Reimagining Nineteenth-Century Historical Subjects
This volume explores the many paradoxes of neo-Victorian biofiction, a genre that yokes together the real and the imaginary, biography and fiction, and generates oxymoronic combinations like creative facts, fictional truth, or poetic truthfulness. Contemporary biofictions recreating nineteenth-century lives demonstrate the crucial but always ethically ambiguous revision and supplementation of the historical archive. Due to the tension between ethical empathy and consumerist voyeurism, between traumatic testimony and exploitative exposé, the epistemological response is per force one of hermeneutic suspicion and iconoclasm. In the final account, this volume highlights neo-Victorianism’s deconstruction of master-narratives and the consequent democratic rehabilitation of over-looked microhistories.
Author: Catherine Laws

Abstract

The topic of ‘Beckett and music’ has gained considerable attention in recent years. In previous work I have argued that music in Beckett’s plays does not, as some have suggested, exist beyond or exceed the ambiguities of body, knowledge and subjectivity that are apparent in other aspects of his work, but rather that its use parallels and reinforces these processes. If this kind of intermediality, involving music, operates already in some of Beckett’s work, how does it manifest when musicians work with or in relation to it? This question is addressed through a discussion of John Tilbury’s version of Worstward Ho, for piano, recorded voice and electronics.

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
Author: Balazs Rapcsak

Abstract

Most of the critical attention devoted to Breath has been focused on its adaptations and the affinities between its theatrical realization and the visual arts. Tracing Beckett’s ambivalent attitude towards the staging of the play, this article offers a closer analysis of Breath as a textual artefact. It discusses various published and unpublished versions of the script and their relation to the sketch’s infamous ‘appropriation’ in its first production as part of the revue Oh! Calcutta!, in an attempt to reconstruct three episodes of a media drama that unfolds in and around the play.

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
Author: David Tucker

Abstract

This essay explores the plans of 1982–1983 to produce a remake of and then a kind of sequel to Beckett’s 1965 Film. With access to the personal archive of the director who was planning these pieces, Damian Pettigrew, the essay traces the history of the shifting project and focuses on Beckett’s own direct involvement, evidenced in correspondence as well as notes taken of a number of face-to-face conversations between Pettigrew and Beckett. These conversations also throw light back on 1965’s Film with regard to influential films, locations and imagery that provide context to the original. At the same time, further correspondence reveals the involvement or near involvement in the Film remake of notable figures such as Jack Lemmon, Dirk Bogarde and Klaus Kinski.

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

Abstract

After first developing a taxonomy of intermedial prose performance based on distinctions in how an audience member or user experiences the work phenomenologically, this essay offers a performance history of some unusual translations, adaptations and intermedial responses to Samuel Beckett’s novel How It Is. Examples range widely across media, from the audio recordings of Patrick Magee to the experimental jazz records of Michael Mantler, and from the recent stage work of Gare St Lazare to the art installation of Mirosław Bałka. Such works reflect the experimental character of the novel itself, forcing a reconsideration of the discourse of the ‘unperformable.’

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
Author: Julie Bates

Abstract

This essay traces the ways in which the intermedial practices of the artist Brian O’Doherty and writer Brian Dillon cast into relief Samuel Beckett’s own intermediality, marking it as a still-relevant set of propositions for dissolving boundaries between media and posing questions about time. I propose that intermediality functions for O’Doherty as an optimistic means of opening up potential new forms and futures, but for Beckett and Dillon alike designates a negative aesthetic and political dynamic, anticipating failure even in the moment of experimentation. This time-annulling intermediality is evocative, I believe, of what Dillon describes as “a modernist future that never came to pass.”

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

Abstract

Despite Beckett’s claim of having a “bee in [his] bonnet” about “mixing media,” intermediality and transmedial adaptation were important sources of innovation for his writing, especially from the 1950s onwards. The present article analyses Play (1964) as a good example of this dynamic by demonstrating (1) how its genesis was influenced by Beckett’s experience with radio, and (2) how its own transmedial history proves that rather than rejecting “mixing media” in principle, Beckett’s ostensible insistence on “keeping our genres distinct” turns out to be an appeal to fully exploit the medium-specific properties of radio, theatre, film and television.

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
Author: Anna McMullan

Abstract

This article analyses two intermedial adaptations of works by Beckett for performance in relation to Ágnes Pethő’s definition of intermediality as a border zone or passageway between media, grounded in the “inter-sensuality of perception.” After a discussion of how Beckett’s own practice might be seen as intermedial, the essay analyses the 1996 American Repertory Company programme Beckett Trio, a staging of three of Beckett’s television plays which incorporated live camera projected onto a large screen in a television studio. The second case study analyses Company SJ’s 2014 stage adaptation of a selection of Beckett’s prose texts, Fizzles, in a site-specific, historical location in inner city Dublin, which incorporated projected sequences previously filmed in a different location, a former power station.

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui