An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center
Abraham Jacob Leventhal (1896-1979), often called "Con" by his friends, grew up in Dublin and attended a protestant school, despite his Jewish heritage. Just after the first World War he took a break from his university studies to work for the first Zionist Commission in Palestine and to help found the Palestine Weekly. When, upon returning to Dublin, the Dublin Magazine turned down his review of James Joyce's Ulysses he founded his own literary journal, the Klaxon, in order to publish it. When his friend Samuel Beckett left a post at Trinity College, Leventhal assumed the position.
Leventhal's friendship with Beckett continued on and off through out Leventhal's life. It cooled off considerably when Leventhal, a married man, began an affair with Ethna McCarthy, a women for whom Beckett harbored strong feelings. After years of openly living together, Leventhal married Ethna, and Beckett reconciled himself to the couple. Later on Leventhal acted as a secretary for Beckett, intercepting and answering correspondence and generally helping to shield Beckett from his admiring public.
Letters from Samuel Beckett to Leventhal make up the bulk of the A. J. Leventhal Collection, 1918-1982, supplemented with typescripts of poems and essays and other correspondence. The collection is arranged by the name of the individual to whom the materials relate: Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Valery Larbaud, A. J. Leventhal, and Marion Leigh Leventhal. All correspondence and individual works are listed in the Index of Correspondents and Index of Works at the end of this finding aid.
The Samuel Beckett section contains typescripts of a few poems published in Beckett's Collected Poems in French and English, as well as over 150 letters and postcards written to A. J. Leventhal (1934-1979), and a few written to Leventhal's wife, Ethna. Also present are two groups of letters written to Beckett by obsessed followers and some ephemera associated with a production of Waiting for Godot.
The James Joyce section holds a visiting card and a letter from Joyce, as well as several articles written about Joyce by Leventhal. The Valery Larbaud section contains two exchanges between Larbaud and T.B. Rudmose Brown as well as an article about Larbaud. The A.J. Leventhal section contains mostly personal correspondence, including several letters from Leslie Daiken, and the Marion Leigh Leventhal section has letters written to Marion.
Open for research
Purchase, 1991 (R12354)
Chelsea S. Jones
A. J. Leventhal Collection--Folder List
Box and folder numbers are followed by a number in parentheses which indicates the number of items by that person. A single item is indicated where there is no number in parentheses following the box and folder number. So in the following example:
Beckett, Samuel, 1906- --1.3-6 (155), 1.7 (19)
there are 155 letters from Beckett box 1, folders 3-6, and 19 letters from Beckett in box 1, folder 7.