Trinity College Library has acquired the Samuel Beckett manuscripts and the working library of renowned Beckett scholar Stanley E. Gontarski.
The announcement yesterday generated a lot of media interest. Jane Maxwell of M&ARL appeared on RTE One’s Morning Edition (you can see the interview from 01:03:20 into the programme), and a report appeared on the RTE Six One News (from 30:15 into the programme).
Professor Stanley E Gontarski is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, and has twice been awarded Fulbright Professorships. He was among Samuel Beckett’s closest theatrical associates and is arguably the greatest living Beckett scholar.
The highpoint of the new acquisition is that it includes several drafts of Beckett’s 1980 work Ohio Impromptu. This ‘playlet’ was written specifically at Professor Gontarski’s request for performance at an academic symposium in Columbus, Ohio, held in honour of Beckett’s 75th birthday. These early drafts, heavily annotated, are new to Beckett scholarship.
Also in this new acquisition is Gontarski’s correspondence with Beckett from 1972; a copy of Three Plays (1984) revised by Beckett; and the proofs of Gontarski’s critical edition of Endgame, heavily revised and annotated by himself, Beckett and Beckett’s biographer James Knowlson
Trinity Library has long been among only a handful of world destinations for research into Samuel Beckett’s literary archives and correspondence. The acquisition of Professor Gontarski’s manuscripts, along his entire working library of books by and about Beckett -including signed first editions – strengthens further the position of College in the field of Beckett studies.
The Library was enabled to acquire this collection due to Gontarski’s strong affection for the College and its place in Beckett’s life and work
The purchase of the Library material has been funded from the bequests of two notable alumni and former members of staff of the College: the historian Professor R B McDowell and Mr William O’Sullivan, formerly Keeper of Manuscripts.
An exhibition of highlights from the collection is on display in the Long Room.
M&ARL’s Beckett collections can be explored through the online catalogue MARLOC