Beckett and the End of Literature

University of Reading
3 November 2017


About the Conference
In all prominent figures of modern literature, the ‘space of literature’ and the idea of the novel seems to be a context for revealing ways of escape from limitations of expressing the self. In Beckett, this desire is reversed, and instead of an attempt to spread the self so that its emancipatory power will not be paralyzed by anxiety and despair, we have a move to terminate all illusionary freedom, and return to the most radical impotence and non-expressive writing and bareness of being. So how it would be possible for future writers to formulate the future of literature and literary ‘expression’ after Beckett’s literary revolution? If Beckett introduces a kind of writing that attempts to suspend all talking, all imagination in literary language which opens up literary inventiveness, and at the same time offering an ‘obligation to write’, how we can even think about the possibility of modern literature in the post-Beckett era? The dilemma of writing after him is the dilemma of overcoming the strong desire toward expressive aspects in writing, whilst at the same time accepting that the necessity of literature will be of the nature of any literary creation after Beckett. This conference will ask what is means to write ‘after the end’ of writing, in Beckett’.

Keynote Speaker(s)
Professor Andrew Gibson (Royal Holloway, University of London), ”bending over me in my old dying-bed": Beckett, the Phantasms of Modernity and the End of Literature
Professor Shane Weller (University of Kent), ‘Towards a Literature of the Unword: Late Modernism in Europe’

Call for Papers
“Beckett and the End of Literature” will be held on November 3rd 2017 as part of the ‘Beckett Week’ at the University of Reading organized by the Samuel Beckett Research Centre and the Beckett International Foundation. Scholars, students, creative writers and practitioners who wish to discuss the question of literature after Beckett are invited to submit proposals for 15-20 minute presentations. Multi-disciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Presentations and papers are invited on topics and questions that might include, but not limited to: 
- How can we think of literary expression and the possibility of fiction after Beckett?
- What do the concepts of ‘Beyond’ and ‘End’ mean here?
- In what ways can we understand Beckett’s work as an impasse for literature?
- What might it mean to rethink, or even call an end, to what we call literature?
- What does Beckett’s legacy mean for practitioners (authors, directors, teachers etc.)?
- What has been the impact or role of theoretical engagements with Beckett? How might new approaches to Beckett and poststructuralist or postmodernist theorists help us to formulate this notion of ‘End’?
- …

For participation in the seminar please submit your 300-500 word abstract along with a short bio by July 10, 2017 to Farhad Mehrabi: F.Mehrabi@pgr.reading.ac.uk

More information about the conference and ‘Beckett Week’ to be announced in due course.

Samuel Beckett Working Group: Into the Open

Samuel Beckett Working Group
São Paolo, Brazil
10-14 July 2017

The Samuel Beckett Working Group will be meeting at the FIRT/IFTR International Federation for Theatre Research Annual Conference.

Papers to be presented at the Working Group are distributed and read by all the participants ahead of the meeting. At the Working Group sessions presenters give short résumés of their work, followed by a lengthy discussion period (each presenter has 30 to 45 minutes in all, depending on the number of presenters). This is an extremely effective method, which allows ideas to be discussed, debated and evaluated, with participants suggesting directions for the presenters’ work-in-progress. It is the Working Group’s aim to make good papers great!

There is limited space for presenters; there will also be a limited space for auditors, who would also be sent the papers to read, and be encouraged to engage in the discussions during the sessions.

The Working Group topic will be ‘Samuel Beckett: Into the Open.’ This topic covers the following areas but is not limited to it:

• Adaptations of his work in different cultural contexts
• New experiments in the theatre, film, and radio
• Beckett’s artistic process
• The interplay of mind, psyche and body in his work
• Historicizing Beckett
• Beckett and film, visual art, and music
• New critical approaches to the interpretation of his work
• Cross-adaptations from one medium to another

If you are interested in joining the Working Group in São Paulo, please do get in touch. Abstracts should be submitted through the IFTR’s online system, managed by Cambridge Journals. Details will be posted on the IFTR website
(http://www.firt-iftr.org/). You need to send a title and a short abstract by 15 February 2017.

For more information please contact the convenors Dr. Nicholas Johnson (johnson@tcd.ie) or Matthias Korn (ennozorn@web.de). Papers (length 5,000 words) are to be distributed by 01 June 2017.

For information about the general conference, fees, and housing, check the IFTR website also check the Samuel Beckett Working Group page.

We greatly look forward to seeing you in São Paulo!

Short Forms in Beckett. Fragments

Beckett Research Group in Gdańsk 2017
The University of Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland
16-17 May 2017

Samuel Beckett’s prose and drama can pose many difficulties for a reader unfamiliar with their idiosyncrasies. Fragmentariness, or various fragmentary structures, narrative and dramatic alike, can be considered as one tenet of Beckett’s oeuvre, especially of his later works.  However, what do we mean when we describe his works in this fashion? What is, for example, the fragmentary narrative of The Unnamable or The Lost Ones?  Can we even speak of narrative in the first place, or do we, perhaps, need a redefinition of narrative?

In theory, fragmentariness can encompass two distinct terms: minimal narrative or micro-narrative. The former refers to the bare minimum required for an event sequence to be recognised as a narrative. Some major problems arising in the context of Beckett’s fiction and drama (e.g. How It Is or Not I) include story/plot distinction, causality and sequentiality, and these have been frequently addressed, for example, by S.E. Gontarski (2004) or Rubin Rabinovitz (1999). The latter term, as used for instance by H. Porter Abbott, relates to size. The overarching questions are how long or how short a fiction must be before it ceases to be a story, short story, novella, novel or a sentence. In his introduction to Anti-Story, Philip Stevick enumerates eight types of “reaction against ‘story-ness’”; two of those “againsts” involve event and scale (xv-xxii), relevant in an analysis of, say, Worstward Ho or Come and Go. Intriguingly, micro-narratives can be found embedded within a “macro-narrative” (such as a novel) and the quality of their combining and sequencing can generate an investigation into what we might call “macro-narrativity”, a/an (in)coherent connection between particular micro-narratives.

Other ways of looking at fragmentariness in Beckett might include but are not limited to: thematic fragmentariness (as in Malone’s inventory) and conceptual fragmentariness (as Molloy’s “no things but nameless things, no names but thingless names”).

The seminar will take place from 16 to 17 May 2017 in Sopot/Gdańsk, Poland. We would like to invite both scholars and artists who wish to approach the theme in their own ways to join us. While inviting papers on this subject, we also take the opportunity to announce that Professor S. E. GONTARSKI, has already accepted our invitation to take part in the seminar. There will be, moreover, a special presentation of a theatrical experiment entitled Sam by Polish theatre-maker Przemysław Wasilkowski and the presentation of the film Back to the Beckett Text. Beckett na plaży directed by Joanna Cichocka-Gula.

The seminar will be part of the BETWEEN.POMIĘDZY festival of literature and theatre held in Sopot, Gdańsk, and Gdynia from 15 to 21 May 2017. This is the eighth annual festival organized by BETWEEN.POMIĘDZY. For participation in the 2017 seminar, please send 250-word abstracts of papers by 1 March 2017 to beckett@ug.edu.plThe conference registration fee is 100 euros (accommodation not included). For information on previous festivals, see www.between.org.pl.

Organisers:

  • Dr Bartosz Lutostański
  • Aleksandra Wachacz, MA
  • Dr Tomasz Wiśniewski

The University of Gdańsk Samuel Beckett Seminars have been organized every year since 2010. They have been attended by scholars and artists from various parts of the world and have resulted in several publications. Guest speakers have included: Antoni Libera, Irena Jun, Marcello Magni (Theatre de Complicite), Douglas Rintoul (Transport Theatre), Professor S.E. Gontarski (USA), Professor Enoch Brater (USA), Professor H. Porter Abbott (USA), Professor Derek Attridge (United Kingdom), and Dr Mark Nixon (Beckett International Foundation). Professor S.E. Gontarski is the honorary patron of the research group.

Beckett Beyond 'the Normal'

Beckett Studies beyond ‘the normal’
3rd Annual Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society
Saint Mary’s University
Halifax, Nova Scotia
July 27-29, 2017

How might we account for the enduring oddness of Samuel Beckett’s work: its eccentric relationship to the normal? What can queer theory or disability theory, to take only two examples, bring to our ongoing re-evaluations of Beckett’s achievements? Are we still witnessing what Peter Boxall, in 2004, termed ‘an extraordinary instance of mass denial’ in relation to the queerness, the sustained homoerotic charge, of Beckett’s work? Given the extraordinary debility of Beckett’s post-War characters, what might we learn from the recent theoretical work of scholars like Ato Quayson, Robert McRuer and Eli Clare, on representations of disability? Is there a normative reading of Beckett from which such emphases have been occluded? And is the relative absence of such interest in Beckett Studies to be explained by a preference for Western philosophical frameworks: a post-Cartesian abdication of corporeality and its discontents per se? Might a biopolitical Beckett be retrieved from such a tradition, i.e. might we read the queerness of Beckett’s vision as conceived in relation to the State, or Agamben’s states of exception? Why has there been no sustained examination of Beckett in relation to the work of Michel Foucault, for example? In this context, might Beckett’s experiences of the State project in postcolonial Ireland—where the ‘normal’ and the ‘national’ were deemed synonymous— be relevant? And how might all of this have changed, or been exasperated, in the light of Beckett’s experiences during World War II: his experience of Vichy France, the Holocaust, and its aftermath? What about Beckett and social norms: his relentless assault on the categories of decency, property and propriety? Might this have informed his refusal of the norms of literary expression—in terms of style, grammar, form, plot?

Submissions

Papers are invited that address all aspects of this theme, broadly conceived, including (but not limited to):

  • Queer Beckett/normative Beckett
  • ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on’: Beckett, disability and debility
  • Beckett and biopolitics
  • Beckett, revolts of conduct and the politics of transgression
  • Beckett, racialisation and the (ab)normal
  • ‘it is the shape that matters’: Beckett, style and the norms of form

Intersectional readings of these and other tropes in Beckett’s work are especially welcome. Abstracts of 300 words to be sent to sean.kennedy@smu.ca by 20 December 2016. There will be a small number of bursaries for graduate students and the unwaged. Please indicate your interest at time of submission.

Beckett Influencing/Influencing Beckett

Samuel Beckett Working Group: Call for Papers
‘Beckett Influencing/Influencing Beckett’
Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary
Budapest, Hungary
Under the Auspices of the International Federation for Theatre Research
15-17 June, 2017

Writers are influenced in many ways, directly and indirectly, by their predecessors and contemporaries. Samuel Beckett is no exception. It is possible to cite innumerable playwrights, novelists, philosophers, artists, composers, performers, film makers, and critical thinkers whose writings and creative life stimulated and inspired Beckett and echo through his writing. In a similar way, Beckett, too, has had a profound impact on his contemporaries and those who have followed him.

This SBWG looks in two directions: back to those whose creative output, forms, ideas, and subject matter resonant in Beckett’s oeuvre; forward to those who have found and continue to find inspiration in Beckett’s works, particularly theatre.  

Possible paper topics

  • A playwright, writer, philosopher, artist, composer, performer, director, or filmmaker whose works may have influenced Beckett’s work;
  • A specific writer, philosopher, artist, composer, performer, director, or film- maker influenced by Beckett, and the nature and result of this influence;
  • A particular play, performance, novel, painting, composition, or film that influenced Beckett, and that Beckett influenced;
  •  A specific social, cultural, or political event which had an impact on Beckett’s work, and which Beckett’s works may have influenced;
  • Histories and legacies of Beckett in various countries and cultures;
  • Possibilities and forms of Beckett’s influences in the future  

Working Group Format

  • Participants in relevant disciplines may give papers or audit;
  • Abstracts (250-300 words) due by February 1, acceptances February 15; 
  • Papers (maximum 5,000 words) distributed a month before meeting;
  • At seminar participants give oral summaries of paper (10-15 minutes), followed by group discussion (30-40 minutes depending on number of presentations).

For More Information please contact

Samuel Beckett's Bodies of Water

Tennessee Philological Association Conference
Johnson City, Tennessee
23-25 February 2017

In Samuel Beckett’s canon, water is a recurring image. In his radio play, Embers, the protagonist Henry tells us that he is sitting by the ocean, in his stage play Endgame Nagg and Nell remember nearly drowning in Lake Como, and in his tour de force stage and later television play, Not I Mouth refers to the narrative gushing from her mouth as a “steady stream.” Water in these and other works by the Nobel Prize winning author is both a location and a metaphor; it is aligned with happy memories and danger, with transition and stasis, with the beginning and the end.

Professor Katherine Weiss is seeking scholars interested in exploring the images of bodies of water in Beckett’s canon to be considered for a panel proposal to the 2017 Tennessee Philological Association Conference to be held in Johnson City, TN during 23-25 February 2017. For more about TPA, visit their website.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words. To submit, please email Professor Katherine Weiss with your abstract by 7 November 2016.

