Simon Critchley: Do It, England (The Hamlet Doctrine, Part I)

A free public lecture available online
On 29 November 2011, Simon Critchley presented a lecture at the London Graduate School entitled 'Do it, England (The Hamlet Doctrine, Part I)'. Thanks to Backdoor Broadcasting, you can listen to the lecture in its entirety on their website, along with an introduction by Professor Martin McQuillan (Kingston). [Listen]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Rachel Bowlby, A Child of One's Own: Parental Stories

Assuming Gender Annual Lecture · Cardiff University, 14 December 2011
Design: Rhys Tranter. Click to download poster (PDF)
Some readers of A Piece of Monologue may be aware that I am on the editorial committee of Assuming Gender, an academic project founded and organized by postgraduates. The project is structured around three research-led pursuits: a freely-accessible academic journal, an ongoing seminar series, and an annual lecture presented by a respected scholar.

This year's Assuming Gender annual lecture is just around the corner, and you may be interested to know that attendance is absolutely free. And no prior booking is necessary. I've designed a poster for the event (above) which is downloadable in a PDF format, should you wish to share news of the talk with friends and colleagues. The following text is taken from a press release on the Assuming Gender website:

'A Child of One's Own: Parental Stories'
An Assuming Gender Guest lecture by Professor Rachel Bowlby (University College London)
Wednesday 14 December 2011, 5.15pm
Lecture Theatre 2.01, Humanities Building, Cardiff University, Colum Drive
All welcome
Funded by the University Graduate College and ENCAP

We are delighted to announce that the 2011 Assuming Gender Annual lecture will be given by Professor Rachel Bowlby (University College London), and is entitled 'A Child of One's Own: Parental Stories'.

About the speaker:
Rachel Bowlby is Northcliffe Professor of English at UCL. Her books include Just Looking (1985), Still Crazy After All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis (1992), Shopping with Freud (1993), Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping (2000), and, most recently, Freudian Mythologies: Greek Tragedy and Modern Identities (2007). She has edited Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and two volumes of Woolf’s critical writings, and is also the author of Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf (1997). She has translated a number of books by contemporary French philosophers, including Derrida’s Of Hospitality (2000) and Paper Machine (2005). She currently holds a two-year Leverhulme Major Research Award.

About the lecture:
Parenthood is a neglected topic in comparison with other elemental attachments (the passions of childhood or erotic love). But recent radical changes in typical family forms and in procreative possibilities (new reproductive technologies) expose the mutability and multiplicity of ‘parentalities’, creating new kinds of parental story and new questions about parenthood. Why do people want (or not want) to be parents? How has the ‘choice’ enabled by contraception changed the meaning of parenthood? Today, the positive choice to seek and have a child as a matter of personal fulfillment is accepted as valid for men as well as women, individuals as well as couples. But there are also antecedents to the contemporary orientation, sometimes in classical texts where the parental story has up till now been sidelined. This lecture will look at one example of this phenomenon, Dickens’s Great Expectations.

Event Website:

If you have any questions about attendance, please feel free to add a comment below.

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

W. G. Sebald, Across Land and Water

A new collection of Sebald's poetry
W. G. Sebald, Across the Land and Water
The Economist reviews a new collection of W. G. Sebald's poetry (link via Ready Steady Book): 'Across the Land and the Water brings together a selection of the poems he never published in book form, if at all. Translated by Iain Galbraith, the volume sketches out a life on the move. Stretching over 37 years, the volume includes poems that Mr Galbraith found jotted down in Sebald’s archives on scraps of paper, others written on menus, theatre programmes or headed paper from hotels. They emerge on trains or at the “unmanned/station in Wolfenbüttel”, Sebald covertly observing fellow commuters as he evokes the differing landscapes shuttling past.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

J. G. Ballard on Special Objects

Memento, a programme first aired in 1993

In a 1993 interview, Joan Bakewell talks to writer J.G. Ballard about his life and work, and asks him to talk specifically about objects that have meant something special to him. [Source]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

John Gray and Will Self on J. G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard, Cities, Suburbs and Edgelands · Bristol Watershed, 1 December 2011
Bristol at night. (Source)
J. G. Ballard was a writer who ‘saw terror and poetry in the city landscape’ and who loved edgelands. Whether it was writing about Shanghai, modern Britain, the suburbs, shopping centres, modern architecture, Ballard made a ‘Ballardian’ world, defined as ‘dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments’. Political philosopher John Gray joins author Will Self to discuss Ballard’s work, his cities and his legacy.

