Manuscript of Samuel Beckett's Murphy sold to University of Reading for almost £1m
Notes are 'capable of redefining Beckett studies for many years to come'
A British university has bought the manuscript of a classic Samuel Beckett novel at auction for just under £1 million.
The six notebooks which went into the final text of Murphy - complete with the author's notes and doodles - cover more than 700 pages including passages that were cut from the novel when it was published in 1938.
The handwritten notes - which date from 1935 and 1936 - were bought by the University of Reading for £962,500 and include sketches of Beckett's contemporaries including James Joyce.
Peter Selley, 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."
And the university's vice-chancellor, Sir David Bell, 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."
Born in Dublin in 1906, Beckett lived and worked for most of his life in Paris, wrote in French and English, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. He died in 1989.
His first novel is described as the most comic of all his works, involving Murphy's attempts to withdraw from the world.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer sees Katniss lead rebellion against the Capitol
The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace