Beckett & Politics

A huge thank you to all who joined us at the Beckett & Politics conference, we hope that that the papers and keynotes opened up as many new avenues of inquiry as possible and we look forward to continuing the debates and conversations that arose throughout the conference.

If you would like to get in touch for queries, details or further discussions, the organisers are happy to answer email correspondence:

Will Davies:

Michela Bariselli:

Niamh Bowe:

Helen Bailey:




Thursday 3 November

08:45               Coffee & registration

09:30               Welcome

09:45               Keynote 1

Matthew Feldman      Beckett’s Nominalist Politics

10:45               Coffee

11:15               Compassion & Violence

Elsa Baroghel              ‘indoor bowers of bliss’: Mental asylums in Samuel Beckett’s works

Andy Wimbush         Beckett’s Transgressive Compassion: How It Is, and the ‘natural order’

Paul Stewart                Molloy, Violence and the Politics of Inclusion

12:45               Lunch

13:45               Capitalism (Chair: Zoe Gosling)

Rodney Sharkey            ‘I am in my mother’s room. It is I who live there now’: Beckett and the Politics of Distance

Llewellyn Brown        Samuel Beckett and the body of the speaking being: Politics for Today

Martin Schauss            ‘Into what nightmare thingness am I fallen?’: The Politics of Matter in Samuel Beckett’s Short Stories

15:15               Coffee

15:45               Sex  

Lloyd Houston                    Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Venereal Disease

Alan Graham                       ‘Abort and blush like new’: eugenics and narrative in Beckett

Giovanna Vincenti           A Portrait of the Artist as Young ‘Postwar Degenerate’ – Samuel Beckett and Max Nordau’s Degeneration

17:00               Coffee

17:20               Keynote 2

Elizabeth Barry                    Beckett, Disability and Performance: The Case of Endgame

18:20               Closing remarks

18:30               Wine reception (Minghella)



Friday 4 November

08:30               Coffee & registration

09:15               Representation and Subjectivity

Galina Kiryushina              ‘This little people of searchers’: Politics of Re-Presentation in The Lost Ones

Thomas Thoelen                ‘the cerebellum on fire’: Beckett and the (Techno)Politics of the Brain

James Little                          ‘First the place, then I’ll find me in it’: Beckett’s Pronouns and the Politics of Confinement

Douglas Atkinson              Silent Sovereignty: Laclau and Beckett on Language and Freedom

11:00               Coffee

11:15               Postcolonial Ireland

Scott Hamilton                   ‘delivering … The Ossianic goods’: Beckett and the Politics of Irish Orientalism

Brendan Dowling              Beckett’s evolving treatment of the subaltern figure in his early prose fiction.

Feargal Whelan                  A coffin full of stones and a submarine: Echo’s Bones and 1930s Irish political mythology

12:30                             Lunch

13:15               Gender (Chair: Trish McTighe)

Kumiko Kiuchi                     Age, Posture, Sexuality: Reading Happy Days in the Light of “Aristotle and Phyllis”

Helen Bailey                        (En)gendering spirit: Beckett’s Eve/Mary Sirens

14:30               Coffee

14:45               Political Events (Chair: Rodney Sharkey)

Matt McFrederick    ‘The air is full of our cries’: Staging Beckett during apartheid in South Africa

Katya Gosteva               Beckett’s Watt as a war-novel and the problem of identity

Natalie Leeder            ‘What is the wrong word the evil spread’: a politics of evil?

Hannah Simpson        Samuel Beckett and the Nobel Catastrophe

16:30               Coffee

16:45                       Keynote 3

Daniela Caselli           Beckett, Gender and the Politics of Humanism

17:45                       Closing remarks