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Samuel Beckett’s 115th Birthday

This week, on the 13th April 2021, would have marked the 115th birthday of Samuel Beckett. The writer was notoriously reluctant to celebrate the annual event, evident in the many letters he responded to throughout the years, such as in 1961 when Beckett wrote to Mary Hutchinson: “I shall not be in Paris for my birthday, nor at Ussy, perhaps at Etretat, or simply on the road with car. Please don’t give me anything, help me to forget the day.”

Beckett’s birthday was celebrated this year by the Journal of Beckett Studies who released a special issue on Beckett in the Contemporary Political Moment, edited by the Samuel Beckett Research Centre’s William Davies.

This special issue, (Volume 30, Issue 1) includes contributions by Rodney Sharkey, Hannah Simpson, Rina Kim, Ken Alba, Jonathan Heron, Will Davies and Trish McTigue. As well as a virtual roundtable on ‘Beckett, Celebrity and Crisis’ with Scott Hamilton, Rosaleen Maprayil, Jonathan McAllister, Matt McFrederick, Rodney Sharkey and Zoë Tweed.

You can read the issue here: https://www.euppublishing.com/toc/jobs/30/1

 

Recordings with Eimear McBride

To celebrate the recent publication of Eimear McBride’s Mouthpieces by Faber & Faber, we are taking a look back on McBride’s journey as the Samuel Beckett Research Centre’s Inaugural Creative Fellow.

On a special episode of RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘The Book Show’, McBride visited The Samuel Beckett Collection in University of Reading. There she gained a rare glimpse at the original manuscripts of Beckett’s first publish novel Murphy and his last published prose work Stirrings Still. This episode features contributions from the Head of Archive Services Guy Baxter, Director of the Beckett International Foundation Dr Mark Nixon, Chair of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre Steven Matthews, Beckett’s biographer and friend James Knowlson, actors Lisa Dwan and Olwen Fouéré. Listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/thebookshow/tbs-s5-2-eimear-mcbride-on-samuel-beckett

Mouthpieces, which divides into three short texts, was composed during McBride’s time as Inaugural Creative Fellow at the Samuel Beckett Research Centre in 2017-2018 with unique access to the Beckett Archives at the University of Reading. In March 2019, Mouthpieces was performed by Eimear McBride and Aoife Duffin on RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘Drama on One’. This recording is an exciting opportunity to experience the musicality and orality of the author’s vivid, original and sharp-witted style. The performance can be listened to here: https://www.rte.ie/drama/radio/plays/2019/0324/1038351-mouthpieces-by-eimear-mcbride/

Mouthpieces by Eimear McBride is published by Faber & Faber and is available now (ISBN 9780571365814). More information on McBride’s time as Inaugural Creative Fellow can be found here.

Symposia Series: How It Is by Samuel Beckett Symposium

Gare St. Lazare Ireland (GSLI) and The Samuel Beckett Centre at University of Reading teamed up to present a third How It Is Symposium on the 5th March 2021. The symposium, which took place entirely online, welcomed colleagues from around the world, including speakers from New Zealand, Spain, France, Mexico and the UK. The digital format of this symposium embraced the international reach of Samuel Beckett’s work with GSLI stating that “in some respects it is fitting that it is taking place, not at any one place, but in every place that can connect digitally. As we strive for a global participation, we have also worked to hear the voices of scholars, artists, writers and practitioners” (GSLI 2021).

These symposia are organised to encourage discussion of Beckett’s How It Is and to make it known to a wider public. The novel, first published in French as Comment c’est in 1961, and later translated as How It Is published in 1964, seems to resists any simple description. With the absence of punctuation, the fragmentary text constructs a broken experience that has lost, or cast off, all markers of space, time, or context, and invites an engagement and physicality from its reader that few other books can. This physicality emerges in GSLI’s staged adaption of How It Is in three parts (2018, 2019, with the novel staged in its entirety scheduled for 2021), which was conceived during their three-year residency at the Everyman Theatre, Cork. This staging is “not a play”, but rather a novel staged in “its entirety”, as director Judy Hegarty-Lovett has stated in an interview with The Irish Times. GSLI’s research into How It Is was the impetus for this symposia series, which has now become an exciting annual event.

