“On a website ‘filled with the detritus and ephemera of great artists’ (the kind of place you can’t quite summon how you found afterwards and have trouble locating again, as though you dreamt it) there’s a wonderful hunk of little-heard pieces for radio, written by Samuel Beckett. Among them is a 1957 BBC recording of From An Abandoned Work – a monologue (that started in 1954 as a bit of prose) delivered by an old man remembering his youth. It’s unbelievably well acted, by the Armagh-born Patrick Magee, a presence so full of strangeness and charisma and difference and power, the whole thing made me feel like I’d been blindfolded.”
Upon being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, Samuel Beckett agreed to be filmed – albeit briefly – after multiple media requests. The later colour footage was recorded while Beckett was supervising BBC productions of his work in 1982.
April 13th marks 112 years since the birth of Irish writer, playwright, and Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett. To celebrate, we at the Samuel Beckett Society have assembled a collection of links to celebrate his life, work, and legacy. Enjoy!
Samuel Beckett first published novel, Murphy, is a comic romp around 1930s London and through the ‘little world’ of the human mind. Beckett weaves together reflections on madness, spirituality, and ginger biscuits with a Swiftian satirical fervour. In a day school at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, attendees will explore how Beckett’s own life and interests shaped the novel by reading his letters and notebooks alongside the text itself. The course takes place on 21 April 2018, and is hosted by Beckett scholar Andy Wimbush. Visit the University of Cambridge website for more information.
“On this special episode of The Book Show Eimear McBride (A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, The Lesser Bohemians) visits The Samuel Beckett Collection in University of Reading. There she gains a rare glimpse at the original manuscripts of Beckett’s first publish novel Murphy and his last published prose work Stirrings Still.
With contributions by Head of Archive Services Guy Baxter, Director of the Beckett International Foundation Dr Mark Nixon, Chair of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre Stephen Matthews, Beckett’s biographer and friend James Knowlson, actors Lisa Dawn and Olwen Fouéré.”
Originally written in French and first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1957, Samuel Beckett’s Endgame is widely regarded as one of his most important works. The Making of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Endgame’/’Fin de partie’ is a comprehensive reference guide to the history of the text.
Trinity is a target destination for Beckett scholars because of the size and variety of original Beckett manuscripts held here. However, because of the physical fragility of the manuscripts (Beckett always used the very worst quality paper), few people get to handle the originals. This creates an obvious problem when it is considered that there is an almost indefinable, special ‘something’ to be experienced from being in the presence of an original artefact – think of Jane Austen’s spectacles or the Ardagh Chalice. Are our students being denied an experience which could be of signal benefit to them? All special-collections repositories share this tension between access and preservation but the issue has been thrown into high relief in the context of Trinity’s development of the Trinity Education Project, which seeks to encourage more original research among undergraduates.
“Of all I’ve read in my life, and all that’s yet to come, what’s going to count? How much of it has changed me? How much has even marked me? How much has done both but I don’t know it yet? Readers get to make these discoveries in the privacy of their own heads. Writers must make them in public and then wear them in their back catalogues for as long as they have a readership who cares.”
The Deutsches Literatur Archiv website has posted a series of images from the ongoing ‘German Fever’ exhibition, which explores Samuel Beckett’s enduring connections to German art, culture, and community. Among the images one will find photograph, manuscripts, and correspondence, and will be of great interest to anyone interested in Beckett’s work. There is also an accompanying booklet by the exhibition organisers, Dirk Van Hulle and Mark Nixon.