"I SHALL SOON BE QUITE DEAD AT LAST IN SPITE OF IT ALL": ONE OF ONLY 26 COPIES SIGNED BY BOTH EDWARD GOREY AND SAMUEL BECKETT
(GOREY, Edward) BECKETT, Samuel. Beginning to End. A Selection from the works of Samuel Beckett. (New York): Gotham Book Mart, (1988) . Octavo, original black cloth, uncut.
Signed limited first edition, letter N of only 26 copies reserved for Beckett and the publisher (out of a total limited edition of 326 copies) signed on the colophon by both Beckett and Gorey, with illustrations throughout by Edward Gorey.
Samuel Beckett was an early and strong influence on Edward Gorey, and the affinity of his work for Beckett's has often been noted. "'If I had to say I'm like anyone I suppose it'd be Gertrude Stein and Beckett,' Gorey once observed—a startling admission but not, according to Andreas Brown, an improbable one. 'Gorey admired Beckett immensely,' said Brown. 'The occasionally gloomy but always existential Beckett, the absurdist writer tiptoeing to the edge of nonsense literature, appealed to Gorey greatly'" (Derry, Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey, 52). Although Beginning to End was first performed in 1966 in a now legendary one-man performance by Beckett's favorite actor, Jack MacGowran, it was not formally published until this edition. Although Toledano describes an original drawing as accompanying this limited edition of 26, apparently no drawings were ever produced for it. "For whatever reason, Edward Gorey was not getting the illustrations finished for this volume, and Samuel Beckett was ill. Cajoling calls were made to Mr. Gorey encouraging him to finish things up quickly because of Mr. Beckett's health… The book was eventually completed and the colophon page signed before Mr. Beckett died… Mr. Gorey also agreed to do an original drawing for each of the 26 lettered copies of Beginning to End, but unfortunately he set this project aside. In 1996, Gotham Book Mart pre-sold the lettered copies with the promise that the drawings would be completed shortly… Once again, delays occurred, culminating in Mr. Gorey's death in April 2000 with the drawings still not completed. The lettered copies were sent to the collectors who purchased them, but no drawings ever materialized" (Irwin Terry, at goreyana.blogspot.com). Toledano B76a. With a laid-in publisher's card announcing the publication of Beginning to End.