Are there any extant recordings of Samuel Beckett's voice?
April 13, 2006 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Are there any extant recordings of Samuel Beckett's voice?
posted by holgate to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He appears to be in archive footage in this mini series from 2001. Perhaps he spoke in it?
posted by MadamM at 6:22 PM on April 13, 2006

There must be, but probably not in the public domain.
posted by fire&wings at 6:29 PM on April 13, 2006

I could have sworn I've heard a recording of Beckett reading from "Krapp's Last Tape" in the sound archives room at the British Library. Don't quote me on that, though.

These guys
might know more.
posted by scody at 6:36 PM on April 13, 2006

I think I found some thing. avi
posted by hortense at 1:55 AM on April 14, 2006

Best answer: Yes. "The exhibition will also feature the only official recording of Beckett's voice in existence, which will be played in public for the first time in the exhibition. The recording is of Beckett reading from Lessness for the benefit of the producer of a BBC adaptation of the prose work first aired in 1971."
posted by milquetoast at 3:04 AM on April 14, 2006

Best answer: I've been searching on and off for a couple of years and haven't found anything online. I even wrote to and got a reply back saying they didn't know of any recordings of him, but this was a couple of months ago and maybe they've dug up something since I first asked. Recently I found out that The Beckett International Foundation has recordings, but you actually have to go the foundation to hear them.

Since the man lived until 1989, there has to be some recording of his voice somewhere. I know there's an interest in finding recordings of him because, after I wrote about my search a few times in my blog, I keep getting hits from people looking for them.
posted by cropshy at 4:00 AM on April 14, 2006

From what I've heard from people who knew him, he was shy as hell around cameras -- that trademark scowl apparently came out only when someone pointed a camera at him, and he was cheery and smiling the rest of the time -- so it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't like vocal recorders, either.
posted by occhiblu at 9:19 AM on April 14, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, occhiublu: one of my EngLit tutors acted with Beckett, and she said he was an exacting director, but had a sense of humour that was as dry as sticks. I've also seen the brief archive shots of Beckett directing, but his voice is always mixed out.

milquetoast: thanks. I'll be off to Reading, then.
posted by holgate at 10:56 AM on April 14, 2006

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