Dublin Core




Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989. Murphy.


First edition of Beckett's first published novel. Beckett wrote Murphy from 1934-1937. The novel chronicles the life and mind of the titular character, an Irishman living in a condemned building in London.

In a specially designed slipcase. First edition, in smooth green cloth. This copy lacks dust jacket. Bears the author's signed autograph presentation inscription.


Beckett, Samuel


PR6003 E282 M8 1938a  


London : Routledge




Special Collections copy 2: In a specially designed slipcase, First edition, binding variant: rough gray cloth; brown lettering on spine; dust jacket

1929-1940 exhibit case

To George Reavey, 13 November 1936: "Let me say at once that I do not see how the book can be cut without being disorganised. Especially if the beginning is cut (& God knows the first half is plain sailing enough) the later part will lose such resonance as it has. I can’t imagine what they want me to take out. I refuse to touch the section entitled Amor Intellectualis quo M. se ipsum amat. And I refuse also to touch the game of chess. The Horoscope chapter is also essential.2 But I am anxious for the book to be published and therefore cannot afford to reply with a blank refusal to cut anything. Will you therefore communicate to Mr Greenslet my extreme aversion to removing one third of my work, proceeding from my extreme inability to understand how this can be done and leave a remainder. But add that if they would indicate precisely what they have in mind, and the passages that cause them pain, I should be willing to suppress such passages as are not essential to the whole and adjust such others as seem to them a confusion of the issue. Be astonished, firm, & up to a point politely flexible, all at once, if you can. Do they not understand that if the book is slightly obscure, it is so because it is a compression, and that to compress it further can only result in making it more obscure? The wild & unreal dialogues cannot, it seems to be [for me], be removed without darkening & dulling the whole thing. They are the comic expression of what elsewhere is expressed in elegy, namely if you like the hermetism of the spirit. Is it here that they find the “skyrockets”? There is no time and no space in such a book for mere relief. The relief has also to do work and reinforce that from which it relieves. And of course the narrative is hard to follow, & of course deliberately so. Am I then Berdaev [for Berdyaev]? That I should adorn with historical amnions & placentae a non-historical uterus? And sink grapples in a womb ceaselessly pregnated & never delivered? And crowd the last chapter with oyster kisses & Murillo brats? But this is all dans le vide, & must remain so, until I know in detail what it is that upsets them." -The Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1929-1940, pp. 380-381


20 cm.
jpeg; 300 ppi






Beckett-Murphy-titlepage-with-inscription-5328058-PM.jpeg; Beckett-Murphy-slipcase-5328058-PM.jpeg; Beckett-Murphy-slipcase-and-book-5328058-002-PM.jpg


282 pages
3 scans




Beckett, Samuel, “Murphy,” WUSTL Digital Gateway Image Collections & Exhibitions, accessed February 24, 2021,