Beckett and the ‚State‘ of Ireland

Beckett at Reading 2013:  An International Conference

Beckett at Reading 2013
Minghella Building
The University of Reading
4-7 April 2013

Celebrating 25 years of the Beckett International Foundation
Organised by the departments of English Literature, Art, and Film, Theatre and Television

In 1988, with the support of Samuel Beckett, James Knowlson established the Beckett International Foundation as a charitable trust. The Foundation’s objective is to promote the work of Samuel Beckett and to look after the Beckett Collection at the University of Reading, which originated in the Samuel Beckett Exhibition of 1971 and is now the most extensive collection of Beckett materials in the world.

To celebrate 25 years of the Foundation, we are excited to announce that we are hosting an academic conference with established and emerging scholars. There will also be an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of the premiere of En attendant Godot and film screenings. The highlight of our evening programme is a reading of Beckett’s poetry and prose by Barry McGovern, world renowned for his interpretations of Samuel Beckett’s work. We look forward to welcoming old and new friends and colleagues to mark this anniversary.


Registration for the event is via the University of Reading online store:

On this site you will be able to register for the entire conference (four days) or for individual days, as well as for the conference dinner on Saturday evening. Attendance to the Friday evening event, ‘Barry McGovern reads Beckett’s poetry and prose’, is included in the full delegate fee as well as the Friday day fee.

Conference Programme

Thursday 4 April 2013

10.00 – 10.30 Registration / Coffee
10.30 – 10.45 Opening Addresses: Jim Knowlson (Founder, Beckett International Foundation); Mark Nixon (Director, Beckett International Foundation)
10.45 – 12.15 Plenary Session 1: Beckett, Psychologies (Chair: Peter Fifield)
Conor Carville (University of Reading): Bion’s Indifference and Geoffrey’s Smile:Murphy, Psychotherapy and British Psychiatry in the 1930s
Siobhán Purcell (National University of Ireland, Galway): ‚No more than the tumultuous coenaesthesis (bravo!) of the degenerate subject‘: Reading degeneracy in Beckett’s early fiction
Adam Winstanley (University of York): ‚Want of Stomach‘: Exhaustion, Linguistic Constipation and Samuel Beckett’s Watt
12.15 – 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 15.00 Plenary Session 2: Beckett and post-war Art (Chair: John Pilling)
Kevin Brazil (New College, Oxford University): War Games: Beckett versus Lacan
Tim Lawrence (University of York): Beckett’s Essays in Transition: More Dialogues with Georges Duthuit
Lachlan Montgomery (University of New South Wales): The Influence of Language on Visual Representation in Beckett’s Art Criticism
15.00 – 15.30 Coffee
15.30 – 17.00 Plenary Session 3: Staging Beckett (Chair: Anna McMullan)
Trish McTighe (University of Reading): In Connemara: Domesticating the work of Samuel Beckett on the Irish Stage
Matthew McFrederick (University of Reading): Double-Acts in Waiting for Godot: Music Hall and Movie Stars on the London Stage
David Tucker (University of Chester): The Samuel Beckett Theatre, Oxford, c.1967-71
18.30 – 21.00 Launch of Exhibition ‚Godot at 60‘ (Curator: Jonathan Dronsfield) / Buffet Dinner
Location: Central Gallery, TOB1

