Featuring twelve original essays by leading Beckett scholars and media theorists, this book provides the first sustained examination of the relationship between Beckett and media technologies. The chapters analyse the rich variety of technical objects, semiotic arrangements, communication processes and forms of data processing that Beckett’s work so uniquely engages with, as well as those that – in historically changing configurations – determine the continuing performance, the audience reception, and the scholarly study of this work. Greatly enlarging the scope of earlier discussions, the book draws on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, such as media archaeology, in order to discuss Beckett’s intermedial oeuvre. As such it engages with Beckett as a media artist and examine the way his engagement with media technologies continues to speak to our cultural situation.
A section of Chapter 1 is a revised version of articles that appeared in The Grove: Working Papers on English Studies 20 (2013) and in Nathalie Martinière and Estelle Epinoux’s Rewriting in the 20th –21st Centuries: Aesthetic Choice or Political Act? (Houdiard 2015). A much shorter version of Chapter 3 appeared in Etudes britanniques contemporaines 58 (2020). Part of Chapter 4 appeared in Etudes britanniques contemporaines 62 (2022).
As Kate Atkinson has Effie say in Emotionally Weird, adapting John Donne, ‘No woman is an island’ (EW 219). Genuine thanks to Paul Clark at Manchester University Press and the anonymous experts and reader for supporting the project. Warm-hearted thanks are due to family, colleagues and friends for their support and notably to Josephine McNamara for her generous encouragement and faith, to Georges Letissier and Isabelle Roblin for their valuable advice, to Andrew Guy and Sandra Robinson for their helpful proof-reading, to James and Jacques McNamara for simply being there.
This book is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Annick and Gérard Parey.