The symposium began with a fascinating morning keynote from Chris Ackerley titled ‘Annotating Comment c’est/How It Is: In Three Parts’. Ackerley’s paper detailed how Beckett wrote first in French (Molloy, Malone meurt, L’Innommable, Textes pour rien, Comment c’est) and then in English. The result of this being that the English texts are not a translation but works with their own integrity, that together with the French originals can truly be considered bilingual texts. The purposes of bilingual annotation then, Ackerley explains, is to give a “context of relevant meaning” that assists in the act of reading and interpretation. Ackerley, working with Llewellyn Brown, began a bilingual annotation of Textes pour Rien/Texts for Nothing which was published in 2019. The bilingual annotation of Comment c’est/How It Is is currently underway and is due to be completed later this year.

José Francisco Fernández’s paper on ‘How It Is/Cómo Es: Translating Beckett’s untranslatable novel’ was the first in the morning panel. Fernández’s described the physical intensity of the English text, especially in relation to the explicit discussion of sex that emerges out of Beckett’s mother tongue.  Fernández detailed the process of rendering this physicality in Spanish through the use of stronger verbs (specifically, this included verbs with repeated ‘r’ sounds) and avoiding neutral terms. This focus on physical intensity re-emerged throughout the next paper ‘Inscription as tattooing in How It Is’  as Akra Chattopadhyay discussed the act of tattooing as an “index of inhuman violence” and yet proposes that, “it stands for corporeal love”. Chattopadhyay also represented the primordial writing culture at the level of trans-generational communication in Beckett’s novel. Adrienne Janus’s paper prepared the attendees for GSLI’s ‘Work in Process Extract’ by discussing How It Is as text and dramatic performance in ‘Hear it is: Scenes of Listening and Sonic Atmospheres in How It Is’. Janus’s paper focuses on the perceptual experiences of listening readers and listening spectators in relation to atmosphere: “It is not a question of asking ‘who speaks’, from where, when, but following the experience Adorno referred to as “listening without localising,” asking how voices that, as material sound, as well as sense, affect us, envelope us and touch us, without being distinctly identifiable or graspable”.

After lunch, the symposium resumed with a pre-recorded ‘How It Is – Work In Progress Extract’ from GSLI, directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett, with camerawork by Seamus Dillane and Judy Hegarty Lovett. This stunning work in progress displayed actors Conor Lovett and Stephen Dillane in various states of isolation and confinement, staring out into the void, as they journeyed across the three parts of the novel with the watching audience enthralled: “good moments yes I assure you before Pim with Pim after Pim vast tracts of time good moments.”

Ulrika Maude presented the afternoon keynote ‘“In the Dark the Mud in Torment and Solitude”: Reading How It Is’ which discussed the influence of experimental psychology and behavioural conditioning, such as Ivan Pavlov, on the non-visible body, “the viscera – ‘the soft contents of the principle cavities of the body’ (OED), including the kidney, heart, brain, bowels, lungs, the nervous, endocrine and blood systems” – in Beckett’s texts. In this detailed and expansive keynote, Maude also explored the affective and embodied quality of the non-visible body with specific reference to How It Is, as opposed to the representation of the sensorimotor body which has been much written about in recent years.

With close textual analysis of How It Is and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Sara Crangle’s paper ‘On ‘It’’ considered how the pronoun ‘it’ is used “to ask questions of the reader constantly” and to “interrogate our ideological assumptions” in the symposium’s afternoon panel. Particularly, Crangle discussed Beckett’s evasive response to reactionary politics and how this may enable an interpretation of How It Is as a satire of 1950s French governance and law.

The final paper of the symposium was Luz María Sánchez Cardona’s ‘Technological and Physical Space: An Exploration Through Text and Sound’ which detailed adaptions of Beckett’s work, such as Sarah Kenderline and Jeffrey Shaw’s virtual reality UNMAKEABLELOVE that is based on Beckett’s The Lost Ones. Sánchez Cardona, a transdisciplinary artist, writer and scholar, shared ‘Closed Circuit’, a mesmerising audio of a female voice detailing an autopsy, that has been influenced by How It Is. This piece is an immersive sound installation that explores technology, physical space and geometric sound structures. This audio has since been shared online and can be listened to here: https://vimeo.com/521096578

With over 65 international participants at the third How It Is Symposium, this digital event displayed the global impact of Beckett’s novel and the wide variety of research that is currently taking place from translation, to stagings, and technological responses. Inspired by the new circumstances, this was an important and timely symposium that utilised technology to provide a crucial platform for sharing research.

