A London Beckett Seminar conference on the theme of “Corresponding with Beckett” will be held at the Institute of English Studies School of Advanced Study, University of London, 1-2 June 2018
Lois More Overbeck, Emory University
Director, Letters of Samuel Beckett Project
About the conference
What does it mean to correspond with Beckett? How does Beckett’s correspondence give us insight into the work? In what ways are critical reading and writing a form of correspondence with an author? What would it mean to perform the epistolary? The publication of the fourth and final volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett marks an appropriate moment to take stock of the role of autobiography in research, and the
importance of the epistolary in literary studies. A recent review by Cal Revely-Calder cautions that letters “are not propositions, manifestos, or statements of intent”, but rather “rough forays, conducted in private”. Corresponding with Beckett raises issues around the development of the “grey canon” (S.E. Gontarski), the use of digital resources, translation, visual metadata, and the role of corollary correspondence.
Given Beckett’s hesitation to render the personal public, the conference will address how
we negotiate issues of privacy, permissions, and copyright. The conference will generate new thinking on the letter as artefact, the textual and stylistic aspects of the epistolary, and will explore the legacy of a correspondence project and how the research that underpins it can be deployed for further research.
Using literary correspondence and related materials raises older literary questions on authorial intention and reading methodologies that continue to inform literary analysis.
In the age of Snapchat and WhatsApp, correspondence is primarily digital: the conference will question the longevity of contemporary digital correspondence, and explore strategies for future engagement with the epistolary in literary research.
Topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to:
The legacy of the archive
Privacy and copyright
The “grey canon”
Ethics and the epistolary
Literary criticism as correspondence
Proposals for 20 min papers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 March 2018, and should include:
Title of the presentation
Abstract of approximately 300 words
Biographical statement of approximately 100 words
Details of audio-visual requirements
Indication of any enhanced access requirements
Stefano Rosignoli, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.
Dr Derval Tubridy, Goldsmiths, University of London.