Pop Beckett: Intersections with Popular Culture

Table of contents
Pop Beckett: Intersections with Popular Culture

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About the book


When Samuel Beckett’s work first appeared, it was routinely described, by Adorno amongst others, as a clear example of European high culture. However, this judgement ignored an aspect of Beckett’s work and its reception that is, arguably, not yet fully understood; the intimate relation between his work and popular culture. Beckett used popular cultural forms; but popular culture has also found a place both for the work and for the man. This collection of essays examines how popular cultural forms and media are woven into the fabric of Beckett’s works, and how Beckett continues to have far-reaching impact on popular culture today in a host of different forms, in film and on television, from comics to meme culture, tourism to marketing.
The author

About the author

Paul Stewart is Professor of Literature at the University of Nicosia. He is the author of two books on Beckett—Sex and Aesthetics in Samuel Beckett’s Works (Palgrave, 2011) and Zone of Evaporation: Samuel Beckett’s Disjunctions (Rodopi, 2006)—and the series editor for ‘Samuel Beckett in Company’, published by ibidem Press. He has published widely on Beckett in such journals as The Journal of Beckett Studies and Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui. He is also a creative writer (his novel Now Then was published by Armida in 2014) and a performer in theatre, television, and film.

David Pattie is Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of three books (The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett (2001), Rock Music in Performance (2007), and Modern British Playwrights: the 1950s (2012)). He has also co-edited two books with Sean Albiez: Kraftwerk: Music Non-Stop (2010) and Brian Eno: Oblique Music (2016). Furthermore, he was part of the Staging Beckett research project, and he has published extensively on Beckett, contemporary performance, popular culture, popular music, and Scottish theatre.


"Samuel Beckett—the ‘moody man of letters’—can be found in the most unexpected places, from the Muppets to Game of Thrones. The essays in this superb volume patiently explore new tributaries of Beckett’s reception and examine his status as a pop, ‘mod’ icon. In so doing, they reveal new perspectives for understanding both Beckett’s works and his legacies, showing both how he engages with popular culture as well as how popular culture engages with Beckett."—Dr Sam Slote, Trinity College Dublin
Additional Information

Additional Information

Delivery time 2-3 Tage / 2-3 days
Author Ken Alba, Jo Baker, James Baxter, Jonathan Bignell, Dilks Stephen, Anna Douglass, David Pattie, John Pilling, Mark Schreiber, Hannah Simpson, Paul Stewart, Pim Verhulst, Selvin Yaltir
Editor Paul Stewart, David Pattie, Paul Stewart
Number of pages 310
Language English
Publication date Dec 11, 2019
Weight (kg) 0.4030
ISBN-13 9783838211930

DOI: 10.24216/9783838211930_03 Open Access

Jonathan Bignell
“Do You Really Enjoy the Modern Play?”: Beckett on Commercial Television
26 Pages
Available format(s):
Open Access
CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/de/
Television was the key popular medium of the second half of the twentieth century in the UK, and Beckett’s work was consistently aired by BBC, the British non-commercial TV broadcaster that had already featured his work on radio since the mid-1950s. But Beckett’s work also appeared on Independent Television (ITV), the commercially-funded British television channel set up in 1955 to rival BBC. The commercial ABC TV company made the series The Present Stage for ITV in 1966. In its feature announcing the series, the TV Times listings magazine asked “Do you really enjoy the modern play like Look Back in Anger or Waiting for Godot? A new 13-week series, The Present Stage, starts next Sunday and is designed to help you enjoy and understand modern plays.” The series was based on a popular book by John Kershaw, and alongside Beckett’s drama it dealt with plays by the dramatists Arnold Wesker, Max Frisch, Eugene Ionesco and Harold Pinter, each of which were landmarks in London theatre at the time. The series was broadcast on Sundays, following a home improvement programme, and this chapter asks what it meant for the ITV channel to screen a programme about Beckett’s drama amongst televised church services and home decor advice. The chapter places Beckett’s drama in the context of dynamic instability in British culture, when the categories of the popular and the elite were being contested, to argue that ITV’s programme contributed to a cultural revolution.