More information on GSLI’s How It Is is available from their website here: garestlazareireland.com

References

Gare St Lazare Ireland. ‘Attendee Information Pack’ (March 2021).

Leland, Mary. ‘How It Is review: A flawless conjunction of acting and staging’ in The Irish Times (2 February 2018). <https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/stage/theatre/how-it-is-review-a-flawless-conjunction-of-acting-and-staging-1.3377880> accessed 15 May 2020.

Announcement: Creative Fellows 2020-21

The Samuel Beckett Research Centre at the University of Reading is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Creative Fellows 2020-21: Duncan Campbell and Hannah Khalil.

Duncan Campbell is an Irish video artist based in Glasgow; he was the recipient of the 2014 Turner Prize for his video work It for Others. Campbell’s art draws extensively on archival research, and examines the role that archives play in our knowledge of, and emotional connection to, the past. Through combining found and created material, this is work that questions the borders between personal and historical memory, dream and documentary, word and image.

Past subjects include Northern Irish politician Bernadette Devlin (Bernadette, 2008), the DeLorean car project (Make it New, John, 2009), and Chris Marker and Alain Resnais’ 1953 film Les statues meurent aussi, (It for Others, 2013). Most recently Duncan has worked in the archives of the Irish File Centre to make The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy (2017).

Campbell has a long-standing interest in the work of Samuel Beckett, as is evident from his 2006 film O, Joan, No, based in part on the stage directions for Beckett’s Play.

Hannah Khalil is an award-winning Palestinian-Irish playwright and dramatist. Hannah’s  work for the stage and radio engages closely with identity, displacement and the politics of national history.

Her work for stage includes A Museum in Baghdad, which moves between the founding of a collection of Iraqi antiquities in 1926, and the aftermath of its looting in 2006, to examine the role of the archive as a national institution. It opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in 2019.

Hannah’s other plays include Interference for The National Theatre of Scotland, The Scar Test for Soho Theatre and Scenes from 68* Years for the Arcola. Scenes from 68* Years was nominated for the James Tait Black award. In 2017 Khalil was awarded The Arab British Centre’s Prize for Culture. Along with her theatre work, she has written numerous radio plays, including The Unwelcome, Last of the Pearl Fishers and The Deportation Room, all for BBC Radio 4.

Hannah has always been deeply influenced by Beckett’s drama, and her writing continues in the tradition of Beckett’s most engaged plays, such as Catastrophe or What Where.

Over the course of their year-long Fellowships, Duncan and Hannah will engage with the contents, history and spaces of the world-leading archive relating to Samuel Beckett’s work which is held at the University’s Special Collections. Supported by colleagues at the Samuel Beckett Research Centre, through this engagement with the archives they will produce new creative work, to be premiered at the end of their time with us. Duncan and Hannah follow our Inaugural Fellow, Eimear McBride, and novelist Robert McCrum and composer Tim Parkinson, in accepting a Creative Fellowship at the Centre. We are very excited about the opportunity to work with them.

Mouthpieces by Eimear McBride

We are delighted to announce that Eimear McBride’s three short, characteristically powerful and disorientating texts depicting a fragmentary female experience, has been published in one collection, Mouthpieces, earlier this month. These works were composed during her time as Inaugural Creative Fellow at the Samuel Beckett Research Centre in 2017-2018 with unique access to the Beckett Archives at the University of Reading.

McBride’s last three novels – A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, The Lesser Bohemians and Strange Hotel – combines an innovative, affective style that expresses the inexpressibility of trauma and grief. In Mouthpieces, each short piece creates a dramatic space that is no less intense because of its brevity,

These are powerful, disorientating works that benefit from the fact that the reader can loop back round and re-read each of them immediately (Kelly, 2 February 2021).

