Wednesday 25 June 2014

Beckett again

What! You are giving up your Queen? Sheer madness!

The image on this comic postcard - German, I think - was what Beckett wanted to adorn the cover of his 1938 novel Murphy (and why on earth has no publisher to date ever respected his wishes?).

As readers of this blog will all know the novel includes a bizarre game of chess between the eponymous Murphy and the schizophrenic Mr. Endon, an inmate at the Magdalen Mental Mercyseat, where Murphy has found a job as a nurse. The game is set out in annotated form in the book and some enterprising chess buff has recently created a useful animated version, which can be seen here, on a website dedicated to chess in literature

I've long believed (on the strength of a reference in James Knowlson's definitive Beckett biography) that Beckett played chess occasionally with Marcel Duchamp. This was emphatically denied by Duchamp's widow in 1991, but see what you make of this fascinating unpublished article by Andrew Hugill.

Postcard image © whoever owns it.

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