Demented Particulars: The Annotated Murphy

Demented Particulars: The Annotated Murphy

Demented Particulars: The Annotated Murphy

Demented Particulars: The Annotated Murphy

Excerpt

Demented Particulars was first published by Journal of Beckett Studies Books in 1998, with a revised and augmented edition in 2004, which incorporated material (e.g., Beckett’s notes from Windelband and on Arnold Geulincx) not earlier available (the Murphy notebooks, however, are still locked away). Since 2004, other items have appeared, including Matthew Feldman’s Beckett’s Books (Continuum, 2006) and volume 1 of Beckett’s Letters 1929–1940, ed. Martha Fehsenfeld and Lois Overbeck (2009), which cover the period of Murphy’s composition and thus offer small insights into the process of composition and /or publication not previously available. J. C. C. Mays has edited Murphy for Faber and Faber (2009), with an excellent Preface that offers a few details I had neglected to observe; and Laura Lindgren has done likewise for the Grove Press Centenary Edition (2006). These excellent editions have eliminated the few previous textual problems, but the odd surprise may still arise: a letter to Barbara Bray reveals that Black’s move 42 in the chess game, … K – K2, was changed by John Calder to … K – Q2 (an illegal move, into check) at Beckett’s suggestion, which confirms my prejudice that authors, unlike annotators, should not rewrite their texts.

Chris Ackerley, February 2010 . . .

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