herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Chaplin big influence on Beckett

Music notes, portraits of James Joyce and doodles of Charlie Chaplin decorate the margins of some of Samuel Beckett's battered old notebooks.

The Nobel Prize winner jotted down quotes and illustrations in his battered Whoroscope Notebook as he travelled in Ireland, England, France and Germany.

The notebook is currently on display at the University of Reading alongside the original manuscript of Beckett's 1938 novel Murphy, which the university bought for €1.23m at Sotheby's auction house last year.

The manuscript is filled with doodles and illustrations including a self-portrait, an image of James Joyce and a menacing looking moustached man with the inscription "while doodling moustaches he honoured his mother, his father and Goethe".

Beckett was a big fan of slapstick humour and spent hours watching Chaplin and Buster Keaton movies.

"He loved those movies and you can see the way Chaplin influenced his style," said Dr Conor Carville of the university.

"In Godot they're wearing those Chaplin-esque bowler hats. Beckett had a very wry sense of humour."

Murphy is not one of Beckett's best works, but Dr Carville believes the manuscript provides an understanding of the formative years Beckett spent in the UK and Europe.

The exhibition will run until Saturday as part of Beckett Week.

hnews@herald.ie

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