2014 speakers included:
is an Associate Professor in English at the University of Warwick. She has published widely on Beckett’s work, including a monograph, Beckett and Authority: The Uses of Cliché (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and she edited a special issue of the Journal of Beckett Studies (Beckett, Language and the Mind) in 2008. Her current work is on the links between modernist literature and theatre, psychopathology and ageing, and she was recently awarded a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Exploratory Award for a project entitled Beckett and Brain Science. She is editing a special issue of Journal of Medical Humanities on Beckett and the brain, and writing a monograph on modernism and ageing.
has published seven poetry collections with The Gallery Press, most recently, Selected Poems (2012) as well as several collections of essays including The Proper Word: Collected Criticism (Fordham University Press, 2007). Recent essays have been included in Oona Frawley (ed.) Memory Ireland: The Famine and the Troubles (Syracuse University Press, 2014); Susan Scriebman (ed.) The Life and Times of Thomas MacGreevy (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013) and Fran Brearton and Alan Gillis (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry (2012). He is currently completing Of War and War’s Alarms: Conflict in Modern Irish Writing. He is a Professor of English and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.
is the Artistic Director of Fail Better Productions and IATL Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick. His recent work as a theatre director has included Diary of a Madman/Discords (Warwick Arts Centre), The Nativity (Pegasus Oxford), Stasis: Beckett Shorts (Oxford Playhouse) and Play without a Title (Belgrade Coventry). Jonathan is a co-author of Open-space Learning: A Study in Transdisciplinary Pedagogy (Bloomsbury, 2011) and a contributor to Performing Early Modern Drama Today (CUP, 2012). He has co-edited a special edition of the Journal of Beckett Studies (23.1, 2014) with Nicholas Johnson, with whom he also co-facilitates the Samuel Beckett Laboratory. He is a founding member of the AHRC Beckett and Brain Science working group and a co-convenor of the IFTR Performance-as-Research working group.
is Assistant Professor in Drama at TCD, as well as a performer, director, and writer. Recent practice-based research projects on Beckett include Abstract Machines: The Televisual Beckett (ATRL, 2010) and Three Dialogues (ATRL, 2011). In 2012 he directed Ethica: Four Shorts by Samuel Beckett, presenting Play, Come and Go, Catastrophe, and What Where in Bulgaria, Dublin, the Enniskillen Festival 2013, and Áras an Uachtairáin for World Human Rights Day. He has contributed to The Plays of Samuel Beckett (Methuen, 2013) as well as Theatre Research International, the Journal of Art Historiography, and Forum Modernes Theater, and has co-edited the Journal of Beckett Studies special issue on performance (23.1, 2014) with Jonathan Heron. In 2014 he adapted and directed The Brothers Karamazov and translated and directed Ernst Toller’s Machinewreckers, both at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. He is director of Painted Filly Theatre, co-director of the Beckett Summer School, and co-convenor of the Samuel Beckett Working Group for IFTR.
Lois More Overbeck
is a Research Associate of The Laney Graduate School, Emory University and is Managing Editor of The Letters of Samuel Beckett. The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1929–1940 was awarded the MLA’s Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of letters in 2012. She edited The Beckett Circle (1984–1989); edited with Paul Jackson, Intersecting Margins: The Theatre of Adrienne Kennedy (1992). With Breton Mitchell, she edited Word and Image: Samuel Beckett and the Visual Text (1999) which was recognised with the Leab exhibition award presented by the American Library Association (2001). She has been the recipient of numerous research grants and fellowships. She has published widely on Beckett and modern drama. Lois also served as a consultant to the Beckett Festival of Radio Plays; project director of Beckett/Atlanta (1987); and a consultant to Fathoms from Anywhere: A Samuel Beckett Centennial Exhibition’(Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas-Austin, 2005–2006); director of The Year of Beckett — 2006, Atlanta.
is Associate Professor in Modern Literature at the University of Reading, where he is also Director of the Beckett International Foundation. With Dirk Van Hulle, he is editor in chief of the Journal of Beckett Studies and Co-Director of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project. He is also an editor of Samuel Beckett Today /Aujourd’hui and the current President of the Samuel Beckett Society. He has published widely on Beckett’s work; recent books include the monograph Samuel Beckett’s German Diaries 1936-37 (Continuum, 2011), the edited collection Publishing Samuel Beckett (British Library, 2011) and Samuel Beckett’s Library, written with Dirk Van Hulle (Cambridge UP, 2013). His critical edition of Beckett’s short story Echo’s Bones was published by Faber in April 2014. He is currently preparing critical editions of Beckett’s Critical Writings (with David Tucker; Faber) and Beckett’s German Diaries’(with Oliver Lubrich; Suhrkamp), as well as The Bloomsbury Companion to Modernist Literature (with Ulrika Maude; Bloomsbury, 2015).
is Senior Lecturer in Medicine and English Literature at the University of Exeter. She is the author of Samuel Beckett: Laughing Matters, Comic Timing (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), and the co-editor of Neurology and Modernity: A Cultural History of Nervous Systems, 1800-1950 (Palgrave, 2010) and Kittler Now (Polity, 2014). She is currently writing a study of the relationship between modernism, modernity, and neurological theories of language entitled Aphasic Modernism: A Revolution of the Word. In 2011-12, she was a Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded Beckett and Brain Science Project.
