By invitation of the Center for Writers & Translators and the Department of Comparative Literature & English, George Craig and Dan Gunn will present this new volume of Samuel Beckett’s letters, on the evening of its worldwide publication by Cambridge University Press.Dan Gunn says:
This third volume reveals the author striving to find a balance between the demands put upon him by his growing international fame, and his need for the peace and silence from which new writing might emerge. During this period Beckett has to face the fact that his work – despite his own advocacy of failure – is not only critically acclaimed but also popular with the public. At first hesitantly, then later enthusiastically, he moves further into the world of the theatre, discovering how to direct his own plays. He finds himself called upon by a greatly expanded range of correspondents, from more and more countries: academics, authors, stage-directors, set-designers, publishers, and translators; while at the same time loyalty requires him to keep writing to his old and trusted friends. And for the first time Beckett has a woman as his chief correspondent: in the intense and abundant letters to Barbara Bray is to be found one of the excitements of this volume.
The Beckett letters project has been worked on – under Dan Gunn’s supervision – by generations of AUP students, who have honed their research skills in the libraries of Paris, searching out details for the footnotes and clarifying obscure references in Beckett’s text. Hynd Lalam, who was one of the research assistants on the Beckett project, who graduated in May and is now continuing her postgraduate study at Cambridge, interviewed Dan Gunn for Cambridge university’s blog.
Dan Gunn wrote recently about the letters in this article in the Guardian.