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Posts Tagged ‘[Samuel] Beckett’

Barney Rosset Has Died

The great publisher Barney Rosset has passed away. Rosset bought Grove Press in the 1950s, championing the work of countless writers, including: Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm X, Pablo Neruda, Kenzaburo Oe, Kathy Acker, and David Mamet.

In the 1960s, he launched the provocative magazine, Evergreen Review. In a highly recommended interview at The Paris Review, Rosset shared his first encounter with Miller’s work as a college freshman at Swarthmore:

I read Tropic of Cancer, which I bought at Steloff’s Gotham Book Mart on Forty-seventh Street. Who told me about it, I don’t know, but I liked it enormously and I wrote my freshman English paper about both it and The Air Conditioned Nightmare … After I read Tropic of Cancer, I left—decided to go to Mexico. Because the book had influenced me so much, I left in the middle of the term. But I ran out of money. I never got to Mexico; I got as far as Florida and I came back. Four weeks had gone by. They had reported me missing to the United States government. My family didn’t know where I was. I came back, sort of sadly.

(Via Sarah Weinman)

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Waiting for Godot Video Game

Last June, Vector Belly released a video game version of Samuel Beckett‘s classic tragicomedy, Waiting for Godot. As you can see by the video embedded above, the game evokes the surreal inactivity of the source material.

In addition, The Washington Post has uncovered more details about The Great Gatsby Nintendo game we linked to last week. Allegedly discovered at a yard sale, the four-level video game features 8-bit graphics and tinny soundtrack.

Here’s more from the article: “The San Francisco developer, Charlie Hoey, actually created, coded and published the game with the help of his friend Pete Smith as a tribute to their nostalgic love of old NES games. The duo started working on the game almost a year ago, beginning with the iconic Gatsby cover.” (Via Andrew Sullivan)

Authors Who Doodled

Flavorpill has collected the doodles of famous authors, including Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Mark Twain, Henry Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jorge Luis Borges.

The drawings ranged from insect portraits to nightmare images. Wallace drew one of the funnier pieces, doodling glasses and fangs on a photo of Cormac McCarthy.

Vonnegut (pictured with his artwork, via) incorporated many of his drawings into his books. He even had his own art gallery exhibitions. What author should illustrate their next book?

Skyhorse Acquires Arcade Publishing’s Assets at Auction

Skyhorse.jpgSkyhorse Publishing acquired Arcade Publishing’s assets at the price of $548,000 in an auction. Publishers Weekly reports that Skyhorse is “thrilled” with the addition of Arcade’s list–which includes major authors like Octavio Paz, Samuel Beckett, and Elie Wiesel.

GalleyCat reported back in June 2009 when Arcade Publishing filed for bankruptcy. The company was founded in 1988 by Richard Seaver and his wife, Jeannette. After his death in 2008, the press struggled in the midst of the tough economic climate.

The article explains: “A Skyhorse spokesperson said the publisher is considering using the Arcade name for its more literary titles, but had not reached a final decision. The company will announce in the next few weeks when Arcade titles will be available to the trade.”

Who Publishes, Who Benefits?

Over the weekend, the Observer’s Vanessa Thorpe reported on an unseemly row over some of the most illustrious names in world literature, including Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, that broke out over who owns the rights to their work. The rights to publish the work of the writers on the ‘Calder list’, which once included more Nobel Prize-winning authors than any other in the history of books, are at the centre of a cross-Channel battle that has seen angry words flying between some of the most famous publishing houses in the business.

The catalyst for the row was a recent advertisement carried by the London Review of Books, which proclaimed that Oneworld Classics, a small but established British publisher, had taken over the Calder back catalogue and would be selling copies of selected work by writers such as Beckett, Ionesco and Alexander Trocchi, the cult author of YOUNG ADAM. But last month the same journal carried a counter-claim. The two revered French literary houses, Editions Gallimard and Editions de Minuit, original publishers of many authors on Calder’s books, both denied that Oneworld Classics had any such right, saying: “Gallimard and Minuit hereby confirm that they recognise no right whatsoever on the part of Oneworld Classics to these authors.”

There are more details in the article, but suffice to say that it seems both sides have a valid claim and this mess may take years to properly sort out.

John Calder Calls It A Day

The Scotsman dubs John Calder the “enfant terrible of Scottish publishing” for good reason, seeing as he published some of the most avant-garde writers in literary history, scandalized the establishment and escaped brushes with the law. But now, at the age of 80, Calder is retiring – and making available his prodigious backlist to the highest bidders. Calder said last week: “I have been at it for 58 years and I can’t keep going forever. Like the family dog, I want to see it go to a good home. The [Samuel] Beckett copyrights will go into other hands.”

He has published some of the best of contemporary British and international dramatists including Steven Berkoff, Marguerite Duras, Eugene Ionesco, Georg Kaiser, David Mercer, Robert Pinget and Heathcote Williams, as well as works by novelists Henry Miller and William Burroughs. He also speaks of modern publishing with some contempt: “When I was young, publishing companies were run by people with editorial knowledge and experience, who could read things and make up their minds on what was good or otherwise. But now, it’s the accountants and marketing people who make the decisions, caring for nothing but money.”