In response to:
The Painful Comedy of Samuel Beckett from the November 14, 1996 issue
To the Editors:
John Banville is mistaken in his claim [NYR, November 14, 1996] that Samuel Beckett’s trilogy Nohow On was “assembled after Beckett’s death by John Calder.” It may indeed be a poor title and the three constituent parts—Company; Ill Seen, Ill Said; Worstward Ho—may stand better alone than together, as Banville contests, but the responsibility for both the title and the designation of the three works as a trilogy lies with Beckett himself. The Calder Publications 1992 edition of Nohow On contains the information that this trilogy was “first published in 1989 by John Calder (Publishers) Ltd.”; this is also mistaken. Nohow On was first published by The Limited Editions Club in June of 1989 in an edition signed by Beckett and by the artist Robert Ryman, whose aquatints accompany the texts.
When new works by Brendan Behan continued to arrive in a flow uninterrupted by his death, it was said in Dublin that you could hear the typewriter clicking away in Glasnevin, the cemetery where Behan is buried. To my knowledge, though, no one has yet produced a signed copy of Richard’s Cork Leg.
Journal of the American Irish Historical Society
New York City
April 24, 1997