In the first of the short pieces, ‘The Adminicle Exists’, we hear the inner voice of a woman who intervenes to save her troubled partner. This monologue for a female voice reveals to the reader the claustrophobic atmosphere of the facility where her partner will remain until he is “tidied back up,” as well the disgust, frustration and compassion that she feels at the situation. There is a rupture at the end of this piece where the undercurrent of fear bursts to the surface: fear of violence, fear for the speaker’s life. In ‘An Act of Violence’, fear is transformed into dismissiveness as remnants of Beckett’s themes of interrogation and power emerge. E, a woman, is questioned by A, an offstage, genderless voice, regarding an incident with a knife. E’s voice is unrelenting in its desire to know the truth of the incident, and to force A to accept their interpretation. However, the tremulous power balance of A and E undermines any definitive narrative of the event, or its truth. Finally, in ‘The Eye Machine’ the character ‘Eye’ tells of her imprisonment, flickering through a slideshow of female stereotypes. This an uncomfortable entrapment for the reader into a world where misogyny cannot be ignored or dismissed,

“If there was no everything only this things and that was all things. If she thought like that. If she thought that. If there was no getting to. If there was only is. If is, is the thing she liked to think except there is no like and there is no think, there is only is. There is no only. There is, is. Is, is all there is?” The effect is of a misogyny which in not intermittent or an exception, but an awful always (Kelly, 2 February 2021).

McBride’s short pieces are dramatic texts written in an original, sharp and innovative style that is unapologetic in its representation of the troubling, heart wrenching and traumatic aspects of the female experience. In many ways, Beckett’s Not I is perhaps most prevalent in Mouthpieces which McBride has noted in her ‘Reflections on Samuel Beckett’:

At any rate, after some suffering, much cursing and endless deleting, three short pieces emerged: two performance and one prose/performance. Not plays, definitely not plays, but also not stories, or not in the usual sense. I can’t pin them to a single work of Beckett’s, but an influential contender is certainly, almost inevitably, Not I. However, only in so far as this is where Beckett cleared space for the female voice, unhindered by psychology, sociology, physicality or even history to surge through. So, in line with my evolving practice of appropriating what I admire in other writers’ work – Sarah Kane’s unapologetic confrontationalism for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, Dostoyevsky’s epic, tragic monologues for The Lesser Bohemians – this is what I stole from Beckett: the stripping away of all justification to reveal a deeper truth. I hope the pieces will succeed on their own terms, of course, but if not, we all know what the man himself has to say about that (McBride).

Mouthpieces by Eimear McBride is published by Faber & Faber and is available now (ISBN 9780571365814). You can listen to McBride read extracts from Mouthpieces, and read her ‘Reflections on Samuel Beckett’ here.

References

Kelly, Stuart. ‘Book Review: Mouthpieces, by Eimear McBride’ in The Scotsman (2 February 2021). https://www.scotsman.com/arts-and-culture/books/book-review-mouthpieces-eimear-mcbride-3121472

McBride, Eimear. ‘Reflections on Beckett’ https://samuelbeckettcentre.weebly.com/blog/eimear-mcbrides-evolving-relationship-with-becketts-work

Beckett and War: recently published

William Davies, Beckett Research Centre Post-Doctoral Fellow has recently published a book and two articles on Beckett and his war writing.

‘Crawling in the Flanders mud’: Samuel Beckett, war writing and scatological pacifism explores the depiction of wounded soldiers in Samuel Beckett’s novel Mercier and Camier (written in French in 1946, published in 1970, and translated and published in English in 1974). This aspect of the novel is discussed from two perspectives: the Irish military history which Beckett repeatedly invokes in the novel, notably the Boer War and World War I; and the relation between the novel and the ‘war books’ which followed World War I, many of which express pacifist ideals by laying bare the suffering which combatant bodies experience. Drawing attention to the hitherto neglected context of war writing for the image of the wounded soldier in Beckett’s work, this article uses Mercier and Camier to consider the political implications of the author’s allusions to military history following World War II.