International Beckett

American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
6-9 July 2017

The seminar, organized by Neil Doshi (University of Pittsburgh) and James McNaughton (University of Alabama) will comprise 8-12 participants, meeting for 2 hours on each of the conference’s 3 days. You will present a 20 minute paper, and then have an opportunity to discuss your work with likeminded scholars and enthusiasts.

Building on the body of criticism that evaluates the translation, international reception, and political aesthetic of Samuel Beckett’s work, this seminar proposes to revisit questions about Beckett’s global reach. We will take a two-pronged approach. Beyond questions of translation, adaptation, and dissemination, we wish to discuss how Beckett’s oeuvre has shaped literary movements, conceptions of committed art, and avant-garde aesthetics internationally. Second, we seek papers that freshly attend to how Beckett’s writing itself formally engages political-aesthetic debates.

Questions that inspire this seminar include:

  • Are the formal attributes of Beckett’s work—its focus on ignorance and impotence, doubt and erasure—counter-hegemonic cultural forms or not? Have Beckett’s aesthetic forms provided valid models of resistance for other writers?
  • Is there a relationship between the transnational aspects of Beckett’s writing and its political aesthetic?
  • How have conceptions of Beckett’s “style” impacted discussions about literary form and aesthetics in non-European settings, particularly those marked by colonial history?
  • Beckett translated his own and others’ work. How can we better understand the consequences of moving between source text and translation?
  • How do international translators into a third language contend with the challenge of being able to draw from two source texts, in French and in English, for many of his works?
  • Can Beckett be rightly thought of as a post-colonial writer? If so, how so? If not, why not?
  • When we consider Beckett in the pantheon of “world literature,” how does it shape our understanding of what world literature might be? What in Beckett’s work might the representation of borders and what Peter Baxall calls the “apprehension of totality” – the availability of a global perspective post-WWII—tell us about prevailing notions of the world and the global?

The deadline for submissions is 23 September 2016.

Submission portal: http://www.acla.org/international-beckett 

Pinter/Beckett: Blurring Boundaries

MLA Conference
Philadelphia
5-8 January 2017

The International Harold Pinter Society invites papers on Pinter and Samuel Beckett under the theme 'Blurring Boundaries'. Submissions can explore their work, their personal relationship, and their affinities to others. Send a 250-500 word abstract with contact info and a title to halla@ohiodominican.edu by 15 March 2016.

Draff

5th–6th August,
2016 Trinity College Dublin
Keynote speakers: Mark Nixon (University of Reading), Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp)

‘I don’t suppose many people know what “Draff” is, but if they look it up, they will be put off.’ Charles Prentice to Samuel Beckett (25th September, 1933)

As suggested by his original title for More Pricks Than Kicks (1934), and proved by the pochades, roughs, foirades, and (un)abandoned works of his mature œuvre, works often presented by their author as being no more than the run-off from the creative process, Beckett was anything but put off by draff. The same can surely be said of the scholars who have long devoted themselves to studying Beckett’s aesthetic engagement with the seemingly worthless.

In recent decades, however, Beckett Studies’ fascination with the residual has taken a much more literal meaning as the field, as well as its perception of Beckett and his art, has been reshaped by unprecedented access to the refuse, dregs, and lees of a voluminous archive, as well as the blackened pages of forgotten diaries and private correspondence. Despite, or perhaps because of, this flood of fresh effluvia, however, particular aspects of, and questions pertaining to, Beckett’s canon have been left unexamined, understudied, or wholly ignored.

Call for Papers

Taking place next year in Trinity College Dublin, two decades after Damned to Fame (1996) opened a new chapter in Beckett scholarship, this bilingual conference invites proposals for 20-minute papers, in English or French, from prospective delegates who, sharing Beckett’s conviction in the value of what is left behind, are keen to pick through the ends and odds of Beckett Studies:

  • Why, for instance, does Beckett’s poetry continue to attract so little critical attention?
  • The nature of Beckett’s relation to Joyce and Proust has provoked much debate, but what are we to make of Beckett’s lesser-studied literary influences (e.g. Burton, Camus, Dostoevsky, and Hölderlin)?
  • What are the correspondences between Beckett’s writing and the lesser-studied cultural and political spaces in which he lived and worked, such as France during the Franco-Algerian war?
  • As we deepen our awareness of the role played by the visual arts in Beckett’s work, what might that same work have owed to his keen ear for music and his love of certain composers (e.g. Beethoven’s pauses, Schubert’s Lieder)?
  • At a time of increasing interest in the bilingual Beckett, what was the role of Beckett’s lesser-known languages (e.g. German, Latin, Spanish) and, as we come to a better knowledge of Beckett’s own work as a translator, what might there be to gain in examining how Beckett’s art has been reimagined by those translators – and performers – who have made his words heard in languages he himself did not speak (e.g. Chinese, Dutch, Polish)?
  • With the approaching publication of the German Diaries and the final volume of Beckett’s letters, to what uses can and should scholars put the inestimable trove of material represented by the biographic archive?
  • How might the publication of such (auto)biographic material affect our appreciation of Beckett’s canons – the published, the ‘grey’, and the emerging? Where within this continuum should we situate the work he consigned to the wastepaper basket or, indeed, the ‘old shit’ he allowed to be republished?

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, in English or French, as well as a short bio of no more than 150 words, should be sent to conference organisers Stephen Stacey and James Little at draff2016@gmail.com no later than 15th November 2015.

Whilst prospective delegates are encouraged to consider those topics outlined above, proposals for papers addressing any heretofore under-analysed aspect of Beckett’s ‘literary waste’ are warmly welcomed for this two-day conference, during which both Beckett’s and Beckett Studies’ disjecta membra will be dragged into the ‘pestiferous sunlight’ of scholarly discourse.

For further information and conference updates, please consult the conference website: draff2016.wordpress.com.

There you will also find information on the association between this conference and the Samuel Beckett Summer School (www.beckettsummerschool.com), taking place in Trinity College Dublin from 8th–12th August, 2016.

Beckett and Contemporary Art

Beckett and Contemporary Art

Edited by Rob Reginio, David Houston Jones, and Katherine Weiss

We are seeking contributions for a volume on Samuel Beckett and contemporary art to be published by Ibidem Press, distributed by Columbia University Press, as part of their new Beckett in Company Series. We aim to collect essays on the intersection of contemporary art and the drama, poetry, and prose of Samuel Beckett as well as interviews with and new documentation by working artists who draw upon or are inspired by Beckett's work. We are not seeking essays that cover Beckett's study of painting, his art criticism, nor his connection to modern artists of the first half of the twentieth century. We hope this collection will open new ground in Beckett studies and in the study of contemporary art by tracing Beckett’s influence in the work of artists post-1945 until the present day.

