London, South Kensington
6 December 2002
BECKETT, Samuel Barclay (1906-1989) and Louis LE BROCQUY (b.1916, artist). Stirrings Still. New York and London: Pierre Chave for Blue Moon Books and John Calder, 1988.
2° (342 x 226mm). Lithographic plate printed in 2 tones, 7 lithographic plates and one lithographic illustration by and after Le Brocquy printed by Chave. Original vellum-backed boards by Établissements Dermont-Duval, the upper cover with design after Le Brocquy in gilt, the spine lettered in gilt, slipcase.
FIRST EDITION. LIMITED TO 226 COPIES, THIS NUMBER 12 OF 200 SIGNED BY BECKETT AND LE BROCQUY. Stirrings Still is composed of three short prose pieces which were written between 1985 and 1987, drafted in both French and English. The first fragment had been begun in 1985, but the process of composition was accelerated by the news in April 1986 that Beckett's American publisher, Barney Rosset of the Grove Press, had been dismissed by Ann Getty and Lord Weidenfeld (to whom Rosset had sold the publishing house). Seeking to help Rosset re-establish himself as a publisher -- and to provide him with income -- Beckett decided to give Rosset the work that eventually became Stirrings Still to publish. However, the writing was laborious -- as Beckett wrote to Rosset in December 1986 'No sign of 3rd [piece] so far and fear little hope the way I am now' (quoted in: J. Knowlson Damned to Fame (London: 1996), p.699). Because of Beckett's difficulties writing it, the work was not finished until late 1987, and not published until 13 April 1988 -- the author's 83rd birthday. The Irish artist Louis Le Brocquy was chosen to illustrate the work; Beckett and Le Brocquy had been introduced in 1978 by Con Leventhal (a friend of both), and the artist had not only painted Beckett subsequently, but also designed two productions of Waiting for Godot for the Gate Theatre, Dublin. The last work published in Beckett's lifetime, Stirrings Still was translated into French by the author during his final months and the French edition published under the title Soubresauts (Paris: 1989).
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