Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Millions

introduces a new "covering the catalogs" book feature that has given me something to drool about (this is something I will definitely buy if I can't snag one for free, though surely I will be able to persuade someone to send me one?): Grove's four-volume complete Beckett boxed set. How very enticing. I would love to teach a seminar on Beckett, though I'd have to do a lot of reading to get up to speed; hmmm, must think about that one.... (There are so many eighteenth-century curricular needs in my department that I am always teaching centrally in my field, which is in most ways entirely for the best--I love those courses, and that's after all what I'm really trained in--but gives me a pang when I think about other stuff I'd like to do as well. Fantasy courses: Shakespeare's histories and tragedies--but my department has so many world-famous experts in this field that I will never teach this unless I move to, say, a small liberal-arts college--a seminar on James Baldwin and Chester Himes--ditto--oh, and about a million other things, Shaw and Stoppard, and contemporary British fiction, and a class called "the first person" that would be a mix of readings and creative-writing assignments, and....)


  1. Beckett is an interesting choice. He’s not one of my favorites, but I was fortunate to study him quite a bit as an undergrad and really learned to appreciate his work. I read “Happy Days” as a freshman and studied with a prominent Beckett scholar thorughout the rest of my college career. As a senior I took a class entitled “Beckett and his Precursors”. We read his novels along with works by Proust, Homer, and Kafka. Because most of the English majors preferred contemporary American literature, the seminar was only five people. Because of the size of our class, we had many intimate discussions that I found incredibly fruitful. On one occasion we had dinner at our professor's house with Billie Whitelaw and Rick Cluchey, who is well-known for having discovered Beckett's works in San Quenin and who went on to direct productions of his work on Broadway and around the world.(
    It was definitely a memorable experience.

  2. You might not have a space to teach one of these papars at your own uni, but maybe you could explore running a class as a guest somewhere else - such as coming down under for a summer school.

    I'm getting a taste of Beckett myself this year, from one of the people involved in the Grove edition.