A page from the manuscript of Samuel Beckett's Murphy
A six-notebook draft of Murphy, Samuel Beckett’s first novel, has sold at auction for nearly a million pounds. Up until its sale to Reading University this week, the manuscript belonged to a private collector and had been shrouded in secrecy. According to the Guardian, “the manuscript has rarely been seen since Beckett gave it to his friend Brian Coffey in 1938 to thank him for his support after the writer was stabbed in a random attack by a pimp in a Paris street as he was revising the proofs.”
At The Millions, Bookforum editor Albert Mobilio explains why Lolita is his choice for the Great American Novel, and considers how, despite being Russian and spending only two decades in the U.S., Nabokov managed to write “a novel that not only speaks more intimately than any book by Fitzgerald, Faulkner, or Hemingway about our conflicted nature, but also enacts, via its high stylization, the great American seduction.”
From books to arts to international culture: women are slowly taking over culture coverage at the New York Times.
Consolidation has always been a part of book publishing, but now that the “Big Six” publishers have been reduced to the “Big Five” (thanks to the Penguin / Random House merger) the effects might be especially pronounced. One potential pitfall, writes Boris Kachka, is that some publishers “either forbid (as at Penguin) or restrict (at Random House) their constituent imprints from bidding against one another for a manuscript. That means not only lower advances, but also fewer options for writers to get the kind of painstaking attention—from editors, marketers and publicists—that it takes to turn their manuscripts into something valuable.”
A federal judge has ruled that Apple broke antitrust laws and “played a central role in facilitating and executing [the] conspiracy” to fix e-book prices by collaborating with five American publishing houses. The company will be forced to pay damages at an upcoming trial.
At Slate, Errol Morris pens an extended reflection on Hamlet, Vietnam, and the 1965-66 mass murders in Indonesia.