Featuring twelve original essays by leading Beckett scholars and media theorists, this book provides the first sustained examination of the relationship between Beckett and media technologies. The chapters analyse the rich variety of technical objects, semiotic arrangements, communication processes and forms of data processing that Beckett’s work so uniquely engages with, as well as those that – in historically changing configurations – determine the continuing performance, the audience reception, and the scholarly study of this work. Greatly enlarging the scope of earlier discussions, the book draws on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, such as media archaeology, in order to discuss Beckett’s intermedial oeuvre. As such it engages with Beckett as a media artist and examine the way his engagement with media technologies continues to speak to our cultural situation.
Jonathan Bignell is Professor of Television and Film at the University of Reading. His work on Beckett includes the monograph Beckett on Screen: The Television Plays (Manchester University Press, 2009) and several articles in Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui and the Journal of Beckett Studies. Jonathan has published chapters on Beckett's screen drama in the collections Writing and Cinema (Longman, 1999), which he also edited, Drawing on Beckett: Portraits, Performances, and Cultural Contexts (ed. Linda Ben-Zvi; Assaph Books, 2003), Beckett and Nothing: Trying to Understand Beckett (ed. Daniela Caselli; Manchester University Press, 2010) and Pop Beckett: Intersections with Popular Culture (eds Paul Stewart and David Pattie; ibidem-Verlag, 2019). He is a Trustee of the Beckett International Foundation and a member of the Samuel Beckett Centre at the University of Reading.
Having been academically trained as a historian (PhD) and classicist (Latin Philology and Classical Archaeology) with an ongoing interest in cultural temporalities, Wolfgang Ernst grew into the emergent technology-oriented ‘German school’ of media science. His academic focus has been on archival theory and museology, before attending to media materialities. Since 2003, Ernst has been full Professor for Media Theories at the Institute for Musicology and Media Science at Humboldt University in Berlin. His current research covers ‘radical’ media archaeology as method, the epistemology of technológos, the theory of technical storage, the technologies of cultural transmission, micro-temporal media aesthetics and their chronopoetic potentials and sound analytics (‘sonicity’) from a media-epistemological point of view. Books in English with a focus on technical media include: Digital Memory and the Archive (University of Minnesota Press, 2013); Chronopoetics: The Temporal Being and Operativity of Technological Media (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016); Sonic Time Machines: Explicit Sound, Sirenic Voices and Implicit Sonicity in Terms of Media Knowledge (Amsterdam University Press, 2016); and The Delayed Present: Media-induced Interventions into Contempor(e)alities (Sternberg Press, 2017).
Martin Harries is Professor of English at UC Irvine and works on twentieth-century theatre, modernism and theory. He is the author two books, Forgetting Lot's Wife: On Destructive Spectatorship (Fordham University Press, 2007) and Scare Quotes from Shakespeare: Marx, Keynes, and the Language of Reenchantment (Stanford University Press, 2000). His chapter in this volume forms part of a book in progress about the impact of mass culture on post-war drama called ‘Theatre after Film’. An overview of the project's argument appears in Medium: Essays from the English Institute, a cluster of articles in ELH. He has also published in New German Critique, Theater Journal, Modern Drama, TDR, Theater, and the edited collections Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America (University of Michigan Press, 1998), Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (Bloomsbury, 2002) and ‘If Then the World a Theatre Present …’: Revisions of the Theatrum Mundi Metaphor in Early Modern England (De Gruyter, 2014). His reviews have appeared in The Village Voice and The Hunter Online Theater Review. With Lecia Rosenthal, he edited and introduced ‘Comparative Radios’, a special issue of Cultural Critique. Prior to teaching at Irvine, he was on the faculties of NYU and Princeton University.
Nicholas Johnson is Associate Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin, where he co-founded the Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies and convenes the Creative Arts Practice research theme. With Jonathan Heron, he co-authored Experimental Beckett (Cambridge University Press, 2020), co-edited the Journal of Beckett Studies special issues on pedagogy (29:1, 2020) and performance (23:1, 2014), and founded the Samuel Beckett Laboratory in 2013. With David Shepherd, he co-authored Bertolt Brecht's David Fragments (1919–1921): An Interdisciplinary Study (Bloomsbury, 2020). Directing credits include Virtual Play (First Prize, New European Media awards). He works as a dramaturg for Pan Pan and Dead Centre, and has held visiting research positions at Freie Universität Berlin and Yale University.
