Manuscript of Murphy by Samuel Beckett

In 2013 the University of Reading acquired the hand-written manuscript for Murphy, Samuel Beckett's first published novel and the first major expression of the central themes that would occupy much of his later work. This has been added to the Samuel Beckett Collection. The manuscript, described by Sotheby's as the 'most important manuscript of a complete novel by a modern British or Irish writer to appear at auction for many decades', had been in private hands for the last half century. The manuscript fills six notebooks and provides a text that is substantially different from the final printed edition in 1938. Further details may be found in our blog post.

Access to the manuscript

The University of Reading is fully committed to making the Murphy manuscript open to researchers.  Access to facsimiles will be permitted, via our usual reading room service. This requires registration but is open to all without charge.

There will be an application procedure for those who require access to the original manuscript. This will require justification for such access and verification of credentials.

If you have any further questions about this please contact the University Archivist.

More information

  • A catalogue is available to download as a pdf (82KB), or search the online database.

  • Manuscript number MS 5517.

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