Possible topics for contributions may be 

  • Explorations of Beckett's formal experiments in drama, poetry, prose and other media as contemporary, parallel revisions of modernism's theoretical presuppositions congruent with trends like Minimalism and Conceptual Art.
  • Explorations of specific contemporary artists’ dialogues with Beckett’s plays, prose or poetry in their art practices
  • Investigations of Beckett and his work as reference points in contemporary aesthetic debates

Please send abstracts detailing your proposed essay or interview. If proposing an interview, please indicate whether the artist-in-waiting has already agreed to the interview.

Please send a 300 word abstract, a brief bio, and any questions to: reginio@alfred.edu by 1 November 2015.

Beckett and Modernism

2nd Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society
27 - 30 April 2016, University of Antwerp
Keynote speakers: James Knowlson and John Pilling

The year 2016 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Journal of Beckett Studies (JOBS), founded in 1976 by James Knowlson and John Pilling. To celebrate this occasion, we are proud to announce both of them as keynote speakers at the second conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, dedicated to Beckett and Modernism. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Last Modernist’, Beckett has also been situated within the postmodern canon. After a long critical debate, the term ‘modernism’ has recently been reframed by a vibrant field of what is sometimes called the ‘new modernist studies’, and the term ‘Late Modernism’ seems to be gaining currency in Beckett studies.

At the same time, several critics have called into question not only the criteria underlying these labels but also the act of categorization itself, the danger being in ‘the neatness of identifications’, as Beckett warned his readers from the start. Therefore, with this second conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, we would like to move beyond the point of labelling and examine the different ways in which Beckett interacted with the broad intellectual and artistic climate commonly referred to as ‘modernism’, taking Susan Stanford Friedman’s ‘definitional excursions’ into account: ‘Modernism requires tradition to “make it new”. Tradition comes into being only as it is rebelled against. Definitional excursions into the meanings of modern, modernity, and modernism begin and end in reading the specificities of these contradictions.’

Call for Papers

Beckett’s formative years coincided with the first publications of several modernist masterpieces. While the importance of Joyce and Proust for Beckett’s work has been widely recognized, his dislike of T. S. Eliot has perhaps been taken too much at face value. One aspect of Eliot’s poetics that Beckett would have agreed with is the importance of the literary tradition for modern writing. As his lectures on ‘The Modern Novel’ at TCD, his early essays and the hundreds of books in his personal library confirm, authors from the previous centuries were central to his twentieth-century poetics. One question to ask is how Beckett used that literary tradition to ‘make it new’, not only in his novels, but also in his plays and poems. Even though Virginia Woolf is entirely absent from his work, he did share her interest in the mind. How different is Beckett’s approach from Woolf’s attempt to ‘look within’, and how does his own exploration of the mind relate to the ‘inward turn’ generally associated with Modernism, and to the recent revision of this concept by David Herman (2011)? 

That Beckett was fascinated by the material traces of cognitive processes is shown by his careful preservation of drafts, notebooks or marginalia, and we are still learning how these reading and writing traces in turn continued to shape his own thinking. Beckett was not only interested in the mind and the self, as his psychology notes confirm, but also in the nature of representation. While his familiarity with Mauthner’s Beiträge has received much attention, the influence of Sartre, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger, Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein on Beckett’s notion of linguistic skepticism and phenomenology still deserves more attention. His work is also informed by his familiarity with numerous other cultural aspects: for instance, his knowledge of the visual arts, both modern and classical, acquired especially during his German trip in the late 1930s and through his friendship with Duthuit and his work on transition; the importance of early cinema, attested by Beckett’s reading of Rudolf Arnheim’s Film in 1936, cannot be ignored; the non-visual medium of radio is another modern artform that he explored, around the same time when he listened to dodecaphonic music with Avigdor Arikha.

Like many of the Modernists, Beckett asked himself what it meant to write in a modern sense, as a young TCD lecturer in 1930. He pondered the question for the next sixty years in his writing, and this conference aims to distill answers from the rich body of work he left behind.    

The CFP for the second conference of the Samuel Beckett Society invites abstracts that could focus on, but do not need to be limited to, topics such as:

  • Modernist Minds
    • Phenomenology and representation (Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, …);  
    • Analytic philosophy and language (Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, …);
    • Psychology and the self (psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology, …).
  • Modernist Poetics
    • Beckett’s Manuscripts
    • Linguistic scepticism
    • Beckett and the ‘Modernists’ (Joyce, Proust, Woolf, Eliot, Flann O’Brien, …)
    • The modern novel
  • Modernism and Literary Tradition
    • Intertextuality
    • Beckett’s reading traces (library, notebooks, etc.)
    • ‘Make It New’
  • Modern Art
    • Early cinema, radio broadcasting, technological revolution
    • Painting and sculpture
    • Experimental music
    • Theatrical innovation
  • Modern Times, Modern Spaces
    • Beckett and politics
    • Cosmopolitan/metropolitan Beckett

Abstracts (max. 300 words) should be sent to olga.beloborodova@uantwerpen.be

Les contributions en français peuvent être proposées en envoyant un résumé en français (300 mots max.)

Deadline 15 September 2015. Notification of decisions by 30 October 2015.

For more information about the conference contact dirk.vanhulle@uantwerpen.be

Official website: http://uahost.uantwerpen.be/BeckettAndModernism/

Download CFP (.doxc - 176kb)

Beckett and Vice

Harrah’s Resort Southern California
San Diego County, CA
Feb. 21-24, 2016
Keynote Speaker: S. E. Gontarski

Beckett and Vice welcomes abstracts on the theme of “vice” in Samuel Beckett’s work. What is vice? Where does vice appear in Beckett’s poems, plays, fiction, or other art forms? Possible ideas for exploration:

  • Vice as a moral/ethical term
  • Vice as a tool/instrument
  • Vice as second-in-line
  • Religious and philosophical implications
  • Images of decadence vs. indigence
  • Hedonism vs. asceticism

Beckett and Vice will take place at Harrah’s Resort Southern California in beautiful San Diego County, CA. We will make an afternoon journey to the Temecula wine region for a wine tasting, and we will indulge in a decadent chocolate social hour. Famed Beckett scholar S.E. Gontarski will deliver a keynote address.

Please submit 250-word abstracts or inquiries to Dr. Paul Shields, Associate Professor of English, Assumption College, beckettandvice@gmail.com.

Deadline: May 15, 2015.

Visit the official conference website. 

