ENG32230 Reading Beckett

Academic Year 2022/2023

Beckett has frequently been seen as a postmodernist writer whose work is placeless and eschews national affiliation. This course by contrast will focus on the historical, materialist, political, and performative dimensions of Beckett’s writing. It will also examine the ways in which Beckett weaves Irish themes and tropes into his plays and fictions. Central attention will be given to the symbol of the body in pain in his oeuvre and to its materialist dimensions and signifying power. Beckett's depiction of gender roles and his peculiar reorientation of the female protagonist and voice in his late work will also be considered. Additionally, this module will track the trajectory of Beckett’s career and consider the increasing espousal of “lessness” and an aesthetics of attrition in his texts.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:
Discuss and evaluate the development of Beckett’s aesthetic and style
Identify historical and political issues in Beckett’s work
Assess the validity of Beckett as a postcolonial Irish writer
Articulate the impact of World War Two on Beckett’s life and work
Cross-compare the effectiveness of productions of his works
Analyse the Irish themes and images in Beckett’s texts
Articulate the symbolic weight of the body in pain in his texts
Evaluate his representations of gender, femininity and the post-human subject

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
weekly online seminar in a virtual classroom with an opportunity for discussion, group work, and the development of independent ideas 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Summative essay (3,000 words) Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Two pieces of graded written work: a close reading of a passage or chapter and a mid-semester essay
some non-graded quizzes and discussion boards
Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback will be provided on the written continuous assessment work

Molloy. Faber and Faber, 2009.
Ill Seen, Ill Said in Company, Ill Seen, Ill Said, Worstward Ho. Faber and Faber, 2009. Digital Copy on Brightspace
Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, Happy Days, Footfalls, Not I, Rockaby and Catastrophe. In The Complete Dramatic Works. Faber and Faber, 2006.
Name Role
Mr Ciarán Leinster Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Leanne Waters Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Thurs 10:00 - 11:50