Friday 5 April 2013

09.00 – 09.30 Registration / Coffee
09.30 – 11.00 Plenary Session 4: Contexts (Chair: TBC)
Matthijs Engelberts (University of Amsterdam): Beckett et les couleurs nationales
Everett Frost (Reading): ‚An isolationism that for me was not so very splendid‘: Why Arnold Geulincx rather than Thomas à Kempis became a key to Samuel Beckett’s Work
Paul Stewart (University of Nicosia): Queer Relations in Beckett’s Post-war Prose
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee
11.30 – 13.00 Plenary Session 5: Manuscripts (Chair: Shane Weller)
Pim Verhulst (University of Antwerp): ‚Just howls from time to time‘: dating Beckett’sPochade radiophonique
María José Carrera (University of Valladolid): A proposal towards a chronological sequence of Samuel Beckett’s notes in preparation for An Anthology of Mexican Poetry
John Pilling (University of Reading): Six Notebooks in Search of a Novel
13.00 – 14.15 Lunch
14.15 – 15.45 Plenary Session 6: Beckett and Art (Chair: Conor Carville)
Georgina Nugent-Folan (Trinity College Dublin): Samuel Beckett, Gertrude Stein, and Paul Cézanne’s La Montagne Sainte-Victoire
Jim Knowlson (University of Reading): ‚As though turned to stone…‘: Beckett’s theatrical images and medieval sculpture
Carla Taban (University of Toronto): Waiting for Godot in Contemporary Art
15.45 – 16.15 Coffee
16.15 – 17.30 Screenings (introduced by Gaby Hartel)
Marin Karmitz: Comédie
Abstract Machines: The Televisual Beckett; a practice-based research project byMatthew Causey and Nicholas Johnson
20.00 – Barry McGovern reads Beckett’s poetry and prose

Saturday 6 April 2013

09.00 – 09.30 Registration / Coffee
09.30 – 11.00 Plenary Session 7: Spaces (Chair: Steven Matthews)
Rhys Tranter (Cardiff University): ‚without solution of continuity‘: That Time and Trauma Memoir
Amanda Dennis (University of California, Berkeley): Fiction’s Limit: Aporia and the Geness of Space in L’Innomable
Yoshiyuki Inoue (Meiji University, Tokyo): Tunnelling imagination in Beckett’s later fiction
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee
11.30 – 13.00 Plenary Session 8: Beckett and Digital Humanities (Chair: Mark Nixon)
Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp): Digital Denarration: Unending L’Innomable
13.00 – 14.15 Lunch
14.15 – 15.45 Plenary Session 9: (Adapting) Texts (Chair: Nicholas Johnson)
Barry McGovern (Dublin): Watt now?
Shane Weller (University of Kent): „Beckett the Adapter“
16.00 – 17.00 Official launch of Beckett Digital Manuscript Project 2 / Wine Reception
19.30 – 15.00 Conference Dinner
Location: Blandford Restaurant, Park House

Sunday 7 April 2013

10.00 – 10.30 Registration / Coffee
10.30 – 12.00 Plenary Session 10: Beckett, Medicine and the Language of Modernism (Chair: Mary Bryden)
Elizabeth Barry (University of Warwick): ‚I’ve been waiting for it all my life‘: Samuel Beckett and the Phenomenology of Old Age
Ulrika Maude (University of Bristol): ‚the whole machine‘: Beckett, Bergson and Medicine
Laura Salisbury (Birkbeck College, University of London): Beckett’s Gloria SMH: Language, Encryption, Modernism
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch
13.00 – 14.30 Plenary Session 11: Media (Chair: Graham Saunders)
Mischa Twitchin (Goldsmiths College): Medium matters: the bare bones
Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading): Performing right: legal constraints and BBC TV adaptations of Beckett’s plays
Nicholas Johnson (Trinity College Dublin): Theatre of the Unword: Censorship, Hegemony, and Samuel Beckett
14.30 – 15.00 Conference Closure

Recommended Accomodation

On-Campus Accommodation
The Cedars Hotel
Newly refurbished rooms situated minutes from the Minghella Building where the conference will be held. Ensuite rooms at the following rates:
Weekdays (Sunday to Thursday): £69.60
Weekends (Friday and Saturday): £54
Breakfast available for £9
To book please visit the website at:
Or phone: +44 (0)118 378 8906

Off-Campus Accommodation
Premier Inn Central Reading
5 minutes by bus or a 15 minute walk from the campus.
Room only from £35 (Prepaid with no refund if cancelled)
Breakfast available for £9.

Ibis Reading
10 minutes by bus from the campus.
Room only from £38 (Prepaid with no refund if cancelled)
Breakfast available for £7.95


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