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Award-winning digital archive shares Beckett with the world – University of Reading

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Award-winning digital archive shares Beckett with the world

Release Date 16 January 2019

Texts from the Beckett Collection at the University of Reading are part of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project

The creation of a digital archive of the manuscripts of Samuel Beckett, making material from different collections available to the world, has seen a University of Reading expert win a prestigious award.

The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project is co-directed by Dr Mark Nixon, from Reading’s Department of English Literature, and Professor Dirk Van Hulle, at the University of Antwerp. It makes manuscripts by the Irish novelist, playwright, director and poet, which are held at institutions across the world, available online in one place for students and researchers of his work. The project also houses the Beckett Digital Library.

The Modern Language Association of America has awarded its eleventh Modern Language Association Prize for a Bibliography, Archive or Digital Project to the team behind the project.

"The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project will be a valuable resource for research and teaching of Beckett’s work across the globe for years to come" - Professor Mark Nixon, University of Reading

The awards committee citation reads: “The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project is a stunning display of editorial and technical craft, combining sophisticated deployments of digital platform and apparatus with gorgeously produced and meticulously executed book-bound scholarship.”

Dr Nixon said: “The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project will be a valuable resource for research and teaching of Beckett’s work across the globe for years to come. What up until now would have involved travelling thousands of miles to collections around the world to get a comprehensive view of Beckett’s work can now be done at home or in the classroom at the click of a button.”

The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project includes manuscripts held in the University of Reading’s Beckett Collection – the largest archive of the writer’s work in the world. The Collection is a vital part of the Beckett Research Centre, set up by Beckett scholars in Reading in 2017 to foster research, and encourage creative engagement and new, original work inspired by Beckett.

The project is an ongoing collaboration between the Beckett International Foundation (University of Reading), the Centre for Manuscript Genetics (University of Antwerp) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin), with the permission of the Estate of Samuel Beckett.

Dr Nixon is co-director of the Beckett International Foundation and a former president of the Samuel Beckett Society. He has published widely on Beckett’s work; recent books include the critical edition of Beckett’s short story Echo’s Bones (Faber). He is currently preparing a critical edition of Beckett’s German diaries.

Visit the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project at www.beckettarchive.org/

 

Listen to Dr Nixon on In Our Time on BBC Radio 4 at 9am this Thursday morning, discussing Beckett’s decision to write many of his plays in French rather than English – not because his French was better, but because it was worse.

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