Browse results

Beckett as Muse for Egyptian Playwrights

Rereading the Theatre of the Absurd as Revolt

Amina ElHalawani

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Résumé

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Sabine Weber

Zeitlebens beschäftigt sich der Romancier Gustave Flaubert intensiv mit Denk- und Vorstellungsformen von Endlichkeit und Abschied. In seinem literarischen Werk setzt er dem Tod, der radikalen Sinnvernichtung, ein Kunstwerk entgegen, das sich in der ästhetischen Überformung des toten weiblichen Körpers zeigt.

Wie auf einer Schaubühne ist der Leichnam Emma Bovarys hinter Vorhängen aufgebahrt. Eine kalte Aura umgibt das Todestableau der karthagischen Prinzessin Salammbô. Die kühle Darstellungsform des Flaubertschen Erzählers erscheint ohne Mitleid. Flauberts Romanfiguren beklagen den Tod im leeren Pathos, in verstellten Trauergebärden, die an ein Schauspiel erinnern. Kulturelle Formen des Abschieds und des Angedenkens werden als scheinhafte Inszenierungen aufgedeckt. An ihre Stelle rückt eine unheimliche Todesvergegenwärtigung in Form eines schwarzen Abgrunds, in dem die Grenzen des Sicht- und Vorstellbaren gesprengt sind und aus dem der Künstler selbst schöpft.

Sabine Weber

Sabine Weber

Violence de l'interprétation (XVIe-XVIIe s).

Le texte devant l'inquisition

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Edited by Anne Duprat

This collection of essays aims to measure the minimum scope for interpretation, with reference to texts produced under absolute constraints: those governing the trials of the Spanish Inquisition, as well as trials for witchcraft and libertinage, in polemical writings during the French wars of religion, or in the words of common law convicts in Italy and England.
Written by ten specialists in Early Modern literature and edited by Anne Duprat, these studies examine the violence inflicted on certain texts via the act of interpretation, and the means of resistance used in response. The essays illustrate how the violence of interpretation can also create the conditions necessary for the text to take on meaning.

Cet essai collectif propose de mesurer l’espace minimal nécessaire au déploiement d’une interprétation, à partir de textes produits sous une contrainte absolue : celle des procès d’Inquisition espagnols, mais aussi des procès pour sorcellerie ou libertinage, dans l’écriture polémique des guerres de religion en France, ou dans la parole de condamnés de droit commun en Italie et en Angleterre.
Produites par dix spécialistes de littérature des XVIe et XVIIe siècle, ces études réunies par Anne Duprat interrogent la violence qu’exerce l’interprétation sur certains textes, et les modes de résistance qu’ils déploient face à elle. Elles permettent de comprendre comment cette violence, qui fait dire à un texte ce qu’elle veut, peut aussi construire les conditions de possibilité de son sens.

Schmutz

Ästhetik und Epistemologie eines Motivs in Literaturen und Kulturtheorien der Karibik

Isabel Exner

Schmutz ist Materie am falschen Ort, eine Kategorie, die nur existiert, weil sie sich Platzanweisungen kultureller Ordnungen widersetzt. Eine Ästhetik des Schmutzigen artikuliert sich in Aushandlungen von kulturellen Formen und Normen, sozialen und politischen Machtkonstellationen.
Das Buch untersucht die Beziehungen zwischen ästhetischen Modellen und Modellen des Zusammenlebens, die über den prominenten textuellen Ort von ›Schmutz‹ in karibischen Literaturen ausgehandelt werden. In der Karibik wurde die figurative Korrelation zwischen Schmutz, Abfall, Unreinheit und Gesellschaft im Kontext des Kolonialismus v.a. zur Rechtfertigung rassistischer Unterdrückungspraktiken instrumentalisiert. Ende des 20. Jh.s dominieren Entwürfe, die positiv Bezug auf Motivik und Metaphorik der ›Unreinheit‹ nehmen. Mit schmutzigem Realismus und karibischem Cyberpunk wird die Präferenz von Unreinheitsmodellen als imaginative Basis von Kultur(-kritik) allerdings hinterfragt.

