Beckett Week – Reading University, 1-4 October 2014

Reading Beckett Week runs from Wednesday 1st
October to Saturday 4th October 2014.

The week consists of an exhibition and series of events to showcase Reading
University’s internationally renowned collection of manuscripts from the
Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). The exhibition will
display the recently acquired notebooks for Beckett’s novel Murphy
alongside a wide range of fascinating supporting material. There will also
be a public lecture by Professor Dan Gunn, editor of the multi-volume
Letters of Samuel Beckett, a free two-hour workshop introducing the
University’s Beckett archive and a day-long advanced seminar on Beckett’s
work. All events are open to the public.

Exhibition: Samuel Beckett in London – The Murphy Notebooks Wednesday 1st
October to Saturday 4th October. Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands
Road, Reading. Free. Opening Reception 5-7pm on Wednesday 1 October. All
welcome.

Although we often associate Samuel Beckett with Paris or Dublin, the time
he spent in London as a young man was decisive in his emergence as a major
writer. Away from familiar networks of friends he was forced, as never
before, back on his own resources, walking for miles through the city or
spending long hours in galleries and the British Library. Eventually he
poured all his reading, looking and thinking into his first great novel
Murphy. This exhibition of manuscripts, drawings, notebooks and other items
from Samuel Beckett’s stay in London between 1934 and 1935 includes
material previously unseen by the public.

Manuscript Workshop : Introducing the Archive Thursday 2nd October 2-4pm
Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading. Free. Booking
essential.

In this two-hour workshop, we will investigate how studying Beckett’s
drafts and manuscripts, his personal correspondence, and his reading notes
on literature, philosophy, psychology and the visual arts can help enrich
our understanding of one of the most important writers of the
twentieth-century. Using the composition of Beckett’s first published novel
Murphy (1938) as a case study, participants will be given access to a wide
range of unpublished materials including the short story ‘Lightning
Calculation’ (1934), the ‘Whoroscope’ notebook (1932-39), and the six
Murphy notebooks (1935-36).

Public Lecture: Professor Dan Gunn (American University of Paris) –
‘Samuel Beckett Through his Letters 1957-1965’

Friday 3rd October at 5.30pm, followed by a reception. Minghella Building,
Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading. Free. Booking essential.

Professor Gunn will read from and discuss the third volume of The Letters
of Samuel Beckett, of which he is an editor. The letters in this volume
were written between 1957 and 1965, an era that sees Beckett more and more
involved in theatre and production of his own plays, even while he is
determined to return to writing prose. Through his work with BBC radio,
Beckett meets Barbara Bray, who becomes his chief correspondent for this
era, and with whom he shares his work in progress with an uncharacteristic
openness. Pulled between his ever-increasing public success and his need
for the privacy required by writing, Beckett writes letters that are
marvellously expressive of his ambivalent attitude towards his own work and
the fame it has brought him.

The Beckett International Foundation Research Seminar 2014

Saturday 4th October from 10am Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road,
Reading. £20 waged,
£15
unwaged. Includes lunch and refreshments. Booking essential. Speakers: John
Pilling and Andrew Nash, Helen Bailey, Judith Wilkinson and Anthony
Paraskeva.

For booking please contact:

Conor Carville on c.carville@reading.ac.uk to book for the workshop and/or
lecture. Mark Nixon on m.nixon@reading.ac.uk to book for the Beckett
Seminar.