Watch online

You can now watch the event on the Watershed website [See More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Writers' Rooms: Virginia Woolf

The table where Virginia Woolf sat down to write

A garden of one's own. Virginia Woolf's writing table at Monk’s House, Sussex, England, 1967. Photo by Gisele Freund. (Source)

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Virginia Woolf, On Fiction

A new collection of essays from Virginia Woolf
John Dugdale reviews On Fiction, a collection of four essays by Virginia Woolf, published by Hesperus Press (link via 3:AM Magazine): 'This collection of four essays, all but one from the 20s, improves markedly as it goes along.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Gabriel Josipovici reviews Beckett Letters 1941-1956

Josipovici on Beckett's 'years of intensity'
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Gabriel Josipovici reviews the second volume of Samuel Beckett's Letters (1941-1956) [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Woody Allen: 'What would Socrates do?'

Woody Allen attempts syllogistic logic

A brief clip from Love and Death, courtesy of Biblioklept.

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Fragments: Five Beckett texts adapted by Peter Brook

Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York hosts Samuel Beckett adaptations
Marcello Magni in Peter Brook's Fragments, an adaptation of five Samuel Beckett texts performing off-Broadway at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York
Jennifer Farrar reviews Peter Brook's Fragments, a theatrical adaptation of five short texts by Samuel Beckett:
Peter Brook has written that Samuel Beckett was falsely labeled as "despairing, negative, pessimistic," and so his treatment of five short Beckett texts in "Fragments" presents several of them with tender humor, not overlooking the somber poetry or haunting observations of human longings and frailties.

Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA), in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center, is presenting the New York premiere of C.I.C.T./Theatre des Bouffes du Nord's "Fragments," a vigorous hourlong production co-directed by longtime artistic collaborators Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne. Brook made his observation about the false labels "first stuck on Beckett" in a program note.

The effective, thoughtful production, which opened Sunday night off-Broadway at the Baryshnikov Arts Center for a limited run, features three seasoned artists who have worked extensively with Theatre du Complicite: Jos Houben, Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni. [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Werner Herzog Interview: Into the Abyss

Werner Herzog on Truman Capote, violent crimes and capital punishment

Andrew Goldman interviews Werner Herzog in the New York Times about Into the Abyss, a new documentary film exploring capital punishment in the United States [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

TLS reviews Beckett Letters 1941-1956

Times Literary Supplement weighs in on Cambridge University Press' second volume
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Arts Theatre, London, 1955
Alan Jenkins reviews the second volume of Samuel Beckett's Letters (1941-1956) on the TLS website, alongside a discussion of translator George Craig's monograph, Writing Beckett's Letters: 'One of the last of Samuel Beckett’s letters in Volume One of this indispensable edition was written to James Joyce, in January 1940. In it Beckett thanked Joyce for having brought his work to the attention of a potential sponsor. “It was kind of you to write him about Murphy. He offers very kindly to read the translation & to ‘introduce’ me to the French public.” Nearly fourteen years later, Beckett wrote to Mania Péron, the widow of his friend Alfred, “I am in the shit fontanelle deep: rehearsals every day, translations on all sides, people to see. I can’t keep up”. And a month or so after that he wrote to his American lover Pamela Mitchell, “I went to Godot last night for the first time in a long time. Well played, but how I dislike that play now. Full house every night, it’s a disease”.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Tom McCarthy on Friedrich Kittler

The aura that surrounds the ‘Derrida of the digital age’
Friedrich Kittler
Tom McCarthy writes on the aura of Friedrich Kittler in the London Review of Books blog: 'In 2004, after I gave an artist’s talk in a gallery in Berlin, a group of people strode up to speak to me. They were, they told me, followers of the media theorist Friedrich Kittler, members of his entourage – or, to give it its semi-official name, the Kittlerjugend. They used this last term not without irony; but it was the type of irony that masks seriousness, in the way that Hamlet’s pretending to be mad acts as a cover for him actually being mad. The shoulders of the lead delegate, a charismatic Russian émigrée named Joulia Strauss, were wrapped in a hand-woven silk shawl bearing a large reproduction of al-Jazeera’s test pattern. My art project, they informed me (it involved a narrative of radio transmission and network infiltration), met with their approval – that is, with the approval of the man himself, or at least (and perhaps equally importantly) of his aura.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Blanchot and Beckett's Letters

On the second volume of Samuel Beckett's Letters, 1941-1956
Stephen Mitchelmore draws connections between Beckett's writing and its wider French intellectual context: 'Soon Beckett’s stipulation that only letters with a bearing on his work can be published will be repeated as often as Kafka’s request to Max Brod. The difference is that we may regret Beckett’s executors were not so disloyal. What ever the riches the letters contain, we will always wonder about those bearing on the life. However, the latest volume stresses the unavoidable and indeed necessary nature of such wonder.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Remembering W.G. Sebald

