DR WILLIAM DAVIES
Post-doctoral Centre Fellow
- Beckett Research Centre Post-doctoral Fellow
- Research Assistant, Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies (AHRC funded project)
My research on Samuel Beckett focuses on the impact of the Second World War on the author’s life and work. I am currently developing a project on Beckett’s literary geographies using digital mapping. I am also interested in the work of Donald Davie, Harold Pinter, John Lodwick and Elizabeth Bowen.
- Samuel Beckett and the Second World War, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
‘Samuel Beckett and the Second World War is not only an excellent book; it is a necessary one […] Davies’s is revaluative criticism at its most enlightening.’ – Marjorie Perloff (link)
‘This deep and original re-examination of Samuel Beckett’s experience in occupied France during World War Two is a revelation, a book that opens so many new vistas onto Beckett’s creative breakthrough, and the gestation of Waiting for Godot, Endgame and the post-war prose. A stunning debut.’ – Robert McCrum (link)
- Beckett and Politics, co-edited with Helen Bailey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
‘This excellent, wide-ranging book showcases the ongoing health and diversity of scholarship in Beckett studies. The volume cuts across archival, theoretical and biographical divides, gathering together original chapters that demonstrate the complexity and significance of the historical and contemporary relationships between Beckett, his work and politics.’ – Laura Salisbury (link)
- Samuel Beckett and Europe: History, Culture, Tradition, co-edited with Michela Bariselli and Niamh M. Bowe, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.
‘[A] refreshing and insightful exploration of Beckett’s connections with European culture and a very welcome addition to the field.’ – Daniel Curran, Irish Studies Review (link)
- ‘“I use the words you taught me”: Beckett and Political Repetition’, Special issue of the Journal of Beckett Studies, edited by William Davies (contracted, forthcoming 2021).
- With Jonathan Bignell, ‘Harold Pinter’s Transmedial Histories’, Special issue of Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, edited by Jonathan Bignell, William Davies and Amanda Wrigley, Volume 40, Issue 3, 2020 (free to read: link)
- ‘Samuel Beckett’s Trilogy and the Revolution of the Body in Vichy France’, Twentieth-Century Literature, Volume 66, Issue 1, 2020, pp. 11-36.
- ‘Samuel Beckett, War Writing and Scatological Pacifism’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, Volume 13, Issue 2, 2020, pp. 145-162.
- ‘Sourcing Beckett’s Long Observation of the Ray’, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, Volume 31, Issue 1, 2019, pp. 82-97.
- ‘Donald Davie and Englishness’, Review of English Studies, Volume 70, Issue 294, 2019, pp. 332-353.
- ‘A Text Become Provisional: Revisiting The Capital of the Ruins’, Journal of Beckett Studies, Volume 26, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 169-187.
- ‘Heard Afresh: Revisiting The Waste Land with Donald Davie and Charles Tomlinson’, The Waste Land Centenary Volume, edited by Steven Matthews, D. S. Brewer (contracted, forthcoming 2022).
- ‘Beckett and Europe’, The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Beckett, edited by Mark Nixon and Dirk van Hulle, Oxford University Press (contracted, forthcoming 2021).
- ‘Realist Fiction and the Politics of Form in Watt’, in Beckett Beyond the Normal, edited by Seán Kennedy, Edinburgh University Press, 2020, pp. 33-46.
- ‘“A new occasion, a new term of relation”: Samuel Beckett and T. S. Eliot’ in Samuel Beckett and Modernism, edited by Dirk Van Hulle, Pim Verhulst and Olga Beloborodova. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 111-127.
- ‘Beckett in the Contemporary Political Moment’, Special Issue, Journal of Beckett Studies (contracted, forthcoming Spring 2021).
- ‘Harold Pinter on Film, Radio and Television’, co-edited with Jonathan Bignell, Billy Smart and Amanda Wrigley, Special Issue, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Volume 40, Issue 3.
- The Poetry and Poetics of Samuel Beckett, co-edited with James Brophy, Cambridge University Press (invited submission, manuscript complete, expected 2021).
- "Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Aftermath, by James McNaughton". Journal of Beckett Studies, 29.2. Autumn 2020.
- "British Literature in Transition: 1940-1960, edited by Gill Plain". Review of English Studies, 71.298. 2020, pp. 202–206.
- "Beckett’s Political Imagination by Emilie Morin". Beckett Circle: Newsletter of the Samuel Beckett Society. Winter 2019.
As well as delivering papers on Beckett, Donald Davie and Geoffrey Hill internationally, I have also co-organised three international conferences at the University of Reading: the "Beckett & Europe" Postgraduate and Early Careers two-day conference (2015), the "Beckett and Politics" two-day conference (2016), and the "Editing Modernist Letters" two-day conference (2017).
- "War and the Everyday in Waiting for Godot". Guest speaker at the Beckett International Foundation Seminar, University of Reading, 2019.
- "Romantic Nothingness: Yeats and Leopardi in Beckett’s ur-Watt". Beckett and Italy Conference, University of Reading, 2019.
- "Holding the Centre: Donald Davie, Geoffrey Hill and the Aftermath of Modernism". "Troublesome Modernisms": British Association of Modernist Studies Conference, London, 2019.
- "Beckett and a Pretty Pater for Pétain". "Beckett and Translation": 5th International Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, University of Almería, 2019.
- "Beckett and the Inhumanity of History". Samuel Beckett and the Non-Human Conference, VUB, Brussels, 2019.
- "PN Review 1975-1977". Co-presented with Steven Matthews at the Carcanet Press Symposium, University of Manchester, 2019. Also presented as a guest speaker at the Texts and Archive lecture series, University of Reading, 2019.
- "The Political Turn in Beckett Studies and Beyond". Co-presented with Helen Bailey at the Historicising Modernism Conference, University of York, 2018.
- "Maths and Memory in Beckett’s The Way". Modern Literature and Maths Conference, University of Manchester, 2018.
- "Becket’s Trilogy and the Revolution of the Body in Vichy France". The Human Body and World War Two Conference, University of Oxford, 2018.
- "'In one’s little notebook': Watt and the Fiction of History". "Beckett Beyond the Normal": 3rd International Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, Queen Mary’s University, Halifax, 2017.
- "'Anthropomorphic Insolence': Watt and the Fiction of History". Keynote speaker at the EAC Department, University of Manchester, 2017.
- "On 'Long Observation of the Ray'". DRAFF Conference, Trinity College Dublin, 2016.
- "Beckett and Eliot". "Beckett and Modernism": 2nd International Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, University of Antwerp, 2016.
- "'In this universe become provisional': Beckett in Saint-Lô". Beckett and Europe Conference, University of Reading, 2015.
- "Beckett Publishing/Publishing Beckett: Beckett in the Magazines". Invited speaker at the Modernist Magazines Symposium, University of Reading, 2015.
I have taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Reading. I am a contributor to the ‘Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies’ database, a production database documenting Pinter’s professional theatre, television, radio and film productions. From 2015-2017, I chaired the Beckett Reading Group, which I also co-founded.