Sarah Jane Scaife
is an actress and director who has worked in most of the theatres in Ireland in one or the other capacity. In 2009 she founded Company SJ. She has directed seven of Beckett’s shorter plays at the Abbey Theatre 1989/1990; adapted and toured nationally and internationally his prose piece Company for the stage 1991/1992; has toured her own productions of Beckett’s drama internationally, and also directed his plays in Georgia, Mongolia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Greece, with performers from each country. She most recently directed Raymond Keane, Bryan Burroughs and Trevor Knight in Samuel Beckett’s Rough For Theatre I and Act Without Words II as part of Company SJ’s ongoing project with the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, Beckett in the City. She is delighted to be an associate of The Irish Theatre Institute’s Six in the Attic. She received her doctorate on Samuel Beckett from the University of Reading and is currently Adjunct Lecturer in Drama for TCD.
is Associate Professor in English at Trinity College Dublin and is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He has co-edited five volumes on Joyce: Probes: Genetic Studies in Joyce (1995); Genitricksling Joyce (1999), How Joyce Wrote ‘Finnegans Wake’: A Chapter-by- Chapter Genetic Guide (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007), Renascent Joyce (University of Miami Press, 2013), and Derrida and Joyce: Texts and Contexts (SUNY Press, 2013). His annotated edition of Ulysses was published by Alma Classics in 2012. His writings on Beckett have appeared in the Journal of Beckett Studies, Samuel Beckett in Context, and Publishing Samuel Beckett. He is a Co-Director of the Samuel Beckett Summer School.
is the author of two books on Samuel Beckett: Beckett and Poststructuralism (Cambridge UP, 1999) and Samuel Beckett and the Philosophical Image (Cambridge UP, 2006), both of which consider the manner in which Beckett engages with philosophy. He is co-editor with Martin Wilson and Han van Ruler of Arnold Geulincx’s Ethics with Samuel Beckett’s Notes (Brill, 2006) and was the chief editor of the Journal of Beckett Studies from 2008–2013. His most recent work on Beckett is Beckett in Context (as editor, Cambridge UP, 2013). His most recent monograph is Thinking in Literature: Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov. He is currently working on two projects: one on the novels of J. M. Coetzee, and another on Spinoza and literary theory. He is the Director of the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney, Australia.
Dirk Van Hulle
is professor of English literature at the University of Antwerp (Centre for Manuscript Genetics). He is a trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation and an editor of Samuel Beckett Today/ Aujourd’hui. With Mark Nixon, he is co-director of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (BDMP) and editor in chief of the Journal of Beckett Studies. He is the author of Textual Awareness (2004), Manuscript Genetics: Joyce’s Know-How, Beckett’s Nohow (2008) and The Making of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Stirrings Still’ and ‘what is the word’ (2011). He is co-author of Samuel Beckett’s Library (Cambridge UP, 2013) with Mark Nixon; editor of Beckett’s Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho, Stirrings Still (Faber and Faber, 2009); and with Shane Weller he has co-edited a genetic edition of Beckett’s L’Innommable/ The Unnamable (2013), the second module of the BDMP (www.beckettarchive.org). His most recent publication is a monograph on Modern Manuscripts: The Extended Mind and Creative Undoing (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is currently preparing the second edition of the Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett (Cambridge UP).
Samuel Beckett’s Letters – Lois More Overbeck
Considering Beckett’s correspondence in light of the editing process will familiarize students with the centrality of Samuel Beckett’s letters to his oeuvre. Letters arise from the need to stay in touch with networks of friendship and association, over distance and time. Whether letters respond to specific circumstances or offer an overview of recent events, they are first of all the voice of the author. The seminar will consider the narrative of letters, include workshops on transcription and annotation, and assess the critical value of the letters as documents beyond anecdote. By working with a sampling of the letters in the Trinity College Dublin archives, and finding aids from other collections world-wide, students will gain insight into Beckett’s first and last words about his work.