Beckett's Bodies: Affect, Disability, Performance

The Samuel Beckett Society, Affiliated Session
Conference of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
Durham, North Carolina, 13-15 November 2015
Chair/contact: Michelle Rada, Brown University 

Beckett’s Bodies: Affect, Disability, Performance

This panel seeks to explore the ways in which bodies are figured and disfigured in Beckett’s work. On their own constituting an expansive “body of work,” Beckett’s prose texts, poems, plays, radio, television, and film works posit human, non-human, and inhuman bodies in different and often surprising forms. What kinds of bodies are incorporated, disembodied, or stripped bare in Beckett’s work? How can we trace the life, vulnerability, and survival of the body in single texts and across works? Are Beckettian physical and textual bodies susceptible to or immune from affect? Which bodies, metaphorical or otherwise, are excluded from consideration and care in a quite prolific archive of Beckett criticism? How does the body function and dysfunction across genre and media, prose and performance? The purpose of this panel is to provide a multidisciplinary platform for thinking about the body in Beckett’s work through emerging reading practices, which could engender new connections and ideas for such an extensively critiqued range of texts. In keeping with SAMLA’s theme for the 2015 conference, “In Concert: Literature and the Other Arts,” emphasis placed on thinking across genre, media, and theoretical approaches is encouraged, and will be a significant part of our conversation at this panel.

Possible approaches and topics may include, but are not limited to:

Queer bodies in Beckett’s work
Beckett and disability studies
Bodily capacity and its limits in performance
Affect and its embodied forms
Gendered bodies and feminist approaches to Beckett
Abject and aging bodies, dead bodies, and animal bodies
Material bodies and the life of the object 
Beckett’s body of work and its sustained life in/through/as Beckett criticism
The precarious body, vulnerability, and the pains of survival 
Ill-sensing: perception and the phenomenological body in Beckett
Food studies, consuming bodies, oral fixations, sucking stones
Sex and reproduction in Beckett
Adaptations of Beckett and the political, gendered, and racialized body 
Dance, stage directions, choreography, and demands on the performing body

Please send a 250-300 word abstract, a brief bio, and any questions to: michelle_rada@brown.edu by June 1st, 2015.

Beckett and Europe: Postgraduate and Early Careers Conference

28th - 29th October 2015 - MERL, University of Reading
Abstract Deadline: 8th June 2015
Keynote Speaker: Dr David Tucker (Chester University)


The Beckett at Reading Postgraduate group is pleased to announce a new postgraduate and Early Careers two-day conference with the theme of Beckett and Europe. We will be hosting two on-site archival workshops on manuscripts and performance during the conference. There will also be a public lecture on Happy Days by Professor James Knowlson. This will be followed by the Beckett International Foundation Seminar on the 30th of October.

Call for Papers

We invite postgraduates and Early Career Researchers to submit abstracts under the general theme of ‘Beckett and Europe’. The aim of the conference is to engage postgraduates and ECRs in research exchange with an interdisciplinary and cross-media focus. Born in Ireland in 1906, Beckett wrote in English, French and German and directed his own theatrical work in London, Berlin and Paris. The span and influence of Beckett’s work in 20th Century Europe is essential to many questions that inform Beckett scholarship: How do we frame Beckett nationally/internationally and has this changed? What influence did Beckett have on European artists, writers and thinkers? How has Beckett’s work entered the European tradition?

All disciplines are welcome including philosophy, linguistics, theatre and performance, archival research, art, science, cultural studies, politics, history, music, theology and literature. We also invite submissions that contest and interrogate a Eurocentric focus on Beckett. Issues to consider may include, but are not limited to, the following: 

Beckett, History and the Politics of Europe
Beckett and World War II
Beckett’s European Legacy
Beckett and the City
Beckett and European Theatre: Performance and Practice
Beckett and the Archive
Beckett, Nation and Translation
Beckett and Culture: E.g. Music, Art, Architecture
Beckett and European Philosophy
Beckett and Traditions: Prose, Poetry, Drama
Different modes of Beckett criticism in the various European traditions

Please send abstracts, in English, of 300–500 words to barpconference@gmail.com with a short bio of no more than 150 words before 8 June 2015.

Beckett at Reading Postgraduates (BARP): https://barpgroup.wordpress.com/

Programme Details Beckett Summer School (2015)

Registration is still open for the 2015 Samuel Beckett Summer School
9-14 August, Trinity College Dublin

Confirmed Lecturers and Events:

  • C. J. Ackerley: ‘Beckett and Physics'
  • Amanda Dennis: 'Beckett, Sensation and Agency'
  • Lois Oppenheim: 'fMRI in Prose: Beckett and Neuroscience'
  • Paul Stewart: '“as innocent as the sperm unspent”: Sex and Power in Beckett’s Works'
  • Derval Tubridy: ‘"The unthought and the harrowing": Samuel Beckett’s Necessary Art
  • David Wheatley: ‘"Aspermatic Days and Nights": Samuel Beckett and an Anti-Genealogy of Contemporary Irish Poetry
  • 'The loutishness of learning': a roundtable on teaching Beckett, chaired by Jonathan Heron
  • A tour of the Beckett country, led by Feargal Whelan

Seminars:

  • Beckett and the Visual Arts, Derval Tubridy
  • Beckett and Poetry, David Wheatley
  • Beckett's Manuscripts, Mark Nixon & Dirk Van Hulle
  • Performance Workshop, Jonathan Heron & Nicholas Johnson
  • Reading Group, Sam Slote


Details of the performance schedule to be announced shortly

Deadlines and Registration:

The deadline for bursary applicants is 13 March.
The deadline for registration is 4 May.
For a registration form please email: sbss@usit.ie
For more information: http://beckettsummerschool.com

The Endlessness of Ending: Samuel Beckett and the Mind

6-8 July 2015
University of Western Sydney

Samuel Beckett's work across the genres has always shown a keen interest in both the topography and the function of the mind. The experience of interiority in Beckett is complex and it is often on the brink of its own collapse. Beckett undertook a comprehensive self-education of the mind, primarily from the disciplines of philosophy and psychoanalysis, to understand this interiority which he would render poetically. If Beckett is interested in a physics and even a geometry of the psychic space, the recurrent image of the skullscape—from The Trilogy and Endgame to Worstward Ho—is also replete with the minimal and yet necessary possibilities of thinking.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Laura Salisbury (University of Exeter) Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp) and Daniel Katz (University of Warwick)

Call for papers

Beckett's manifold portrayal of the mind is biographically grounded in his interest in psychology in the so-called Psychology Notes as well as his own psychoanalysis with Wilfred Bion. In addition to Bion, Beckett's emphasis on the mind has been variously approached through psychoanalytic doctrines of Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein and Jacques Lacan. If the psychoanalytic readings of Beckett approach the mental question from the perspective of the unconscious, the recent neuro-scientific and cognitivist forays into Beckett have opened up the debate about the proximities of identification between the mind and the brain. Beckett's work is becoming increasingly important in understanding the subtleties of brain damage. Neurobiologist Antonio Damasio's reference to Beckett's Winnie as an illustration of a specific neurological condition is a case in point. Catherine Malabou's Deleuzean re-reading of Beckettian exhaustion has pushed this further into a 'literary form of neuropathology' where it inhabits a critical space between psychoanalysis and the neuro-sciences.

