A new exhibit and upcoming colloquium at the Washington University Libraries celebrate the life and work of Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906–1989). Beckett won the Nobel Prize in Literature 50 years ago this year, and 2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of his death. The exhibit and colloquium commemorate his immeasurable influence on literature and theater with collaborative displays and programming.
The exhibit “Connecting Contexts: The Modern Literature Collection and The Letters of Samuel Beckett” spotlights manuscript materials and published texts from the University Libraries’ Modern Literature Collection (MLC), one of the foremost Beckett repositories in the world. It connects these materials with information and excerpts from The Letters of Samuel Beckett, the first comprehensive edition of Beckett’s letters.
Joel Minor, curator of the MLC, organized the exhibit with consultation from Lois Overbeck, co-editor of The Letters of Samuel Beckett and director of the Letters of Samuel Beckett Project at Emory University. The exhibit is on view through December 15 in the Ginkgo Room of John M. Olin Library. An online version is coming soon.
Beckett’s final creative work, written in the last year of his life, was the poem “Comment c’est,” or “What is the Word.” On November 7–8, the University Libraries will host a colloquium by that name to honor Beckett’s literary legacy. What is the Word: Celebrating Samuel Beckett will include talks, exhibit tours, workshops, performances, a film screening, a reading, and a reception.
The event is free and open to the public. In addition to the University Libraries, the colloquium is being sponsored by Washington University’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of English, the Center for Humanities, and the Performing Arts Department. For a schedule of colloquium events and to register to attend, go here.