Beckett and Brain Science – Elizabeth Barry & Laura Salisbury
This seminar will explore Beckett’s interest in the brain, the mind, neurology, psychopathology and ageing, taking as its starting point his reading and life experience. We will investigate together the ways Beckett’s published work, which is so vitally concerned with consciousness and the phenomenology of perception, becomes a source with unique potential for developing an understanding of the brain and its place in the cultural imagination. Beckett had personal, intellectual and creative interests in disorders of self and language such as aphasia, anxiety and mood disorders, and Parkinson’s disease—conditions that challenge Cartesian notions of body and mind, and speak to the way in which language and even thought itself can become unruly bodily functions. Beckett’s theatre also occupies a singular position in its relation to both body and mind. His actors are led in their characterization not by emotional history but by body and soma (gesture, rhythm, physical predicament); the plays that they inhabit, however, increasingly find creative ways to explore mental experiences and haunted minds. The seminar will focus on five works by Beckett: Murphy, Molloy, Happy Days, Not I, Footfalls.
Beckett’s Manuscripts – Mark Nixon & Dirk Van Hulle
During his lifetime, Samuel Beckett donated several manuscripts to archives at universities such as Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Reading. By studying the marginalia in the books of his personal library, his reading notes on literature, philosophy and psychology, his drafts and typescripts, we investigate how these manuscripts can contribute to an interpretation of Beckett’s works. The methodological framework is the theory of genetic criticism, which sets itself a double task: the ‘genetic’ task of making the manuscripts accessible (ordering, deciphering and transcribing), resulting in a genetic dossier; the ‘critical’ task of reconstructing the genesis from a chosen point of view (psychoanalysis, sociocriticism, narratology, etc.). Different methods of transcription (diplomatic, linear, topographic) and encoding (markup languages, the Text Encoding Initiative’s guidelines) will be discussed and applied to Beckett’s manuscripts. The potential interpretive consequences of this genetic research will be discussed in the second part of the seminar.
Performance Workshop/ Samuel Beckett Laboratory – Jonathan Heron & Nick Johnson
SAMUEL BECKETT LABORATORY
The Performance Workshop of the Samuel Beckett Summer School
10 – 15 AUGUST 2014, DU Players, Samuel Beckett Centre
The Samuel Beckett Laboratory, in partnership with the Samuel Beckett Summer School and DU Players, provides a space and occasion for fundamental research into Samuel Beckett’s work in and through performance. Working in a black-box studio space over five days, we will create an ensemble of students, scholars, performers, directors, designers, and technicians to explore problems, processes, and philosophies in the practice of Beckett’s theatre. The 2014 Summer School meeting constitutes our third experiment as the “Beckett Lab,” in which performance is viewed not only as an end in itself, but also used as a research method. The textual focus of this work is not limited to Beckett’s plays, but will extend to a variety of Beckettian voices, voids, fragments, and fizzles, to discover what occurs when these are embodied in a specific time and space. Interest in performance as a praxis is the sole prerequisite; this laboratory is absolutely open to non-professionals.
METHODS and FOCUS of our WORK
The Samuel Beckett Laboratory is founded on the simple principle that by approaching Beckett’s texts through performance, deeper insight into the texts’ function or meaning can be gained. This function of performance as a methodology is taken as a truism for playscripts, where it is widely agreed that the kinaesthetic or practical knowledge achieved by the performer, director, designer, or technician is a valuable aspect of attaining a deep understanding of the work. The laboratory applies this principle across genre to include prose, poetry, radio, television, film, correspondence, and manuscript/draft material. The Laboratory exists to cultivate a safe and facilitated environment where, for the purpose of both research and pedagogy, scholars can engage in an inclusive manner with all of Beckett’s writing as performance material.
A single text from Beckett’s late prose is the main focus of our work across the week. The text is Worstward Ho, written in 1980-81 and published in 1983, and we will be attentive to Beckett’s drafting process of this work, viewing and responding to the drafts that are held at Trinity College Dublin. Other sources consulted will include Beckett’s Play (1962) and Shakespeare’s King Lear. With two facilitators creating a working environment that elevates the non-hierarchical and exploratory embodiment of the “ensemble,” the workshop participants are all invited to respond through performance, reflecting on possible elements of dramaturgy, design, acting, and directing of the selected piece. Over the course of five days of engagement with the source texts and various performance practices, this approach is designed to generate a form of deep knowledge of the text’s structure, cross-reference, and operation as a “living thought” that can be embodied or communicated in manifold ways to an audience.
Visit the Beckett Laboratory page for further details
Reading Group: The Trilogy – Sam Slote
Over the course of the week we will slowly and patiently make our way through Beckett’s Trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable), which, along with Waiting for Godot, forms the heart of Beckett’s ‘frenzy of writing’ from 1946 to 1953. We will address issues of narrative, style, humour, repetition and seriality. While some previous familiarity with either the novels of the Trilogy or its predecessors (Murphy and Watt) is recommended, it is not necessary. I recommend using the new Faber editions of the novels, but, again, this is not necessary.
Company SJ presents Beckett in the City, 2009 – 2014
FIZZLES by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Sarah Jane Scaife
Featuring Raymond Keane
The Project: to insert Beckett into the social and architectural spaces of Dublin.
Read the full information about this event on our dedicated Performance Installation page.