- About the book
DetailsThis is the first monograph to analyse Beckett’s use of the visual arts, music, and broadcasting media through a transdisciplinary approach. It considers how Beckett’s complex and varied use of art, music, and media in a selection of his novels, radio plays, teleplays, and later short prose informs his creative process. Investigating specific instances where Beckett’s writing adopts musical or visual structures, Lucy Jeffery identifies instances of Beckett’s transdisciplinarity and considers how this approach to writing facilitates ways of expressing familiar Beckettian themes of abstraction, ambiguity, longing, and endlessness. With case studies spanning forty years, she evaluates Beckett’s stylistic shifts in relation to the cultural context, particularly the technological advancements and artistic movements, during which they were written. With new examples from Beckett’s notebooks, critical essays, and letters, Transdisciplinary Beckett evidences how the drastic changes that took place in the visual arts and in musical composition influenced Beckett and, in turn, were influenced by him. Transdisciplinary Beckett situates Beckett as a key figure not just in the literary marketplace but also in the fields of music, art, and broadcasting.
- The author
About the authorLucy Jeffery is Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre at the University of Reading. She has published on the work of Beckett, Harold Pinter, Ingeborg Bachmann, Ezra Pound, and Magda Szabó. She contributed the ‘Beckett and Visual Arts’ chapter to The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Beckett and a chapter on Beckett’s radio drama to Samuel Beckett and Technology. Her articles have also appeared in the Journal of Beckett Studies, Word and Image, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, The Harold Pinter Review, etc. Her research interests extend to contemporary performance studies and 20th century Hungarian literature.
ReviewsAnna McMullan (Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading): “Brilliantly original, a delight to read and thoroughly researched, Transdisciplinary Beckett explores how Beckett combines elements from the visual arts and music with and against language and the boundaries of specific media (prose, radio, and television) to forge a new transdisciplinary mode of composition. Jeffery brings a thorough knowledge of the visual arts and classical and contemporary music to bear on detailed analyses of Beckett’s creative processes, with wide-ranging reference to archival manuscripts and perceptive, engaging readings of individual works. Specific moments or elements are illuminated, such as Erskine’s painting in Watt, or the colour blue in Beckett’s late prose texts, affording original insights into individual works and into how a transdisciplinary perspective can shed new light on Beckett’s conjunction of different media in his compositional processes.”
Peter Boxall (editor-in-chief of Textual Practice, University of Sussex): “The greatest strength of Lucy Jeffery’s richly engaging book is that it grants us a new critical language with which to approach the junction between words and music, between sound and image – a meeting ground that lies not only at the heart of Beckett’s imagination, but at the ground of twentieth-century aesthetics more generally.”
Mark Nixon (Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading): “A work of excellent scholarship, Transdisciplinary Beckett opens up new ways of thinking about Beckett’s creative processes. It does so by transcending the usual distinctions between media, examining instead the way Beckett harnessed musical as well as visual techniques in his writing. For anyone interested in Beckett, music and the visual arts, this is essential reading.”
- Additional Information