DJUNA BECKETT SAMUEL BARNES
Robert Kiely, Birkbeck: ‘Effing the ineffable: Barnes and Beckett’
There is always more surface to a shattered object than a whole.
— Djuna Barnes
Beckett and Barnes were known to each other. Both authors exhibit similar concerns in Watt (written during WW2) and Nightwood (1936): concerns about ‘effing the ineffable’, animality, lowness, and madness. Why are such similar techniques employed? These parallels are shared despite the almost polar-opposition between the styles employed. Barnes’ ornate, baroque prose, and Beckett’s autistic, combinatorial and repetitive text. What do these divergences and affinities point to? Can we talk about modernism? Do these texts shed any light on each other?
All this will be discussed, and conclusively answered of course, or your money back guaranteed.
Texts: Nightwood and Watt.
Time: 9th May 2011, 6pm–8pm
Place: Senate House, 1st Floor, Room 102
Robert Kiely is a first-year MPhil/PhD student at Birkbeck. His thesis is tentatively titled Mysticism, Astrology, and Science in the Writing of Samuel Beckett, and his other research interests include Menippean satire, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Joyce, and Swift.
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