Communards and Other Cultural Histories

Essays by Adrian Rifkin

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Adrian Rifkin

Edited by Steve Edwards

This collection of some 32 articles and essays by Adrian Rifkin were written over a period of forty years. It contains innovative and influential studies of the archives of art, urbanism, music and popular life in France and Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Arranged around a number of studies of the representation of the Paris Commune, the book also contains chapters on Edith Piaf’s role in French culture, histories of art education, opera and queer life in the city as well as analytical accounts of the commodity and cultural theory in Adorno and Benjamin. An extended introduction by Steve Edwards works over the questions of uneven time in Marxist cultural theory and the disciplinary formations that underpin many of Rifkin’s essays.

Jacques Réda

Being There, Almost

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Aaron Prevots

In Jacques Réda: Being There, Almost, Aaron Prevots studies the work of this major contemporary French writer since the 1950s—poetry, novels, literary essays, short prose, jazz histories. He particularly examines Réda’s explorations of place, including how the ‘world’s energy’ becomes the ideal dancing partner, poetry incarnate in one’s arms.
Réda embodies ‘being there, almost’ because he wanders with great wisdom yet renounces any glory in this metaphorical dance. He aligns us with the outer world’s rhythms and time’s passage. Fleeting waves of perception create a voluptuous, unified whole. In considering the arc of Réda’s works from 1952-2015, Aaron Prevots locates a progression from post-Baudelairean flânerie to commemoration of childhood, classical antiquity, fellow writers, jazz, physics, swing, theology, and trains.

The Persistence of the Human

Consciousness, Meta-body and Survival in Contemporary Film and Literature

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Matthew Escobar

Recent narrative fiction and film increasingly exploit, explore and thematize the embodied mind, revealing the tenacity of a certain brand of humanism. The presence of narratively based concepts of personal identity even in texts which explore posthuman possibilities is strong proof that our basic understanding of what it means to be human has, despite appearances, remained mostly unchanged. This is so even though our perception of time has been greatly modified by the same technology which both interrupts and allows for the rearrangement of our experience of time at a rate and a level of ease which, until recently, had never been possible.

Basing his views on a long line of philosophers and literary theorists such as Paul Ricoeur, Daniel Dennett and Francisco Varela, Escobar maintains in The Persistence of the Human that narrative plays an essential role in the process of constituting and maintaining a sense of self. It is narrative’s effect on the embodied mind which gives it such force. Narrative projects us into possible spaces, shaping a temporary corporeality termed the “meta-body,” a hybrid shared by the lived body and an imagined corporeal sense. The meta-body is a secondary embodiment that we inhabit for however long our narrative immersion lasts – something which, in today’s world, may be a question of milliseconds or hours. The more agreeable the meta-body is, the less happy we are upon being abruptly removed from it, though the return is essential.

We want to be able to slip back and forth between this secondary embodiment and that of our lived body; each move entails both forgetting and remembering different subject positions (loss and recuperation being salient themes in the works which highlight this process). The negotiation of the transfer between these states is shaped by culture and technology and this is something which is precisely in flux now as multiple, ephemeral narrative immersion experiences are created by the different screens we come into contact with.

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Beatrijs Vanacker

In Altérité et identité dans les « histoires anglaises » au XVIIIe siècle. Contexte(s), réception et discours Beatrijs Vanacker offers new insights into the widespread Anglomania-movement that pervaded French literary and cultural life during the 18th century. She examines the ambivalent discourse on literary and cultural “Englishness” as it took form in a wide array of non-fictional textual practices (French travel literature, literary journals,…). She also analyses the sociocultural and literary dynamics at work in a corpus of histoires angloises, by making use of concepts drawn from the fields of discourse analysis and Imagology.

