samuel-beckett-john-haynes.jpgThe Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading has announced that the next Beckett Research Seminar will take place on Saturday, 24 November 2018.

Tickets can be purchased on the door on the morning of the seminar, but they need to know numbers for catering so please email Mark Nixon at m.nixon@reading.ac.uk by Thursday 15 November if you wish to attend. As such please notify the organiser if you have any dietary requirements.

The event will include talks by Julie Bates (Trinity College Dublin), Pim Verhulst (University of Antwerp), Lucy Jeffery, and Shane Weller (University of Kent). You can find out more about the event on the The Samuel Beckett Society website.

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“In the winter of 2012, we met up in Dublin, where he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Trinity College. He was often embarrassed by accolades but embraced this one, coming from the same institution where Samuel Beckett walked and studied. He loved Beckett, and had a few pieces of writing, in Beckett’s own hand, framed in the kitchen, along with pictures of his kids. That day, we saw the typewriter of John Millington Synge and James Joyce’s spectacles, and, in the night, we joined musicians at Sam’s favorite local pub, the Cobblestone, on the other side of the river. As we playfully staggered across the bridge, he recited reams of Beckett off the top of his head”

— Source: My Buddy: Patti Smith Remembers Sam Shepard | The New Yorker

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Call for Papers • Salzburg University, 17–21 July 2017
Brian O'Nolan/Flann O'Brien
Brian O’Nolan/Flann O’Brien

The International Flann O’Brien Society is proud to announce Acting Out: The IV International Flann O’Brien Conference, an international conference on the theme of performance, theatricality, and illusion in Flann O’Brien’s writing, hosted by the Department of English Studies at Salzburg University, 17-21 July 2017.

In recent years O’Brien’s writing has been foregrounded as an integral site for testing the rise of new modernist studies, as it troubles critical commonplaces about modernism itself by virtue of its ephemerality and parochial energies. Recent publications of out-of-print English and Irish-language columns, short stories, non-fiction, dramatic works for the stage, and teleplays for Raidió Teilifís Éireann have not only made O’Brien’s broader canon accessible to a new generation of scholars, but have also highlighted its importance to an understanding of modernism which ‘has grown more capacious, turning its attention to previously neglected forms’ (Rónán McDonald and Julian Murphet). (more…)

Call for Papers • Tennessee Philological Association Conference,  23-25 February 2017
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TPA Panel: Samuel Beckett’s Bodies of Water. Design: Rhys Tranter
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Samuel Beckett

In Samuel Beckett’s canon, water is a recurring image. In his radio play, Embers, the protagonist Henry tells us that he is sitting by the ocean, in his stage play Endgame Nagg and Nell remember nearly drowning in Lake Como, and in his tour de force stage and later television play, Not I Mouth refers to the narrative gushing from her mouth as a “steady stream.” Water in these and other works by the Nobel Prize winning author is both a location and a metaphor; it is aligned with happy memories and danger, with transition and stasis, with the beginning and the end.

Professor Katherine Weiss is seeking scholars interested in exploring the images of bodies of water in Beckett’s canon to be considered for a panel proposal to the 2017 Tennessee Philological Association Conference to be held in Johnson City, TN during 23-25 February 2017. For more about TPA, visit their website.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words. To submit, please email Professor Katherine Weiss weisk01@etsu.edu with your abstract by 7 November 2016.

A call for papers for a panel at the upcoming ACLA conference in Utrecht, July 2017
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Samuel Beckett’s passport photographs.

Neil Doshi and James McNaughton are putting together a panel entitled ‘International Beckett’ for next year’s ACLA conference at Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands. The seminar will comprise 8-12 participants, meeting for 2 hours on each of the conference’s 3 days. You will present a 20 minute paper, and then have an opportunity to discuss your work with likeminded scholars and enthusiasts. (more…)

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Samuel Beckett. Photograph: Erika Rabau.

“Stuttgart airport. Check-in. You have a first-class ticket. ‘Would you like to go through to the Senator-Lounge?’ You look down at your parka, look at me: ‘Do we look like senators?!’”

– Walter Asmus on Samuel Beckett, ‘Farewell Beckett’ in the Journal of Beckett Studies, Vol. 19 (April 2010).

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Seamus Heaney

Christopher Carroll (The Wall Street Journal) traces Seamus Heaney’s connection to Book VI of the “Aeneid”, in light of his father’s death:

“[…] Heaney’s own translation of Book VI of the “Aeneid,” which he completed in July 2013, one month before he died. It is his last published poem, a poignant rendition of Aeneas’ arrival in Italy and journey into the underworld to see his dead father. And though it is beautiful in its own right, this portion of the “Aeneid” had a special significance for Heaney—one that began in his school days in the 1950s and lasted his entire life.”

