Halifax, Nova Scotia · 28-30 June, 2013

Saint Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Saint Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia)

What forms of historical knowledge might be usefully addressed to Beckett’s works? In what ways might Beckett’s formal explorations, or formal analysis of those explorations, be conceived of as intrinsically historical? While Beckett studies has often been structured by an opposition between formalist and historical approaches, the aim of this conference is to think collectively about how form and history are related in Beckett’s writing and in critical responses to his work. We welcome papers that engage with various historical contexts, and are particularly interested in how historical analysis might address the formal complexities of Beckett’s work. Specific points of engagement might involve the following questions: how might the conditions in post-war France have informed Beckett’s formal experimentation? What is novel, for example, about the post-war Beckettian novel? How is Beckett’s writing involved (or at odds) with the histories of modernist and postmodernist forms, particularly in view of the ongoing re-mapping of these terms of literary periodization and their temporal and spatial parameters? What forms of history (feminist, queer etc) might contribute to a history of Beckettian forms? Our hope is to generate conversation across the boundaries and binaries (archive/text, for example, or history/theory) that have begun to structure Beckett studies in recent years. How might these different emphases be brought together? What form might a collaborative approach to Beckett studies take? There will be no keynote address, but rather a series of workshops addressing how to integrate the differing strands of work that have been done in recent years. These workshops will accompany the more traditional three paper panel format. There will also be no parallel sessions, in order to facilitate depth of engagement, and priority will be given to submissions that address the conference theme.


Proposals of no more than 300 words to be sent to Michael D’Arcy and Seán Kennedy (beckettinhalifax@gmail.com) by 30 January 2013.


Faculty $100
Students/Unwaged Free

Published in The Beckett Circle, Autumn 2012.

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Posted by:Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. He is the author of Beckett's Late Stage (2018), and his work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals. He holds a BA, MA, and a PhD in English Literature. His website RhysTranter.com is a personal journal offering commentary and analysis across literature, film, music, and the arts.

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