Category Archives: Modernism

Response to Fabio Akcelrud Durão, “Responsible Reading of Theory”

By | December 7, 2021

Fabio Akcelrud Durão’s essay “Responsible Reading of Theory” engages with a number of large and fundamental questions regarding the identity, purpose, and future of theory. The answers that it offers are so rich and complex that a responsible reading of the entirety of that essay would require a monograph. For that reason, this response will focus on just the first paragraph of the first of the essay’s three sections and consider how that paragraph defines the relationship between theory and literature.

Response to “The Positive of the Negative: Joycean Post-Structuralism as Felskian Critique” by Robert Baines

By | November 24, 2021

Robert Baines starts his essay with a vivid analytical presentation of the last five decades of research in the field of Joyce Studies, emphasizing the context and stakes of the shift from (a) post-structuralist criticism to (b) a focus on “Joyce’s engagements with the history, politics, and culture of his age” (Baines xx), and later to (c) genetic criticism. Baines’ account of the last 50 years of criticism and his suggestions for extended forms of dialogue between supposedly divergent critical/ theoretical orientations can easily be transposed, mutatis mutandis, to Beckett studies.

Learning and Connecting with Lili Elbe

By | November 18, 2020

Guest post by Sabine Meyer Sometimes, someone that has been incredibly important to you, that has penetrated your very way of thinking and being becomes an indispensable thread of your own fabric, sneaking back into your life, again and again, reminding you of the role they play in your never-ending evolution. To me, Lili Ilse… Read More »

Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Closed Space

By | June 4, 2020

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about confinement.

How many steps from my desk to the fridge? (seven) How many from the fridge to the bathroom? (twelve) How many times per day do I track this route?

In October 1954, Samuel Beckett too was thinking of confinement. He was reading a letter from German prisoner Karl-Franz Lembke, who had translated, rehearsed and staged Beckett’s debut play, Waiting for Godot, behind bars. Beckett was clearly moved, as we can see in his response:

My Beckett: Alone Together

By | April 13, 2019

Guest post by Arka Chattopadhyay 13th April is Samuel Beckett’s birthday. This date takes me back in time to my undergraduate days. I was an English literature student in Presidency College, Kolkata, India. It was there in 2004 that my obsession with the Nobel Prize winning Irish writer Samuel Beckett began. Yes, let me call… Read More »

Happy birthday, Samuel Beckett!

By | April 13, 2019

Guest post by Dirk Van Hulle and Pim Verhulst Samuel Beckett came into the world on 13 April 1906. Not only was it a Friday the 13th, it was also a Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, on which the Christian Church commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary. To the superstitiously-minded, any life… Read More »

“The rot began before the war”: Rebecca West’s Sunflower and the Failure of British Liberalism

By | December 21, 2018

Rebecca West was born on December 21, 1892. To celebrate the 126th anniversary of her birth, Laura Cowan explores one of her unfinished and posthumously published works. This recognition of West (née Cicely Isabel Fairfield) closely coincides with the centennial of the World War I Armistice on 11 November 1918, a topic central to West’s unfinished… Read More »

Modernism and the Law

By | November 3, 2018

Guest post by Robert Spoo Let’s think about scarcity and law—a theme that I explore throughout Modernism and the Law. Laws seek to produce a kind of scarcity in many areas of human behavior and desire. Criminal libel laws, for example, were enforced to decrease the incidence of reputational attacks and, along with them, the… Read More »