top of page


Letters From The Publisher


The Samuel Beckett File: Correspondence, Interviews, Photos

Barney Rosset

Preface by PAUL AUSTER • Edited with an Introduction by LOIS OPPENHEIM



“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



"Barney Rosset, whose guts and wisdom made it possible for me to read Beckett and all the other writers published by Grove, the one-in-a-million Barney Rosset, America's bravest publisher." – from the Preface by Paul Auster


"'You know, Barney, I think my writing days are over,' Beckett writes in 1954 [when most of his output was still ahead of him.] And later, 'Sick of all this old vomit and despair more and more of ever being able to puke again.' In a world where writers switch publishers at the first shake of a martini pitcher, our trans-Atlantic communications seemed to float on a sea of tranquility and trust." – from Dear Mr. Beckett


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.






“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Among the many never before published entries:


  • Beckett's discussion about acting with his long time director, Alan Schneider, as they huddled with Barney Rosset in his East Hampton Quonset hut about their upcoming rehearsal with Buster Keaton.

  • Susan Sontag correspondence on her GODOT production in Sarajevo.

  • The comprehensive ENDGAME file about the controversial production in Cambridge, Mass. which proceeded against Beckett's wishes.

  • Interviews with Eugene Ionesco and Alain Robbe-Grillet about Beckett and Rosset and the Absurdists.

  • Estelle Parsons correspondence with Beckett about the actress's proposal to perform GODOT with Shelley Winters on Broadway.

  • Comprehensive file on the genesis and development of Beckett's ROCKABY with Billie Whitelaw.

  • Comprehensive file on Rosset's termination from Grove, the press he founded and championed.


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. These authors owe their right to publication to him. He was a long time denizen of Greenwich Village.


Lois Oppenheim (Editor) is past president of the International Beckett Society.



Literary Collections / Letters
Original Trade Paper  • $32.95  • World
480 pages • 7.5 x 9 • Illustrated Two-Color
ISBN: 978-162316-070-8 


E-BOOK Editions Available



bottom of page