“A vivid and intimate homage to two revolutionary men of letters brimming with literary, theatrical, and First Amendment history…. Their blazing collaboration is celebrated in this vigorous assemblage of letters…. Rosset encourages, soothes, bristles, argues, and jokes. In a 1958 letter he writes, 'For God’s sake DON’T give up drink.'” — ALA BOOKLIST
“A vivid snapshot of a revolutionary era in the culture…. A wonderful period aroma emanates from the reproductions of typewritten letters on Grove letterhead, telegrams, newspaper clippings, etc., and the detailed documentation of such projects as Beckett’s Film starring Buster Keaton and the world premiere of Rockaby with Billie Whitelaw.”— KIRKUS REVIEWS
“The exchanges reveal Rosset’s formative and consistent championing of Beckett’s work, insisting that the plays be staged and performed in accordance with their creator’s directives. VERDICT An essential complement to the second and third volumes of Cambridge’s The Letters of Samuel Beckett.”— LIBRARY JOURNAL
“A moving, often poignant ‘scrapbook’ of Rosset and Beckett’s deepening friendship over 35 years…. A panorama of mid-to-late-20th-century culture is on display…. For Rosset, ‘[Beckett] was more of a changing, growing, swaying, marvelous organism, always in a state of transformation.’ This work evokes two preeminent 20th-century figures and their profound impact on publishing, theater, literature, and culture.”— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Dear Mr. Beckett
Thursday October 20, 2016
To honor the legacy of Grove Press’s Barney Rosset—who introduced American readers to D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Jean Genet, and more—and celebrate the publication of his correspondence with Samuel Beckett, Dear Mr. Beckett: Letters from the Publisher, we brought together some of the people who knew him best. Paul Auster, Lois Oppenheim (The Beckett Society), Glenn Young (Opus publisher), Astrid Myers-Rosset, and Robert Solomon, Esq. (who represented Barney for many years) discussed Rosset’s relationship with Samuel Beckett, and his impact on literary publishing.
Dear Mr. Beckett, Letters from the Publisher—The Samuel Beckett File: Correspondence, Interviews, Photos
Through letters, contracts, photos, interviews, speeches, reviews and memorabilia--most of which has never before been made public--a rare personal and professional friendship unfolds between these two oddly shy daredevils; through their embrace, they shifted and turned the tide of literature in America.
Among the many never before published entries are: Beckett's discussion about acting with his long time director, Alan Schneider, as they huddled with Barney Rosset about their upcoming rehearsal with Buster Keaton; correspondence with Susan Sontag on her Waiting for Godot production in Sarajevo; the comprehensive Endgame file concerning the controversial production in Cambridge, MA which proceeded against Beckett's wishes; interviews with Eugene Ionesco and Alain Robbe-Grillet about Beckett, Rosset and the Absurdists; Estelle Parsons’ correspondence with Beckett about the actress's proposal to perform Waiting for Godot on Broadway.
Barney Rosset defended personal freedom of the written word at great personal risk (he was arrested numerous times) and redefined American's puritanical literary parameters. Together with Beckett, his name is forever linked with his authors who include William S. Burroughs, Malcolm X, Henry Miller, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter, and D.H. Lawrence.
Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis Étranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 1995, Auster wrote and co-directed the films Smoke (which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay) and Blue in the Face. More recent works, Oracle Night, The Brooklyn Follies, and the novella Travels in the Scriptorium, have also met critical acclaim. He was on the PEN American Center Board of Trustees from 2004-2009, and Vice President during 2005-2007. His novel 4 3 2 1 will be published in February 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.
Lois Oppenheim (Editor) is past president of the international Beckett Society. She is Distinguished Scholar, Professor of French, and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Montclair State University, where she teaches courses in literature and psychoanalysis. She is also Scholar Associate Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute (NYPSI) and Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society. She has authored or edited 13 books, including Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion (Routledge, 2012), A Curious Intimacy: Art and Neuro-Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2005), and The Painted Word: Samuel Beckett's Dialogue with Art (University of Michigan Press 2000).
Glenn Young, Opus Book Publisher, and founder of Applause Books, has edited and published Michael Caine, Stephen Sondheim, William Goldman, Paddy Chayefsky, John Houseman, Arthur Gelb, Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Mel Gussow, Terry Gilliam, Stella Adler, Graham Greene, John Gielgud, James Cameron, Bruce Joel Rubin, John Cleese, Oliver Stone, Herb Gardner, Al Hirschfeld, and Michael Blakemore among others. He commissioned and published the first ever edition of Shakespeare’s First Folio in modern type. He also founded The Working Arts Library with programs starring Jeremy Irons, Emily Watson, Brian Cox, Helen Hunt, Claire Danes, Cicely Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, Blythe Danner, and Jonathan Miller. He was the long time editor of Best American Short Plays. For many years, he published the industry standards, The Burns Mantle Best Play Annuals, Theatre World and Screen World.
Astrid Myers-Rosset assisted her late husband, Barney Rosset, in the publishing of Blue Moon Books, Foxrock Books, and the Evergreen Review Website. She coordinated the process involved in writing his autobiography, Barney Rosset: My Life in Publishing, and is the curator of Dear Mr. Beckett. She also worked with Producer Sandy Meehan on a documentary film, Barney's Wall, to be released in 2016.
Astrid, a former early childhood teacher in the Southampton Public Schools, has a long history of involvement with the Women’s Movement and the Democratic party of East Hampton, of which she was chair from 1973-1976. In 1987, she was named East Hampton Democrat of The Year.
Robert Solomon Esq. has been an attorney practicing in the publishing world for almost 40 years. For more than 25 of those years he represented Barney Rosset in both his professional and personal life.