New Issue of the Journal of Beckett Studies

This month marks the publication of the twenty-seventh volume of the Journal of Beckett Studies. To access the journal, or find out more about its contents, visit the official website at Edinburgh University Press.

Read More
Advertisements

Samuel Beckett Takes a Road Trip With His Mother

“In the summer of 1935, Samuel Beckett and his widowed mother, May, took a three-week road trip together in England. It is not clear whose idea it was, but Beckett, who was living in an almost destitute state in London at the time, seems to have gone along with the plan willingly enough. With his mother paying all expenses, he hired a small car and took her on what he called a “lightning tour” of English market towns and cathedral cities including St Albans, Canterbury, Winchester, Bath and Wells. They covered hundreds of miles, driving as far as the West Country and spending almost three weeks together.

Beckett described their trip together in letters to his friend Tom MacGreevy, later the director of the National Gallery of Ireland. After they reached the West Country, he told MacGreevy, their hired car struggled with the “demented gradients, 1 in 4 a commonplace” around hilly Porlock and Lynton. They decided not to spend a night in the seaside resort of Minehead: one look at it was enough. Instead, they spent almost a week in a comfortable hotel in Lynmouth, close to where Shelley was said to have stayed. From there they went on day excursions around the coast and toured the literary locations of North Devon, including the Exmoor of Lorna Doone and the bathing place of Westward Ho! on Bideford Bay, named after Charles Kingsley’s famous book.”

Read More

Beckett, Lacan and the Mathematical Writing of the Real

Beckett, Lacan and the Mathematical Writing of the Real proposes writing as a mathematical and logical operation to build a bridge between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Samuel Beckett’s prose works. Arka Chattopadhyay studies aspects such as the fundamental operational logic of a text, use of mathematical forms like geometry and arithmetic, the human obsession with counting, the moving body as an act of writing and love, and sexuality as a challenge to the limits of what can be written through logic and mathematics. Chattopadhyay reads Beckett’s prose works, including How It Is, Company, Worstward Ho, Malone Dies and Enough to highlight this terminal writing, which halts endless meanings with the material body of the word and gives Beckett a medium to inscribe what cannot be written otherwise.

Read More

Beckett’s Breath: Anti-Theatricality and the Visual Arts

Samuel Beckett, one of the most prominent playwrights of the twentieth century, wrote a thirty-second playlet for the stage that does not include actors, text, characters or drama but only stage directions. Breath (1969) is the focus and the only theatrical text examined in this study, which demonstrates how the piece became emblematic of the interdisciplinary exchanges that occur in Beckett’s later writings, and of the cross-fertilisation of the theatre with the visual arts. The book attends to fifty breath-related artworks (including sculpture, painting, new media, sound art, performance art) and contextualises Beckett’s Breath within the intermedial and high-modernist discourse thereby contributing to the expanding field of intermedial Beckett criticism.

Read More

Samuel Beckett and the Language of Subjectivity

A press release from Cambridge University Press: Derval Tubridy’s Samuel Beckett and the Language of Subjectivity is the first sustained exploration of aporia as a vital, subversive, and productive figure within Beckett’s writing as it moves between prose and theatre. Informed by key developments in analytic and continental philosophies of language, Tubridy’s fluent analysis demonstrates how Beckett’s translations¬––between languages, genres, bodies, and genders––offer a way out of the impasse outlined in his early aesthetics. The primary modes of the self’s extension into the world are linguistic (speaking, listening) and material (engaging with bodies, spaces and objects).

Read More

Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Aftermath

Oxford University Press: “[James McNaughton’s] Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Aftermath explores Beckett’s creative responses to the Irish civil war and the crisis of commitment in 1930s Europe, to the rise of fascism, and the atrocities of World War II. Grounded in archival material, the volume reads in Beckett’s letters and German Diaries his personal response to propaganda he saw leading to war, and illustrates his creative work’s intimate engagement with specific political strategies, rhetoric, and events.

Deep into literary form, syntax, and language, Beckett reflects ominous political and historical changes, and satirizes aesthetic and philosophical interpretations that overlook them. He burdens aesthetic production with guilt for how imagination and language, theatre, and narrative parallel political techniques, the aspiration to both effect atrocity and cover it up. This book develops new readings of Beckett’s early and middle work up toThree Novels and Endgame.”

Read More