Beckett and the Phenomenology of Doodles: A Visual and Theoretical Analysis (2006-2009)

Description of the project

Research output from the project

beckettdoodlesDescription of the project

The three-year research project 'Beckett and the Phenomenology of Doodles: A Visual and Theoretical Analysis', began in October 2006 and was funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The work focused on the spontaneous drawings - 'doodles' - that the writer Samuel Beckett included in his manuscripts and notebooks. The project catalogued Beckett's spontaneous drawing, and examined them through artistic practice and theoretical work. The research evaluates the philosophical and aesthetic significance of spontaneous drawing for Beckett's oeuvre, and contributed to the theorisation of doodles in relation to psychopathology and the phenomenology of perception. The research made use of the University of Reading's  of manuscripts, notebooks, typescripts, drafts and annotated copies, donated by Beckett and others. The project was directed by Professor Jonathan Bignell, assisted by Dr Jonathan Dronsfield and Martin Andrews. The Senior Research Fellow working full-time on the research was Dr Bill Prosser.

For further information, contact Jonathan Bignell.


Research output from the project

The research output from this project included academic publications and exhibitions of artwork by the researcher, Dr Bill Prosser.


Prosser, B., 'Drawing From Beckett', Performance Research, 12:1 (2007), 86-93.

Prosser, B., 'Beckett and the Phenomenology of Doodles', Panoptikon (2008).

Prosser, B., Human Wishes (Reading: University of Reading, 2008).

Prosser, B., 'Samuel Beckett Goes Doodling', Varoom 10 (2009), 44-7, 66.

Prosser, B., 'No Symbols Where None Intended', Ransom Edition (2009), 14-17.

Prosser, B, 'Nothings in particular', in D. Caselli (ed.), Beckett and Nothing (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2010), pp. 84-106.

Prosser, B., 'A Dab of Beckett's', in I. Biggs (ed.), In Debatable Lands, Volume II (School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds: Wild Conversations Press for TRACE, 2010).

Prosser, B., 'Beckett's Barbouillages', Samuel Beckett Today/Aujord'hui 22: Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies (eds E. Tonning, M. Feldman, M. Engelberts and D. Van Hulle), 373-395.


Art et Littérature, Paris (2006-7).

University of Warwick (2007).

Taylor Institute, University of Oxford (2007).

"Mystique of the Archive", Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities, University of Texas (2008).

Art et Littérature, Paris (2008).

University of Rome (2008).

University of California, Los Angeles (2009).

Special Collections Service, University of Reading (2009).

Trinity College Library, Dublin (2009).

St. Mary's Church, Stow in Lindsey, Lincolnshire (2009).

Naughton Gallery, Queen's University Belfast (2009).

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  • School of Arts and Communication Design
  • Research & Consultancy at the University 


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