Episode 4 – Beckett & Death
With apologies for the extended break, here is a new instalment of Beckett&, on the cheerful subject of Beckett and Death. In this podcast Professor Conor Carville takes Beckett’s often-remarked preoccupation with mortality as an opportunity to think about his prose work, and in particular the slightly marginalised sequence of short pieces Texts for Nothing, written in the early 1950s. Drawing on Reading University’s Beckett archive, he provides a guide to these challenging works, and links them to Beckett’s interest in philosophy as well as to the death of his mother May.
Beckett, Samuel, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable (London: Picador, 1979).
Beckett, Samuel, Texts for Nothing and Other Shorter Prose, 1950-1976 (London: Faber, 2010).
Beckett, Samuel, Collected Poems (London: Faber, 2013).
Cassirer, Ernst, Kant’s Life and Thought (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981).
Kant, Immanuel, Critique of Judgement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
Nixon, Mark, Samuel Beckett’s German Diaries 1937-37 (London: Continuum, 2011).
Episode 3 – Beckett & Poetry
In this episode of Beckett & Conor Carville talks to the acclaimed poet Peter Robinson about Beckett’s verse. Their conversation ranges over Beckett’s whole career, and his work in both English and French, from the early poems in Echo’s Bones to the Mirlitonnades of the 1970s. Topics include the importance of place in Beckett’s poetry, the changes apparent in his style and use of form, the influence of Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Eliot and Joyce (again), the idea of the sequence, Beckett’s notion of ‘vaguening’, nothingness (for a change), a fight between Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie, and the mystery of the Futurist bicycle. Listen to the podcast on Apple, SoundCloud, Stitcher or on Spotify.
You can access a PDF of the poems discussed here: Beckett Poems
Guillaume Apollinaire, ‘Zone’ in Beckett (2014)
Samuel Beckett, Collected Poems (2014)
Samuel Beckett, Selected Poems 1930-1988 (2009)
Conor Carville, ‘Smiling Tigers: Trauma, Sexuality and Creaturely Life in Echo’s Bones’ https://bit.ly/3ySTFLG
Brian Coffey, Selected Poems (1971)
Denis Devlin, Collected Poems (1964)
TS. Eliot, ‘The Waste Land’ in Selected Poems, 1909 -1962 (2015)
Lee Harwood and Anthony Lopez, Wish You Were Here (1979)
James Joyce, Dubliners (2000)
Thomas MacGreevy, Collected Poems (1971)
Derek Mahon, ‘Burbles’ in Collected Poems (1999)
Peter Robinson, Bonjour Mr Inshaw (2020)
Peter Robinson, Collected Poems (2017)
Episode 2 – Beckett & Fascism
In this episode, Conor Carville talks to Matthew Feldman, leading Beckettian and director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, about Beckett’s experiences of Fascism and Nazism, and their traces in his work. In a wide-ranging conversation, we begin by talking about the politics of Modernism, then go on to Beckett’s travels in Italy and Germany in the 20s and 30s, French Fascism, Fascism and Catholicism, Beckett’s WWII, Joyce, Nietzsche, German Romanticism, totalitarianism and many other topics. Listen to the podcast on Apple, SoundCloud, Stitcher or on Spotify.
Intro and Outro Music: ‘Median Strip’ from Concrete Island, by The Heartwood Institute and Hawksmoor
Walter Adamson, Avant-Garde Florence: From Modernism to Fascism (1993)
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1953)
Samuel Beckett, Rough for Radio II (1961)
Samuel Beckett, How It Is (1961)
Matthew Feldman, Falsifying Beckett: Essays on Archives, Philosophy, and Methodology in Beckett Studies (2015)
Matthew Feldman and Steven Matthews, Fascism’s Cultural Crusader: Ezra Pound and International Fascism (forthcoming).
Emily Morin, Beckett’s Political Imagination (2017)
Mark Nixon, Samuel Beckett’s German Diaries (2011)
Francis Stuart, The Wartime Broadcasts of Francis Stuart (2000)
Pim Verhulst. Samuel Beckett and the Radio Medium (2021)
Episode 1 – Beckett & Life
In this first podcast Conor Carville, co-Director of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre and author of Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts, talks about Beckett’s repeated return to the vexed question of life, as animating force, as drive, as resource, as mystery. In doing so he considers Beckett’s play Endgame and the novels Murphy, Watt and Malone Dies, taking in Beckett’s philosophical influences Schopenhauer and Bergson along the way. There is also some discussion of Giorgio Agamben’s notion of bare life and its bearing on twentieth-century history. Listen to the podcast on Apple, SoundCloud, Stitcher or on Spotify.
Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1998).
Samuel Beckett Murphy (1936)
Samuel Beckett Watt (1953)
Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies (1956)
Samuel Beckett, Endgame (1957)
Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable (1958)
Samuel Beckett, Dream of Fair to Middling Women (1992)
Stan Gontarski, Bergson, Beckett, Deleuze (Edinburgh University Press, 2015)
Ulrich Pothast, The Metaphysical Vision: Arthur Schopenhauer’s Philosophy of Art and Life and Samuel Beckett’s Own Way to Make Use of It (2008)