Read the full conceptual background to the conference.

In this context, we invite contributions engaging with but not restricted to the following topics:

  • Beckett, mind and embodiment
  • Beckett and Psychoanalysis
  • Beckett, mind and the process of meaning making
  • Neurosciences and Beckett
  • Mind and Spatiality in Beckett
  • Beckett and the philosophy of the mind
  • Emotions and sensations in the mind and Beckett
  • Beckett and the apprehension of madness
  • Mind and Mathematics in Beckett
  • Beckett and a phenomenology of the mind
  • Mental function and nihilism in Beckett
  • Beckett and the aesthetics of the mental image
  • The relation between vestigial mind and storytelling in Beckett
  • Beckett and the inter-generic and inter-medial minds
  • Spectrality, mind and Beckett  
  • The extended mind thesis and Beckett
  • Beckett, technology and the mind
  • The mind and the human in Beckett
  • Beckett, mind and trauma
  • Temporality and the mind in Beckett

Please email a 300 word abstract of your paper to Arka Chattopadhyay: a.chattopadhyay@uws.edu.au please also CC your email to arkaless@gmail.com
Deadline 20 February 2015. Decisions will be advised by 30 March 2015.

Visit the CFP's official website. 

Séminaire Samuel Beckett et la culture française

Le prochain séminaire Samuel Beckett et la culture française, organisé avec le soutien de la JSPS, aura lieu à Tokyo le samedi 10 janvier 2015, dans les locaux de l’université du Tohoku. Il donnera lieu à une conférence, en français, du Professeur Thomas Hunkeler, vice-président de l’université de Fribourg : 

« Des mots qu’à l’air je jette ». Samuel Beckett et la poésie française, de Ronsard à Rimbaud

Il est possible d’accueillir après cette conférence une ou deux communications en français. Elles doivent porter sur les relations qu’entretient l’œuvre de Beckett avec la culture française ou sur celles qu’entretient la France avec l’œuvre de Beckett. La durée de ces communications (entre 20 et 40 minutes environ) peut varier selon le sujet. Les doctorants peuvent, bien sûr, présenter une communication.

Les propositions de communication (une demi-page environ, précédée d’un titre au moins provisoire) peuvent être envoyées jusqu’au 19 octobre à l’adresse suivante: yann.mevel@yahoo.fr

Une réponse sera donnée aux propositions à la fin du mois d’octobre.

Une publication des textes est prévue dans le cadre de la Série Beckett que dirige Llewellyn Brown aux éditions Minard / Garnier.

Lors du séminaire un résumé, en anglais ou en japonais, de la conférence et des communications sera distribué aux participants.

Pour participer au séminaire il est nécessaire de s’inscrire d’ici le 7 décembre. L’accès aux locaux ne sera possible qu’aux inscrits.

Les frais sont à la charge des participants.

Responsable du séminaire: 

Yann MEVEL, maître de conférences en littérature française, Université du Tohoku

Download CFP (.docx - 27kb)

Other Becketts

Call for Submissions
Editor: S. E. Gontarski, Florida State University

This series focuses on underexplored approaches to Samuel Beckett’s work, examining those of Beckett’s interests that were more arcane than mainstream, quirky, or strange, even, and those of his works that are less thoroughly explored critically, such as the poetry, the criticism, the later prose and drama.

Volumes might, therefore, cover any of the following: unusual illnesses (for instance, Akathisia and Duck’s Disease in Murphy and unusual mental disorders in Watt); mathematical peculiarities (irrational numbers and factorial or Fibonachi sequences); linguistic failures (from Nominalism to Mautner); or citations or allusions to contrarian aesthetic philosophies and philosophers working in a more or less irrationalist tradition (such as those of Nietzsche or Bergson).

Key Features:

  • Deploys new critical approaches
  • Addresses underexplored works in the Beckett canon
  • Presents new critiques of representation and philosophy
  • Attentive to critical thinking around affect and/in literature

For further information, or to discuss submitting a proposal, contact the series editor S. E. Gontarski

Working with Beckett

Monday 3 March 2014, at 18:30
Trinity Long Room Hub
Trinity College Dublin

A lecture by Prof Stanley E Gontarski (Florida State University), organised by the Trinity College Library, the School of English and the School of Drama, Film and Music, TCD.

Professor Stanley E Gontarski, whose letters, papers and books relating to Samuel Beckett have been acquired recently by Trinity College Library Dublin, will discuss his working relationship with the playwright.

This began on 30 March 1973, when Beckett wrote to draw Gontarski’s attention to the director’s notebook that he kept for Glückliche Tage, the Happy Days production he directed in German in 1971 at the Werkstatt of Berlin’s famed Schiller-Theater. In May 1980, Gontarski, invited to watch Beckett direct in London, persuaded him to write a new play expressly for a conference he was organizing the following year at The Ohio State University to celebrate Beckett’s 75th year. This became first ‘The Ohio project’ and then Ohio Impromptu, the only work in Beckett’s oeuvre with a geographical reference. During extended stays in Paris in 1985-86, Gontarski worked on theatrical productions with Beckett, particularly an adaptation of Beckett’s novella, Company, and a re-adaptation of what would become Beckett’s final completed work for theatre, What Where.

Gontarski directed the English-language premieres of these works: Company in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre in 1985, and What Where, part of an evening called ‘The Beckett Vision’, at San Francisco’s Magic Theater in 1986, the latter filmed by Global Village in 1987 as part of a DVD collection, ‘Peephole Art: Beckett for Television’ and released commercially in 1995. The production became a central part of the documentary Waiting for Beckett, a YouTube clip of which features Beckett’s discussing this production. Film versions of both productions were shown in Dublin in 1991 during the Dublin Theatre Festival. Finally, Gontarski worked closely with Beckett while editing The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett: Endgame; during this process, Beckett made final revisions to the play, not long before he passed away.

To register for this event, please contact mscripts@tcd.ie

Visit the official website.

