Genetic Joyce Studies - Issue 6 (Spring 2006)
'Guess where': From Reading to Writing in Beckett
Mark Nixon

'Murphy was one of the elect, who require everything to remind them of something else'.

Murphy, the erstwhile scholar of theology, is not the only one of Beckett's characters and narrators 'who require everything to remind them of something else' (Murphy 40). Benefiting, or rather suffering from being 'one of the elect', the protagonists are unable to avoid giving voice to their past learning by way of allusion or quotation. Thus Belacqua in the unpublished short story 'Echo's Bones' quotes 'rags of Latin flogged into [him] at school', as befits a 'Master of Arts' ('Echo's Bones', 13-14). Indeed, Belacqua's conversations with the Alba in Dream of Fair to Middling Woman often invoke literary images, as when he compares her 'regal peignoir' to a 'Rimbaud Illumination', or when she introduces Ronsard's poem 'Magie' into the discussion and provokes Belacqua's scholarly displeasure by referring to the poet as 'the Ronsard' (Dream 172 and 175). In the post-war work, Beckett's characters are less assured in their use of literary and philosophical references, as if to demonstrate the fact that the 'time cancer' has eroded, beside much else, their capacity to remember things once learnt (Proust 18). Winnie's speech in Happy Days for example is infiltrated by misremembered and fragmented literary quotations, eliciting her awareness that 'one loses one's classics', even if 'a part remains' (Complete Dramatic Works 164).

The capacity, or to be more precise, the diminishing capacity of Beckett's characters to remember and quote other pieces of writing is of course replicated by the intertextual nature of the texts themselves. Beckett's early works in particular is heavily reliant on other texts, pursuing an intertextual strategy that creates a web of erudite references, and which surely owes something to the model of Joyce. Yet if the early texts always seem to be, like Murphy, reminded of something else, allusive references largely disappear from Beckett's writing after 1945, or are at least not openly visible on the textual surface.

Whereas critics have frequently noted this break, and usually located it as occurring around the time of the writing of Watt (1941-45), the precise way in which Beckett transformed his reading during the writing process has largely been left vague. In what follows, then, I wish to trace, by way of a few examples, the evolution of the way in which Beckett used intertextual material in his work, examining the network of textual traces such material leaves within and across the two spheres of note taking and composition. I want to argue that the seeds of Beckett's post-war approach were already sown in the writing of Dream, and that it is therefore more accurate to speak of a shift rather than a break in the use of intertextual references. Moreover, the decisive step in this process can be shown to have occurred as early as 1936.

Beckett's work from the early 1930s would simply not exist without the material he took from his reading. His procedure was like Belacqua's in the story 'Yellow': he 'had read the phrase somewhere and liked it and made it his own' (More Pricks than Kicks 172). Thus the very fabric of Dream depends on Beckett's wide reading, the text at times approaching the status of pastiche with its extensive use of quotations and allusions. In 1931 and 1932 Beckett was reading mainly with Dream in mind, 'phrase-hunting' for any material that could somehow be incorporated into the text (letter to Thomas MacGreevy [hereafter TM], 25/1/1931). So much so, in fact, that reading the Odyssey 'free of all pilfering velleities' in September 1931 formed a surprising exception (TM, undated [late September 1931]), even if Homer ultimately still turned up in Dream like everything else. The inextricable connection between reading, note-taking and writing is emphasised by Beckett's comment in a letter to MacGreevy that 'I can't write anything at all, can't imagine even the shape of a sentence, nor take notes' (TM, 8/11/1931).

