Beyond Historicism: Resituating Samuel Beckett, 7-8 December 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Paul Sheehan, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
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Samuel Beckett's trilogy of novels – Molloy (1950), Malone Dies (1951) and The Unnamable (1953) – has redefined the modernist landscape in the sixty years since it first appeared. Yet even as it affirmed the death of the novel as a viable narrative form, it also inspired at least two other fictional trilogies: Paul Auster's New York Trilogy and John Banville's Frames Trilogy. Following Faber's recent re-publication of the three novels, this conference marks a crucial moment in Beckett studies. After the so-called 'archival' turn of the past fifteen years – driven by two biographies, scholarly annotations of Beckett's notebooks, and, most recently, two volumes of the Letters – we seek to encourage more speculative, exploratory engagements with the Beckett oeuvre.

A further aim is to resituate the Trilogy at the heart of Beckett's prose corpus. To that effect, there will be at least two panels based on re-examinations of the three novels. However, we also invite papers that address any other part of Beckett's writing – fictional, dramatic, cinematic or critical – and consider how it might be read and understood in the wake of the historicist-empirical emphasis of the last fifteen years.

How does Beckett's work appear to us now, when put into dialogue with more recent critical and philosophical approaches to literature, such as (but not limited to) cognitive literary studies, neuoroaesthetics, thing theory, the 'new' narratology, eco-poetics, theories of affect, cybercriticism, technics, trauma theory, swarm theory, biopolitics, network ecologies, the new aestheticism, literary-legal studies?

Potential papers should address the Trilogy, or any other part of Beckett's work, in its textual, historical, theoretical and / or formal dimensions, and consider how any of these might be recast or rethought in light of the debates outlined above.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words, and submitted via email, to:

Please include the paper title, and a brief biography and contact details of the presenting author.

Submission deadline: 28 September 2012, at 5pm.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Professor Derek Attridge (University of York, UK)
Assoc. Professor Anthony Uhlmann (University of Western Sydney)

Conference venue:
The University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney.

For further information, visit our website:

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