent studio, or even a bad one, simply to pick up the trade? Se munir d'un scenario?17

Mother keeps well, having added a family of measles to her good works. Yesterday she actually took herself to the pictures. Frank blooms. Yesterday he walked from Rathfarnham to here via Glendoo, Featherbed, Glencree, Enniskerry, Scalp, Kilternan, Carrickmines. Only the best part of 20 miles. T[h]en brought his girl to see the Bergner at the Royal in Escape me Never.18

I wonder did you notice about a months [sic] ago in Irish Times a short letter from Vera Esposito, soft soaping Smyl[l]ie for his tolerance of colonial expansion in the case ofJapan and making Italy a parallel case. 19

God love thee & write very soon. s/ S

TU: 2 leaves, 3 sides; TCD, MS 10402/87. Dating: TCD, MS 10402/87 includes a T env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, 15, Cheyne Gardens, Chelsea, London S.W.3.; pm 8-2-36, Dublin; however, for reasons given below, this envelope is incorrectly linked to 29 January 1935 [for 1936].

Although the letter is typed with a blue ribbon, and the envelope is typed with a black ribbon, it is possible that the ribbon was changed or that two different typewriters were used; furthermore, because the envelope differs in quality of paper and in size from others that SB used at this time, it is possible that SB prepared the envelope from a location other than his home. However, internal evidence makes the 8 February 1936 postmark impossible for this letter: SB gives McGreevy instructions for sending his coat in this letter, and his letter to McGreevy of6 February [1936], postmarked 7 February 1936 (TCD, MS 10402/88), acknowledges receipt of the coat. The year 1936 is confirmed by the context of the Jetter.

1 It is not known what McGreevy had been asked to do.

2 Jack Yeats received visitors on Saturday afternoons.

Yeats's exhibition was at the Dunthorne Gallery, 5 Vigo Street, London ("Jack B. Yeats: Recent Paintings," opening 19 March 1936); it included a number of small (9 in. x 14 in.) paintings that were exhibited for the first time in this show: The Eye ofAffection (Pyle 475, Warren S. Halbourne, Bermuda); Boy and Horse (Pyle 476, private collection); Below the Golden Falls (Pyle 478, private collection); The Falls of Sheen (Pyle 479, Waddington Galleries, London) (Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings, I, 431, 433; II, 1098; III, 203, 204).

3 SB refers to Jack Yeats's painting A Morning, now in the National Gallery of Ireland (NG! 4628, Pyle 482) (Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings, I, 436).

Morris Sinclair.

4 Berkeley Square (1931) was revived at the Gate Theatre from Tuesday, 28 January 1936; John Lloyd Balderston (1889-1954) and John Collings Squire (1884-1958) adapted for the stage the fragment of a novel by Henry James (1843-1916) that was posthumously edited by Percy Lubbock (1879-1965), "The Sense of the Past" (1917). Micheal MacLiamm6ir (ne Alfred Willmore, 1899-1978), actor and founder of the Gate Theatre, played Peter Standish in this production.

Having taken it over from his father, Louis Jammet (1894-1985) was owner of Jammet's Restaurant from 1927 to 1967; his wife was the artist, Yvonne Jammet (nee Auger, 1900-1967).

5 Lord Longford, patron of the Gate Theatre (1931-1936), was Director of The Longford Players from 1936.

Seamus MacCall (1892-1964) had written a biography, Thomas Moore (1935), and was writing another, Irish Mitchel: A Biography (1938); he had also recently published a novel, Gods in Motley (1935). McCall lived at "Dun Daire" (Ir., Fort Oak), Mount Salus, Dalkey. SB wrote " <anthologist>biographer."

Owen Sheehy Skeffington (1909-1970) was then Lecturer in French at Trinity College Dublin; his wife was the French-born writer Andree Sheehy Skeffington (nee Denis, 1910-1998). "Mit Frau" (with wife).

6 The home of Louis and Yvonne Jammet was "Clonmore," 8 Queen's Park, Blackrock. Although he assumed the title of commercial attache only in February 1939, Eugene Lestocquoy (1895-?) had been a French commercial agent in Ireland from 1932; Miss Larkin has not been identified.

