Trinity College Library Dublin has announced the purchase of the most extensive collection of Samuel Beckett letters ever to have been offered for public sale.
The collection comprises 347 items and was sold by a private seller.
The Library now holds the largest collection of Beckett letters of any research library in the world and is a fitting home for the correspondence of one of Trinity College Dublin’s most famous alumni.
The letters and cards were sent from the Nobel Prize-winning author to artists Henri and Josette Hayden.
Beckett and his wife, Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, met the Haydens when both couples were in southern France evading discovery by the Nazis during WWII.
The letters, dating from a period beginning in 1947, cover a troubled time in Beckett’s life, which saw the death of both his mother and his brother Frank.
“These Beckett letters are very significant for Beckett scholarship at Trinity College, as well as nationally and internationally,” said Helen Shanton, librarian and college archivist.
“We have been developing collections of significant Irish creative writers, and these letters build on the existing Beckett collections the library already holds. We welcome the opportunity to be able to share these collections with students of Beckett and researchers across the globe.”
A small sample of the collection is on display for the public in the Old Library.
RTE News – Trinity Buys Beckett Letters
BBC News – Trinity College buys largest collection of writers’ letters put on sale