More at The Poetry Foundation.

Call for Papers for a conference to be held in Vienna, 29 September–1 October 2016. Source: British Association for Modernist Studies.

Finnegans Wake imagined technology which did not even exist. It is a novel—if we are to call it such—written for the 21st century, and perhaps the only way it can be adapted in other media is through the internet’s nonlinear, labyrinthine structures; the online project First We Feel Then We Fall does just that, creating a multimedia adaptation of Finnegans Wake that “transfers” the novel ‘to audiovisual language,’ and demonstrates the novel as—in the words of The Guardian’s Billy Mills—’the book the web was invented for.'”

More at Open Culture.

Source: Classic Penguin.

Justine Jordan (The Guardian) reviews a fictional recreation of Samuel Beckett’s life

Amid all the Jane Austen reboots and ripoffs, Jo Baker’s 2013 debut Longbourn, which developed the events of Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ perspective, seemed restrained yet revelatory. Fresh, fascinating and beautifully achieved, it was that rare beast: a critical success with wide commercial appeal. What would one expect from the follow-up? Probably not a re-creation of Samuel Beckett’s war years, from his desperation to leave the Ireland that stifled him, through his time in occupied Paris working for the resistance and escape to the south after being betrayed to the Nazis, to his postwar job helping set up a French hospital. And always, through danger, penury and privation, the compulsion to continue with writing that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, that he is driven to produce, as a writer friend puts it, like snails make slime.

(more…)

University of London • 26-28 May 2016

Samuel Beckett: Performance/Art/Writing
Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
(more…)

University of Reading • 3-4 November 2016
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Khosrou Mahmudi in Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe

About the Conference

Samuel Beckett is often hailed as the epitome of the ahistorical and apolitical writer. His work has been characterised by a poetics of ‘impotence and ignorance’ that makes use of aporia, silence, indifference, resistance to narrative and a disconnection from contextual time and space. However, to what extent has the political nature of Beckett’s aesthetic been overlooked?

Throughout his life and career, Beckett encountered an exceptional range of extreme political ideologies in Twentieth Century Europe. His background as an Anglo-Irish Protestant in the Irish Saorstat, his documented wandering through Nazi Germany in 1936-37, his decision to leave neutral Ireland during World War Two and subsequent role in the French Resistance, his encounters with Irish and British censorship throughout his career, and his support of political causes throughout his writing life such as anti-apartheid in South Africa and the imprisonment of Václav Havel all suggest that the politics of Beckett’s biography and writing is a ripe area for discussion. The various modernisms that emerged in Ireland, Britain, France and Germany also heavily influenced Beckett as a young writer, however, the political aspects of artistic movements in the Twentieth Century have yet to be wholly accounted for in terms of Beckett’s works. (more…)

Amber Jenkins summarises a recent paper by Andrew Nash, given at Cardiff University’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research (CEIR)
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Samuel Beckett in the 1920s

Claiming that he has no critical authority in the field of Samuel Beckett, Dr Andrew Nash (University of Reading) confessed that his paper would shed no new light on Beckett’s writings. The paper was, instead, a thought-provoking account of the changes taking place in manuscript research, the increasing emphasis on the materiality of the manuscript, and the technological conditions (writing instruments and papers) that influence literary production. Nash’s research also provided the centre with an invaluable insight into the status of the modern literary manuscript as an artefact of considerable commercial value, and, in the case of Beckett’s Murphy notebooks, the ways in which the commercial and the scholarly are indelibly intertwined.

In July 2013, the University of Reading successfully purchased at auction six manuscript notebooks, detailing the composition of Beckett’s first novel Murphy (1938). Justifying their bid of £950,000, the University maintained that the acquisition of the manuscript would solidify its reputation as a central archival resource for Beckett’s work, and attract more scholars and researchers to Reading. (more…)

Beckett Festival 2016 at The Print Room/Coronet, Notting Hill Gate, London.
May 17 – June 5 2016.

Following their hugely successful run of Title and Deed by Will Eno last year, Gare St Lazare Ireland return with a festival of their acclaimed Beckett productions.

Internationally regarded among the foremost Beckett interpreters they have toured all over the world with their exquisite productions. Featuring 5 prose pieces and their collaboration with London composer Paul Clark (Clod Ensemble) the festival will also have a number of free public conversations and ancillary events and will feature an installation by senior Irish artist Brian O’Doherty entitled ‘Hello Sam’. 2016 is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett. It is also the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin which led to Irish independence and this event, supported by Culture Ireland, is part of an international program of Irish cultural events to mark the centenary. [Find Out More]