Special Offer on BDMP companion volumes

For a limited period, the publisher ASP is offering 3 for the price of 2 on their range of companion volumes to modules in the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project. At present, there are eight titles in this series and have proved to be invaluable for all those engaging with the project. To avail of the…

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Call For Submissions: Corresponding with Samuel Beckett

Corresponding with Samuel Beckett is an edition of critical essays that forms a major intervention in key debates on the use of Nobel prize winning author Samuel Beckett’s correspondence in literary and cultural studies and in the digital humanities.

What does it mean to correspond with Beckett? How does Beckett’s correspondence give us insight into the work? In what ways are critical reading and writing a form of correspondence with an author? The publication of the fourth and final volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett marks an appropriate moment to take stock of the role of autobiography in research, and the importance of the epistolary in literary studies. Corresponding with Samuel Beckett examines issues around the development of the grey archive, the use of digital resources, translation, visual metadata, and the role of corollary correspondence. Given Beckett’s hesitation to render the personal public, the book examines what is at stake in negotiating issues of privacy, permissions, and copyright. The book generates new thinking on the letter as artefact, and the textual and stylistic aspects of the epistolary. It explores the legacy of a correspondence project and how the research that underpins it can be deployed for further research. Using literary correspondence and related materials raises older literary questions on authorial intention and reading methodologies that continue to inform literary analysis. In the age of twitter, snapchat and whatsapp correspondence is primarily digital: the edition will question the longevity of contemporary digital correspondence, and explore strategies for future engagement with the epistolary in literary research.

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New Georgian Translation of Waiting for Godot

In March 2020 Inga Zhghenti’s translation of Waiting for Godot received critical acclaim as the first Georgian translation of Beckett’s play (from the English text). The translation has been uploaded to the Internet Archive of Georgian Theatre, and is available here. Zhghenti is currently an associate professor at East European University and an invited lecturer at Caucasus University.

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Sex and Gender in Samuel Beckett’s Work

The titles of Samuel Beckett’s two early novels show a taste for salaciousness and provocation that did not disappear in later years, and led to his being expelled from the family home and censored in Ireland. If obscenity became more subdued afterwards, and if sexuality tended to disappear from an increasingly abstract universe, sex, of an often crude kind, is a recurring feature of the Beckettian text. As for sexuality, in its normative version, it is systematically thwarted by the powerlessness and horror of procreation displayed by Beckett’s male characters, whose sexual behaviour “deviates” from the heterosexual paradigm (anality, onanism).

Sex questions the relationship to the other, as a sexual partner and in its gendered dimension. But this relationship is not a straightforward one in Beckett. Before the trilogy, female characters are essentially derealized (either through idealization or belittling, see Mercier, Bryden, Ben-Zvi, McMullan), while male characters are devirilized (Bjørnerud). Moreover, the question of connection and autonomy, central to the fiction and even more to the theatre, is experienced in sexual encounters with particular acuteness. The promise of a union, or even of fusion with the other, stumbles against an impossibility that feeds the melancholy of many characters. Considering that the sexual act is both material and spiritual, it can be traumatic but is also a source of humour and comedy.

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