Samuel Beckett
Digital Manuscript Project


This document has been updated for the upcoming publication of the eight module: Play / Comédie (December 2021). 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 state at the publication of Krapp's Last Tape / La Dernière Bande (November 2015), can be found here.
This manual is organized according to the items in the main menu of the genetic modules of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project.

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.
  • 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;
  • in the case of notebooks, a double page view that allows users to leaf through the pages of the notebook;
  • 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.
In all views that include the transcription, two new items appear in the menu: "Tools" and "Compare sentences".

3. 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.[1] 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.

4. Tools

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

4.1. Default transcription

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

4.2. 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).

4.3. 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.

4.4. Top layer

A reading text of the undeleted parts of the draft.

4.5. XML Encoding

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

5. 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.
As an extra, a number of potentially interesting searches are suggested, such as 'intertextual references', 'calculations', 'addresses and phone numbers', 'stage drawings', 'musical scores', '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] 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. <>