Jul 10, 2013
By Michael Kramer
The manuscript of the first novel by Irish writer Samuel Beckett has sold at auction for $1.4-million.
He wrote “Murphy” in 1935-36. The University of Reading bought the manuscript at an auction at Sotheby’s.
It’s a collection of six exercise books containing the heavily reworked text of the novel as well as notes and sketches of figures including James Joyce and Charlie Chaplin.
Its many revisions give insights into Beckett’s creative process. There are eight rejected versions of the novel’s opening line “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”
David Bell is the University of Reading’s vice chancellor. He says acquiring the manuscript “will provide unparalleled opportunities to learn more about one of the greatest writers in living memory, if not all time.”