Dans Altérité et identité dans les « histoires anglaises » au XVIIIe siècle. Contexte(s), réception et discours Beatrijs Vanacker présente une vue inédite sur le mouvement d’Anglomanie qui a inondé la littérature et la culture françaises au XVIIIe siècle. Cet ouvrage contient une étude du discours ambivalent au sujet de l’anglicité, littéraire et culturelle, tel qu’il prit forme dans les récits de voyage et les journaux littéraires en France, et présente une analyse des dynamismes socio-culturels et littéraires mis en œuvre dans un corpus d’histoires angloises, ayant recours à des concepts de l’analyse du discours et de l’Imagologie.

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Scott Shinabargar

If the transgressions of modern French poetry have been amply noted at thematic and formal levels, they remain largely unremarked at the most visceral level of reading. Indebted to, while problematizing the Kristevan concept of sémiotique, Scott Shinabargar’s The Revolting Body of Poetry reveals how the very “matter” of key works forces us to enact these transgressions, when articulating textures of offensive lexica and imagery. While certain phonemes provide access to previously untapped forces, first apparent in Baudelaire and Lautréamont, compulsive repetitions produce expressive inflation, diffusing any initial impact. Césaire and Char, however, demonstrate an acquired control of these forces, intensity contained. Shinabargar concludes with a survey of contemporary poets, inviting readers to consider the legacy of revolting poetics.

Rousseau et la Bible

Pensée du religieux d'un Philosophe des Lumières

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Geneviève Di Rosa

Le rapport au texte biblique est de toute évidence une voie d’entrée privilégiée pour qui veut étudier les représentations du religieux au XVIIIe siècle. A un moment où une méfiance bien plus ancienne vis-à-vis de L’Ancien Testament s’étend pareillement au Nouveau perçu lui aussi comme fabrique et donc, pour une part au moins, comme imposture, le cas Rousseau montre exemplairement comment la Bible, pour être de moins en moins appréhendée comme une Vérité Révélée, reste toujours un intertexte littéraire de toute première grandeur et sans doute même plus influent que jamais. La présente étude interroge donc les diverses représentations de Jean-Jacques lecteur de la Bible, ses réécritures de narrations bibliques et le retour, tout au long de son oeuvre, de schèmes de pensée chrétiens et christiques.

The relation to the Biblical text is a privileged starting point for anyone interested in studying eighteenth-century religious representations. At a time when an old suspicion towards The Old Testament reverberates on The New Testament which is also perceived as man-made and thus partly as a sham, the example of Rousseau demonstrates how the Bible, although less and less considered as a Revealed Truth, remains a primary literary intertext, probably more influent than ever. The present study interrogates the different representations of Jean-Jacques as a reader of the Bible, his rewritings of Biblical narratives and the presence of Christian and Christ-like ways of thinking throughout his work.

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Charlène Deharbe

Tout semble opposer le théâtre au récit de soi. Le premier se rattache aux arts du spectacle, tandis que le second relève de l’intime. Genre littéraire emblématique du XVIIIe siècle, le roman-mémoires invite à dépasser cette opposition. S’il place l’expérience vécue au cœur de son écriture, il s’approprie également le langage de la scène comique ou tragique au profit d’une fiction de l’intériorité. Ce livre montre ce que le roman-mémoires doit au théâtre, en étudiant comment son écriture s’élabore à partir de différents emprunts et procédés caractéristiques de la scène. En s’inventant au sein d’une culture dominée par le goût du spectacle, ce genre lègue ainsi à la littérature à venir les éléments constitutifs d’un langage de l’intime.

Theatre and fictional memoir are supposedly opposites: the former has to do with the performing arts, while the latter focuses on the intimate side of life. A literary genre emblematic of the eighteenth century, fictional memoir invites readers to move beyond this assumption. Although lived experience is at the heart of the memoir, such fiction also appropriates the language of comedy or tragedy for the benefit of a novel of interiority. This book highlights fictional memoir’s debt to the theatre, while examining how its writing developed based on various borrowings and processes characteristic of the stage. By self-inventing within a culture dominated by enthusiasm for stage performance, this genre thereby endowed future literature with the constitutive elements of a language of the intimate.

