Few people realize that in the city of Bath there lives a woman who knew the great author and playwright Samuel Beckett. This woman not only knew Beckett but was his trusted friend. Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, affectionately known as Marty, is a Beckett scholar. After meeting Beckett in 1976, she observed and recorded his direction of his many of his own works. She also acted under his tutelage. In 1988, she, and co-author Dougald McMillan, published Beckett in the Theatre. Possibly the most notable exchange that Marty had with Beckett was that, before his death, Beckett asked her to edit his collected letters and entrusted these letters to her care.
In February of 2009, Cambridge University Press published the first of what would become a four volume set, The Letters of Samuel Beckett. Fehsenfeld, with the help of Lois Overbeck, edited this incredible work. The Los Angeles Times had this to say, “This is an extraordinary work of scholarship on the part of its main editors...What Fehsenfeld and Overbeck have produced is a revelatory triumph.” Since then, three other volumes have been released, all to accolades and acclaim. The fourth and final volume of this set was just made available and it too has received glowing praise. The sheer magnitude of this work and the incredible detail and quality with which it was done is astounding.
On November 10th at 5:30 PM, The Mustard Seed Bookstore will host An Evening With Martha Dow Fehsenfeld. Marty will be speaking and sharing remarkable stories of her time with Beckett. She will discuss volume four of The Letters of Samuel Beckett and be available to answer questions and sign her work. The Mustard Seed Bookstore will also be honoring her birthday on that evening.