Hard Cover. New York: Grove Press, 1959. First American Edition. Very Good / Dust Jacket Included.
First American edition, first printing, cloth bound edition. Publisher’s black cloth with titles in gilt to spine; original black, white, and green dust jacket designed by Richard Brodney, black circle graphic to front panel, photo of Beckett by Brassaï to rear panel. Slight lean to spine and soiling to edges of text block, else fine book; about very good unclipped dust jacket with some soiling and rubbing to exterior, light toning to spine, some wear and shallow chipping to spine ends, lightly nicked corners, and a few chips and small closed tears to edges. Overall, a presentable copy with an unblemished interior. In Watt, the title character becomes a domestic servant for Mr. Knott, a mysterious and reclusive master. Watt, whose mind is logical to a fault, struggles to perform relatively simple tasks and ultimately ends up in a mental institution. It is theorized that Watt’s name represents the word “what” and Knott’s represents “not,” emphasizing the title character’s incessantly questioning mind, and the elusiveness of his master. Beckett wrote Watt during World War II while he was hiding from German forces in Roussillon, a village in the south of France. He said that his daily work on the novel gave him a “means of staying sane” during that dangerous and unpredictable time in his life. Watt is one of Beckett’s early masterpieces, and the follow up to his debut novel, Murphy (1938).