Fine (old brandy). "Gaeltacht" (Ir., one of the Gaelic-speaking regions of Ireland). "C'est une Titiane!" (She is a Titian!). "Oeufs sur le plat" (fried eggs). "Saumon fume" (smoked salmon).

7 T. S. Eliot spoke in Dublin as a guest of the University College Dublin Historical, Literary, and Aesthetical Society in the Council Chamber, Ear!sfort Terrace, on 23 January 1936. Reverend Roland Burke-Savage SJ (1913-1998) read an address, "Literature at the Irish Crossroads," to which T. S. Eliot was one of the respondents. Burke-Savage called for an Irish literature that would parallel the revival of the Irish language. He claimed that Anglo-Irish literature "had run the whole gamut of paganism" from "romanticism" to "cynicism," "nihilism," "materialism," and "despair," and proposed that a true Irish literature lay in acceptance of the Catholic tradition. In his response, Eliot agreed that the new generation oflrish writers could not simply take its direction from the current mainstream, and he paid tribute to Yeats and claimed that Joyce was "the most Irish" and "most Catholic writer in English of his generation" ("Literature at the Cross-Roads," The Irish Times 24 January 1936: 8; SB's quotation also comes from this article). Texts of both address and response can be found at Harvard, Houghton Library, T. S. Eliot, 1888-1965 Papers, bMS Am 1791/28-30.

On 24 January, Eliot lectured at University College Dublin on a literary tradition that developed from broad reading and fertilization from older or foreign cultures, rather than one formed merely on the patterns of the previous generation, claiming that "poetry could not flourish in an intellectual vacuum" ("Originality in Poetry: Fertilisation ofLiterature," The Irish Times 25 January 1936: 6). A production of Murder in the Cathedral (1935) was performed by the College Dramatic Society, with Eliot in the audience ("Irishman's Diary," The Irish Times 25 January 1936: 6). It is not known ifEliot stayed with Constantine Curran.

8 Denis Devlin read his poems on Radio Athlone on 29 January 1936 ("A Poet Reads," no. 3, Denis Devlin, The Independent 28 January 1936: 6). Devlin's poems were to be published by Reavey in the Europa Poets series; in a letter to Reavey, Devlin indicated that the title for his collection was Intercessions (18 January 1936, TxU).

9 Niall Montgomery (1914-1987), Dublin poet and architect, son of Film Censor James Montgomery (1866-1948). Film Technique (1930, rev. 1933) byVsevolod Pudovkin (1893-1953), Film (1933) by Rudolf Amheim (1904-2007), and issues of Close Up Uuly 1927 - December 1933) in which Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) had published essays about his approach to cinema, including: Eisenstein, W. I. Pudowkin, and G. V. Alexandroff (also Grigory Aleksandrov, 1903-1983), "The Sound Film: A Statement from the U.S.S.R.," 3 (October 1928) 10-13; Eisenstein, "The New Language ofCinematography," 4 (May 1929) 10-13; "The Fourth Dimension in the Kino," 6 (March 1930) 184-194; "Filmic Art and Training (in an interview with Mark Segal)," 6 (March 1930) 195-197; "The Fourth Dimension in the Kino II," 6 (April 1930) 253-268;

The Dinamic Square, 8 (March 1931) 2-16 and Uune 1931) 91-95; "The Principles of

Film Form," 8 (September 1931) 167-181; "Detective Work in the GIK," 9 (December 1932) 287-294; and "Cinematography with Tears!: The Way of Leaming," 10 (March 1933) 3-17.

10 Copies ofEcho's Bones: see 9 January 1935 [for 1936], n. 1.

Brian Coffey returned to Paris early in January; he had proposed that SB prepare a monograph on Geulincx. Coffey had SB's copy of This Quarter with his translations ofpoems by Eluard (see 9 January 1935, [for 1936], n. 2).

11 It is not known why McGreevy offered to see W. R. Bion.

12 The customs duty on overcoats was 60 percent ofvalue unless personally owned and substantially worn. SB had lodged in London with Mrs. Frost at 34 Gertrude Street. "Et famille" (and family).