Nevertheless, there is much evidence to suggest that Beckett was not satisfied with the 'clumsy artistry', as the early poem 'Casket of Pralinen for a Daughter of a Dissipated Mandarin' (published 1931 in the European Caravan) calls it, of such a method of writing. Thus in Dream for example there are conflicting movements to both reveal and conceal references, and the Dream notebook shows that Beckett not only tended to leave his reading notes unsourced, but that he also principally relied on secondary literature, as if to legitimise borrowing material that had, as it were, already been borrowed. Moreover, Dream contains several self-critical instances in which Beckett can be seen to be questioning his own procedure. There is a thus a wonderfully self-ironic moment where Beckett includes a reference to the charges of plagiarism that had frequently been levied against Stendhal: 'Without going as far as Stendhal, who said ‐ or repeated after somebody' (Dream 12). Or in 'Echo's Bones', where Belacqua draws attention to a lack or creative originality when he exclaims: 'My ideas! [...] I am a postwar degenerate. We have our faults, but ideas is not one of them' ('Echo's Bones' 13; Beckett's emphasis)

Indeed, Beckett's lack of ideas is evident in the 1931 essay Proust, as he relies heavily on Schopenhauer to provide him with much of the tone and direction of the argument. Beckett also encountered in Schopenhauer an attitude toward secondary material that resembled his own, commending the Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit 'for its originality and guarantee of wide reading ‐ transformed', something he also found in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (TM, 25/8/1930). At the same time, Beckett's essay on Proust shuns erudition and the academic apparatus, undoubtedly guided by what Beckett perceived as his subject's 'anti-intellectualism' (Proust 85). As he was at pains to tell MacGreevy, the essay 'isn't scholarly + primo secundo enough' for publication (TM, undated [17/9/1930]). Yet by failing to acknowledge the use of phrases and ideas borrowed from elsewhere, Beckett dismissed the wide reading and thus the very academic discourse on which it depended. In part this unscholarly approach stemmed from Beckett's growing dissatisfaction with his teaching at Trinity, stating categorically in a letter to MacGreevy of March 1931: 'I don't want to be a professor' (TM, 11/3/1931). With this in mind, Beckett would hardly have been pleased had he been able to read Chatto & Windus's reader's report on Proust: 'as soon as he starts explaining him [Proust] he drops into a complicated, rather technical kind of prose, which reminds one of the proverbial Teutonic professor'. It was precisely this quality that Beckett tried hard to remove from his writing during the 1930s.

Yet Murphy, written 1935-36, depended on extraneous material as much as Dream had done, although Beckett's procedure of incorporating erudite and recondite references was somewhat different. In Dream, the intertextual material is thrown at the text as much as incorporated into it, whereas Murphy, although at pains to undermine any system of rational coherence, depends more fully on a conscious amalgam of philosophical thought, psychological termini and literary history. Thus the loose jottings and literary quotations are grafted into the surface of the text, whereas the more conceptual material deriving from Beckett's philosophical, psychological and other reading function both on the surface as well as at a deeper textual level. Nevertheless, Beckett's reliance on secondary material during the writing process remained very much a problem, which was particularly evident during his struggle, lasting several months, to finish the book. During an entire series of letters, written after his return to Dublin from London in December 1935, potential progress is linked with the endeavour to settle into 'a room with all my books' (TM, 31/12/1935). With no visible improvement forthcoming, Beckett resorted in March 1936, as he often did during such periods, to 'reading wildly all over the place', citing in this same letter, 'Goethe's Iphigenia & then Racine's to remove the taste, Chesterfield, Boccaccio, Fischart, Ariosto & Pope' (TM, 25/3/1936). His reading of Geulincx in that same month, again coupled with extended note-taking, initiated the final push toward bringing Murphy to a close in June 1936.

Following the completion of Murphy, and with no clear sense of what to do next, Beckett decided to undertake a six month trip through Germany with a view to improve his knowledge of the German language and to study the paintings in the vast art galleries of the country. At the same time he was trying to work out how to continue a writing career that appeared to have floundered before it had really got going. Whilst he was in Germany from October 1936 to April 1937, Murphy was being turned down by a long list of publishing houses.

