A Preliminary Inventory of Her Collection of Samuel Beckett and Brian Coffey at the Harry Ransom Center
Consisting primarily of materials related to Deirdre Bair's National Book Award winning biography of Samuel Beckett (1978), this collection contains twenty-one letters (1971-1977) between Bair and Beckett. The correspondence begins with Bair's introduction of herself and the scope of her proposed project and ends near to the completion of her research when, after a short time of seemingly ending his cooperation, Beckett agrees to let Bair include most of the original source material she sought his permission to publish.
Bair's correspondence with Beckett acquaintances includes approximately sixty letters (1972-1980) with Brian Coffey in which he discusses subjects including Beckett and old Dublin, his own work and family, and Bair's work and personal life. In other notable correspondence (1973-1992), all single and often short letters, Henry Miller, Octavio Paz, David L. Diamond, and Peggy Guggenheim, among others, recount their relationship with Beckett or lack thereof. Miller recalls he "hardly knew Beckett at all," and that the second time they met he found him "shy, reserved" and they "had little to say to one another."
Bair's notes of eighty-two interviews (1971-1977) consist of typed and handwritten transcriptions that also record her perceptions of the subjects and the context of their interviews. The interviewees include Beckett, Ann Beckett, Edward Beckett, Brian Coffey, Man Ray, and Kay Boyle, among many others.
Open for research
Purchases, 2006 (R16494); 2009 (09-02-007-P)
Stephen Cooper, 2011
Note: This brief description is an accession record. The collection is not fully processed or cataloged; no biographical sketch, descriptions of series, or indexes are available.