Applications for the fourth annual Samuel Beckett Summer School are now closed. To keep up to date on our news and events, we recommend you to sign up to our Mailchimp Newsletter (mailchimp button on the right of this page) which will inform you via email of updates to our programme and list of speakers.
Lecture titles for 2014 Summer School: (click on Faculty name for bio).
Gasp and Rattle: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Old Age in Beckett’s Work – Elizabeth Barry
Sense in Beckett and Coetzee: What Where and Dusklands – Anthony Uhlmann
Hearing Things: Beckett’s William Butler Yeats – Gerald Dawe
The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Letters as Narrative – Lois More Overbeck
Slow Modernism: Samuel Beckett and the Weight of Matter – Laura Salisbury
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
The Samuel Beckett Summer School, in partnership with DU Players, will continue to offer a seminar focused on Beckett’s work in performance. Working in a black-box theatre 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. Co-facilitated by scholar/practitioners Jonathan Heron and Nicholas Johnson, the approach in 2013 will be the first experiment of a new “Samuel Beckett Laboratory,” in which performance is viewed not only as an end in itself, but also used as a research method. The textual focus will not be 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. Summer School students at any level of experience are welcome; interest in performance as a praxis is the sole prerequisite, and this laboratory is absolutely open to non-professionals.
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.