It is difficult to ascertain just how conscious he was of the fact, but in the months following the completion of Murphy, Beckett's use of secondary material was markedly different. Having spent the first half of the decade acquiring knowledge, Beckett spent the second half trying to forget he had ever acquired it ‐ the whole movement is expressed in one word Beckett noted in the Whoroscope notebook in August or September 1936, when he spelt the word 'Gelehrte [scholars]' as 'Geleerte [emptied out people]'.[i]

This emphasis on reduction, on 'emptying out', is visible in the short poem 'Cascando', written in July 1936. The poem marks a new beginning in Beckett's writing, in that it contains formal aspects that had previously not or hardly featured in his texts, notably repetition, simplicity of utterance, and an absence of erudite references. Ostensibly written in response to unrequited feelings of love, the poem is also characterised by a more personal, even emotional, tone. Nevertheless, even if the poem is free from overt intertextual borrowings, it does contain echoes of Goethe's autobiography, Dichtung und Wahrheit. Beckett had read Goethe's autobiography in 1935, extracting a large number of passages into one of his notebooks (TCD MS10971/1). Thus Beckett had recorded in his notebook Goethe's description of how the noise of writing with an ink pen rather than a pencil 'mich zerstreute u. ein kleines Produkt in der Geburt erstickte [disoriented me and aborted a little conception at its birth]'.[ii] This reflects Beckett's own question 'is it not better abort than be barren', and the poem's notion of the presence of past loves and past separations also finds a correlative passage in Beckett's notes from the same book (or chapter) of Dichtung und Wahrheit:

Nichts aber veranlasst mehr diesen Lebensüberdruss, als die Wiederkehr der Liebe. Die erste Liebe, sagt man mit Recht, sei die einzige: denn in der zweiten und durch die zweite geht schon der höchste Sinn der Liebe verloren. Der Begriff des Ewigen und Unendlichen, der sie eigentlich hebt und trägt, ist zerstört, sie erscheint vergänglich wie alles Wiederkehrende.

[Nothing occasions this weariness of life more than the return of love. The first love, it is rightly said, is the only one, for with the second, and by the second, the highest sense of love is already lost. The conception of the eternal and the infinite, which elevates and supports it, is destroyed, and it appears transient like everything else that recurs].[iii]

The tone of Goethe's passage strikingly encapsulates the weary movement of Beckett's poem. At the same time, however, 'Cascando' achieves, despite the 'bones the old loves' still being present, a sense of cautious hope of renewal, of moving on, of being able to love again (Collected Poems 29).

Whereas Beckett's early work, in particular Dream, tended on the whole to openly flaunt its use of secondary material ‐ or at least dangled it before the reader with the carrot 'We stole that one. Guess where' (Dream 191) ‐ 'Cascando' is engaged in a more discreet intertextual dialogue with Dichtung und Wahrheit which is not aimed at being overheard by the reader. This is even more visible if we turn our attention to a fragment of poetry, which Beckett wrote whilst sitting in a Weinstube in Dresden in February 1937. Writing up the day's events in his diary, Beckett suddenly confesses to be in the 'mood', and notes down two and half lines of poetry in his diary (German Diary Notebook 4 [hereafter GD followed by notebook number], 7/2/1937)

Always elsewhere

In body also

The dew falls + the rain from

The poem quite obviously exemplifies Beckett's feelings of emotional and physical disorientation, a possible recognition that Germany was yet another 'elsewhere' rather than a potential source of creative and personal stability. Already a few weeks earlier he had noted a lack of existential and textual 'ad quem' [toward which] (GD1, 25/10/1936). But exchanging the more intimate image of displacement with an unusually conventional nature picture did little to encourage the poem to grow, and it was abandoned. As Beckett noted in his diary, he could not 'find a name for place that rain falls from'. Yet the fragment reappears, on the back of a Human Wishes notebook, kept in Dublin between May and June 1937, in which Beckett was noting material toward his (abandoned) play on Samuel Johnson:

As the sky, as the sea

The dew falls and the rain from[iv]

