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Mercier et Camier Typescript

 Collection — Box: VMF 20, Folder: 16
Identifier: MS-VMF-vmf249

Corrected ribbon typescript with ink and pencil annotations,150 pages. Includes envelope identifying this as made from Samuel Beckett's copy of Mercier et Camier in Raymond Federman’s hand, circa 1960.

Edited typescript of Beckett’s first novel written in French, originally drafted in 1946 but unpublished until 1970 by Editions de Minuit.This appears to be an intermediate state of Beckett’s French text, with many typing errors and with manuscript corrections throughout, mostly accents and minor typographical alterations, but with strikethroughs and notable alterations and/or added text at pages 3, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 37, 52, 58, 73, 126, 128, 135, and 136. The insertions are generally in accordance with the published work. The hand does not resemble any of Beckett’s handwriting.

There are several pencil annotations of interest, noting, for example, an incorrect attribution of the speaker in the text at page 10 (Camier), while the published text at page 20 reads Mercier; and at page 37 the text reads “le seul plaisir que j’aie” while page 58 of the published book reads “le seul plaisir qui me reste”. At page 52 of the typescript (page 79 in the book), the annotation marks another incorrect attribution of the speaker, “Conaire” (where the book reads Gast); page 52, the typescript reads “des coupons d’étoffe divers” while the text on page 89 shows “des bouts d’étoffe divers”. Finally, on page 127, two lines in the typescript differ from the published book which reads simply “tant tout était devenu confus”.

The former owner was John Fletcher, whose scholarly work includes a succession of works studying the Irish author: The Novels of Samuel Beckett (1964); Samuel Beckett and His Critics (1970), with Raymond Federman; and About Beckett (2003).


  • Creation: circa 1960


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1 folders

Biographical Information

Samuel Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in France for the most of his adult life. Writing in English and French, Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humor. His best-known play, Waiting for Godot (1953) is a comic study of philosophical uncertainty, and, like much of his work, focuses on the absurdity of human existence. Beckett graduated from Dublin's Trinity College in 1927 and settled in Paris, where he worked with James Joyce and published short stories and the novel Murphy (1938). During World War II, he joined the French Resistance and was eventually forced to leave Paris, but after the war he returned and wrote most of his important works, including the prose trilogy Molloy (1951), Malone Dies (Malone Meurt, 1951) and The Unnamable (L'Innommable, 1953), and the play Endgame (Fin de Partie, 1957). Never exactly mainstream, Beckett is nonetheless considered one of the most important European writers of the 20th century for his influence on modern literature and for his ability to impress, shock and confound.

Source of Acquisition

Accession number MS-2024-019. Purchase from James Cummins Bookseller, Febraury 27, 2024.

Related Materials

See also the Samuel Beckett Papers (MS008), the Samuel Beckett Ephemera (VMF014), the Samuel Beckett Posters (VMF233), the Lord John Press Collection (MSS155), and the Raymond Federman Papers (MS044).

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Schnuriger, May 2024.



Mercier et Camier Typescript
Created May 2024 by Sarah Schnuriger.
Description rules
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Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495