Knowlson, James & Elizabeth – Archive and Library
Professor James Knowlson is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Reading where he founded the Beckett Archive (now the Beckett International Foundation). He was a friend of Samuel Beckett for twenty years and is his authorised biographer, publishing Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett with Bloomsbury in 1996. He has written or edited many other books and essays on Beckett and modern drama, including most recently Images of Beckett with theatre photographer John Haynes.
Dr Elizabeth Knowlson lectured in French at the University of Glasgow from 1961 to 1969. After having three children, she resumed her university career as an administrator at the Centre for Applied Language Studies in the University of Reading, before leaving her post to assist her husband with his biography of Beckett and his later books and essays.
(Source for Elizabeth Knowlson information: Bloomsbury.com. Elizabeth Knowlson. [online])
Reference: JEK Date: 1906-2010 Extent: appox. 160 boxes
The archive collection contains about 2,000 items, which are organised into five sections: research material, correspondence, audio visual material, photographs and artwork, and objects. This includes original manuscripts, interviews with friends and colleagues of Beckett’s, over 6500 letters to more than 160 recipients, including nearly 200 to James Knowlson himself, and Knowlson’s research files.
- A full description of the archive collection is available on our online database.
- A handlist for the archive collection will be made available soon.
- See also the Beckett Collection and the Billie Whitelaw Collection.
- See also the Beckett International Foundation website.
Reference: KNOWLSON/BECKETT COLLECTION Date: 1755-2020 Extent: 1,282 volumes
The collection was originally the private working library of Professor James Knowlson. It includes editions of Beckett’s works, critical works, journals and books on art, literature, theatre, poetry and other subjects that relate to the study of Beckett.