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1ST BECKETT NOVEL PUBLISHED ACRIMONIOUSLY IN U.S.

SHARE 1ST BECKETT NOVEL PUBLISHED ACRIMONIOUSLY IN U.S.

From Dublin to Paris to Dartmouth and back, Samuel Beckett's first novel finally has been published in the United States and Britain - with acrimony.

Cross purposes have stalked "Dream of Fair to middling Women" since Beckett wrote it in 1932.When he wanted to publish it, no one would touch it. Later, his fame secured by "Waiting for Godot" and then a Nobel Prize, Beckett spurned all offers to publish.

Four years after his death, the Irish editor and Beckett's British publisher have fallen out, accusing each other of botched editing, and have published rival editions.

"If the text entirely consisted of ordinary words, common words, no problem. But it doesn't," said John Pilling, a Beckett scholar at Reading University in England.

"It consists of recherche, recondite words, words being deliberately mangled to make a point. And no editor who didn't know Beckett very well - and even one who did know Beckett very well - could easily decide what was an error, an actual error, and what was a kind of creative use of language."

"Dream of Fair to middling Women" is published in the United States by Arcade Publishing, $21.95; and in Britain by Calder Publications, 14.99 pounds. The Black Cat Press edition is available in Ireland at 14.99 Irish pounds.