13 Although Rudmose-Brown's health was reported as improving, it was announced that his Trinity College Dublin lectures during the term would be given by other members ofthe staff (The Irish Times 25 January 1936: 6). Ethna Maccarthy was responsible for his lectures on the Provern;al poets; she was a Scholar and Senior Moderator in Modem Languages (1926), although by this time she had begun medical studies at TCD.

The "Felibrige" was a literary movement for the restoration of the "langue d'oc" (a language of southern France), begun in 1864 by Frederic Mistral (1830-1914), Theodore Aubanel (1829-1886), and Joseph Roumanille (1818-1891). Mistral edited Lou Tresor dbu felibrige ou Dictionnaire proven�al-fran�ais embrassant les divers dialectes de la langue d'oc modeme .. (1878-1886). Readings for the course included Mireio (1859) and Memori et raconte (1901) by Mistral, a Nobel laureate in 1904. SB's notes on Mistral and the Felibrige Poets can be found in TCD MS 10971/4; see Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD, MS 10971/4: Frederic Mistral and the Felibrige Poets," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue, SBT/A 16 (2006) 133-136.

14 Cissie Sinclair gave SB books left behind at 85 Moyne Road by the former tenant Maud Joynt (1869-1940). Joynt, who had a wide knowledge of languages, translated and/or edited from Latin, French, and Gaelic, and was an Editor of the Royal Irish Academy's Irish Dictionary (1939).

La Mandragola (1518), a play by the Italian politician and writer Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). The collected works of Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) run to ten volumes; SB is mostly likely to have acquired I promessi sposi (1827; The Betrothed). It is not known which of the works by Florentine historian and writer Benedetto Varchi (1503-1565) SB received. He refers to Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme liberata (1575:Jerusalem Delivered) 6th edn. (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli 1923). It is not known which edition of the works of Italian satirical poet Giuseppe Giusti (1809-1850) SB was given.

15 SB refers to a reproduction of Aristotle, a twelfth-century sculpture on the Royal Portal, Chartres Cathedral (Etienne Houvet, An Illustrated Monograph of Chartres Cathedral [Chartres Cathedral: E. Houvet, 1938] 29). "Pere Eternel" may refer to any of several sculptures of God the Father in Chartres Cathedral. but none is known by this name: God Creating Day and Night (thirteenth century, North Portal), God Creating the Birds (thirteenth century, North Portal), God Creating the Moon and the Sun (n.d., North Portal), God Creating Adam (thirteenth century, North Portal), God Creating the Earthly Paradise (n.d., North Portal), or God Beyond Time (twelfth century. Royal Portal) (Houvet, An Illustrated Monograph of Chartres Cathedral, 44-48, 50).

SB refers to Michelangelo's crepuscolo (Dusk), a sculpted figure on the Tomb of Lorenzo dei Medici in the Medici Chapel. Florence.

Tete du Christ du Calvaire from Puits de Moise (10 miles from Dijon), possibly by Netherlandish artist Claus Sluter (c. 1360-1406), is now in the Musee Archeologique in Dijon (see Cor Engelen, Le Mythe du Mayen Age: premiers elements d'une remise en question du style moyendgeux, tr. Benoit Boelens van Waesberghe [Leuven: C. Engelen, 1999] 214).

If you can't get a woman ... ; reference not traced.

16 Cove (now Cobh), Co. Cork; Liineburg, Hanover, Hamburg, in northern Germany.

17 Neither Fitzgerald nor "Jelly" has been identified. "Mais pauvre en genie" (But no genius).

Se munir d'un scenario? (Equip oneself with a scenario?)

18 Frank Beckett's walk circled from the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham to the southeast in Co. Dublin, into Co. Wicklow, returning north to Foxrock.

German actress Elisabeth Bergner (nee Ettel, 1897-1986) starred in the film Escape Me Never (1935) which opened in Dublin on Sunday, 26 January 1936 at the Theatre Royal.

