Beckett manuscript could fetch $1.2M at auction

LONDON (AP) — Sotheby’s says the manuscript of Irish writer Samuel Beckett’s first novel could fetch more than $1.2 million at auction next month.

The six exercise books contain the text of “Murphy” as well as notes, doodles and sketches of figures including James Joyce and Charlie Chaplin.

Sotheby’s books specialist Peter Selley said Friday that the 800-page volume written in 1935-36 was “unquestionably the most important manuscript” by a modern British or Irish novelist to appear at auction for decades.

Its many revisions give insights into Beckett’s creative process. There are eight rejected versions of the novel’s opening line — “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”

The manuscript will be auctioned July 10. Its estimated price is 800,000 pounds to 1.2 million pounds ($1.2 million to $1.8 million).

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