The depiction of the degenerating male form in Samuel Beckett’s post-World War II trilogy of novels (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable) in the context of Vichy France’s ideology of the body—specifically the male body—and the propaganda of the regime’s Révolution nationale, which Beckett would have encountered in wartime France is explored in Samuel Becket’s trilogy and the revolution of the body in Vichy France. Read with this historical situation in mind, this essay argues that Beckett’s move from the limping Molloy to the bed-bound Malone and finally to the physically limbless figure of The Unnamable gives expression to a reality of physical deterioration that is unique to the degenerating body, a reality that also inverts the ideal of physical perfection that regimes such as Vichy produced. Analysed in this way, Beckett’s work can be seen to aggravate and challenge both Vichy’s idolisation of the strong, athletic male form and the ways in which Vichy and other midcentury ideologies produced narratives of the body steeped in a narrow and ultimately violent essentialism.

The recently published first full-length historical study, Samuel Beckett and the Second World War: Politics, Propaganda and a ‘Universe Become Provisional‘ written by William Davies, also examines Beckett’s war writing and the far-reaching impact of the war on Beckett’s creative and intellectual sensibilities. This book combines war studies, which emphasises the everyday nature of war from food shortages to propaganda, and substantial historical and archive research. Through a detailed investigation into ignored historical allusions and wartime imagery, this study places Beckett’s writing in the shadow of political contexts from Nazism and the Vichy regime, to Irish neutrality and censorship, and the politics of recovery in the French Fourth Republic. Analysed in this way, Davies displays the active rhetorical and formal strategies at play in Beckett’s oeuvre that reveal a range of responses to war and politics.

References
Davies, W. (2020) ‘Crawling in the Flanders mud’: Samuel Beckett, war writing and scatological pacifism. Journal of War and Culture Studies, 13 (2). pp. 145-162. ISSN 1752-6280 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17526272.2019.1644273
Davies, W. (2020) Samuel Becket’s trilogy and the revolution of the body in Vichy France. Twentieth-Century Literature, 66 (1). pp. 11-36. ISSN 0041-462X doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-8196685
Davies, W. (2020) Samuel Beckett and the Second World War: Politics, Propaganda and a ‘Universe Become Provisional. Bloomsbury Academic, London.

Recently published: Samuel Beckett’s Philosophy Notes

Samuel Beckett’s Philosophy Notes, edited by Steven Matthews, Co-Director of The Samuel Beckett Research Centre, and Matthew Feldman, is a major new Beckett text that reveals major aspects of Beckett’s philosophical thought and raises larger questions concerning the relation between philosophy and literature in the twentieth century and beyond.

During the 1930s, just at the point at which his first novel, Murphy, was coming together, Samuel Beckett assembled for himself a history of western philosophy. The ‘Philosophy Notes’, together with related notes taken at that time about St. Augustine, thereafter provided Beckett with a store of knowledge, but also with phrases and images, which he took up in the major work that won him international and enduring fame, from the dramas Waiting for Godot and Endgame, through to the late prose works Worstward Ho and Stirrings Still. This edition presents, for the first time, Beckett’s full ‘Philosophy Notes’, which constitute his most extensive unpublished text. The Notes display Beckett’s own interests and emphases within the history of western philosophy, from the pre-Socratic Greeks onwards, together with more familiar figures in the study of his work, such as Descartes, Leibnitz, and Geulincx. Here we see Beckett’s original thoughts on all of these figures for the first time. The Notes also, tellingly and often comically, display Beckett’s impatience with many aspects of philosophy, such as its anthropological or anthropomorphic bias, or the idealism of the Enlightenment and Kant.

The Edition contains an extensive Introduction, outlining the origin of Beckett’s Notes, his major sources and approach to them, the historical context for his view of philosophy, and the significance of Beckett’s ‘Philosophy Notes’ within his mature writings. The many footnotes then suggest ways in which particular aspects of the philosophy narrated here by Beckett suggest fresh insights into those later writings—the images, but also the creative impulses, behind some of his most famous texts. This Edition, further, raises larger questions about, and perspectives upon, the relation between philosophy and literature in the twentieth century and beyond.

Matthews, S. and Feldman, M., eds. (2020) Samuel Beckett’s Philosophy Notes. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

 

Beckett and Mediality: recently published articles

Members of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre have recently published a number of articles on Beckett and intermediality and transmediality.

Mark Nixon, Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation, was one of the editors of a special issue of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, Beckett and Intermediality / Beckett, artiste intérmedial.