19 In a letter from Florence dated 2 January 1936, Vera Esposito complimented

R. M. Smyllie (ne Robert Maire Smyllie, also known as Bertie, 1894-1954), Editor of The Irish Times from 1934 to 1954, on his article entitled "Japan's Millions" in which he had argued that Japan needed opportunities for expansion, as did Italy (The Irish Times 30 December 1935: 6). She concurred with Smyllie, citing from his conclusion that '"real peace never will come until the world finds some way to recognize such facts, and to provide for them without recourse to violence'" (The Irish Times 7 January 1936: 4).

Thomas Mcgreevy London

6/2 (36]

Cooldrinagh Foxrock, [co. Dublin]

Dear Tom

The coat arrived safely this morning. It was very good of you to look after it for me so promptly and I hope it did not mean too much of a corvee. 1 Thanks also for letter. Newman did his best to be nice about Will Summer, and with only the Rio Grande to set it against he was able to carry it off'.2

(...] No news at all lately from Geoffrey. I came across all the

Surrealism & Madness texts I translated for Titus and sent them to him with the Eluard & Breton Essais de Simulation .. Perhaps these were too much for him.3

What I would learn under a person like Pudovkin is how to handle a camera, the higher trues of the editing bench, & so on, of which I know as little as of quantity surveying.4 The most liberal government imaginable, in effect & disposition, would not make me a bit wiser in that respect. It is interesting that Becky Sharp in colour, which I think had a long run in London, was a complete flop here and was taken off at the Savoy after three days & not transferred to any other house. That does not encourage my hope that the industrial film will become so completely naturalistic, in stereoscopic colour & gramophonic sound, that a back water may be created for the twodimensional silent film that had barely emerged from its rudiments when it was swamped. Then there would be two separate things and no question of a fight between them or rather of a rout.5

I brought Maurice Sinclair to see J.B.Y. last Saturday. He did not seem at all perturbed about his brother. There was only himself and all went very well. I can't ask him to let me have the picture for nothing & I can't raise the amount of even a modest first instalment.6 The policy being to keep me tight so that I may be goaded into salaried employment. Which reads more bitterly than it is intended.

I lunched with Denis Devlin last Monday. He was meeting a girl that night at Brinsley MacNamara's premiere. He has called his poems Intercessions. What the hell is Reavey doing? Not a word from him & still the outstanding copies in abeyance. Not that I have need of them.7

A letter from Charles who is giving up Athens & coming slowly home by Provence & Paris. He asks for news of Murphy. There is none. There only remain three chapters of mechanical writing, which I haven't the courage to begin, choking myself off with assistance to young Sinclair, who is up for Schol, & to Ethna Maccarthy, who is doing Ruddy's Provern;al in T.C.D. Parallel by the way between Felibres & Gaels very exact.8 I wonder what is the present state of "notre beau parler de Saint-Remi". I heard that Ruddy had been complaining of my neglect, so walked over one afternoon to see him, to find him in a thick TCD atmosphere, O'Toole & Liddell (the new German man from Manchester - pernicious - German-Scottish). Ruddy himself is apparently quite well again - but of course liable to another fulmination any time.9

Have been walking feverishly, with Frank & alone. Quando il piede cammina, il cuore gode. "Gode" is rather strong. "Posa" would be better. For hours last Sunday along the ridge between Glendalough & Glenmalure. And alone anything from 5 to 10 miles locally daily. It saves cafard & masturbation. 10

I like the title of Huxley's new novel announced in Chatto's Spring List: Eyeless in Gaza (Samson Agonistes). Footless in Dublin. What about a new series of yams: Less Kicks than Pricks or More More Pricks.11

Longford lost God knows how many thousands in the Gate's last season. It appears they are unlikely to return. He is running a company in their absence and the Drama League is once more in full Fragonard.12 And Denis Johnson [for Johnston] talks to the Old Dublin Society ofSwift & Stella in Capel Street.13 Beecham is coming with London Philharmonic next Saturday & Sunday week, but no programme announced. I am taking Mother a tout hasard. 14

Have just read the !\'l_andragola & started Clizia. He apologises as uom saggio e grave, for writing so frivolously, in what de Sanctis calls "cattivi versi ma strazianti". I quote them because I think they will please you:

