Samuel Beckett
Digital Manuscript Project


This is the Manual as it was published in November 2015 for the publication of the third module: Krapp's Last Tape / La Dernière Bande. The document in its first state (published on 24/06/2011) can be found here. The document in its state at the publication of L'Innommable in 2013, can be found here. The document in its current state can be found here.
This manual is organized according to the items in the main menu of the first module of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project, the electronic edition of Stirrings Still / Soubresauts. Features in this manual not applied in more recent modules have a grey background.

1. About

In the menu, the heading 'About' contains the following options:
  • Catalogue: a survey (and short description) of the documents (each MS number is clickable and linked to the corresponding transcript);
  • Chronology: The intricate composition process of the work is charted in a genetic map. The transcriptions of the documents can be accessed directly from the map.[1]
  • Manual: a link to this manual.

2. Documents

This menu contains a full list of all available documents in a module. From here, users can access an overview page for any document anywhere in the module.
Under the heading "About", all meta information is given for the document: a description of the physical document, information on who made the transcription, on the holding library and if there were any revisions to the transcription since it was first published.
Thumbnails give a general overview. A document can be browsed in more detail in a linear transcription ("Text view"), or in an image viewer. The "Image View" includes the following:
  • a zoom feature;
  • topographic transcriptions: a graphic representation of the documents (respecting the layout of the pages);
  • an image / text feature: a combination of the facsimile of a page and its linear transcription, by means of clickable zones on the image. The main text is segmented into zones of no more than 8 lines. Doodles, marginal additions, dates, titles and metamarks are also individually clickable;
  • a link to the linear transcriptions.
(only applied in Stirrings Still/Soubresauts and Comment dire/ what is the word)

3. Leaf through the notebook

Users can leaf through the most important notebooks of the modules, notebook MS 2934 for Stirrings Still / Soubresauts and MS 3316/1 for Comment dire / what is the word, through a pageflip reconstruction.
(only applied in Stirrings Still/Soubresauts and Comment dire/ what is the word)

4. Language

This option facilitates examination of either
(a) all French drafts or
(b) all English drafts exclusively. Some French versions are originally written in French, whereas others are translations.
(c) Early translations can be visualized separately, facing the version on which they are based (in parallel presentation).
(d) Bilingual comparison: this option highlights mismatches between the English and French versions. Translation variants are marked in blue. The absence of a word or phrase vis-à-vis the text in the other language is visualized by means of a vertical bar |.
In all views that include the transcription, two new items appear in the menu: "Tools" and "Compare sentences".

5. Compare sentences

All the versions of each sentence or segment can be presented in vertical juxtaposition, starting from any version of the text: each sentence or segment that made it into the base text is preceded by a sentence number; by clicking on the icon or number preceding a particular sentence or segment its composition history can be viewed in vertical juxtaposition. If a document only contains sentences that did not make it into the base text, this is made explicit at the top of the page.
In a box under "Synoptic Sentence View", users are given the option to: "Compare all English [or French] versions of this sentence with CollateX". This link lets the third party software program "CollateX" perform a collation of all versions.[2] The result is a table in which the versions are aligned and the variation highlighted.
Users can determine which versions they wish to compare and go to the relevant scanned page of any version.

6. Tools

The 'Tools' section in the main menu presents four different visualizations of the internal composition history of each document:

6.1. Default transcription

This default visualization indicates cancellations with strike-through; additions in superscript; additions on the facing leaf in green.

6.2. Place indications

This more detailed visualization explicitly mentions the place of an addition (e.g. place = supralinear, when a word is added above the line).

6.3. Writing tools

This option explicitly mentions the writing tools Beckett used for cancellations and additions. Aditions and deletions are presented in the colour of the writing tools with which Samuel Beckett has made them: e.g. black ink, pencil, red ink.

6.4. Top layer

A reading text of the undeleted parts of the draft.

6.5. XML Encoding

The XML encoding of all primary source materials can be accessed from this link.

7. Search

The search engine offers full-text searches of all the transcriptions and notes. The results appear within the context of the sentence in which the search string was found, with the search string highlighted. Searches can also be finetuned to include only occurrences within the two most prominent features of manuscripts: additions and deletions. The search engine makes use of Elasticsearch.
As an extra, a number of potentially interesting searches are suggested, such as 'intertextual references', 'dates', 'doodles and diagrams', 'gaps' or 'transpositions'. They can be run by selecting them from the dropdown menu under 'Suggested searches'. The search for 'Intertextual references', for instance, calls up allusions to passages by such authors as Shakespeare and Dante (and corresponding annotations).


[1] Stirrings Still / Soubresauts has a complicated genesis, and many different versions. Although the catalogue numbers reflect the chronology of versions, only the chronology of UoR MSS 2935/3/11, 2935/3/12, 2935/3/10 and 2935/3/9 differs slightly from the order suggested by the archive numbers, some documents (in Stirrings Still / Soubresauts notably the 'Super Conquérant' Notebook, UoR MS 2934) contain more than one version of a particular passage. The versions in this document are not successive, since Beckett made alternate use of this notebook and loose sheets of paper. In the case of Beckett's penultimate text, the writing of the three sections that eventually became Stirrings Still (sections 1, 2, and 3) was preceded by three abandoned sections. To distinguish them, the abandoned sections are identified by a zero preceding the number ('before Stirrings Still', sections 01, 02, and 03).
[2] As part of the InterEdition Project, CollateX is a Java-based collation software package that can be used to produce a critical apparatus for digital editions. <>