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Roger Bensky Collection of Samuel Beckett Letters

Identifier: GTM-181024

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of three letters from Samuel Beckett to Roger Bensky (20 February, 22 April, and 5 November 1969); one letter from Geneviève Serreau to Bensky (26 June 1969), and copies of two articles written by Bensky (1969, 1974). The correspondence from Beckett resulted from Bensky's efforts to find publication for his article "La symbolique du mime dans le théâtre de Samuel Beckett." Having been rejected by two academic journals, Bensky decided to write to Beckett himself, with the notion that Beckett's opinion of the article's pertinence and potential for publication would satisfy him. Beckett's positive response yielded two additional letters to Bensky and an acceptance letter from Geneviève Serreau, co-editor of the prestigious literary review "Les Lettres Nouvelles" created by Maurice Nadeau, a major figure of French literary history. Bensky's article appeared in the journal's September-October 1969 issue. Also included is an additional article by Bensky, "Grotowski et Beckett aux États-Unis," published in "La Quinzaine Littéraire" in September 1974.


  • 1969 - 1974


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

Born in 1937 in Perth, Western Australia where he was raised and educated, Roger Daniel Bensky completed his M.A. in French at the University of West Australia and subsequently his Doctorat de l'Universite from the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris under the aegis of world-known authority on French drama Jacques Scherer. During his doctoral studies, he also received diplomas from the Universite du Theatre des Nations, where he attended performances of major international troupes from Europe, Asia and the Americas. In the following years, while teaching in the Department of French and Francophone Studies at Georgetown University, he built an ever-expanding network in France including playwrights, artistic directors, dramaturgs, actors and critics, which both nourished his teaching and research into contemporary French and French-language theater and also allowed him to invite to the Georgetown campus celebrated literary personalities including Eugene Ionesco and Helene Cixous.

Professor Bensky has published four books on theater arts in France, along with articles in top-tier French reviews on drama, literature and philosophy, and has participated in major colloquia, while, at the same time, mounting several theater productions with students, the most memorable being "La Ville" by Paul Claudel at the Embassy of France as inaugural performance of the Bicentennial Intercultural Festival of Performing Arts which he conceived and directed for Georgetown's two hundredth birthday and "Sigui, Siguila, Siguiya" by Ivorian playwright and colleague Amadou Kone, the first foreign-language performance in the Gonda Theatre. Having now retired from his teaching duties after a career spanning 47 years, he is collaborating as co-director with professional actress Sophie Paul Mortimer on a production of "Regles du Savoir-vivre" Jean-Luc Lagarce, to be performed at Studio Hebertot in Paris during Fall 2019.

Source: Biographical sketch by Roger Bensky, 2018.


0.20 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger Slim Document Case)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Roger Bensky, 2018.

Roger Bensky Collection of Samuel Beckett Letters
Matthew Darby
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057