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Beckett Among Others

Thursday 28 February 2013, 5.15PM

Speaker(s): Michael Bates (Sheffield), Arthur Rose (Leeds) and Nick Wolterman (York)

CModS Postgraduate Forum White Rose Beckett seminar  

  • Michael Bates (Sheffield): ‘Horsemeat and Shame in Beckett's Short Fiction’
  • Arthur Rose (Leeds): ‘“So little in doubt?” Revisiting The Unnamable
  • Nick Wolterman (York): ‘Beckett as Wingman: Translating “Anna Livia Plurabelle”’

This seminar offers three new perspectives on Samuel Beckett from PhD students researching his work at White Rose universities.

Nick Wolterman’s talk explores how Beckett functions in the more typically “modernist” (non)authorial role, despite having encouraged “romantic” readings. He will argue that both typically “romantic” and typically “modernist” models of authorship offer too-reductive accounts of the periods they claim to describe, since any author fulfils multiple, differing roles over the course of a career. A look at Beckett’s work with Alfred Péron on the French translation of “Anna Livia Plurabelle” portrays Beckett in an unusual light, painting him as a feverishly intellectual and sometimes recklessly allusive prankster whose contributions to Work in Progress display little concern for conceptual consistency or for Joyce’s intended effects.

Taking its lead from the theoretical work of Eric L. Santner and Simon Estok, Michael Bates will look towards the literary creature as a mode of being commonly adopted by Beckett's narrators in his post-war novellas The ExpelledThe Calmative and The End. This is pivotal to Beckett's representation of animals as simultaneously akin to, and distant from, humans. Michael’s talk will follow the creature's path through these texts as the primary means of Beckett's exploration of the non-human animal, its place in industrialized society, and as the central image of the author's discussion of the ethics of animal exploitation.

Arthur Rose’s paper considers the role foreclosure plays in L’Innommable and The Unnamable. It suggests that there are multiple forms of foreclosure at work in the texts. Starting from the “little doubt” that Beckett had about the ending of L’Innommable in a letter to Georges Duthuit, he aims to show how a second “trace” ending to the novel undermines any effort to read it as summarised by the phrase “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”


Beckett Among Others (PDF , 284kb)

Location: Seminar room BS/007, Berrick Saul Building