Max: a Celebration · 14 December 2011
Photograph: David Gibbeson
Ready Steady Book has drawn attention to a forthcoming event, celebrating the work of writer W. G. Sebald: 'On the 10th anniversary of his death, a unique event celebrating the late, great writer W.G. Max Sebald; with Anthea Bell, Ian Bostridge, A.S. Byatt, Julius Drake (tbc), Ian Galbraith, Dan Gretton, Grant Gee, Rachel Lichtenstein, Christopher MacLehose, Katie Mitchell, Andrew Motion, Iain Sinclair, Will Stone, Bill Swainson, Marina Warner and Stephen Watts.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Dan Gunn on Samuel Beckett's Letters

Editor discusses his involvement in the ambitious project

This Side of the Pond, the blog of the Cambridge University Press in North America, is featuring an interview with one of the editors of Samuel Beckett's Letters: 'Dan Gunn, co-editor of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 2: 1941-1956 discusses Beckett’s relationship to fame, his engagement with the French language, and his unexpected bond with one of his chief correspondents.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Samuel Beckett's Reading List 1941-1956

Online blog compiles a list of the texts Beckett found interesting
Beckett on Camus' (pictured) novel, The Stranger: 'Try and read it, I think it is important'
This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press in North America, has compiled a list of Samuel Beckett's reading material from the latest edition of the Letters (1941-1956):
Andromaque by Jean Racine: “I read Andromaque again with greater admiration than ever and I think more understanding, at least more understanding of the chances of the theatre today.”

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne: “It is lively stuff.”

The Castle by Franz Kafka: “I felt at home, too much so – perhaps that is what stopped me from reading on. Case closed there and then.”

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: “I liked it very much indeed, more than anything for a long time.”

Crooked House by Agatha Christie: “very tired Christie”

Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane: “I read it for the fourth time the other day with the same old tears in the same old places.”

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Lautreamont and Sade by Maurice Blanchot: “Some excellent ideas, or rather starting-points for ideas, and a fair bit of verbiage, to be read quickly, not as a translator does. What emerges from it though is a truly gigantic Sade, jealous of Satan and of his eternal torments, and confronting nature more than with humankind.”

Man’s Fate by Andre Malraux

Mosquitoes by William Faulkner: “with a preface by Queneau that would make an ostrich puke”

Repeat Performance by William O’Farrell: “Excellent, once past the beginning.”

The Stranger by Albert Camus: “Try and read it, I think it is important.”

The Temptation to Exist by Emil Cioran: “Great stuff here and there. Must reread his first.”

The 628-E8 by Octave Mirbeau: “Damned good piece of work.” [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Krzysztof Penderecki: Horror Composer

Penderecki's music has been used to score a number of horror classics
Jack Nicholson stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980)
Tom Service writes: 'If you've seen Stanley Kubrick's The Shining more than a couple of times, or if you've been renewing your relationship with William Friedkin's The Exorcist over Halloween; if you've enjoyed Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island or marvelled at David Lynch's Inland Empire, I've got news for you. You're a Penderecki fan – even if you've never heard of Poland's most famous living composer.' [Read More]

Samuel Beckett Working Group 2012

University of Southampton · 7-9 September 2012
Samuel Beckett. Photograph: Roger Pic
Samuel Beckett Working Group
University of Southampton
7-9 September 2012

The Samuel Beckett Working Group will be meeting at three different locations in 2012: at the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) Annual Conference in Chile in July (contact Linda Ben-Zvi: lindabz@post.tau.ac.il), and in Tokyo, Japan in December, 2012 (contact Mariko Hori Tanaka: junsetsuan@orange.plala.or.jp).

Call for Auditors
You are invited to join the Samuel Beckett Working Group. There are limited places available for auditors. You will receive all the papers written by the presenters at the beginning of July, to give you time to read them carefully and consider the ideas presented and join in the discussions.

If you would be interested in joining us, please email me, Julie Campbell (convenor): j.campbell@soton.ac.uk. Let me know if you require B&B accommodation at the University. The rates are: Ensuite room: £35.25; Standard room: 26.50, and also let me how many nights you would want to stay (for example: Thursday to Monday or Friday to Sunday), so that the accommodation can be booked. The SBWG attendance fee (excluding the B&B accommodation) will be no higher than £75.00, and this includes lunch and refreshments. The plan is that we will go to a local restaurant for the evening meals.