Wolf Kittler is Professor and Vice-Chair of German and Slavic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests are interdisciplinary. They include Western literature from Greek antiquity to the present, philosophy, art history, history of science, media technology and critical theory. After studying German and Romance languages and literatures in Freiburg and Toulouse, he received his PhD from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in 1979. In 1986 he completed his Habilitation at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. He taught at that university as well as at the universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg and Munich. He is the author of Der Turmbau zu Babel und das Schweigen der Sirenen: Über das Reden, das Schweigen, die Stimme und die Schrift in vier Texten von Franz Kafka (Palm & Enke, 1985) and Die Geburt des Partisanen aus dem Geist der Poesie: Heinrich von Kleist und die Strategie der Befreiungskriege (Rombach Verlag, 1987). Together with Gerhard Neumann, he is co-editor of Franz Kafka: Schriftverkehr (Rombach Verlag, 1990) and the two-volume Franz Kafka: Drucke zu Lebzeiten: Kritische Kafka-Ausgabe (Fischer, 1996).
Ulrika Maude is Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Bristol, where she is also Director of the Centre for Health, Humanities and Science. She is author of Beckett, Technology and the Body (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and of the forthcoming Samuel Beckett and Medicine (Cambridge University Press). She is co-editor of a number of volumes, including Beckett and Phenomenology (Continuum, 2009; with Matthew Feldman), The Cambridge Companion to the Body in Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2015; with David Hillman) and The Bloomsbury Companion to Modernist Literature (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018; with Mark Nixon). She is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Beckett Studies and the journal's Review Editor.
Julian Murphet is Jury Chair of English Language and Literature at the University of Adelaide. He is the author of Todd Solondz (University of Illinois Press, 2019), Faulkner's Media Romance (Oxford University Press, 2017), Multimedia Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Literature and Race in Los Angeles (Cambridge University Press, 2001), among other things.
Mark Nixon is Associate Professor in Modern Literature at the University of Reading, where he is also Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation. With Dirk Van Hulle, he is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Beckett Studies, Co-Director of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project and series editor of ‘Elements in Beckett Studies’ (Cambridge University Press). He is also a former president of the Samuel Beckett Society. He has authored or edited more than ten books on Beckett's work; recent publications include Samuel Beckett's Library (with Dirk Van Hulle; Cambridge University Press, 2013) and the critical edition of Beckett's short story ‘Echo's Bones’ (Faber, 2014). He is currently preparing a critical edition of Beckett's ‘German Diaries’ (with Oliver Lubrich; Suhrkamp, 2022).
Balazs Rapcsak is a doctoral candidate and adjunct lecturer at the English Department of the University of Basel. His dissertation is a media-theoretical exploration of Beckett's dramatic work, with a focus on the theatre plays. In 2018 he co-organised the international conference ‘Beckett and the Media’. His publications include ‘Switching Attention: Technologies of Awareness in Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape’ in the collection The Arts of Attention (Harmattan Hongrie, 2017) and ‘Beckett the Spiritist: Breath and its Media Drama’ (Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, 32:1).
Armin Schäfer is Professor of German literature at Ruhr University Bochum. His research focuses on poetry and on the constellation between literature, media and science in the twentieth century. He has co-edited the volume Null, Nichts und Negation: Beckett's No-thing (Transcript, 2016) and is also co-editor of the journal Sprache und Literatur and the book series ‘Kleine Format’ (Wehrhahn).
Philipp Schweighauser is Professor of North American and General Literature at the University of Basel. He is the author of The Noises of American Literature, 1890–1985: Toward a History of Literary Acoustics (University Press Florida, 2006) and Beautiful Deceptions: European Aesthetics, the Early American Novel, and Illusionist Art (University of Virginia Press, 2016). His publications cover a wide variety of topics and include an essay on Beckett entitled ‘“Gut”: Becketts Verhandlungen von Macht in seinen Fernsehspielen für den Süddeutschen Rundfunk’ (2018).
Dirk Van Hulle is Professor of Bibliography and Modern Book History at the University of Oxford and Director of the Centre for Manuscript Genetics at the University of Antwerp. With Mark Nixon, he is co-director of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (www.beckettarchive.org), series editor of the Cambridge University Press series ‘Elements in Beckett Studies’ and editor of the Journal of Beckett Studies. His publications include Textual Awareness (University of Michigan Press, 2004), Modern Manuscripts (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), Samuel Beckett's Library (with Mark Nixon; Cambridge University Press, 2013), The New Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett (Cambridge University Press, 2015), James Joyce's Work in Progress (Routledge, 2016), the Beckett Digital Library and a number of volumes in the ‘Making of’ series (Bloomsbury) and genetic editions in the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project, which won the 2019 Prize for a Bibliography, Archive or Digital Project of the Modern Language Association (MLA).
Pim Verhulst is a postdoctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp. His research combines genetic criticism, audionarratology, media and radio theory to study the work of (late) modernist and post-war authors from the British Isles, with a focus on the intermedial exchanges between traditional art forms and new technologies. He has published articles, chapters, essay collections and books on radio, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, Dylan Thomas and Harold Pinter. His latest publication is Radio Art and Music: Culture, Aesthetics, Politics (edited with Jarmila Mildorf; Lexington Books, 2020), and his monograph The Making of Samuel Beckett's Radio Plays is forthcoming with Bloomsbury in the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project series, of which he is also an editorial board member.