In Specially for television? Eh Joe, intermediality and Beckett’s drama, Jonathan Bignell analyses tensions between medium specificity and intermediality in Beckett’s first original drama for television, Eh Joe (1966), which exploits features of the medium such as the spatiality of the studio, monochrome images and close-up.

Jonathan Bignall also evaluates the significance of the intermedial migrations that happened to the “Beckett on Film” project in When Beckett on Film migrated to television. The project saw Beckett’s 19 theatre plays performed on stage, then filmed for an international festival, then shown on television in the UK, USA, Ireland and elsewhere.

In Samuel Beckett and intermedial performance: passing between, Anna McMullan analyses two intermedial adaptations of works by Beckett for performance in relation to Ágnes Petho’s definition of intermediality as a border zone or passageway between media, grounded in the “inter-sensuality of perception”.

References

Bignell, J. (2020) Specially for television? Eh Joe, intermediality and Beckett’s drama. Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, 32 (1). pp. 41-54. ISSN 1875-7405 doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/18757405-03201004

Bignell, J. (2020) When Beckett on Film migrated to television. Књижевна историја (Literary History), 51 (169). pp. 97-108. ISSN 0350-6428 doi: https://doi.org/10.18485/kis.2019.51.169.5

McMullan, A. (2020) Samuel Beckett and intermedial performance: passing between. Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, 32 (1). pp. 71-85. ISSN 0927-3131 doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/18757405-03201006

McTighe, T., Morin, E. and Nixon, M., eds. (2020) Beckett and Intermediality / Beckett, artiste intérmedial. Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, 32 (1). Brill, Leiden.

2020 Publications Review

Members of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre published a number of journal articles, chapters and books in 2020.

Books

Samuel Beckett’s Philosophy Notes, edited by Steven Matthews, Co-Director of The Samuel Beckett Research Centre, and Matthew Feldman, is a major new Beckett text that reveals major aspects of Beckett’s philosophical thought and raises larger questions concerning the relation between philosophy and literature in the twentieth century and beyond.

Anna McMullan’s Samuel Beckett’s intermedial ecosystems: closed space environments across the stage, prose and media works draws on the concept of ecosystems to investigate selected Beckett works across different media which present worlds where the human does not occupy a privileged place in the order of creation: rather Beckett’s human figures are trapped in a regulated system in which they have little agency.

 

Book chapters

Jonathan Bignell’s chapter, “Random dottiness”: Samuel Beckett and the reception of Harold Pinter’s early dramas in Influencing Beckett / Beckett Influencing (Rakoczy, Tanaka and Johnson, 2020), analyses the significance of Beckett to the British reception of the playwright Harold Pinter’s early work.

In his chapter, Beckett and television: anachronism as innovation in Samuel Beckett and Technology (Adar, Kiryushina and Nixon, 2020), Jonathan Bignell argues that Beckett’s dramas written for television (from Eh Joe in 1966 to Nacht und Traume in 1983) work as reflexive analyses of television technology’s uneasy position as an “old” and also a “new” medium.

In his chapter, ‘The air is full of our cries’: staging Godot during apartheid South Africa in Beckett and Politics (Davies and Bailey, 2020), Matthew McFrederick offers new readings into this seminal South African production and the neglected politics of Beckett and race on South African and international stages.

Lucy Jeffery (Beckett Research Centre Postdoctoral Fellow) has written ‘Words and Music “or some other trouble”: Vaguening on the Airwaves’ in Beckett and Technology (Adar, Kiryushina, and Nixon, 2021).

 

Journal articles

Mark Nixon, Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation, was one of the editors of a special issue of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, Beckett and Intermediality / Beckett, artiste intérmedial.

Jonathan Bignell analyses tensions between medium specificity and intermediality in Beckett’s first original drama for television, Eh Joe (1966) in Specially for television? Eh Joe, intermediality and Beckett’s drama, and also evaluates the significance of the intermedial migrations that happened to the “Beckett on Film” project in When Beckett on Film migrated to television.

In Samuel Beckett and intermedial performance: passing between, Anna McMullan, Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation, analyses two intermedial adaptations of works by Beckett for performance in relation to Ágnes Petho’s definition of intermediality as a border zone or passageway between media, grounded in the “inter-sensuality of perception”.

