29-30 June 2015 · University of Western Sydney
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett

The Endlessness of Ending: Samuel Beckett and the Mind
29-30 June 2015 · University of Western Sydney

Samuel Beckett’s work across the genres has always shown a keen interest in both the topography and the function of the mind. The experience of interiority in Beckett is complex and it is often on the brink of its own collapse. Beckett undertook a comprehensive self-education of the mind, primarily from the disciplines of philosophy and psychoanalysis, to understand this interiority which he would render poetically. If Beckett is interested in a physics and even a geometry of the psychic space, the recurrent image of the skullscape—from The Trilogy and Endgame to Worstward Ho—is also replete with the minimal and yet necessary possibilities of thinking. (more…)

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The Inaugural Modernist Network Cymru Conference

The Research Institute of the Arts and Humanities
Swansea University, Monday 7 September 2015
Keynote speaker: Professor Angharad Price (Bangor University)

monc-modernist-network-cymruThe 2010s have been a busy decade for modernist scholars. In 2010, the inaugural BAMS conference considered Virginia Woolf’s (in)famous assertion that ‘On or about December 1910, human character changed’; in 2013, BBC Radio 3 ran a series of programmes celebrating Paris’ annus mirabilis, exemplified by the 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring; and in 2014 we celebrated Dylan Thomas’ birth in a year-long series of events.

Now, in 2015, as we mark 100 years since Caradoc Evans’ landmark short story collection, My People, it seems a good time to stop and take stock of the past, present and future of both modernism and modernist studies as a discipline.

This inaugural conference, to be held at Swansea University, invites scholars from Wales and beyond to reflect upon modernism and its legacies. As the first Modernist Network Cymru (MONC) event, it aims to showcase the range and diversity of research into modernism happening in Wales today. MONC brings together scholars and professionals working on modernism in Wales to encourage collaboration and communication; as such, we welcome interdisciplinary proposals on any aspect of modernism, as defined in the widest sense. We particularly welcome scholars working on Welsh modernist writers and artists, as well as modernist art and writing in Wales. (more…)

Alex Shepard (Full Stop) interviews the author of Spurious and Dogma
Lars Iyer
Lars Iyer

[In Spurious,] Lars and W. worship Kafka and wonder if they more resemble Kafka or Max Brod, his executor. Is Kafka one of your heroes? Do you, like Lars and W., think of yourself as more of a Max Brod than a Kafka?

I do not even see myself as a Brod! Max Brod was the most energetic of men – he wrote a great deal, he was active in various intellectual circles – and he placed himself most genuinely in the service of others. A remarkable combination. W. and Lars seem to form the entirety of each other’s intellectual circle, and the question whether they actually help anybody is an open one.
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W. G. Sebald
W. G. Sebald
From a 2000 interview by Jens Mühling

Sebald: Being a writer is by no means an easy profession. It is full of difficulties, full of obstacles. For a start, there is the psychology of the author, which is not a simple one. There are these situations when suddenly nothing seems to work anymore, when you feel unable to say anything. In such cases it is very helpful if someone can tell you that this happens to everybody, and show you how one might deal with such problems. In these situations it is very often the case that people neglect the research aspect. Every writer knows that sometimes the best ideas come to you while you are reading something else, say, something about Bismarck, and then suddenly, somewhere between the lines, your head starts drifting, and you arrive at the ideas you need. This research, this kind of disorderly research, so to speak, is the best way of coping with these difficulties. If you sit in front of a blank sheet of paper like a frightened rabbit, things won’t change. In such situations you just have to let it be for a while. (more…)

Reviewing the critical response to a London art exhibition

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A recent exhibition at London’s National Gallery has prompted a sense of seedy bemusement among journalists. Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, which displays the work of the Italian Renaissance painter alongside several contemporary reinterpretations, has created something of a stir. (more…)