I am currently reading Dear Mr Beckett, a wonderful book of letters from Barney Rosset, Beckett’s American publisher, to Beckett spanning over 35 years.
The letters start flowing in the early 50s and we can see that the two developed an affectionate relationship over the years.
However reading a reply from Beckett to Rosset in 1958 regarding the rights to Krapp’s Last Tape did make laugh.
‘I must write even more stupidly and confusedly than I thought about rights and business. But if you redirect all your ingenuity on my Krapp letter I believe you will find it to mean what follows.
You (B. Rosset) have all the exclusive publication and performance rights in the US, Canada and wherever else you normally exercise them.
You are therefore free, without consulting anyone, to publish Krapp and have performed in US, Canada etc, when, where, how, with whom, by whom, under whom, and before whom you please. If that is not clear, I’ll give up drink.’
Rosset. B. ‘Dear Mr Beckett’ (2015) Opus Books p142