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Edited by Claire Davison-Pégon and Gerri Kimber

Katherine Mansfield’s French Lives explores how both the literary, cultural, editorial and biographical influence of French arts and philosophy, and life as an émigré in France shaped Mansfield’s evolution as a key modernist writer, while setting her within the geographies and cultural dynamics of Anglo-French modernism.

Mansfield’s many stays in France were decisive in intellectual, personal and psychological terms: discovering ‘Murry’s Paris’ and the Left Bank; escaping to the War Zone to join Francis Carco; living as a civilian in wartime during the bombardments of Paris; travelling and finding lodgings as a single woman in war-ravaged towns; the experience of bereavement and debilitating ill-health abroad; and the joys and pitfalls for an outsider of a foreign land and idiom.

Racines et déracinements au grand écran

Trajectoires migratoires dans le cinéma français du XXIème siècle

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Edited by Marianne Bessy and Carole Salmon

Racines et déracinements au grand écran examine les représentations de la migration dans le cinéma français contemporain. L’héritage du passé colonial français, la décolonisation et les vagues d’immigration vers l’Hexagone continuent de jouer un rôle majeur dans la société française d’aujourd’hui. Les débats liés à l’« identité nationale » et à l’insécurité, la banalisation du programme du Front National, les reconduites à la frontière de Roms ou la crise des migrants en Méditerranée font que la question migratoire est une préoccupation pour la société et la scène politique française. L’ouvrage analyse comment des réalisateurs français tels que Yamina Benguigui, Laurent Cantet, Philippe Faucon, Philippe Lioret ou Marie-Claude Pernelle abordent les trajectoires migratoires (passées et présentes) propres à l’espace national français et les débats qu’elles suscitent.


Racines et déracinements au grand écran examines representations of migration in contemporary French cinema. The historical legacy of the French colonial past and of decolonization, with its subsequent waves of immigration to the Hexagone continues to impact French society. Debates over “national identity” and insecurity, the increasing success of the Front National platform, the recent Roma repatriations, and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean are only a few examples of the importance of the migration question in French society and politics today. The book analyzes how migratory trajectories (past and present) within the national French space, and the debates surrounding them, have been addressed by contemporary French directors - amongst others Yamina Benguigui, Laurent Cantet, Philippe Faucon, Philippe Lioret and Marie-Claude Pernelle - in their films.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau écrivain polémique

Querelles, disputes et controverses au siècle des Lumières

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Ourida Mostefai

Simultanément sujet et objet de multiples débats et controverses, Jean-Jacques Rousseau n’a jamais cessé de produire et de susciter des différends, qu’ils soient personnels ou philosophiques. Auteur proprement en conflit avec son siècle, le Citoyen de Genève intervient dans l’arène publique en prenant partie dans d’importants débats idéologiques: ces querelles qui ont structuré le champ littéraire et politique sont l’objet de ce livre. On y analyse le rôle et la force de la polémique dans les œuvres de Rousseau. Prenant Les Confessions à rebours, cette étude met au jour un autre Rousseau : non la victime passive et innocente d’une réception hostile, mais un acteur majeur de ces conflits, c’est-à-dire un écrivain polémique.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau écrivain polémique focuses on the ways in which Rousseau’s career was constructed in a constant engagement with the practice of polemics and refutation in the fields of politics, religion, and philosophy. Known throughout Europe for his highly controversial writings and for the intense polemics to which they gave rise in the realm of public opinion, Jean-Jacques Rousseau became in his lifetime the object of unprecedented public interest and scrutiny. The very public quarrels and controversies that accompanied the publication and reception of his works were instrumental in establishing a new role for the writer, making Rousseau an ideal case study for this major shift in the relationship between writers and a rapidly changing and newly dynamic public sphere.

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Scott Shinabargar

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Scott Shinabargar

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Scott Shinabargar