Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Beckett manuscript sells for £1m

A set of Samuel Beckett jotters sold for more than a million euro at auction (Sotheby's/PA)

A manuscript of Samuel Beckett's novel Murphy has sold at auction for more than a million euro.

The six notebooks, complete with the Irish author's notes and doodles, cover more than 700 pages including passages that were cut from the novel when it was published in 1938.

They were bought by the University of Reading in the UK for £1.1 million euro.

The handwritten jotters, which include sketches of Beckett's contemporaries including James Joyce, date from 1935 and 1936.

Peter Selley, London auctioneer Sotheby's senior specialist in books and manuscripts, said: "Interest in this remarkable piece of literary history has been truly global. It is unquestionably the most important manuscript of a complete novel by a modern British or Irish writer to appear at auction for many decades.

"The notebooks contain almost infinite riches for all those - whether scholars or collectors - interested in this most profound of modern writers, who more than anyone else perhaps captures the essence of modern man. The manuscript is capable of redefining Beckett studies for many years to come."

Sir David Bell, vice chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "It is important that world-renowned institutions such as the University of Reading can continue to fund access to knowledge and the best resources for researchers and students.

"The acquisition of Murphy will provide unparalleled opportunities to learn more about one of the greatest writers in living memory, if not all time."

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