Authorised Beckett biographer James Knowlson shares a previously unpublished interview with John Beckett; Feargal Whelan talks to writer, director and translator Marek Kedzierski about the beckett@111 festival; and much, much more.
“New York, NY – 5 December 2018 – The Modern Language Association of America has announced the winner of the eleventh Modern Language Association Prize for a Bibliography, Archive, or Digital Project. The prize will be presented to Mark Nixon, of the University of Reading; Dirk Van Hulle, of the University of Antwerp; Pim Verhulst, of the University of Antwerp; E. Magessa O’Reilly, of Memorial University; and Vincent Neyt, of the University of Antwerp, for the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (www.beckettarchive.org).”
The Samuel Beckett Society is soliciting nominations for two new Executive Board Members.
Any member in good standing will be able to provide ONE nomination: the SIX most popular nominations will go out for ballot two weeks ca. after the nominations.
Two members will be elected to start office in January 2019. The member with the majority of votes will be Vice-President for two years and then succeed to the Presidency. Duties of the newly elected Executive Board Members will entail: communicating with members and managing the membership list, collaborating with other members of the Executive Board, contributing to the organization of the annual conference and the MLA sessions, and collaborating with editor of the Beckett Circle.
Board members serve a period of a four year term. All members are eligible to stand election.
To nominate yourself or someone else, please send along the name and email of the nominee.
Nominations should be sent by 15 December 2018. Elections will be held shortly thereafter.
The Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading is pleased to announce that the next Beckett Research Seminar will take place on Saturday, 24 November 2018.
The event will be held in the Conference Room of Special Collections, University of Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading.
“As with many works of literature, it is easier to say what Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is not about, or what it is almost about, than to state its theme definitively or be certain, or even fully uncertain, about its meaning or indeed its origin in Beckett’s imagination. Most ways of describing it require terms that are in conflict with each other. Thus the play is concerned with exhaustion, with language and communication in a state of decay, but it is also nourished by strange energy, by wit, by tension, by moments of pure verbal excitement.”
“This skillful demonstration of the disease known as being alive, as diagnosed by a master playwright, is one I would recommend to any actor, student of literature or fan of tragedy and comedy. [Bill Irwin’s] On Beckett, which was conceived and staged by Mr. Irwin as an (almost) one-man show, carefully peels back the skin on an actor’s fascination with, and interpretation of, its title subject.”
The Samuel Beckett Society is sad to learn of the death of French literary critic Pascale Casanova, familiar to many Beckett scholars as the author of Samuel Beckett: Anatomy of a Literary Revolution. Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult period.
“This book draws on the theatrical thinking of Samuel Beckett and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze to propose a method for research undertaken at the borders of performance and philosophy. Exploring how Beckett fabricates encounters with the impossible and the unthinkable in performance, it asks how philosophy can approach what cannot be thought while honouring and preserving its alterity. Employing its method, it creates a series of encounters between aspects of Beckett’s theatrical practice and a range of concepts drawn from Deleuze’s philosophy. Through the force of these encounters, a new range of concepts is invented. These provide novel ways of thinking affect and the body in performance; the possibility of theatrical automation; and the importance of failure and invention in our attempts to respond to performance encounters. Further, this book includes new approaches to Beckett’s later theatrical work and provides an overview of Deleuze’s conception of philosophical practice as an ongoing struggle to think with immanence.”
— Palgrave Macmillan
“I first encountered Beckett through two novels that are not widely read, even in the university: Watt and Molloy. Simply put, these books forced me to reconsider what serious writing might look like. (I was then completing an M.Phil. thesis on T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and wisdom literature.) Beckett and the Modern Novel was written out of a desire to come to terms, if I can put it that way, with what was happening in those books.
You know that Beckett reluctantly gave a series of lectures in 1930 to students at Trinity College, Dublin, and that two main sets of notes taken by Beckett’s students survive. Re-reading Beckett’s early fiction, guided by cues drawn from the lecture notes, I demonstrated that his take on what he called ‘The Modern Novel’ was largely cribbed from a pre-existing body of theory, French in origin, and in particular from work by an unacknowledged influence: André Gide. Further, Beckett then began to deploy and extend such theory in his early novels, which generated the fragmented form and ‘tripartite’ characters that have often puzzled commentators. From the beginning then, Beckett’s thought should be read alongside a body of Continental experimental writing of the pre-war period; and it was from this context that he also drew key paradoxes culminating in his mature theory of an art of ‘failure’. It seemed to me that Gide would be the last major influence on Beckett’s novelistic theory and practice that we would likely discover (so far I have been proven correct).
The monograph also allowed me to spend time with some of Beckett’s fictional interlocutors and inheritors, particularly in the French context: Sade, Bataille, Robbe-Grillet, and others.” — John Samuel Bolin