A London Beckett Seminar Conference 

Friday 1 - Saturday 2 June 2018, Senate House


List of abstracts


AHRC CHASE Keynotes:
Lois M. Overbeck (Emory University), director: Letters of Samuel Beckett Project.
The Letters of Samuel Beckett: A Legacy in the Grey Archives

Daniel Gunn (The American University of Paris), co-editor: The Letters of Samuel Beckett.
Beckett's Letters: The Edition and the Corpus

AHRC CHASE Plenary Panel:
Dirk Van Hulle and Pim Verhulst (University of Antwerp), co-director and editorial member: Beckett Digital Manuscript Project.
A Beckett Manuscript Chronology: Linking the Letters to the Manuscripts

AHRC CHASE Roundtable:
George Craig, Daniel Gunn and Lois M. Overbeck, editorial board of The Letters of Samuel Beckett.
Editing the Letters of Samuel Beckett

What does it mean to correspond with Beckett? How does Beckett’s correspondence give us insight into the work? In what ways are critical reading and writing a form of correspondence with an author? What would it mean to perform the epistolary? The publication of the fourth and final volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett marks an appropriate moment to take stock of the role of autobiography in research, and the importance of the epistolary in literary studies. A recent review by Cal Revely-Calder cautions that letters “are not propositions, manifestos, or statements of intent”, but rather “rough forays, conducted in private”. Corresponding with Beckett raises issues around the development of the “grey canon” (S.E. Gontarski), the use of digital resources, translation, visual metadata, and the role of corollary correspondence. Given Beckett’s hesitation to render the personal public, the conference will address how we negotiate issues of privacy, permissions, and copyright. The conference will generate new thinking on the letter as artefact, the textual and stylistic aspects of the epistolary, and will explore the legacy of a correspondence project and how the research that underpins it can be deployed for further research. Using literary correspondence and related materials raises older literary questions on authorial intention and reading methodologies that continue to inform literary analysis. In the age of Snapchat and WhatsApp, correspondence is primarily digital: the conference will question the longevity of contemporary digital correspondence, and explore strategies for future engagement with the epistolary in literary research.

Topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • The epistolary
  • The legacy of the archive
  • Digital correspondence
  • Privacy and copyright
  • Translation
  • The “grey canon”
  • Corollary correspondences
  • Visual metadata
  • Location registers
  • Ethics and the epistolary
  • Authorial intentionality
  • Literary criticism as correspondence
  • Performing letters

Organisers: Stefano Rosignoli, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin and Dr Derval Tubridy, Goldsmiths, University of London.



  • £35 Concession - One Day (student, unwaged, retired)
  • £45 Standard - One Day 
  • £60 Concession - Two Day (student, unwaged, retired)
  • £80 Standard - Two Day

Conference dinner (Carluccio's, One The Brunswick, London, London, WC1N 1AF) on Friday, 1st June: payment will be made at the restaurant but advance booking is required.

The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: IESEvents@sas.ac.uk