Scusatelo con questo, che s'ingegna Con questi van pensieri

Fare il suo tristo tempo piu soave: Perche altrove non ave

Dove voltare il visa: Che gli e stato interciso

Monstrar con altre imprese altra virtue, Non sendo premio alle fatiche sue.15

I want to get hold of Folengo & Berni and the Cardinal of Bibbiena (La Calandra) and the theatre of Bruno & much else besides. I picked up Reid's complete works in good condition in 18th century edition at Green's [for Greene's] for sixpence. Translate Fracastoro's Sifilide e poi mori.16

Love ever


ALS; 2 leaves, 3 sides; env to Thomas McGreevy Esq, 15 Cheyne Gardens. Chelsea, London S W 3; pm 7-2-36, Dublin; TCD, MS 10402/88. Dating: from pm; response to letter 29 January 1935 [for 1936] re: coat and Pudovkin.

1 The coat that McGreevy re-sent to SB: see 29 January 1935 [for 1936]. "Cmvee" (chore).

2 Ernest Newman (ne William Roberts, 1868-1959), Music Critic of The Sunday Times, reviewed new work by Constant Lambert (1905-1951). Newman wrote that Lambert's masque for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, "Summer's Last Will and Testament," was "not likely to prove a serious rival to the splendid 'Rio Grande'" (for piano, chorus, and orchestra, 1927) ("This Week's Music: Chamber Music," The Sunday Times 2 February 1937: 7). McGreevy was a friend of Lambert and had written the libretto for the work that became the ballet Pomona.

3 SB had translated many of the texts in the surrealist number of This Quarter (5.1 [September 19321); for a list of the texts by Breton, Eluard, and Rene Creve! translated by SB, see Federman and Fletcher, Samuel Beckett: His Works and His Critics, 92-93. SB also refers to essays written by both Breton and Eluard that he translated for this issue: "The Possessions," "Simulation of Mental Debility Essayed," "Simulation of General Paralysis Essayed" (119-125); SB also translated Crevel's "Simulation of the Delirium oflnterpretation Essayed" (126-128).

4 Pudovkin understood the art of filmmaking as a process of selection of scene, angle, balance oflight and shadow; in Film Technique he emphasizes the development of the scenario, cinematographic analysis in the shooting-script, and the close relationship between technical knowledge and the creative faculty.

Trues with reference to "truquage" (special effects): 10 May [1934], n.3.

5 By applying the technicolor processing employed in cartoons by the Disney Studios (founded by Walt Disney, 1901-1966), Becky Sharp (1935) marked a turning point in the cinema industry. However, the unnamed Cinema Correspondent for The Irish Times called it a "rather poor film." noting that the novelty of color could reduce the demand for quality, as did the introduction of sound with the "Talkies"

("Film Notes," 28 January 1936: 4). The film did not run at the Savoy, but at the Capitol Theatre, Dublin, from 24 to 30 January 1936 to record audiences.

6 W. B. Yeats had suffered a heart attack on 29 January 1936 in Palma, Majorca ("Illness ofMr. W. B. Yeats: Improvement Reported," The Irish Times 1 February 1936: 9). SB wrote to Morris Sinclair on 31 January 1936 to arrange to go with him to see Jack Yeats the following day: "Bring £30 (thirty pounds) & we'll buy the Morning" (Sinclair).

7 The Grand House in the City by Brinsley MacNamara (1890-1963) opened on Monday, 3 February 1936, at the Abbey Theatre.

Denis Devlin's collection of poems, Intercessions, was to be published in the Europa Poets series by George Reavey, but Reavey deferred publication until August 1937 (Devlin to Reavey, 4 March 1936, TxU). Echo's Bones, published in November 1935, had not been reviewed or distributed in Ireland; Devlin had reported to Reavey that Combridge's order had not been filled (18 January 1936, TxU), and Brian Coffey had advised Reavey to approach Dublin booksellers directly himself (14 January 1936, TxU).

8 Charles Prentice, having retired as a Director ofChatto and Windus, had been pursuing archeological interests in Greece.

Morris Sinclair was preparing for the Foundation Scholarship examination in Trinity College Dublin.

Ethna Maccarthy was teaching Rudmose-Brown's course in the Provem;:al Poets during his illness. Both the Felibres (modern Provem;:al poets) and the Gaels (the Gaelic poets ofthe Irish renaissance) sought to recover the past through language.

