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100 Years a Dying
A Post-Mortem on the Work of Samuel Beckett
An International, Interdisciplinary Conference in
University College Cork,
26-27 May 2006
The aim of this international, inter-disciplinary conference on the work of Samuel Beckett is to promote discussion and debate on one of Ireland’s greatest writers . In order to fully acknowledge the broad scope and range of Beckett’s achievement, this conference will offer an all-encompassing interrogation of his writing, from the lesser known and discussed poetry to his more widely disseminated fiction and drama. In doing so, we aim to examine all facets of the criticism and debate that Beckett’s work has generated over the past fifty years. From those who view Beckett as an uncompromising pessimist to those who prefer to see his works as a comic and compassionate testimony to the human condition, Beckett’s work remains perennially open to widely differing interpretation and appreciation. In drawing together Beckett scholars from divergent fields and nationalities, this conference will give voice to the continual fascination and controversy engendered by the consummate a!
of Samuel Beckett’s body of living work.
The two day event will include ten academic panels, one plenary session, a special screening of Film, and a round-table discussion on the work of Beckett featuring internationally renowned Beckett scholars
Beckett and Poetry: This panel will explore Beckett’s poetry in terms of determining its influences, its critical reception and its relationship with the better known prose and drama. In doing so, the question will be posed as to whether Beckett’s canon can be regarded as complete until a full evaluation of his poetic work is achieved.
Beckett and Translation: The theme of this panel will be an exploration of Beckett’s work as a professional translator; his own works as translated by others; and the notion of translation as exemplified in Beckett’s role as producer of his own theatrical works. The adaptation and translation of his works into other media (Prose recitals etc.) will also be considered.
Beckett and Vagrancy: To a great extent, Beckett’s evocation of human subjectivity is mediated through the figure of the vagrant. Waiting for Godot, Watt, Molloy, and several of the shorter prose works feature tramps or tramp-like figures as their protagonists. This panel will explore the extent to which Beckett’s representation of the relation between subject and the world is informed by the dynamics of vagrancy.
Beckett and the Sacred: The notions of God, Purgatory and Meaning are unavoidable themes in Beckett’s work. Theological references, jokes, and dilemmas form a significant sub-text throughout his oeuvre. This panel will focus on the perennial topic of the presence or absence of a religious dimension in Beckett’s work.
Beckett and his Contemporaries: The aim of this panel is to provide discussion of Beckett’s relationship with his literary contemporaries, from the more widely known French authors of his day (Ionesco, Sartre, Celine etc.) to less prominent Irish writers (Devlin, Clarke, Stuart etc.). Themes such as the singularity or otherwise of his writing, and Beckett’s place in the Modernist tradition will be among the themes explored.
Beckett and Nihilism: This panel will focus on the presence of a nihilistic world-view that is a central feature of Beckett’s oeuvre. From the nihilistic strain in the writings themselves to his relationship with figures generally associated with the philosophical tradition of nihilism (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Adorno etc.), the influence of nihilistic philosophy is inescapable in Beckett’s work.
Beckett and Performativity: This panel will examine all aspects of what we refer to as the performative in Beckett’s work. In extending the meaning of this term beyond its strict linguistic parameters, this panel will look for those elements of performance and performativity that are not only evident in his dramatic works.
Beckett and the Feminine: Beckett’s representation of women has been interrogated at length by feminist scholars and by scholars in other fields. This panel aims to rejuvenate these debates and to also extend the discussion of the feminine in Beckett beyond the question of the representation of women. It will examine whether Beckett’s predominantly male characters do not also exhibits aspects of the feminine that have been neglected in recent Beckett scholarship.
Please send 300 words abstracts to beckett_conference_at_yahoo.com by April 13
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Mon Feb 27 2006 - 12:19:22 EST