Samuel Beckett Summer School 2014

August 10th – 16th August 2014.
Applications now available from our website


Preliminary list of speakers for the 2014 Samuel Beckett Summer School:

  • Elizabeth Barry
  • Gerald Dawe
  • Lois More Overbeck
  • Laura Salisbury
  • Anthony Uhlmann
  • Dirk Van Hulle

A Roundtable discussion, ‘Beckett beyond the Humanities’, chaired by Jonathan Heron

Seminars:

  • Samuel Beckett’s Letters (Lois More Overbeck)
  • Beckett and Brain Science (Elizabeth Barry & Laura Salisbury)
  • Beckett’s Manuscripts (Mark Nixon & Dirk Van Hulle)
  • Performance Workshop/Samuel Beckett Laboratory (Jonathan Heron & Nick Johnson)
  • Reading Group (Sam Slote)

Full list of speakers, provisional schedule, and details of performances will be posted on our website shortly: http://beckettsummerschool.wordpress.com.

Samuel Beckett and the Archive: Rewriting the Beckett Canon

July 30 2014

As the leading literary figure to emerge from post-World War II Europe, Samuel Beckett's texts and his literary and intellectual legacy have yet to be fully appreciated by critics and scholars. The goal of NEW INTERPRETATIONS OF BECKETT IN THE TWENTY-FIRST  CENTURY is to stimulate new approaches and develop fresh perspectives on Beckett, his texts, and his legacy. The series will provide a forum for original and interdisciplinary interpretations concerning any aspect of Beckett's work or his influence upon subsequent writers, artists, and thinkers.

JENNIFER M. JEFFERS is a Professor of English at Cleveland State University. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of The Irish Novel at the End of the Twentieth Century: Gender, Bodies, and Power; Britain Colonized: Hollywood's Appropriation of British Literature; Uncharted Space: The End of Narrative, the editor of Samuel Beckett, and co-editor of Contextualizing Aesthetics: From Plato to Lyotard.
Call for contributors to the proposed edited collection 'Samuel Beckett and the Archive: Rewriting the Beckett Canon':

This collection will explore the impact of the availability of Beckett archival materials in the last generation of Beckett scholarship. Will archival research permanently alter what we now consider Beckett's "canonical," or most important texts? Please submit 500 word abstracts for papers that address the short-term and long-term impact of archival scholarship on the reading and production of Beckett's texts.
Contact: 

Abstracts should be sent to J.M? Jeffers before July 30 2014.

Brigitte Shull, Editor: Brigitte.Shull@palgrave-usa.com

Jennifer M. Jeffers: j.m.jeffers53@csuohio.edu 

Samuel Beckett Working Group

28 July – 1 August, 2014
University of Warwick 


The Samuel Beckett Working Group (SBWG) will be meeting at the FIRT/IFTR International Federation for Theatre Research World Congress 

Papers to be presented at the SBWG are distributed and read by all the participants ahead of the meeting. At the SBWG session presenters give short resumes of their work, followed by a lengthy discussion period (each presenter has 45 minutes in all). This is an extremely effective method, which allows ideas to be discussed, debated and evaluated, with participants suggesting directions for presenters’ works-in-progress. There is limited space for presenters, so do get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee a place; there will also be a limited space for auditors, who would also be sent the papers to read and encouraged to engage in the discussions during the sessions. 

The Working Group topic will be:
 
‘Levels of Imagery (audio and/or visual) in Samuel Beckett’s Drama.

Some ideas on how to approach the topic: 
Levels of interpretation and/or levels of audience response to performance images; Levels of conformity with or deviation from stage directions; Images that respond to pre-existing performances, such as those in earlier productions of Beckett’s drama, to other theatre genres, to other playwright’s work or to other mediums (e.g. from adaptations from page or radio to the stage). 

Do get in touch with Julie Campbell if you have any questions. 

If you are interested in joining the Working Group you need to upload your abstract to the Cambridge Journals Online pages where you will also be prompted to join or renew your membership of IFTR. This has to be done by 15th January 2014, otherwise their paper cannot be accepted for the conference. For more information: http://iftr2014warwick.org/ 

Warwick will send acceptance emails by 21st February. The reason for the early deadline is:

  1. So that all delegates have a fair chance of getting their preferred accommodation on campus which opens (along with registration) on 1st March 2014
  2. To ensure there is adequate time for delegates to apply for Visas, as the UK Visa system can take several months for these to be processed. 

Papers (length 5,000 words) are to be distributed by the end of May, 2013

I look forward to seeing you in Warwick!
 

Samuel Beckett: Literature and Translation

University of Extremadura, Cáceres (Spain)
Faculty of Letters, Department of English
12-13 April 2018

Samuel Beckett’s importance for both Irish and Universal literature is unquestionable. He has actually reached the level of cultural icon in recent years. Beckett’s international recognition was established with Waiting for Godot (1953), a work originally written in French which he immediately rendered into English, a model he would repeatedly use all through the rest of his life. In fact, he translated into French most of the works he wrote in English, becoming the most important C20th bilingual writer. Bilingualism in Beckett could be said to have reached aesthetic status: when Beckett seemed to “fail again” without being able to advance any more, bilingualism offered him the possibility to progress. As a matter of fact, writing in another language seemed the only possible way to further develop for a type of literature that was self locked up. As a result of this process, by the end of his life, as Sinead Mooney points out, Beckett had created an unstable and complex canon in which, from the end of World War II onwards, a consistent difference between original and translation becomes more difficult. Beckett was conscious of the enormous importance bilingualism and self-translation had in his literary production and he is known to have helped many translators of his works, showing a keen interest in the way in which his novels and plays were translated into other languages.

However, despite the international recognition provided by the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature, unfortunately his works still remain somewhat unknown in Spain. The aim of this conference is to analyse Beckett’s presence in the Spanish cultural life during the last sixty years with special attention to the Spanish renditions of his works. Although almost all his novels, dramatic works and prose and poetic texts have been translated into Spanish, the quality of those versions greatly varies. Apart from that, many of Beckett’s emblematic texts are now out of print and others are found in very limited editions. This conference intends to provide a forum for debate about the translations of Beckett’s works into Spanish, so that the conclusions of the studies presented here may contribute to future research and reception of his works.

Interdisciplinary proposals, either in Spanish, French or English, on the following topics (but not exclusively) are welcome:

• Samuel Beckett and bilingualism in his works

• Translations of Samuel Beckett’s works into Spanish and other peninsular languages: An analysis of particular cases and the state of the arts

• Samuel Beckett’s reception in Spain

• Censorship of Samuel Beckett’s works in Spain

• Beckett and self-translation into English and French

• Critical trends in the interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s works

• Samuel Beckett’s philosophical thought

• Beckett’s exploration of other artistic forms

• An analysis of Samuel Beckett’s works

Proposals should be sent by e-mail to the following address: samuel_beckett@unex.es, before 30th September 2017, and should include title, name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address and a 200-300-word abstract.

