Funded Projects

Nora Connolly sketchStaging Beckett
2013 - 2015

This 3-year AHRC funded project with partners at the University of Chester and the V&A, drew on original archival material in the University of Reading's world-leading Samuel Beckett Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum's Theatre and Performance archives in London, and other archive collections across Britain and Ireland, to examine the role Samuel Beckett played in shaping modern theatre practice in the UK and Ireland.

The project is a pilot for a national performance database which will hold information about past and future theatre performances in the UK. The database, holding information about all professional productions of Beckett's theatre throughout the UK and Ireland, is available here.

The Staging Beckett project was led by Professor Anna McMullan (University of Reading), Professor Graham Saunders (formerly University of Reading; now University of Birmingham) and Professor David Pattie (University of Chester), in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum.   


Extracts from Beckett's original 'Murphy' manuscript - photo courtesy of Sotheby'sBeckett Digital Manuscript Project
2011 -

Co-directed by Mark Nixon (University of Reading) and Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp), the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project is a collaboration between the Centre for Manuscript Genetics (University of Antwerp), the Beckett International Foundation (University of Reading) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin). With the kind permission of the Estate of Samuel Beckett, the Digital Manuscript Archive combines genetic criticism with electronic scholarly editing, applied to the study of Beckett's manuscripts.

The project consists of two parts:

(a) a digital archive of Samuel Beckett's manuscripts, organized in 26 research modules. Each of these modules comprises digital facsimiles and transcriptions of all the extant manuscripts pertaining to an individual text, or in the case of shorter texts, a group of texts.

(b) a series of 26 volumes, analyzing the genesis of the texts contained in the corresponding modules.

The project contributes to the study of Beckett's works by enabling readers to discover new documents and see how the dispersed manuscripts of different holding libraries interrelate within the context of a work's genesis in its entirety, by increasing the accessibility of the manuscripts with searchable transcriptions in an updatable digital archive, and by highlighting the interpretive relevance of intertextual references that can be found in the manuscripts. It will also enhance the preservation of the physical documents.

The purpose of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project is to reunite the manuscripts of Samuel Beckett's works in a digital way, bringing together digital facsimiles of documents that are now preserved in different holding libraries.

The materials can be found online, here.


Beckett and Brain Science 2012. Poster designed by Rhys Tranter.Beckett and Brain Science

This research project is funded by an AHRC Science and Culture Exploratory Award. It explores the interconnections between neurological and psychiatric conceptions of language, embodiment and the self in the work of Samuel Beckett. It is led by Dr Elizabeth Barry (University of Warwick), Dr Ulrika Maude (University of Reading) and Dr Laura Salisbury (Birkbeck, University of London).





Beckett manuscriptBeckett and the Phenomenology of Doodles

Funded by the The Leverhulme Trust, this project focused on the spontaneous drawings - 'doodles' - that Samuel Beckett included in his manuscripts and notebooks, cataloguing his spontaneous drawing, and examining them through artistic practice and theoretical work.

The research evaluates the philosophical and aesthetic significance of spontaneous drawing for Beckett's oeuvre, and contributes to the theorisation of doodles in relation to psychopathology and the phenomenology of perception. It makes use of the University of Reading's archive collection of manuscripts, notebooks, typescripts, drafts and annotated copies, donated by Beckett and others.

While many scholars have analysed and interpreted Beckett's published work, the doodles that Beckett made on them have never before been considered either as a means to illuminate his written ideas or as visual art in themselves.

The project was led by Professor Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading - Film, Theatre and Television), Martin Andrews (University of Reading - Typography & Graphic Communication) and (University of Reading - Art).

For more information about the project, see here.


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