Manuscript of first Beckett novel sold

Manuscript of first Beckett novel sold

LONDON - Reuters
Manuscript of first Beckett novel sold

Beckett’s first novel has sold at an auction for nearly $1.5 million. AP photo

A manuscript of Irish author Samuel Beckett’s first novel, “Murphy,” sold at auction in London on July 10 for nearly one million pounds ($1.5 million), meeting pre-auction estimates, according to auction house Sotheby’s.

The University of Reading was the successful of two bidders vying for the manuscript that contains handwritten notes and substantially differs from the finished novel published in 1938.

The university paid 962,500 pounds for the manuscript by the Irish-born Nobel laureate. It was estimated to sell for between 800,000 to 1.2 million pounds.

“This is unquestionably the most important manuscript of a complete novel by a modern British or Irish writer to appear at auction for many decades,” said Peter Selley, Sotheby’s senior specialist in books and manuscripts, in a statement. “The manuscript is capable of redefining Beckett studies for many years to come.”

Spread out across six notebooks, the manuscript contains multiple revisions, doodles, and sketches of fellow Irish writer James Joyce and British comic actor Charlie Chaplin, both influences on Beckett’s work.