A new book, described as the first to explore Samuel Beckett’s relationship with the publishing world, has recently been announced. This should make interesting reading, detailing as it does Beckett’s long journey as an author from the world of little magazines to publishers like Olympia Press and Éditions de Minuit in Paris, Grove Press in New York and Faber & Faber and Calder in London. Seán Kennedy contributes an essay on ‘Beckett Publishing in Ireland’ and there is also a piece on his dealings with Chatto and Windus, or ‘Shaton and Windup’, as Beckett disparagingly referred to them.

Indeed, Beckett was not always well served by his publishers. In an excellent essay (not included in the book, but available to read here), S.E. Gontarski writes: ‘It is no small irony that for a writer so punctilious about his texts — especially their performance — Samuel Beckett’s work has been subject to so much inept editing and so many publication blunders that he could lament to his “official” biographer, James Knowlson, “My texts are in a terrible mess.”‘

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