 Again, Beckett gets held up at the same point, unable to discern a source for the rain. Now in itself this fragment is of minor importance, although one is hard pressed to find similar lines in Beckett's writing of the 1930s. Simplicity of utterance, natural imagery, absence of adjectives are all somewhat unusual. What is however interesting is the way that Beckett solved his little problem. Thus the missing word is, as it were, retrospectively inserted in a line in Mercier and Camier, written nearly ten years later in 1946, 'The rain was falling gently, as from the fine rose of a watering pot' (34). And, as if to make sure the ghost of missing words was banished, he emphasised a year later in Molloy: 'Then in my eyes and in my head a fine rain begins to fall, as from a rose, highly important' (28).

Now the connection between the 1937 fragments and these two lines is somewhat tenuous, were it not for the fact that Beckett signposts the source of the rain as being 'highly important'. It is of course only really 'highly important' to Beckett himself, as this is a reference that was never meant to see the light of day. Yet the web of intratextual references here relies on an intertextual source, which can be traced back through several layers of remove. Thus the impossibly attentive reader would have remembered the end of Beckett's collection of short stories, More Pricks than Kicks, which finishes with a 'classico-romantic' scene: 'The words of the rose to the rose floated up in his mind: 'No gardener has died, comma, within rosaceous memory' (204). The same line also appears in the unpublished story Echo's Bones (19), and the question ('You know what the rose said to the rose?') had already been posed in (the also unpublished) Dream (175). The quotation here is from Fontanelle's Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes, although Beckett took it from Diderot's Le rêve d'Alembert, as an entry in the Dream notebook shows.[v]

If we are to take all of these various instances, from Dream in 1931 to Molloy in 1947, to centre around the same source and image, the rose of a watering can, then we could argue that intertextual references become absorbed into something akin to 'intratextual memory'. Such an intratextual dialogue is more obviously discernable in Beckett's reformulation and transference of certain characters or specific images or scenes, such as the memory of the diving incident at the Forty-Foot Hole, across a series of texts. But the various instances in which the image of the rose of the watering can appears in Beckett's texts also highlight the difference between the earlier and later use of intertextual material. In Dream the borrowing from Diderot is clearly marked by the use of quotation marks as well as Belacqua's reference to the fact that he will tell a 'storiette' (thus emphasising the French source). Similarly, in More Pricks the use of the word 'comma' alerts the reader to the fact that this is a quotation, even if the appropriate punctuation is not given. In the post-war references to the rose, however, Beckett appears to be reminding himself of the aborted poetic fragment as much as alerting the reader to Diderot or Fontanelle's line.

There are further instances of such intra- and intertextual references that would most likely never be uncovered without manuscript and notebook material. In Beckett's Malone Dies, there is a passage in which the rain falling on the character Macmann is described as 'pelting down on his palms, also called the hollows of the hands, or the flats, it all depends' (243). Now there is nothing here that would alert the reader to a possible intertextual source, not even the most ideal reader envisaged by Joyce. The only signpost, as it were, is the word 'depends', as the reader may ask, 'depends on what'?

Without the existence of Beckett's diaries of his trip through Germany 1936/37, the underlying source of this passage would probably have never been traced. Whilst in Germany, Beckett read a book of commemorative essays on Rilke (Rilke, Stimmen der Freunde: ein Gedächtnisbuch), in which André Gide contributed a piece which mentioned the fact that Rilke was distressed because he could not find an adequate German word for 'palm of hand':

a dry account of Rilke's distress anlässlich [on the occasion of] his translation of Enfant Prodigue on finding in Grimms dictionary no proper word for palm of hand, or rather anlässlich his translation of Michelangelo's Sonnets. Handrücken [back of the hand] gibt's [exists] (but hardly in English!) but for palm only Handfläche [flats of the hand] or the archaic Handteller [hollow of the hand] which he rejects. (GD4, 12/2/1937)

Beckett goes on to note that Rilke, that 'ass', thought that the inside of the hand contains the secret of the individual's essence, before finally dismissing the whole episode as 'Quatsch'.