9 By "notre beau parler de Saint-Remi" (Saint-Remy speech), SB refers to the Occitan language ofSouthern France, here associated with the town and region ofSaint-Remy de-Provence. In his notes taken from Gaston Paris, Penseurs et poetes, ed. Calmann Levy (Paris: Ancienne Maison, Michel Levy Freres, 1896), SB cites Paris's observation of a similarity: "how the spoken language of San-Remi (Mistral's center for Felibriges) became a new literary language ... [and] how the Florentine dialect did the same for Tuscany" (Everett Frost and Jane Maxwell, "TCD, MS 10971/4: Frederic Mistral and the Felibrige Poets," Notes Diverse Holo, Special issue SBT/A 16 [2006] 135).

Rudmose-Brown was confined to his home (8 Shanganagh Terrace, Killiney) while

recovering from illness. Eamonn O'Toole (1883-1956) was Professor oflrish at Trinity College Dublin from 1929 to 1954. Maximilian Friedrich Liddell (1887-1968) was Professor of German and Lecturer in Anglo-Saxon at Trinity College Dublin from 1933 to 1968; Liddell was not at Manchester earlier in his career, but he taught at the University ofBirmingham from 1920 to 1932.

to "Quando ii piede cammina, ii cuore gode": see 5 May 1935, n. 2. "Posa" (rests).

From Laragh, the walk from Glendalough (site ofSt. Kevin's churches) south along a ridge to Glenmalure follows the upper reaches ofthe Avonbeg River, Co. Wicklow.

"Cafard" (low spirits, gloom).

11 Aldous Huxley's Eyeless in Gaza (1936) takes its title from John Milton's dramatic poem SamsonAgonistes (1671) in which the blind Samson is held captive in Gaza by the Philistines.

12 Lord Longford began a new company, the Longford Players, that planned to present modern plays at the Gate Theatre while the Gate company, Jed by Hilton

Edwards, was on tour (The Irish Times 4 February 1936: 4). In addition, Lennox Robinson, Lord Longford, Mrs. W. B. Yeats [George], and Olive Craig (Mrs. Frank Craig, n.d.) revived the Dublin Drama League to produce "uncommercial" plays on Sundays and Mondays; their first performances in the new series included Orpheus (Orphee, 1925) by Jean Cocteau, His Widow's Husband (El marido de su viuda, 1908) by Jacinto Benavente (1866-1954), Hotel Universe (1930) by Philip Barry (1896-1949), and Murder in the Cathedral (1935) by T. S. Eliot (The Irish Times 14 January 1936: 4).

Full Fragonard invokes the French court painter Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806), probably an allusion to opulent color and display.

13 Denis Johnston's talk to the Old Dublin Society on 3 February 1936, "Some Dublin Relics of the Late Doctor Swift" (The Irish Times 4 February 1936: 8). Stella lived in Capel Street.

14 Thomas Beecham (1879-1961) conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Theatre Royal, Dublin on 15 and 16 February; the programs were announced in The Irish Times 14 February 1936: 6.

A tout hasard (on spec.).

15 La Mandragola and Qizia (1525), plays by Machiavelli. "Uom saggio e grave" (a man wise and serious) is taken from the line "D'un uom che voglia parer saggio e grave" ("For one who likes to be thought wise and serious") (Mandragola in Tutte le opere di Niccolo Machiavelli, II, ed. Francesco Flora and Carlo Cordie [Milan and Verona: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1950] 561; Mandragola in The Literary Works of Machiavelli, tr.

J. R. Hale [London: Oxford University Press, 1961] 6).

Italian literary historian Francesco de Sanctis (1817-1883) wrote of the passage that SB quotes from the prologue to La Mandragola: "Cattivi versi, ma strazianti" (bad verses, but heart-rending) (Storia della letteratura italiana, ed. Niccolo Gallo, II [Turin: Giulio Einaudi Editore, 1958] 598).

Forgive him: for he tries with idle dreams To make the hour less bitter than it seems. Bitter, for he can turn no other way

To show a higher worth, do what he may; For graver themes

He sees no chance of patronage or pay.

