THE MAKING OF BECKETT'S NOT I / PAS MOI, THAT TIME / CETTE FOIS AND FOOTFALLS / PASJames Little
SynopsisThis volume of the BDMP charts the genesis of three iconic Beckett plays: Not I (1973), That Time (1976) and Footfalls (1976), all translated into French by their author. Including analyses of abandoned archival precursors – the ‘Kilcool’ drafts (1963) and the ‘Petit Odéon’ Fragments (1967–1968) – the book covers a crucial period in Beckett’s playwriting career, during which his long-held ambition to stage a mouth babbling in the dark became a catalyst for some of his most innovative work. This volume provides a comprehensive guide to the history of the three plays, tracking their development from compositional manuscripts through to publication and performance. The book contends that these plays should be seen as stagings of the subject–object breakdown explored in Beckett’s early writing. Drawing on the notes he took on psychology and psychoanalysis in 1934–1935, it examines the many psychological and psychoanalytic concepts that are used in the author’s later stagings of the mind. The plays are analysed through the lens of enactive cognition: not as representations of particular psychological conditions, but as pieces which encourage active interpretation on the part of their audiences. By staging minds in states of breakdown that resist diagnosis, Not I / Pas moi, That Time / Cette fois and Footfalls / Pas enact the subject–object breakdown that is such a key part of Beckett’s aesthetics. This volume is part of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (BDMP), a collaboration between the Centre for Manuscript Genetics (University of Antwerp), the Beckett International Foundation (University of Reading) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin), with the support of the Estate of Samuel Beckett and the European Research Council. The BDMP (www.beckettarchive.org) digitally reunites the dispersed manuscripts of Samuel Beckett’s works and facilitates their examination. The project consists of two parts: a a digital archive of Beckett’s manuscripts, with facsimiles and transcriptions, organized in modules; b a series of print volumes, analysing the genesis of Beckett’s works.
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Beckett-reeksThe purpose of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (www.beckettarchive.org) is to reunite the manuscripts of Samuel Beckett's works in a digital way, and to facilitate genetic research: the project brings together digital facsimiles of documents that are now preserved in different holding libraries, and adds transcriptions of Beckett's manuscripts, tools for bilingual and genetic version comparison, a search engine, and an analysis of the textual genesis of his works.
James Little is a postdoctoral researcher at Masaryk University, Brno and Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, where his research focuses on Irish writing, genetic criticism and performance. He is the author of Samuel Beckett in Confinement: The Politics of Closed Space (Bloomsbury, 2020