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Winter Interterm Courses

ENGL 2708: Beckett on Paper/Beckett on Film


Beckett on Paper/Beckett on Film

ENGL 2708 - 4 credits

Dates: December 2-4, and December 16-18, 2013
Days: Mondays - Wednesdays
Times: 11 am - 5 pm 
Instructor: Graham Foust


Description: Over the course of twelve class sessions, we will read nineteen of Samuel Beckett’s stage plays and two of his radio plays, including popular works such as Waiting for Godot and lesser-known works like Breath(which lasts roughly 35 seconds and contains no actors). We will also watch several film productions of these works—all of them made by well-known film directors many years after Beckett’s death—keeping in mind the fact that his plays were not written for that medium.

Samuel Beckett changed and challenged many of the standard perspectives with regard to what plays and audiences were capable of; that said, the films we’ll watch may well change and challenge our perspective of how Beckett’s work is to be read, performed and viewed. They may also, as some critics believe, warp and disrespect Beckett’s often exacting visions of how the works were to be performed. On paper, the plays are strange, unsettling, and incredibly moving—how will the differences between our imaginations of Beckett’s imaginations and the various directors’ imaginations of same affect us?


At the end of this course, students will have:

  • Become familiar with the work of one of the major dramatists of the 20th century and selected filmic adaptations of that work
  • Learned to read drama and film in a literary and critical way
  • Explored and examined thoroughly the concepts of “medium,” “text,” and “authorial intention”
  • Researched and written an extensive critical essay on Samuel Beckett and his plays

Contact: Graham Foust at