Lyon College will bring the “Samuel Beckett and Nature” international conference to Little Rock on Oct. 7-8 at Lyon College’s location in the Heifer International headquarters complex, 1 World Ave.
Beckett, an Irish author, critic and playwright, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Writing in both French and English, Beckett is perhaps best known for his plays, especially “En attendant Godot” (1952; Waiting for Godot).
Taking a cue from contemporary developments in Beckett scholarship, as well as from recent literary and cultural studies on post-humanism, the Anthropocene, the connections between nature and literature, and object-oriented and materialist ontologies, the conference will assemble scholars interested in the different questions of nature, the environment and all its associated catastrophes in and around Beckett’s works.
The “Samuel Beckett and Nature” international conference is a sister conference with one hosted at Trinity College Dublin in 2020 on “Beckett and the Anthropocene.” The Little Rock conference is co-hosted by the Consulate General of Ireland and the French Embassy’s Villa Albertine.
“Given the interdisciplinary nature of Beckett’s work, this conference will give individuals interested not only in literature and art, but also in environmental studies, medical sciences, the medical humanities, psychology and more, an opportunity to see scholars present and discuss their research in relation to one of the most important writers of the 20th century,” said conference organizer, Dr. James Martell, Associate Professor of Romance Languages at Lyon College.
In addition to academic panel discussions, the conference will feature two keynote speakers – Dr. Jean-Michel Rabaté of the University of Pennsylvania on Friday, Oct. 7, at 3:30 p.m. and Dr. Stanley Gontarski of Florida State University on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m.
There will be a short play by Beckett, “Cascando,” directed and performed by Kendra Bell, a Lyon College alumnus, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, and a short film, “Beckett on the Baltic,” directed and presented by Gontarski at 3:15 p.m. prior to his presentation on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Two recitals featuring compositions of Schubert and Beethoven related to Beckett’s works will be performed both on Lyon College’s Batesville campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, in Bevens Music Room in Brown Chapel and at the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, with a reception to follow.
“We hope thus to keep the conversation going on ecological, climate change and Anthropocene studies,” said Martell.
There will be an optional outing to Garvan Woodland Gardens, a botanical garden, in Hot Springs on Sunday, Oct. 9.
The complete program can be found at