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“I am a poor hand at this form of communication,” wrote Samuel Beckett in a letter to Lawrence Shainberg. This was by no means his sole apology for what he perceived to be his inadequacy as a correspondent. Yet by the time he claimed this, he had already written something in the order of fifteen thousand letters – over a long life, certainly, but with a frequency nonetheless of something like one letter (or lettercard or picture postcard) per day, every day of his adulthood (excepting the years of World War II).It took the four editors working on his correspondence, of which team I was the youngest member, some thirty years to assemble what Beckett wrote to friends, colleagues, publishers, theater directors, academics, actors, admirers; and then, from this corpus, to select the approximately 20 percent that would become the four volumes of the Cambridge University Press edition of The Letters of Samuel Beckett.
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