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Beckett as Muse for Egyptian Playwrights

Rereading the Theatre of the Absurd as Revolt

Amina ElHalawani


In 1962, Beckett’s theatre debuted in Egypt and, ever since, it has inspired Egyptian playwrights. This paper examines how two Egyptian writers engaged with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, as an example of both Beckett’s work and so-named absurdist theater, revealing it to have more potential for political and social engagement than traditionally understood. Masir Sursar [Fate of a Cockroach] by Tawfiq Al-Hakim and Musafir Layl [Night Traveller] by Salah Abdul Saboor make a good case study of these effects.

“Choose Your Horror”

An Introduction to Beckett’s Political Aesthetic on the International Stage

James McNaughton

Cybernetic Syntax

Beckett’s “Rhythm of Doubt” in J.M. Coetzee’s Early Novels

Hunter Dukes


This article unfolds what J.M. Coetzee terms “the rhythm of doubt” in Watt—a procedure that parallels cybernetic ideas about feedback and control. A careful reading of Coetzee’s doctoral dissertation, a stylostatistic analysis of Beckett’s English fiction, reveals what the young scholar and novelist labels the syntax of “A against B,” which he puts to use in his early novels. The rhythm of doubt ultimately takes on a political slant in these works, as it becomes associated with (potentially) violent actions performed in the service of perceived rationality.

Charlotta Palmstierna Einarsson


This article uses Beckett’s directorial comments on the screened version of What Where (1982), as a point of departure for teasing out the poetic logic of Beckett’s attention to the formal aspects of the stage image. By having formal aspects take precedence over linguistic expression, Beckett refuses closure on the level of language and makes more authentic acts of judgment possible. Such ‘emancipatory aesthetics’ promotes intellectual freedom, a liberating aspect of Beckett’s work sometimes neglected.

From Waiting for Godot to Andrzej Stasiuk

Three Approaches to Beckett in Poland

Tomasz Wiśniewski and Katarzyna Kręglewska


Beckett’s importance for Polish culture was established by the first production of Waiting for Godot in 1957. Since then, his significance has evolved in aesthetic, social and political terms. This may be illustrated by a model that focuses on: 1) the post-war sense of frustrated expectations (Waiting for Godot); 2) the approaching fall of the Iron Curtain (Catastrophe); and 3) a contemporary search for a new geo-political identity (“neither”). Direct and indirect parallels between Beckett and Polish artists are discussed (Jerzy Kreczmar, Antoni Libera, and Andrzej Stasiuk).

“Nothing is Left to Tell”

Beckettian Despair and Hope in the Arab World

Hania A.M. Nashef


In the Arab world, Beckett’s plays or their adaptations have not only been popular with audiences and directors but have also inspired other literary and media genres. The Beckettian wait itself has become synonymous with the condition of the Arab person. It is a wait that offers an unrealized potential of hope that reverberates with the diminishing prospects of the Beckettian protagonist. In this paper, I discuss how in times of war, migrations, and despair, performances of Beckett’s plays abound.

Une Catastrophe de Rien du tout ou De “l’ anarchie de l’ imagination”

Les artistes Maya Schweizer et Clemens von Wedemeyer répondent avec Beckett et Fassbinder aux émeutes des banlieues

Carla Taban


Au début de 2006 les artistes Maya Schweizer et Clemens von Wedemeyer ont tourné le film Rien du tout avec la collaboration des élèves d’ un lycée local, dans une banlieue parisienne semblable à celles que des émeutes ont ébranlées en novembre 2005. Employant un riche réseau de références artistiques et culturelles, parmi lesquelles Catastrophe de Beckett et les films de Fassbinder sont les plus saillantes, Rien du tout raconte l’ histoire d’ une réalisatrice autoritaire et de son dispositif cinématographique dont la domination est finalement détournée par des figurants rétifs. L’ image éphémère d’ une société hybride et égalitaire est offerte au spectateur pour qu’ il l’ examine et la compare avec la sienne propre.

“A Worthless Reptile”

The Turkish Language Reforms and Samuel Beckett

Gabriel Quigley


During the 1960s and 70s, direct invocations of Beckett’s texts began to appear in works by writers belonging to a Turkish literary movement called bunalim edebiyati, or Literature of Despair. These writers were critical of the Turkish republic; their productions also coincided with the formation of social movements that sought to address the sociocultural effects of the Turkish language reforms. This paper argues that Beckett’s method and thematic engagement with self-translation informed how Turkish writers negotiated language reforms in their own writing. Writers examined include Adalet Ağaoğlu and Ferhan Şensoy as well as Beckett productions by Barbara Hutt.

Written in Sand

Beckett, Aesthetics, and Postcoloniality in Mohammed Dib’s Le désert sans détour

Neil Doshi


This article reinterprets the Algerian writer Mohammed Dib’s 1992 novel Le désert sans détour through the analysis of its reference to Samuel Beckett’s En attendant Godot. I argue that for Dib, Beckett offers an important model for a post-revolutionary politics that expresses extreme skepticism over clichéd notions of historical progress and universal humanism. Recuperating this ignored Beckettian strand in Dib’s novel, I revise the critical reception that has read the text as apolitical and focused on spirituality. I offer a better understanding of Dib’s aesthetic as one emerging out of a dialectical tension between discourses of Sufi illumination and a Beckettian politics radically enmeshed in the world.