FIN DE PARTIE, SUIVI DE ACTE SANS PAROLES [ENDGAME, FOLLOWED BY ACTS WITHOUT WORDS] - INSCRIBED TO GODDARD LIEBERSON
Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1957. First Edition. Attractive copy of Beckett's second dramatic masterpiece concerning the ennui surrounding Hamm and Clov, two mutually-dependent characters living in a wasteland of rubbish. Lieberson (1911-1977) was the president of Columbia Records from 1956-1971, and again from 1973-1975. Prior to that, he had been the producer and driving force behind their adoption of the long-play record (LP), which allowed for the complete recording on one disc of whole symphonies, entire operas, and Broadway musicals. He produced several of Columbia's first LP original cast recordings, such as South Pacific and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, though he seldom recorded whole plays. The one exception was the original 1956 Broadway production for Waiting for Godot, starring Bert Lahr as Estragon and E.G. Marshall as Vladimir. Best known as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Lahr's presence on the bill was not enough to make Godot a hit - audiences left in droves and the show folded after 60 performances. Lieberson, however, saw something special and called for a complete recording of the play. The LP also fared poorly, now a collectible oddity, though it is thanks to Lieberson that an audio performance of the original Broadway cast exists at all. Given the poor success of Godot, Fin de Partie neither made it to Broadway, nor was it recorded by Lieberson. The play's American premiere was held in 1958, at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, staged by Godot's original director Alan Schneider, and featuring Alvin Epstein, one of the play's original cast members, in the leading role of Clov. A good association copy, likely inscribed just days following publication (January 30). Federman & Fletcher 265. Item #4335
Trade Issue, one of 3,000 copies. Octavo (18.5cm); publisher's original printed wrappers, with pages chiefly unopened; 121,pp. Inscribed on the half-title page, in the month following publication, to Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson and his wife: "For Mr. & Mrs. Goddard Lieberson / vous cordiale / Samuel Beckett / Paris Feb.1957." Gentle sunning to spine, tanning to text edges, with a few preliminary and terminal leaves roughly opened, else Near Fine, housed in a bespoke slipcase and chemise.