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University of Texas at Austin

Abraham Leventhal:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator Leventhal, Abraham Jacob, 1896-1979
Title A.J. Leventhal Collection
Dates: 1918-1982
Extent: 1 box (.42 linear feet)
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence and a few works by Leventhal, including essays on James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. The bulk of the collection comprises letters from Beckett to Leventhal.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-04855
Language: English.
Access Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchase, 1991 (R12354)
Processed by Chelsea S. Jones

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Abraham Jacob Leventhal (1896-1979), often called "Con" by his friends, grew up in Dublin and attended a protestant school, despite his Jewish heritage. Just after the first World War he took a break from his university studies to work for the first Zionist Commission in Palestine and to help found the Palestine Weekly. When, upon returning to Dublin, the Dublin Magazine turned down his review of James Joyce's Ulysses he founded his own literary journal, the Klaxon, in order to publish it. When his friend Samuel Beckett left a post at Trinity College, Leventhal assumed the position.
Leventhal's friendship with Beckett continued on and off through out Leventhal's life. It cooled off considerably when Leventhal, a married man, began an affair with Ethna McCarthy, a women for whom Beckett harbored strong feelings. After years of openly living together, Leventhal married Ethna, and Beckett reconciled himself to the couple. Later on Leventhal acted as a secretary for Beckett, intercepting and answering correspondence and generally helping to shield Beckett from his admiring public.

Scope and Contents

Letters from Samuel Beckett to Leventhal make up the bulk of the A. J. Leventhal Collection, 1918-1982, supplemented with typescripts of poems and essays and other correspondence. The collection is arranged by the name of the individual to whom the materials relate: Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Valery Larbaud, A. J. Leventhal, and Marion Leigh Leventhal. All correspondence and individual works are listed in the Index of Correspondents and Index of Works at the end of this finding aid.
The Samuel Beckett section contains typescripts of a few poems published in Beckett's Collected Poems in French and English, as well as over 150 letters and postcards written to A. J. Leventhal (1934-1979), and a few written to Leventhal's wife, Ethna. Also present are two groups of letters written to Beckett by obsessed followers and some ephemera associated with a production of Waiting for Godot.
The James Joyce section holds a visiting card and a letter from Joyce, as well as several articles written about Joyce by Leventhal. The Valery Larbaud section contains two exchanges between Larbaud and T.B. Rudmose Brown as well as an article about Larbaud. The A.J. Leventhal section contains mostly personal correspondence, including several letters from Leslie Daiken, and the Marion Leigh Leventhal section has letters written to Marion.

Related Material

Other materials associated with A. J. Leventhal may be found in the Mary Hutchinson Collection at the Ransom Center.

Index Terms


Beckett, Samuel, 1906- .
Daiken, Leslie H.


Joyce, James, 1882-1941.
Larbaud, Valery.
Authors--Irish--20th Century.
Authors--Jewish--20th Century.

Document Types


A. J. Leventhal Collection--Folder List

Leventhal, A.J., correspondence box 1 folder 14