Kathryn Schulz (The New Yorker) explores how Netflix’s true crime documentary goes wrong
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A still from the title sequence of Netfix’s Making a Murderer (2015)
By chance, I have known many of the details of the Avery case since long before the release of “Making a Murderer,” because in 2007 I spoke at length with Penny Beerntsen. At the time, I was working on a book about being wrong—about how we as a culture think about error, and how we as individuals experience it—and Beerntsen, in identifying Avery as her assailant, had been wrong in an unusually tragic and consequential way.

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Mel Gussow talks to Samuel Beckett’s nephew about the writer’s life and productions of his work
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Edward Beckett

Mel Gussow: At what point did [Samuel Beckett] tell you he was going to make you an executor?

Edward Beckett [nephew]: In the last eight months before he died, he asked me if I would help Lindon [his publisher] in looking after things because he realised it was just too much and also that Lindon wasn’t an English speaker and would need a bit of help. I said, of course I would do it. I think he said it would be a lot of work. I couldn’t imagine what work there would be. It was something I took on readily. Obviously at the beginning, just because of the nature of things there were a lot of things happening. I had to find my feet, find the way things had to be administered and had to be run, and to meet the people. Then there was a quiet period, and then a second phase came along, when people start thinking what can they do. People probably think I spend every day, but I don’t. I can keep on with music quite well but I do devote quite a lot of time to correspondence and seeing people.

MG: Do you approve all productions?

EB: No, basically, a lot of the standard productions are approved by the agents. It’s understood that stock productions, small theatres around the country, schools, institutions can go by on the nod. There’s nothing controversial about those. Obviously when there’s something bigger than that, a major tour or a new West End production, then we get involved. (more…)

Michael Wood (NYRB) reviews four biographies of the American filmmaker and raconteur
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Orson Welles arrives at the premiere of Citizen Kane on 1 May 1941. The actor, director, producer, and co-screenwriter is 25 years old.
There is a special risk in writing about Orson Welles. The dimensions may get a little out of hand, as if they had to mime the physical size and imaginative reach of the subject. Patrick McGilligan’s excellent biography of Alfred Hitchcock takes 750 pages to cover the director’s life and his fifty films. By page 706 of Young Orson, Welles is about to start shooting Citizen Kane, his first full-length movie: he is twenty-five years old, and he lived till he was seventy. There is a thirty-nine-page postlude about the day and night of Welles’s death.

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A Two-Day Interdisciplinary Conference • April 15-16, 2016, University of Cambridge
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Uma Thurman stars in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill

“Object Emotions: Polemics” continues a critical dialogue about new directions in humanities research and theory that began at UC Berkeley in 2013 and continued at Yale in 2015. This series of conferences is inspired by the heightened attention to objects and emotions as new points of entry into history, literature, art, architecture, area studies, and the social sciences. Through focused attention on the role of things and feelings, materials and affects, we aim to foster interdisciplinary reflections about the intersections between thing theory, affect theory, the histories of emotions, and new materialisms.

Papers presented at the two prior meetings addressed topics as varied as the ennui of poetic syntax, the felt traces of Chinese calligraphy, the mixing of pleasure and pain in the design of a nineteenth century girls’ school, and the politics of castration and swordplay in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. These divergent projects were organised into panels around common threads of questions related to spatiality, temporality, personhood, cultural production, and historiography. (more…)

From Justin Juozapavicius, Associated Press:

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Bob Dylan

TULSA, Okla. — More than 6,000 items of Bob Dylan memorabilia such as handwritten lyrics to Tangled Up In Blue and his first contract with a music publisher have found a home in Oklahoma near a museum honoring one of his major influences, folk singer Woody Guthrie.

The archives from Dylan’s six-decade career, acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa for between $15 million and $20 million, also include early recordings from 1959 and a wallet that contains Johnny Cash’s former address and phone number.

Dylan, who’s originally from Minnesota, said he’s glad the archives found a home and the Tulsa location makes a lot of sense, “to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artifacts from the Native American Nations.”

“It’s a great honor,” Dylan said in a statement. [Read More]

A One Day Postgraduate Symposium Exploring Creative Writing as a Research Methodology

About the Symposium

With a fusion of theory and imagination, fresh visions may be realised and broader evaluations become possible.  If research is the methodical investigation of a subject or subjects in order to discover, uncover, develop and provide new knowledge then Postgraduate study in Creative Writing and Critical Practice becomes a powerful and worthy combined discipline within the academy. (more…)

Study the Nobel laureate’s archives, texts, and dramas thanks to the James and Elizabeth Knowlson Scholarship

James and Elizabeth Knowlson Scholarship
MA Samuel Beckett: Archive, Text and Performance, University of Reading.

The MA in Samuel Beckett: Archive, Text and Performance, jointly co-ordinated and taught by the English Literature and the Film, Theatre and Television departments at the University of Reading, encourages both in depth study of Beckett’s work, and research into Beckett’s interrelationship with the broader contexts of, for example, literary Modernism,  literature, arts and politics, modern and contemporary interdisciplinary performance, and collections based research.