It is difficult to ascertain why Beckett would include such an obscure reference in Malone Dies, apart from the fact that the indecision (borrowed from Rilke) pertaining to the proper term of the anatomy of the hand sustains the unreliability, or rather indeterminate nature of the text. To put it bluntly, knowing the source adds little to our understanding of the final text. But if we shift our focus of attention from the final text to the process of composition, this little episode is rather interesting. For one thing, it cuts to the core of Beckett's poetics of unknowing, which he formulated in contrast to Joyce's omnipotence, as the reference here is some kind of remnant of learning but undercut by obscuration. Furthermore, as in the case with the rose of the watering can, the intertextual source of the reference is in some way less important than the intratextual web that is generates; in this case a dialogue with the 'German Diaries', which is upheld by other, more obvious references such as the allusion to 'Tiepolo's ceiling in Würzburg' (Malone Dies 236). Most importantly, however, is the way in which we get an insight into the way Beckett continued to rely, unless we are underestimating his already considerable capacity for remembering details, on reading notes and notebooks many years after they were kept.[vi]

Beckett later in life looked back on the 1930s, with its intense note-taking enterprise, as a period during which he thought he 'had to equip myself intellectually'.[vii] Yet even as his reliance on any such knowledge 'collapsed', remnants of his erudition could never be entirely eradicated from his writing as he continued to rely on 'dear scraps recorded somewhere' (How It Is 28). As Mephistopheles tells Faust: 'Dir steckt der Doktor noch im Leib [There sticks [...] / The Doctor in thy carcase yet]'.[viii] Just as the narrator of Dream, Beckett continued 'looking back through our notes' (Dream, 189), a habit mentioned in the texts themselves. Thus the late text All Strange Away for example refers to the existence of Beckett's philosophy notes from the 1930s, and describes them accurately when referring to 'ancient Greek philosophers ejaculated with place of origin when possible suggesting pursuit of knowledge at some period' (Collected Short Prose 175).

After 1936, and even more so after 1945, Beckett not only drew less frequently on material taken from his reading, which also accounts for the absence of notebooks containing reading notes until he started keeping the 'Sottisier' notebook in 1976, but also pushed literary and other allusions deeper below the surface. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that Beckett perceived the writing process as a site of excavation, and geological terminology is scattered throughout manuscript material. A 'stupid obsession with depth', the Unnamable calls it (The Unnamable 295). In the Proust essay of 1931, Beckett had already declared that the artist 'who does not deal with surfaces' must engage in the 'labours of poetical excavation', because the 'only fertile research is excavatory, a descent'.[ix] And the oft-quoted letter to Axel Kaun of July 1937 speaks of having to 'bore' holes into language (Disjecta 172). It is also interesting to note that when Ruby Cohn put together an edition of Beckett's critical essays in the 1980s she suggested the title 'Marginalia', but Beckett insisted on using either 'Excuviae' or 'Disjecta', the eventual title.[x]

The creative energy released by excavation is specifically linked to a mining of the unconscious, and the confluence of the unconscious with geology is illustrated by entries in the Whoroscope notebook from the early 1930s, where among various descriptions of layers of sediment the expressions 'geology of conscience' and 'Cambrian experience' can be found. These notes found their way into an exchange between Arsene and the narrator recorded in the second notebook of Watt, in which Beckett refers to the graveyard at Greystones, where his father was buried:

"Never mind that now" cried Arsene. "Dig! Delve! Deeper! Deeper! The Cambrian! The uterine! The pre-uterine!"