The programme is planned to run from 10.30 am on Friday 7th to 5.30 pm on Sunday 9th. If you would like any further information do get in touch.

Call for Papers (Expired)
This call for papers is for the Working Group meeting taking place at the University of Southampton on the weekend of 7-9 September 2012. The Working Group topic will be ‘Samuel Beckett: Facing up to the Future.’ This topic covers areas such as

  • Formal experimentation
  • Approaches to different media
  • Adaptations from one medium to another
  • Tradition and innovation in critical approaches
  • The uses, abuses and undoing of existing traditions
  • Historicizing Beckett
  • Beckett in Performance
  • Beckett and Music, Visual Art and Film
  • New Critical Approaches to Beckett
Papers to be presented at the Working Group are distributed and read by all the participants ahead of the meeting. At the Working Group session presenters give short resumes of their work, followed by a lengthy discussion period of at least 30 minutes per paper. This is an extremely effective method, which allows ideas to be discussed, debated and evaluated, with participants suggesting directions for presenters’ works-in-progress. There is limited space for presenters, so do get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee a place; there will also be a limited space for auditors, who would also be sent the papers to read, and be encouraged to engage in the discussions during the sessions.

A Workshop is planned for Friday afternoon, and a performance of Beckett’s work on the Saturday evening.

If you are interested in joining the Working Group in Southampton, please do get in touch; you need to send a title and a short abstract by 31 December 2011 to Julie Campbell (convenor): j.campbell@soton.ac.uk

Papers (length 5,000 words) are to be distributed by the beginning of July, 2012.

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

Limit(e) Beckett: Samuel Beckett in Post-War France

Call for Papers: The third issue of Limit(e) Beckett

The intellectual, social and political climate of post-war France was explosive. From Charles de Gaulle to the May ’68 protests, from Bataille and Blanchot to existentialism and the difficult post-war reception of Heidegger, from the painful legacy of the war to the slow trickle of revelations about the Holocaust, from the Nouveau Roman and Oulipo to the Nouveau Réalisme and Fluxus, it was a period of experimentation and despair, in which the desire for renewal was balanced against the impossibility of moving beyond the recent past. This is the climate in which Samuel Beckett wrote his most famous works, the mature fiction and drama that would win him the Nobel Prize in 1969 and establish his reputation as one of the most influential writers of this period. Nonetheless, Beckett’s relationship to the political, intellectual and artistic climate of the period remains under-explored.

The publication of the second volume of Beckett’s letters, covering the period from 1941 to 1956, offers an exciting opportunity to revisit this relationship in the light of the new evidence it provides about his relationships, his thinking, even his handling of practical and administrative tasks. To coincide with their publication, Limit(e) Beckett seeks articles that situate Beckett in relation to any aspect of post-war France, with or without reference to the letters. We are looking for papers that explore both the historical conditions under which Beckett wrote, and the conditions that determine how the texts were read. We encourage contributions from a variety of perspectives, from the archival to the theoretical, from the biographical to the critical, from the comparative to the contextual. Suggestions for topics include but are not limited to:
  • Beckett’s relationship to post-war French thought;
  • Beckett’s engagement with post-war French politics, up to and including May ’68;
  • the residue of war in Beckett’s fiction and plays;
  • re-evaluations of Beckett’s relationship to existentialism and ‘absurdism’;
  • Beckett and the Holocaust;
  • Beckett’s relationship to the Paris art scene, and to new developments in the arts;
  • the production history of the plays in the context of the French theatre world;
  • translation, self-translation, the turn to French, and the politics of language in post-war France;
  • Beckett’s importance for structuralism, post-structuralism and ‘French theory’;
  • Beckett’s relationship to post-war French literature;
  • the rejection of Ireland and/or its persistence in his work. 
Submissions should be sent to limitebeckett@gmail.com by 14 February, 2012. Articles should conform to the guidelines set out on our website, and will be subject to peer review.

Please note that Limit(e) Beckett is now also accepting unthemed submissions on any scholarly topic relating to Beckett. Completed articles should be sent to limitebeckett@gmail.com. There is no deadline for these, and articles will be reviewed as they are received, with accepted submissions published in the next available issue.

For further information or to read the journal, please visit http://limitebeckett.paris-sorbonne.fr/.