William Davies, Beckett Research Centre Post-doctoral Fellow considers Beckett and his war writing in ‘Crawling in the Flanders mud’: Samuel Beckett, war writing and scatological pacifism, exploring the depiction of wounded soldiers in Samuel Beckett’s novel Mercier and Camier and the depiction of the degenerating male form in Samuel Beckett’s post-World War II trilogy of novels (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable) in Samuel Becket’s trilogy and the revolution of the body in Vichy France.

Lucy Jeffery discusses music and Beckett with SBRC creative fellow Tim Parkinson in an interview published in the Journal of Beckett Studies.

 

Full publications list

Bignell, J. (2020) Beckett and television: anachronism as innovation. In: Adar, E., Kiryushina, G. and Nixon, M. (eds.) Samuel Beckett and Technology. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. (In Press)

Bignell, J. (2020) “Random dottiness”: Samuel Beckett and the reception of Harold Pinter’s early dramas. In: Rakoczy, A., Hori Tanaka, M. and Johnson, N. (eds.) Influencing Beckett / Beckett Influencing. Collection Karoli. L’Harmattan, Budapest & Paris, pp. 61-74. ISBN 9782343219110

Bignell, J. (2020) Specially for television? Eh Joe, intermediality and Beckett’s drama. Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, 32 (1). pp. 41-54. ISSN 1875-7405 doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/18757405-03201004

Bignell, J. (2020) When Beckett on Film migrated to television. Књижевна историја (Literary History), 51 (169). pp. 97-108. ISSN 0350-6428 doi: https://doi.org/10.18485/kis.2019.51.169.5

Davies, W. (2020) ‘Crawling in the Flanders mud’: Samuel Beckett, war writing and scatological pacifism. Journal of War and Culture Studies, 13 (2). pp. 145-162. ISSN 1752-6280 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17526272.2019.1644273

Davies, W. (2020) Samuel Becket’s trilogy and the revolution of the body in Vichy France. Twentieth-Century Literature, 66 (1). pp. 11-36. ISSN 0041-462X doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-8196685

Jeffery, L. (2020) An Interview with Tim ParkinsonJournal of Beckett Studies, 29 (2). pp. 249-260. ISSN 1759-7811 doi: https://doi.org/10.3366/jobs.2020.0314

Matthews, S. and Feldman, M., eds. (2020) Samuel Beckett’s Philosophy Notes. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

McFrederick, M. (2020) ‘The air is full of our cries’: staging Godot during apartheid South Africa. In: Beckett and Politics. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 195-211. ISBN 9783030471095 doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47110-1

McMullan, A. (2020) Samuel Beckett and intermedial performance: passing between. Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, 32 (1). pp. 71-85. ISSN 0927-3131 doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/18757405-03201006

McMullan, A. (2020) Samuel Beckett’s intermedial ecosystems: closed space environments across the stage, prose and media works. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (In Press)

McTighe, T., Morin, E. and Nixon, M., eds. (2020) Beckett and Intermediality / Beckett, artiste intérmedial. Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, 32 (1). Brill, Leiden.

‘Beckett’s Intermedial Ecosystems’ available for free download until 5th February

‘Beckett’s Intermedial Ecosystems’ by Anna McMullan is free to download from Cambridge University Press until 5th February at the following URL:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/becketts-intermedial-ecosystems/80129EE23DA811CA550E66BA405963D3#

“Beckett’s closed space texts combine qualities of confined interior space with the sense of a cosmological or ecological system […]”

Part of the Cambridge Elements series, Anna McMullan draws on the concept of ecosystems to investigate selected Beckett works across different media which present worlds where the human does not occupy a privileged place in the order of creation: rather Beckett’s human figures are trapped in a regulated system in which they have little agency. Readers, listeners or viewers are complicit in the operation of techniques of observation inherent to the system, but also reminded of the vulnerability of those subjected to it. Beckett’s work offers new paradigms and practices which reposition the human in relation to space, time and species.

McMullan, A. (2021). Beckett’s Intermedial Ecosystems: Closed Space Environments across the Stage, Prose and Media Works (Elements in Beckett Studies). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108938990