Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies, 2006

      A seminar sponsored by the University of Oxford and University of Northampton

Convening in the Collier Room, Regent’s Park College, Pusey Street, Oxford


                                                Images of Beckett_exhibition  Photograph © John Haynes, 1973    

Following the publication of James Knowlson's biography and the release of invaluable notebooks and diaries for scholarly scrutiny, Beckett Studies is undergoing a revolution. Beckett's major period of intellectual formation was in the 1920s and 30s, long before he became known as a French Existentialist after Waiting for Godot, and even longer before he was discovered by post-structuralist critics. This seminar will attempt to reassess Beckett's cultural position in two directions: by examining some of the recently uncovered influences that shaped his unique writing, and by refracting his image and his work through some of the authors, thinkers, composers and visual artists he influenced in turn.


28 April            Dr Geert Lernout (University of Antwerp)

                        “The Erudition of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett”

5 May               Dr Mark Nixon (University of Reading)

“Solitude(s) and Creative Fidgets: Beckett reading Rainer Maria Rilke”

12 May            Dr Shane Weller (University of Kent)

“Seeing Oneself in Another: Beckett, Maurice Blanchot, and the problem of literary affinity”

19 May            Professor Mary Bryden (University of Cardiff)

“Beckett’s Musics”

26 May            Dr Seán Kennedy (St Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia)

                   “Abortion and Infanticide in Beckett and W.B. Yeats”

2 June               Dr Peter Boxall (University of Sussex)

                                “Backroads: Beckett, John Banville and Ireland”

9 June            Dr Chris Ackerley (University of Otago)

                   “Samuel Beckett and Anthropomorphic Insolence”

16 June             Dr Daniela Caselli (University of Manchester)

“‘And if it happens that I speak of the stars it is by mistake’: Beckett, Dante, and Intertextuality”

After this paper, Dr Rosemary Pountney will read from Beckett’s work

   All seminars commence Fridays at 5 p.m., the Collier Room, Regent’s Park College

Seminar organisers:                   Dr Matthew Feldman                                     Dr Erik Tonning

Contact details: e-mail:

                 phone:         07968 991 283 (mobile)                               (01865) 250 826 (home)


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