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