"The pre-uterine" we said. "No. That reminds us of the rocks at Greystones."[xi]

The geological terminology harnessed by Beckett, the notion of excavation and mining, serves to merge the textual and existential layers. His awareness of textual 'sediment' or layers is obvious for example in the notes kept toward the writing of Murphy, in which he reminded himself 'to keep Dantesque analogy out of sight', or stated at another point that 'this is prologue but call it not so'.[xii]

Similarly, Beckett in his post-war work tended to keep intertextual borrowings out of sight, at least until 1976 when he began working on the short poems known as the Mirlitonnades. Beckett initially recorded these short poems when inspiration hit him, on whatever scrap of paper came to hand ‐ old diary pages, metro tickets, envelopes or a part of the box of a whisky bottle. He then transferred these versions into the 'Sottisier' notebook, so-called as it also contains quotations from his reading and other miscellaneous material. At times he would just note the final version of a mirlitonnade which he had already completed on the scraps, at other times he would revise them further in the notebook. Moreover, if the final version in the 'Sottisier' differed from the last version on the scrap of paper he would sometimes transfer the final version back on to the scrap, as if to complete the full composition process there.

Beckett's letters from the late 1970s and early 1980s contain many references to the struggle to continue writing. This was always a frequent complaint ‐ how to go on ‐ but a particular problem during this period. In these years Beckett, who of course had read a lot throughout his life, started to return more persistently to those authors who has meant a lot to him when younger. To Jocelyn Herbert for example he wrote in 1975: 'Only reading Dante again with memories of student reading'.[xiii] A year later he began to record fragments of this reading in the 'Sottisier' notebook, something he had not done for nearly 40 years. It appears as if this return to an old note taking strategy helped Beckett to go on writing at this time. Equally, Beckett tended to use references to his reading in his writing more openly again.

This is evident, for example, from his use of Shakespeare in the 'Sottisier', as he noted a group of quotations from King Lear and other plays. The enabling influence of these reading notes, which also later informed the writing of Worstward Ho, can be illustrated by Beckett's use of the line 'Where is the life that late I led?' from The Taming of the Shrew. Having noted the line in his notebook, Beckett answered Petruchio's question within a short space of time on the same notebook page, on 23 March 1981, with the following poem:[xiv]


the life late led

down there

all done unsaid

There is a hint here, an intratextual echo of the 'life above' in the light described in How It Is (106). Post-dating the Mirlitonnades proper, this short piece was subsequently published with three others in the aptly names publication New Departures.

A similar immediacy in time and material proximity of source and text is discernable in many of the Mirlitonnades, written on the whole between 1976 and 1978. Thus a visit to the cemetery at Tangier in August 1977 led to Beckett's notation of an epitaph on the grave stone of one Caroline Hay Taylor, 'morte en Irlande August 1932':

one who never turned her back but

marched breast forward

never doubted clouds would break

never dreamed thought right were

worsted wrong wd. triumph

held we fall to rise, are baffled to

fight better, sleep to wake[xv]

This rather Beckettian text within the space of a few days inspired a short mirlitonnade, 'plus lois un autre commémore', which Beckett drafted on the back of an envelope before copying a final version into the 'Sottisier' notebook below the epitaph:

plus loin un autre commémore

Caroline Hay Taylor

fidèle à sa philosophie

qu'espoir il y a tant qu'il y a vie

d'Irlande elle s'enfuit aux cieux

en août mil neuf centxtrente-deux

The exo- and endogenetic processes are brought into close proximity here, and it appears as if in this last stage of his writing life Beckett could return to a process of composition that had marked the beginning of his writing career. As he told Anne Atik in December 1977:

All writing is a sin against speechlessness. [...]. Only a few, Yeats, Goethe, those who lived for a long time, could go on to do it, but they had recourse to known forms and fictions. So one finds oneself going back to vieilles competences ‐ how to escape that. One can never get over the fact, never rid oneself of the old dream of giving a form to speechlessness.[xvi]


[i] Whoroscope notebook, Reading University Library [hereafter RUL] MS3000, 34r (Reading University Library). The word 'Geleerte' appears in a 1938 review of Denis Devlin's poems (Disjecta 91).

