As part of our inaugural annual Beckett Week (2015) the first Beckett at Reading Postgraduate and Early Careers (BARP) conference took place on the 28th and 29th of October. Held at the Museum of English Rural Life and with a particular focus on providing a platform for PhD and Early Career researchers, the conference welcomed papers on the theme of 'Samuel Beckett and Europe', with the aim of engaging postgraduates and ECRs in research exchange with an interdisciplinary and cross-media focus. The range of presentations spanned Beckett's life and canon through multiple approaches that saw theory and archival work blending with historical, political and philosophical engagements, showcasing the diversity of current Beckett research.

The conference keynote was given by Dr David Tucker, research fellow at University of Chester and researcher in the Staging Beckett project. David's paper focused on his work on Samuel Beckett's only work for cinema, Film, and the possibility of Beckett's involvement in a remake. Following the keynote a wine reception was held in the newly refurbished MERL foyer, generously funded by Beckett at Reading (BAR). The conference was also partially funded by the Graduate School Events Fund.

As a part of the program, the conference also included three workshops. Dr Mark Nixon provided a workshop on archival studies using items from the Beckett Collection held at MERL. Dr Trish McTighe hosted a session on theatre and performance archive work, making use of the recently acquired Billie Whitelaw collection. Professor Steven Matthews also held a 'Teaching Beckett' workshop in which the discussion focused on the methods and issues involved in teaching and constructing university teaching based on Beckett's work.

'Beckett and Europe' drew to a close with a roundtable discussion chaired by Mark Nixon. David Tucker and Trish McTighe were joined by Professor James Knowlson and Professor John Pilling to reflect on the theme of the conference and to discuss the diversity of papers that had been heard during the two days.

The BARP team are also pleased to announce that £525 was raised through the sale of Dr Julie Campbell's academic books, kindly donated by Samantha Campbell. All proceeds will be divided between four charities: Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, Maggie's Cancer Centres, the Howard League for Penal Reform and St Mungo's Broadway.

This conference was a great success with excellent presentations and lively academic debates in equal measure. The BARP team would like to thank all who were involved and particularly those who provided advice and support in the planning of the conference.

Below you can find details of the speakers and papers presented at the conference:

28th October 

Panel 1: French Influences on the work of Samuel Beckett

  • Stephen Stacey, Trinity College, Dublin - "‘different and the same’/ ‘autres et pareilles’: Reading Samuel Beckett’s European Poetics in ‘Poèmes 37-39’"
  • Anita Rákóczy, Károli Gáspár University of The Reformed Church in Hungary -  "In Search of Locale in the Genesis of Samuel Beckett’s Fin de partie"
  • Elsa Baroghel, University of Oxford  - "Beckett, with Sade: violence and intertext in the prose and drama"
  • Sam Whybrow, University of Reading - "Berlin as Belle Île: Beckett's imitation of Saint-Amant's 'La Solitude'"

Panel 2: Beckett’s Media

  • Niamh Bowe, University of Reading - "Feet in Britain and Face turned towards Europe: the use of Expression in Eh Joe"
  • Emily Fitzell, University of Cambridge - "Dwelling in Habit: On Squaring The Beckettian Circle"
  • David McKinney, University College Dublin - "'She Had Never Been Fully Born': The Beckettian Aesthetic in Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half­ Formed Thing"

Tucker, University of Chester

Panel 3: Beckett Amongst the Politics and History of Europe

  • Melissa Chia, University of Cambridge - "Beckett’s Resistance: Opposition in Wartime France"
  • Will Davies, University of Reading - “'in this universe become provisional' - Re-visitingThe Capital of the Ruins"
  • James Little, Trinity College, Dublin - "The Carceral Space of ‘Mongrel Mime’"
  • Nick Wolterman, University of York - “'Our Catastrophe in the Bag': Havel, Becket and the Idea of Complacent Interpretation"


29th October

Panel 4: European Mind(s)

  • Natalie Leeder, Royal Holloway, University of London - "The ‘Transcendental Buffoonery’ of Beckett’s Novellas"
  • Andy Wimbush, University of Cambridge - "Against the Latin Mind: Beckett’s Molloy, Gide’s Dostoïevsky, and the Aesthetics of Quietism"
  • Jooyeup Lee, University of Reading - "Change in the Perception of Beckett’s Manuscript Material: from 1980s to 1990s"
  • Blake Jerome Everitt, Southampton Solent University - "Avoiding Irishness"

Panel 5: Narrative Tradition / Narrative Theory

  • Antonio Gambacorta, University of Reading - "Being 'Beastly Circumstantial': Mapping London in Beckett's Murphy"
  • Davide Crosara, Research Fellow, Sapienza University - "From Purgatory to Hell: Beckett’s mediation between Dante and Primo Levi"
  • Yusaku Tomaru, University of Tokyo - "'Variations on a theme by the first person’: Beckett’s pursuit of the first person narrative"
  • Bunshiro Sugimoto, University of Tokyo - "Beckett, Bildung, and the Modernist Bildungsroman"

Panel 6: Following Beckett

  • Charlotta Einarsson, University of Stockholm - “Words Become Flesh: Staging Beckett (?) In Sweden”
  • Galina Kiryushina, Charles University, Prague - "'The Hedgehog Is (No More)': Reworking Beckett in Post-Soviet Cinema"
  • Rosanne Bezerra de Araújo, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil - "The Place of Samuel Beckett in Six Maladies of the Contemporary Spirit"
  • Martin Schauss, University of Warwick - "'The following precious and illuminating material should be carefully studied': The Logic of Incorporation in Beckett, Sebald, and Krasznahorkai"


  • Prose/Poetry (Mark Nixon)
  • Theatre/Production (Trish McTighe)
  • Teaching Beckett (Steven Matthews)


Round Table - Reflections on the theme ‘Beckett and Europe’

  • David Tucker
  • Trish McTighe
  • John Pilling
  • John Knowslon
  • Mark Nixon (Chair)


BARP Team:

  • Helen Bailey
  • Michela Bariselli
  • Niamh Bowe
  • William Davies
  • Sam Whybrow