Consisting primarily of materials related to Deirdre Bair's National Book Award
winning biography of Samuel Beckett (1978), this collection contains twenty-one
letters (1971-1977) between Bair and Beckett. The correspondence begins with Bair's
introduction of herself and the scope of her proposed project and ends near to
completion of her research when, after a short time of seemingly ending his
cooperation, Beckett agrees to let Bair include most of the original source material
she sought his permission to publish.
Bair's correspondence with Beckett acquaintances includes approximately sixty
letters (1972-1980) with Brian Coffey in which he discusses subjects including
Beckett and old Dublin, his own work and family, and Bair's work and personal
In other notable correspondence (1973-1992), all single and often short letters,
Henry Miller, Octavio Paz, David L. Diamond, and Peggy Guggenheim, among others,
recount their relationship with Beckett or lack thereof. Miller recalls he "hardly
knew Beckett at all," and that the second time they met he found him "shy, reserved"
and they "had little to say to one another."
Bair's notes of eighty-two interviews (1971-1977) consist of typed and handwritten
transcriptions that also record her perceptions of the subjects and the context
their interviews. The interviewees include Beckett, Ann Beckett, Edward Beckett,
Brian Coffey, Man Ray, and Kay Boyle, among many others.