Vol. 19, No. 31
May 18, 2000
A large collection of items related to noted Irish author, critic and playwright Samuel Beckett has been donated to the University of Delaware Library by the late legal scholar Sir Joseph Gold.
A leading figure in 20th-century literature and winner of the Nobel Prize, Beckett is best known for his play Waiting for Godot.
Sir Joseph gave his collection, which fills more than 150 boxes, to UD before his death at the age of 87 on Feb. 22 in Bethesda, Md. Sir Joseph's son, Richard, acting on behalf of his family, was instrumental in bringing the gift to the library.
"Sir Joseph Gold's collection of the work of Samuel Beckett was world-renowned. We are honored that he chose the University of Delaware Library as its home. It will benefit students and scholars of one of the 20th century's most important literary figures," Timothy Murray of the library's Special Collections Department said.
"This extraordinary Beckett collection strengthens the library's holdings in major 20th-century literary figures," Susan Brynteson, libraries, said.
"This wonderful gift is a testament both to the strength of our already extensive holdings in 20th-century Irish literature and to the level of stewardship that our library can provide for such a world-class collection," President David P. Roselle said. "We're pleased to be able to share its contents with students and scholars for generations to come.
"The is the second major collection given to the University this year," Roselle added. "Last fall, we were privileged to acquire the literary papers of famed American expatriate writer and composer Paul Bowles."
Sir Joseph Gold
Sir Joseph, retired general counsel and director of the legal department of the International Monetary Fund, was a noted legal scholar of international monetary law.
He published more than 20 volumes on the international monetary legal system and contributed more than 100 articles to a long list of legal journals and other publications in his 50-plus years in the field.
He was a featured legal lecturer at many universities including Southern Methodist University, the University of Michigan, Columbia School of Law, and Creighton University. London-born and educated, Sir Joseph received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of London, where he subsequently lectured. He received his doctorate in law from Harvard University in 1942.
Based on his contributions as an civil servant, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1980.
Sir Joseph was passionate about literature and was a renowned collector of works by and about contemporary writers and poets. His greatest enthusiasm was for Beckett and his works.
The publication of Malone Meurt (Malone Dies) (1951), Molloy (1951), and L'Innommable (The Unnamable) (1953), and several other works brought Beckett modest commercial success in his early years as a writer. His rise to fame began with the success of the performance of En attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot) in 1953.
Beckett lived in Paris, but most of his writing was done in a small house secluded in the Marne valley, a short drive away. His total dedication to his art extended to his complete avoidance of all personal publicity, of appearances on radio or television and of all journalistic interviews. In 1969, when he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, he accepted the award but declined the trip to Stockholm to avoid the public speech at the ceremonies.
For more information on the Beckett collection, contact Murray at 831-6952.