Beckett & Technology

Faculty of Arts 
Charles University, Prague
13-15 September 2018

In April 1981, having devoted considerable time to resolving the technicalities that surrounded his TV play Quad, Samuel Beckett confessed to Ruby Cohn: “Not long back from Stuttgart. Unsatisfactory. Television is beyond me.” Frustrating as it may have been at times, technology held its fascination for Beckett and often became enmeshed with his work. It remained central for him, as it continues to be for researchers and practitioners engaging with his work today.

The conference will explore the manifold intersections of technology with Beckett’s oeuvre throughout the years, and will consider their future trajectories. This includes the development of modern technologies in the fields of communication, broadcasting, medicine, and transportation in the beginning of the 20th century and their influence on Beckett’s early writing; his employment of new media such as film, radio, and television; and contemporary uses of digital, medical, and other technologies in new approaches to staging, performing, and interpreting Beckett’s work in various genres and fields.

We also welcome theoretical discussions of the interplay between writing, media, and technology in the context of Beckett’s work, as well as reflections on the advent of the post-human, hypermedia, and cyber spaces in the 21st century.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading), Sarah Kenderdine (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), Laura Salisbury (University of Exeter)

Special screening and discussion: Nicholas Johnson (Trinity College Dublin)

We encourage submissions focused on, but not limited to, the following subjects:

• Technology in Beckett’s work

• The influence of technologies on Beckett’s formal and thematic innovations

• Political and military technologies in Beckett’s work

• Performance technologies and institutional relations

• Beckett in the cyber age, post-humanism, hypermedia

• Digital Beckett – digital humanities and Beckett in digital media

• Beckett and technē – philosophical and theoretical approaches

Abstracts up to 300 words and a short biography should be sent to beckettprague2018@gmail.com by 15 January 2018. Inquiries can be made at the same e-mail address.

The conference venue is fully accessible and we will make our best efforts to accommodate special requests. If you have any questions regarding accessibility at the conference and in Prague in general, please contact us.

Organising Committee: Einat Adar, Galina Kiryushina, Mark Nixon, Ondřej Pilný

The conference is hosted by the Centre for Irish Studies, Charles University, Prague.

Beckett in International Culture and Politics

Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui solicits proposals for articles in French or English on Beckett’s global and political reach. More than the question of Beckett’s international influence, we ask scholars to consider how Beckett’s work provides aesthetic models for artists seeking to address political conflict, to break the straightjacket of imposed artistic forms, or to represent forms of human violence. Does Beckett’s work help or hinder artists in formulating a political aesthetic or navigating specific political demands and situations? Does Beckett’s work inform conceptions of committed art? How does Beckett’s style affect conceptions of literary form and the function of aesthetics in non-European settings, particularly those marked by colonial history? Papers that attend to engagements with Beckett’s work beyond Western Europe will receive special attention: the Middle East, Turkey, and other areas of Asia; the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa; beyond and elsewhere. 250-word proposals due 6 January 2018; completed article for peer review, 1 April 2018. Send these and any queries to James McNaughton, jamesm@ua.edu

Pop Beckett

A new edited volume of essays from Ibidem Press, to be published Spring 2019
Edited by Paul Stewart and David Pattie

Whether on a ‘great writers’ poster in an “Irish” pub on an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, or on an Apple advertisement, or on the forearm of a tennis player, the face and words of Beckett are disseminated well beyond the confines of academia, the traditional theatre, or so-called high culture. In an attempt to address these and related concerns, “Pop Beckett” will be a collection of essays investigating the intersections between Beckett (both the works and the figure of the author) and popular culture. The volume has two main objectives: to illuminate how popular cultural forms inform Beckett’s work, and how Beckett has influenced, or is used in, popular media today.

The first objective will hopefully demonstrate that Beckett was embedded within popular cultural forms of his day – particular in the early stages of his career – be it in the form of film, advertising or song, and that these cultural units are refracted through the works themselves.

The subsequent presence of Beckett in popular culture – both the works and the figure of the man himself – covers a wide array of fields that, as Emilie Morin has suggested, might lead us to re-think Beckett’s continuing position in neoliberal capitalism. Moreover, the boundaries of popular and ‘high’ culture are open to contestation. As is well known, the original American production of Godot advertised the play as ‘the laugh sensation of two continents’, thus presenting it as something akin to light entertainment. As that production starred Bert Lahr – famous as for his role as Lion in The Wizard of Oz ­­– one is reminded that the figure of the actor frequently crosses the boundaries of supposed high and low culture (consider Billie Whitelaw in The Omen, or Patrick Magee in Zulu, or, more recently, Barry McGovern in Game of Thrones; or, conversely, productions of Godot featuring popular comedy actors, such as the Williams and Martin production in the USA or the Mayall and Edmonson production in the UK). In recent years, traditional media has been challenged by the rise of the Internet, and papers addressing Beckett’s presence in such media are most welcome, whether they focus on pastiche or parodies of the works, or on the ‘wisdom of Samuel Beckett’ meme culture.

Suggested areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Beckett’s interactions with popular culture during his career (such as the traces of vaudeville, popular song, advertising, etc within his works)
  • Treatment of the historical figure of Beckett in popular media (television, film, etc.)
  • Beckett’s influence on popular media forms (television, film, radio and the internet)
  • Allusive use of Beckett and / or his works in popular culture
  • Beckett’s influence on individual practitioners in popular cultural forms
  • Beckett and Advertising
  • Beckett on the Internet (eg the meme culture of ‘fail better’)
  • Pastiches and Parodies of Beckett in popular culture (eg, Sesame Street Godot)
  • Beckett in popular music: influences and intersections.
  • The role of institutions (both academic and cultural) in the dissemination of Beckett in popular culture
  • Beckett and Festivalisation
  • Beckett and Tourism

Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 20 December 2017.

Abstracts of approximately 300 words and a short academic biography to be sent to the editors, David Pattie and Paul Stewart, jointly at stewartp@me.com and D.Pattie@bham.ac.uk. Successful contributors will then be asked to provide a full article.

Deadline for final article submissions of approximately 6000 words, 30 May 2018.

Publication date: Spring 2019.

For any initial queries, contact Paul Stewart at stewartp@me.com.

Not on the List?

If you organize or know of an upcoming conference or call for papers, please advise Dirk Van Hulle at dirk.vanhulle@uantwerpen.be