[ii] Trinity College Dublin Library [hereafter TCD] MS10971/1, 68r.

[iii] TCD MS10971/1, 63r-63v. Goethe in this passage merely refers to 'weariness', but the entire section deals with 'weariness of life', which is presumably why Beckett in his notebook writes 'Lebensüberdruss'.

[iv] RUL MS3461/2. I am grateful to John Pilling for bringing this to my attention.

[v] In the Dream notebook Beckett noted 'Fontanelles [sic] rose that said no gardener had died within the memory of roses...', Beckett's Dream Notebook, ed. John Pilling (Reading: Beckett International Foundation, 1999), 84; cf. also Diderot's Le rêve d'Alembert: 'La rose de Fontenelle qui disait que de mémoire de rose on n'avait vu mourir un jardinier'.

[vi] Beckett also for example went back to the Whoroscope Notebook during the writing of Malone Dies, as his use of Lucretius's tag 'Suave mari magno' (219) shows; RUL MS3000, 38r.

[vii] Charles Juliet, Conversations with Samuel Beckett and Bram van Velde; trans. by Janey Tucker (Leiden: Academic Press Leiden, 1995), 150.

[viii] Beckett noted this line, from Faust I. 3277, in his notebook; RUL MS5004, 43r.

[ix] Cf. also Beckett's letter to George Reavey of 8/10/1932, in which he promises to 'excavate for a poem for you one of these dies diarrhoeae' (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin [hereafter HRHRC]).

[x] Letter to Ruby Cohn, 4/1/1982 (RUL).

[xi] Watt notebook 2, 77 (HRHRC).

[xii] Whoroscope notebook, MS3000, 2r (RUL).

[xiii] Letter to Jocelyn Herbert, 30/6/1975 (RUL).

[xiv] 'Sottisier' notebook, MS2901, 14v (RUL).

[xv] Ibid., 8v.

[xvi] Anne Atik: How It Was: A Memoir of Samuel Beckett (London: Faber, 2001), 95.



Atik, Anne, How It Was: A Memoir of Samuel Beckett, London: Faber, 2001.

Beckett, Samuel, The Complete Dramatic Works, London: Faber and Faber, 1986.

–, Complete Poems in English and French, New York: Grove Press, 1977.

–, The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989, Stan Gontarski (ed.), New York: Grove Press, 1995.

–, Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, Ruby Cohn (ed.), London: John Calder, 1983.

–, Dream of Fair to Middling Women, Dublin: Black Cat Press, 1992.

–, How it is, London: John Calder, 1977.

–, Mercier and Camier, 1970; New York: Grove Press, 1974.

–, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, London: Calder Publications, 1959.

–, More Pricks than Kicks, London: Calder & Boyars, 1973.

–, Murphy, London: Calder Publications, 1993.

–, Proust and Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit, London: John Calder, 1965.

–, Watt, London: Calder, 1976.

–, 'Echo's Bones' [typescript], Baker Library, Dartmouth College. Photocopy consulted at Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Leventhal Collection.

, 'German Diaries' [6 notebooks], Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library.

–, Human Wishes [3 Notebooks], Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library, MS3461/1-3.

–, Faust notebooks, Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library, MS5004 and MS5005.

–, Notes on German Literature, Trinity College Dublin, MS10971/1.

–, 'Sottisier' notebook, Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library, MS2901.

–, Watt notebooks Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

, Whoroscope Notebook, Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library, MS3000.

–, Letters to Ruby Cohn, Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library.

–, Letters to Jocelyn Herbert, Beckett International Foundation Archives, University of Reading Library.

, Letters to Thomas MacGreevy, Trinity College Library Dublin, MS10402.

, Letters to George Reavey, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

Juliet, Charles, Conversations with Samuel Beckett and Bram van Velde, trans. by Janey Tucker, Leiden: Academic Press Leiden, 1995.

Pilling, John (ed.), Beckett's "Dream" Notebook, Reading: Beckett International Foundation, 1999.