We are delighted to announce the James and Elizabeth Knowlson Scholarship, available to candidates who have been accepted onto the MA in Samuel Beckett: Archive, Text and Performance in the Department of Film Theatre and Television, University of Reading, for entry in October 2016. (more…)

The Austrian filmmaker discusses his approach to adaptation in an interview with The Paris Review
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Michael Haneke

Luisa Zielinski (Interviewer)

Still, tell me a little more about the process of adapting literary works for the screen. The Piano Teacher isn’t the only example in your oeuvre. There’s also your made-for-TV adaptation of Kafka’s Castle. What struck me about the latter is that it’s almost aberrantly faithful to the novel.

Michael Haneke

The Piano Teacher was the only time I adapted a novel for the cinema, and that in itself was something of a coincidence. I didn’t write the script for myself, but for a friend who had acquired the rights. My friend tried for ten years to secure a budget for the film, but it didn’t work out. In the end, I was persuaded to direct the film myself, even though that hadn’t been my original intention at all. I agreed to do it on the condition that Isabelle Huppert play the lead role. And she did. (more…)

David Lynch
David Lynch
Tim Walker (The Independent) asks David Lynch his opinions on television, film, art and his recent music projects

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Introducing a new series of publications from Ibidem
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Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett in Company is a new series from Ibidem that seeks to place Beckett within an array of contexts – literary, historical, geographical, philosophical, theoretical and institutional – yet with the overarching rationale of tracing the relations of which Beckett is the centre.

Through a career that spanned prose, poetry, theatre, literary criticism, radio, film and television over a period of some 60 years, Beckett was influenced by, negotiated with, and then came to influence, a host of artists (both literary and non-literary), media and their associated institutions. By placing Beckett at the centre of such relations, the series aims to trace influences on Beckett, but also to investigate how he influenced subsequent artists, movements, media and institutions. Submissions that focus on new or previously neglected relations are particularly welcome. (more…)

A new essay collection from Columbia University Press
Falsifying Beckett Essays on Archives, Philosophy, and Methodology in Beckett Studies, ed. Matthew Feldman (Columbia University Press)
Falsifying Beckett Essays on Archives, Philosophy, and Methodology in Beckett Studies, ed. Matthew Feldman (Columbia University Press)

The dozen essays brought together here, alongside a newly-written introduction, contextualize and exemplify the recent ’empirical turn’ in Beckett studies. Characterized, above all, by recourse to manuscript materials in constructing revisionist interpretations, this approach has helped to transform the study of Samuel Beckett over the past generation. In addition to focusing upon Beckett’s early immersion in philosophy and psychology, other chapters similarly analyze his later collaboration with the BBC through the lens of literary history. Falsifying Beckett thus offers new readings of Beckett by returning to his archive of notebooks, letters, and drafts. In reassessing key aspects of his development as one of the 20th century’s leading artists, this collection is of interest to all students of Beckett’s writing as well as ‘historicist’ scholars and critics of modernism more generally. [Read More]

MERL, University of Reading · 28-29 October 2015

Beckett and Europe
28th – 29th October 2015 – MERL, University of Reading
Abstract Deadline: 22nd June 2015
Keynote Speaker: Dr David Tucker (Chester University)

Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett

The Beckett at Reading Postgraduate group is pleased to announce a new postgraduate and Early Careers two-day conference with the theme of Beckett and Europe. We will be hosting two on-site archival workshops on manuscripts and performance during the conference. There will also be a public lecture on Happy Days by Professor James Knowlson. This will be followed by the Beckett International Foundation Seminar on the 30th of October.

We invite postgraduates and Early Career Researchers to submit abstracts under the general theme of ‘Beckett and Europe’. The aim of the conference is to engage postgraduates and ECRs in research exchange with an interdisciplinary and cross-media focus. Born in Ireland in 1906, Beckett wrote in English, French and German and directed his own theatrical work in London, Berlin and Paris. The span and influence of Beckett’s work in 20th Century Europe is essential to many questions that inform Beckett scholarship: How do we frame Beckett nationally/internationally and has this changed? What influence did Beckett have on European artists, writers and thinkers? How has Beckett’s work entered the European tradition? (more…)

SAMLA 85: Durham, NC Nov 13-15, 2015
Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Minihan
Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Minihan

The Samuel Beckett Society, Affiliated Session
Conference of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
Chair/contact: Michelle Rada, Brown University

This panel seeks to explore the ways in which bodies are figured and disfigured in Beckett’s work. On their own constituting an expansive “body of work,” Beckett’s prose texts, poems, plays, radio, television, and film works posit human, non-human, and inhuman bodies in different and often surprising forms. What kinds of bodies are incorporated, disembodied, or stripped bare in Beckett’s work? How can we trace the life, vulnerability, and survival of the body in single texts and across works? Are Beckettian physical and textual bodies susceptible to or immune from affect? Which bodies, metaphorical or otherwise, are excluded from consideration and care in a quite prolific archive of Beckett criticism? How does the body function and dysfunction across genre and media, prose and performance? The purpose of this panel is to provide a multidisciplinary platform for thinking about the body in Beckett’s work through emerging reading practices, which could engender new connections and ideas for such an extensively critiqued range of texts. In keeping with SAMLA’s theme for the 2015 conference, “In Concert: Literature and the Other Arts,” emphasis placed on thinking across genre, media, and theoretical approaches is encouraged, and will be a significant part of our conversation at this panel. (more…)