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Monday, October 27, 2008

Opening for Smart Youth

Beckett fact no. 94.

Ten newspapers and magazines in Beckett.

‘Bah, the latest news, the latest news is not the last’, as they say on the Beckett Endpage news section. Mr Rooney enumerates ‘numerous subscriptions’ among his expenses in All That Fall, but declines to go into detail. Luckily other characters are more forthcoming about their reading habits:

1) My last fact ended with Eh Joe, so to start with it this time, Joe is, I am sorry to say, a reader of The Irish Independent, yahoo rag that it is.

2) Ada in Embers meanwhile is a solid lefty and Manchester Guardian reader, in which she immerses herself the better to avoid gallant conversation, Henry alleges.

3) Watt’s Dum Spiro not only reads but edits Crux, the popular Catholic monthly. The eagle-eyed will have spotted that rearranging the letters of the holy family into ‘Has J. Jurms a po? Yes’ (as one of the magazine’s competition prize winners has done) misses one e. I presume their copy-editing standards have gone up since then.

4) ‘Opening for smart youth’, Willie intones, reading from his copy of Reynolds News. This journal was once an organ of labour radicalism, but fell away into photojournalism and sensationalism before ceasing publication in 1967.

5) Molloy, TLS, fart-proof. That one you’ll have heard before, I’m sure.

6) A ‘guttersnipe’ asks the poet of ‘Serena I’ ‘’ave I done with the Mirror’. Some people ain’t got no manners.

7) The Moscow notes of the ‘Twilight Herald’, which is to say Evening Herald, scanned with great interest by Belacqua in ‘A Wet Night’.

8) As a journal, the Nouvelle Revue Française would seem best advised to have stayed away from expanding into publishing Proust in sixteen volumes. The results, according to Beckett in 1931, were ‘abominable’.

9) Punch magazine, Beckett senior’s invariable post-prandial Sunday skimming of, as noted in Company.

10) The Weekly Irish Times, favourably compared by Miss Counihan in Murphy to Old Moore’s Almanack. Among Beckett’s contributions to The Irish Times was a review of Jack Yeats’s novel The Amaranthers, his typescript of which a dear friend of mine once astonished me during a meal by producing from between the pages of a nearby book. Mail me, Aisling!

One might also note the glasses-less Beckett’s myopic stare as he reads/pretends to read Le monde in the Gisèle Freund photograph of him that can be found on the cover of Anthony Uhlmann’s Beckett and Poststructuralism. Which I suppose makes eleven.

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