Endnotes to “Murphy” by Samuel Beckett

Developed by Elizabeth Mannion, Baruch College, CUNY, & Nicholas Johnson, Trinity College Dublin

The Endnotes to Murphy project was undertaken in 2012 as a tool to help undergraduate students navigate the novel. In Professor Mannion’s first class discussion of Murphy the prior semester, it appeared that students had read it with limited comprehension. The students were all English Literature majors, and it was an upper-division course where several Beckett plays had already been studied and discussed in-depth, but the first Murphy class contained mostly surface comments. Professor Mannion asked students for feedback about what was getting in their way. They cited unfamiliar vocabulary, and, although recognizing that Murphy contained historical references and allusions, they read on without looking things up. Students indicated that without footnotes or a hypertext to alert them to stop and check something, they simply read on.

The oer & Course Artifact

Endnotes to Murphy (linked PDF below)  is intended to supplement a student’s reading of Murphy. The opening sections—Publication History, Structure and Genesis—are intended to help students locate the novel in the Beckett canon. Thereafter, the document takes the form of a standard study guide, with a section on Characters followed by a chapter-by-chapter listing of terms and references that students may find need defining/explanation. These notes are numbered by their Grove edition page numbers, followed by Faber edition page numbers in parentheses.

Link to PDF: Endnotes to Murphy by Samuel Beckett

transitioning to and Teaching with oer

Since the Grove edition Professor Mannion’s class used was not annotated, a resource was needed that would bridge the e-texts students were becoming accustomed to with the Grove edition. Professor Mannion mentioned this to Nick Johnson at Trinity College, Dublin. He saw the benefit of Murphy notes, and the two co-authored the version that has been posted to academia.edu since 2012 and has since been licensed openly thorough Creative Commons.

Faculty Information

For more information about the authors, see their personal websites:  Nicholas Johnson & Elizabeth Mannion


The “Endnotes to Murphy” are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Openly licensed but not OER - Look out for restrictions on modification and/or redistribution.The “Endnotes to Murphy” are openly licensed but not OER.