The Man Who Gave Beckett To America

Nearly everyone knows the name Samuel Beckett, whose centenary is being observed this year. But how many avid fans of Beckett’s plays remember the name Barney Rossett? “It was Mr. Rosset, alive and well at 83 and living on Fourth Avenue, who discovered the Irish novelist and playwright, for Americans, more than half a century ago.” Rossett, a publisher, paid Beckett a $150 advance for the American rights to Waiting For Godot, which quickly sold over a million copies in the 1950s. “Grove Press and Mr. Rosset became famous, not just for championing Beckett in this country but also for introducing Eugène Ionesco, Harold Pinter and Jean Genet to American readers.”