By James Baxter
Written by London-based independent scholar James Baxter, Samuel Beckett’s Legacies in American Fiction: Problems in Postmodernism was published by Palgrave Macmillan in December 2021, as part of their series ‘New Interpretations of Beckett in the Twenty First Century.’
What drew you to this subject?
At the outset, I think it was an intuited connection between a lot of the fiction that I was reading and enjoying at the time; Beckett of course, but also American writers like Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Thomas Pynchon, etc. A lot of headache-inducing postmodern stuff. While there is certainly no shortage of scholarship on Beckett’s relation to the more theoretical body of postmodernism, I was quite struck by the absence of any sustained work on literary postmodernism and the way Beckett skewers the work of periodisation by serving as an end but also a beginning for this new paradigm (not unlike the kind of stalled narrative sequences that a reader encounters in his mid-century Trilogy).
Continue reading New Book Releases: ‘Samuel Beckett’s Legacies in American Fiction’
By Imogen Free
Nick Makoha’s ‘A Low-Pressure System’ moves through the past towards mythology; it is a personal journal that resists any fixity, but instead is a series, as Ivan Juritz Prize judge, Will Eaves notes, ‘perpetually in flight’. This retelling of the events related to the Entebbe hijacking in 1976 is paralleled against a series of flights from Nick’s own experience, and despite writing through dramatic historical events, his moving voice can be felt strongly throughout. This became particularly evident when listening to him read from Codex 2 during our prizegiving event at the end of June. Codex 2 is a poem about his father’s personal and political life; reading from it, we saw him half-smile as he came to the last line: ‘I had a small nonspeaking part’.
Continue reading Reflecting on This Year’s Ivan Juritz Prize
by Dr Jon Day
One of the loneliest things about life online, I’ve found, is that it denies us the full sensory range of human interaction. In lockdown I realised how much I missed not only seeing and hearing other people (sensory modes which Zoom can just about convey, even if unsatisfyingly) but how much I missed touching and even smelling other people.
Continue reading A Scratch ‘n’ sniff Ulysses
by Imogen Free
Imogen Free is a first year PhD student at King’s College London, researching modernist women’s writing, sound technology and the politics of aurality (1930-1956).
One note held her ears through the hollow thunder of traffic: in shells of buildings the whirr of unanswered telephones. They were insistent
Elizabeth Bowen, To the North
In these ‘unprecedented’ times, I’ve been surprised to discover how much I’ve missed the postgraduate research community at King’s. I miss the distinctly un-academic chatter in our research room, sharing coffee with my supervisor, and the strange charm of the floppy triangles of sandwich, with beige fillings of unidentifiable flavour and lukewarm, headache-inducing wine after conferences. Sandwiches aside, it’s been a period in which we’ve been reflecting on how our institutions can support their students and staff and it’s been a lonely, uncertain, distressing time for many reasons other than the pandemic. But I have also been fortunate enough to participate in some of the changes the research community have had to make in order to stay in contact and find modes of communion with one another, as we become ever more reliant on the medium of telecommunication.
Continue reading Techno-heartache: Reflections on the Telepoetics Symposium