The Fourth Beckett Society Conference will take place in Mexico City, on 7-10 November 2018. ‘Transdisciplinary Beckett’ is especially interested in recognising the role that radio, television, theatre, music, the arts, sciences, and technologies play in Beckett Studies.
Samuel Beckett is a precursor in the creation of transdisciplinary works. He travelled between languages [English-French-German], genres [narrative, poetry, theatre, essay], and media [radio, television, cinema]. His work has been studied and applied across different perspectives and disciplines, ranging from literature, philosophy, and media, to political sciences, music, and contemporary art practices. Carrying out a transdisciplinary approach allows us to re-conceptualize Beckett as an author who found in different technologies and electronic languages new ways to think about our present time.
“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.”
An assembly are a group dedicated to experimental and contemporary music, installation, and performance.
Their first event of 2018 sees a rare performance of one of Feldman’s final works, ‘Words and Music’, a collaboration with one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, Samuel Beckett. Originally conceived as a radio-play, this 40-minute piece exhibits two of the 20th century’s greatest artists at their creative peak. Haunting fragments of text and sound gently discourse and overlap in an intimate meditation on themes such as love, age, and truth.
J. Kelly Nestruck: “Nasmith’s performance is exquisite – the pathos not overplayed, the humour stinging but still funny. When he holds a peeled banana in his mouth, it is the epitome of the word “absurd.” When he listens intently and then gets lost in memory, you see that boat moving gently, up and down, and from side to side.”
Colette Sheridan: “It is going to be a verbatim performance. But is it very grim? After all, the narrator exists in the mud-dark and ends up in solitude after the other creature disappears. The text has drawn comparisons with Dante’s image of souls gulping mud in the Stygian marsh of the Inferno.”
Here at the Samuel Beckett Society, we’re not sure what to make of Robert Armstrong’s recent piece in the Financial Times about the end of the male style icon. Armstrong is wistful for a simpler time, when male celebrity figures were supposedly emulated and celebrated for their sartorial choices. What do you think? Does Beckett’s dress code influence the way we think about him as a writer and public figure? Or are these things irrelevant to the books and plays that we love?
The production will run from 28 February to 17 March 2018. Visit the Battersea Arts Centre website for more information. If you are a member of the Samuel Beckett Society, you can also read a recent review of the Thom production in The Beckett Circle.
The Irish Examiner: “[Stephen Dillane] is in Cork to rehearse for How It Is, a production of Samuel Beckett’s little-known 1962 novel. It has been adapted by Gare St Lazare Players, the Irish theatre company who have been to the fore in interpreting and performing the writer’s work for almost two decades.”
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.”
“Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Samuel Beckett and Europe: History, Culture and Tradition, edited by Michela Bariselli, Niamh M. Bowe and William Davies.
Drawing on the diverse critical debates of the ‘Beckett and Europe’ conference held in Reading, UK, in 2015, this volume brings together a selection of essays to offer an international response to the central question of what ‘Europe’ might mean for our understandings of the work of Samuel Beckett. Ranging from historical and archival work to the close interrogation of language and form, from the influences of various national literary traditions on Beckett’s writing to his influence on the work of other writers and thinkers, this book examines the question of Europe from multiple vantage points so as to reflect the ways in which Beckett’s oeuvre both challenges and enlivens his status as a ‘European writer’.”