(Mandragola in The Literary Works ofMachiavelli, 6)

16 SB expresses the wish to read three Italian writers of the Cinquecento, whose work is characterized by robust humor and earthy satire: Teofila Folengo (ne Girolamo, pseud. Merlin Coccalo or Cocai, 1491-1544), the most important of the "macaronic poets" whose best-known work is Baldus (1517): Francesco Berni (c. 1497-1535); Bernardo Bibbiena (ne Bernardo Dovizi, 1470-1520), whose most celebrated work was La Calandra (1513; Calandra), perhaps the most scurrilous play of the 1400s; and the philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) whose only play was n Candelaio (c. 1582; The Candle-Bearer).

Thomas Reid (1710-1796), Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. There were many eighteenth-century three-volume editions of Reid's Essays on the Intellectual and Active Powers of Man, collecting essays published in 1785 and 1788; however, the earliest collected edition was The Works of Thomas Reid (Edinburgh: Bell and Bradfute, 1803).

Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro (1478-1553) wrote the epic poem Syphilis sive de morbo gallico (1530: Syphilis or the French Disease), whose central figure Syphilis suffers from the disease that now bears his name.

SB adapts the famous line about Naples, "Vedi Napoli e poi muori" (See Naples and die).

Sergei Eisenstein Moscow


6 Clare Street Dublin

Irish Free State


I write to you on the advice of Mr Jack Isaacs of London, to ask to be considered for admission to the Moscow State School of Cinematography.1

Born 1906 in Dublin and "educated" there. 1928-1930 lecteur d'anglais at Ecole Normale, Paris. Worked with Joyce, collaborated in French translation of part of his Work in Progress (N.R.F., May 1931) and in critical symposium concerning same (Our Exagmination, etc.).2 Published Proust (essay, Chatto & Windus, London 1931), More Pricks Than Kicks (short stories, do., 1934), Echo's Bones (poems, Europa Press, Paris 1935).

I have no experience ofstudio work and it is naturally in the scenario and editing end ofthe subject that I am most interested. It is because I realise that the script is function of its means of realisation that I am anxious to make contact with your mastery ofthese, and beg you to consider me a serious cineaste worthy of admission to your school.3 I could stay a year at least.

Veuilliez [for Veuillez] agreer mes meilleurs hommages.4 s/

( Samuel Beckett )

TLS; 1 leaf, 1 side; Russian State Archive ofLiterature and Art, Eisenstein archive 1923- 1-1642; copy, Museum of Modern Art. Oxford; previous publication (transcription with variants): Jay Leyda, ed., Eisenstein 2: A Premature Celebration of Eisenstein's Centenary, tr. Alan Y. Upchurch, et al. (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1985; rpt. London: Methuen, 1988) 59, and transcription in "Scripted by Beckett," Rolling Stock 7 (1984), 4.

1 Jack Isaacs {1896-1973), Professor of English Language and Literature at Queen Mary College (London). was a founding member of the Film Society {1925-1938). He perforn1ed in Eisenstein's film, Lost, and when Eisenstein came to London, Isaacs was his guide.

2 For James Joyce, "Anna Livia Plurabelle," see 29 May 1931, n. 2. Beckett, "Dante ... Bruno. Vico. . Joyce," Our Exagmination.

3 Describing the curriculum at the GIK (Gosudarstvenni institut kinematografii [State Institute of Cinematography]) in Moscow, Eisenstein wrote: "To realize how it is done and actually participate in the process seems to me most advantageous and instructive for students" ("Cinematography with Tears!" 9). The scenario was the phase between narrative treatment and its cinematographic analysis, the "shooting script" (Vsevolod Pudovkin, On Film Technique, tr. Ivor Montagu [London: V. Gollancz, 1929J 176-177).

4 "Veuillez agreer mes meilleurs hommages" (Yours respectfully).

Thomas Mcgreevy London


Cooldrinagh [co. Dublin]

Dear Tom

I hope you are feeling better & with perhaps some birds in a bush somewhere.

It is difficult to write from the appalling sameness, blankness, apathy, stupidity, pusillanimity, day after day, herE [sic]. Molly the