Also at A Piece of Monologue:
  • Writers: Samuel Beckett
  • Beckett and the 'State' of Ireland Conference (2012)

    University College Dublin · 13-14 July 2012

    Beckett and the 'State' of Ireland Conference
    Irish Beckett – Global Beckett
    University College Dublin
    13-14 July 2012
    Famous throughout civilised world and Irish Free State
    Samuel Beckett, Murphy
    Somewhere on the Ballyogan Road in lieu of nowhere in particular
    Samuel Beckett, Company
    Call for Papers

    Samuel Beckett’s relationship to his native country continues to be one of the most exciting areas within Beckett studies, evident in the growing number of publications dealing with this concern and in the enthusiastic responses to this year’s UCD Beckett and the State of Ireland Conference and the inaugural Samuel Beckett Summer School held at Trinity College. Following the success of the 2011 conference, the organisers of Beckett and the State of Ireland are pleased to announce that the event will take place in 2012 on Friday July 13 and Saturday July 14.

    This year’s conference demonstrated the richness and variety of work being undertaken in relation to the Irish Beckett, especially concerning Beckett’s Irish Protestant background, the role of Irish myth in Beckett’s work and the negotiation in the early texts of the political and social life of the Irish Free State. In the hope of developing these and other discussions, the organisers invite papers from graduate researchers and professional scholars concerning all facets of Beckett’s relationship to Ireland. A central objective of the conference is to facilitate an interface between understandings of Beckett in Irish studies and those which circulate in the Beckett community. In particular, we welcome papers which address how Beckett’s Irishness influences the international nature of his work.

    Topics may include but are not restricted to:
    • Beckett and Nation
    • Beckett and Bilingualism / Translation
    • Beckett and Franco-Irish Studies
    • Beckett and Contemporary Ireland
    • Beckett’s Influence
    • Beckett and Diaspora
    • Beckett and the Revival
    Abstracts not exceeding 300 words for 20 minute papers should be emailed to: Beckettconference2012@gmail.com. The deadline for proposals is Friday 24 February 2012.

    Website: http://beckettucd.wordpress.com/

    Also at A Piece of Monologue:

    David Lynch in Paris

    Lynch talks to Xan Brooks about life after film
    David Lynch in Paris. Photograph: Hugo Mayer
    Xan Brooks of The Guardian interviews David Lynch about the death of film, meditation, coffee, and his recent album, Crazy Clown Time [Read More]

    Also at A Piece of Monologue:

    Assuming Gender Special Issue: Bodies

    New issue of free online academic journal now available

    Assuming Gender is a Cardiff University project, comprising a journal, seminar, and lecture series. This interdisciplinary project is dedicated to the timely analysis of constructions of gendered texts, practices, and subjectivities and seeks to engage with contemporary conceptions of gender, while participating in the dialogues and tensions that maintain the urgency of such conversations. The new issue consists of the following articles and reviews, all free to download online as PDF files:


    Also at A Piece of Monologue:

    Post – : Remembering, Binding, Afterness

    Brown University in Rhode Island · 29 March - 1 April 2012
    Photograph: Ralph Gibson
    Panel Title: Post – : Remembering, Binding, Afterness
    Conference: American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2012
    Location: Brown University in Rhode Island
    Date of Conference: 29 March - 1 April 2012
    Conference Title: Collapse/Catastrophe/Change

    Organizers: Natalie Strobach and Michael Graziano at University of California Davis

    Deadline for Paper Submissions: November 15th, 2011 at 5pm Eastern Standard Time

    Building off of this year’s ACLA theme of “Collapse/Catastrophe/Change,” this panel seeks to explore the space left in the wake of these three Cs. What remnants or remainders are left in their afterness? How do we mark the time of these events or the coming of these events? This panel will take as its starting point the act of mourning which is called to recognize these events, as well as the naming of the events. We will also call into question the act of remembering as binding. How is writing the space of afterness; can writing stitch together what remains of a collapse? Does the mere recording of the event eternalize it or memorialize it? How does catastrophe call us to bind together the spaces that surround and make them anew?

    Take as an example the writing we have seen after disaster, from Japanese intellectuals responding to the Great Kanto Earthquake—called to reimagine Tokyo, to the Frankfurt School theorists attempting to reconceptualize humanity after World War II. We are looking for papers that respond to either the attempt to recreate continuity in a discontinuous world, or to those precise portraits of temporality and the triumphs and travails over the catastrophic atemporal and discontinuous space. This panel looks to take into consideration work on trauma studies, spatiality, and area studies of any region.

    Topics may include:
    • Afterlife
    • Memory
    • Book Binding
    • Mapping
    • Topography
    • The Book
    • Formal Experimentation
    • Post-Humanism
    Papers must be submitted through the ACLA website here: http://www.acla.org/submit/index.php

    Remember to specify which panel you are submitting to in the Seminar drop-down box. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact nstrobach@ucdavis.edu.