French existentialist was 'not a strong philosopher'
(Link via Maud Newton.)
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
|John Hurt in Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape (dir. Atom Egoyan)|
Beckett is the Type IIb artist, keenly self-aware, and attuned to the dangers of illusion and delusion found at every turn in the work on one’s self, on the road to health. For Beckett, it is neither the fire in him, nor yet the fire he passes through that matters. It is the passage itself.Also at A Piece of Monologue:
There are no guarantees as to what awaits us on the other side, but can the alternative—to avoid this challenge—truly be called living?
|Yahia Lababidi, Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing|
Essai is French for “trial.” In his collected Essais, published in 1580, Michel de Montaigne admirably set out to interrogate and discover himself and, in the process, minted a new literary form: the essay. “I cannot give an account of my life by my actions… I do so by my thoughts,” he stated in his celebrated essay, On Vanity (though he may as well have been declaring the intent of his entire project). In “How Beautiful It Is…” a more recent practitioner of this literary art, Daniel Mendelsohn, offers us another useful etymology: namely that ‘the word critic is indirectly derived from the Classical Greek word krino, “to judge.” Mendelsohn then goes on to introduce his work thus: “This book is a collection of judgments: which is to say, a collection of essays by a critic.” [...] These are my trials, where I am simultaneously scratching my head and my pen across paper, to determine what I think about a given subject.Publisher's website: The Humanities: Yahia Lababidi, Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing
|Things Unspeakable: Theatre after 1945|
|Oscar Wilde. Photograph: Corbis|
|Slavoj Žižek (left) and Alain Badiou (right)|
|Bob Donlin, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, Robert La Vigne, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, San Francisco 1956|
Standing in front of City Lights Bookshop
In 2006, after three years of writing, University of Missouri-Kansas City professor Stephen John Dilks completed a manuscript, “Samuel Beckett in the Literary Marketplace.” After reading it, the Beckett estate prevented its release, believing that publication would change the image of Beckett, winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the 20th century’s well-known literary figures, as a reclusive writer who shunned the spotlight.Who would have thought a study of this kind could cause such controversy? Keen to get the scoop on this latest piece of Beckett-gossip, I got in touch with the professor supposedly in opposition to Dilks' new book, Mary Bryden. She responded succinctly: 'Just to confirm that my feathers are perfectly smooth. Steve is a fine scholar, and I'm looking forward to reading his book.' So, I suppose that settles it. I would like to add, I'm looking forward to reading it, too.
“He hated publicity,” Dilks says, “but he seemed to get a lot of it.”
Without the Beckett estate’s blessing — or the ability to republish any of Beckett’s 15,000 letters — Dilks rewrote his book, sticking with the idea that the author of “Waiting for Godot” and other modernist works took an active role in perpetuating the myth of a reclusive writer who cared little for money or fame.
Dilks’ book, just published by Syracuse University Press ($45), looks at the playwright’s life during 1929-1969, the period in which the majority of his works were published.
Beckett died in 1989, and Dilks got his idea after reading obituaries.
“All the obituaries said he hated to be photographed,” Dilks says, “but each one had a different photograph of him.”
As Dilks looked into this incongruity, he found that the way Beckett was photographed was similar to that of a movie star — posed and carefully crafted by his personal photographer, John Minihan, to perpetuate an aura of celebrity.
Dilks writes that the methods used for these photos “documents a moment in his private life in order to reinforce his public image as a man averse to intrusions into his public life.”
Aside from using photographs, Dilks looked at royalty statements, book contracts and other business-related documents archived in places like Trinity College in Dublin and Reading University. The documents show that Beckett worked with agents and book publishers to perpetuate a mysterious persona and gain a larger share of the literary marketplace.
Dilks’ findings have ruffled some feathers, especially on the other side of the Atlantic.
“In England,” he says, “they seemed interested in someone who had no interest in fame or money.”
A 1991 article on Beckett in the British newspaper Evening Standard contained a quote from Mary Bryden, a University of Reading professor and the current president of the Samuel Beckett Society, saying, “He was never very interested in money.”
To Dilks, his book just fills in the gaps left by other Beckett biographies, most notably James Knowlson’s “Damned to Fame,” which Beckett himself requested be written.
“It really is a biography of Beckett as a professional writer,” says Dilks of his book. “It supplements the other biographies.”
In June, Dilks, a British native who landed at UMKC in 1997, will be attending a conference at the University of York, in England, to present a summary of his work to possible critics like Bryden. He knows winning the support from other Beckett supporters will be a tough task. [Read more]
"Pinter leaves me speechless. Just unbelievable. A poem like 'American Football' or 'The Disappeared'. TS Eliot of course. Ted Hughes. WB Yeats. James Joyce." She leans forward, freshly excited. "Just that feeling of reading something profound and having your breath quite literally taken away by the end of a piece. I'm reading John Burnside's poems at the moment. Do you know his work? I'm getting that feeling – just reaching the end of every poem, going 'Oh my God!'" She clutches her chest and laughs. "And all of these writers offer me a greater understanding of what it is to be alive, and that is such an incredible thing art can do for other people. It made me want to try and get close to this strange, mysterious thing that people can do with words." [Read more]Source: Dorian Lynskey, 'PJ Harvey: 'I feel things deeply. I get angry, I shout at the TV, I feel sick', The Observer, 24 April 2011
|James Joyce. Photograph: Roger Viollet/AFP/Getty|
|Samuel Beckett relaxes on the set of Film (1964)|
|10.30 - 11.00||Coffee|
|11.00 - 11.30||Peter Fifield, St John’s College, Oxford |
‘“Loss and limitless degradation”: Beckett and Bataille’
|11.30 - 12.00||Discussion|
|12.00 - 12.30||John Pilling, University of Reading |
‘“A faded kaleidoscope”: Beckett and Sainte-Beuve’s Volupté’
|12.30 - 13.00||Discussion|
|13.00 - 14.30||Lunch|
|14.30 - 15.00||Derval Tubridy, Goldsmiths College |
‘Bun-Ching Lam’s and Beckett’s Quatre Poèmes/Four Songs: Music, Image, Text’’
|15.30 - 16.00||Sean Kennedy, St Mary’s University, Halifax |
‘Edmund Spenser, famine memory and the discontents of humanism in Endgame’
|16.00 - 16.30||Discussion|