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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2010

E 392M • Joyce/Beckett: Text & Performance

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Meeting time, location: (Official course schedule)

Joyce and Beckett, it has been said, "are no closer than father and son": Joyce was Beckett's "literary godfather [who] might have become an inlaw as well" (David Hayman). Their relationship was intimate and sometimes troubled: Beckett was Joyce's amanuensis and translator, a family friend, loved by his mad daughter, and deeply influenced (not entirely happily) by Joyce and his writings. Joyce and Beckett both experienced Irishness in Conor Cruise O'Brien's sense (“the condition of being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it”) and were self-exiled from their native country, fleeing Joyce's “dear dirty Dublin” and the “charm” of Beckett’s “derelict” country that consisted of “history's ancient faeces.” And both have been claimed as supreme exemplars of literary innovation and of international periods and movements (modernism and postmodernism, respectively).

This course, which concerns texts, contexts, and performance, will explore the historic and cultural moments that produced Joyce and Beckett, analyze many of their major works, and examine their relationship to performance and performance media. We will read the texts, explore controversies they provoked, and also view (often in multiple versions) many of the productions.



Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing, Oxford UP, 2002

Dubliners, Random/Modern, 1993

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Viking/Penguin, 2003

Ulysses, ed. Gabler, Random/Vintage, 1986

Films: The Sisters, Araby, A Painful Case, The Dead, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses


The Collected Shorter Plays of Samuel Beckett. Grove/Atlantic, 1989

Endgame. Grove/Atlantic, 1983

Happy Days. Grove/Atlantic, 1987

Waiting for Godot. Grove/Atlantic, 1987

Videos/radio plays: Complete Beckett Plays (Gate Theatre); Endgame; Film; Krapp's Last Tape; Rockaby; Waiting for Godot; radio plays, shorter plays.


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