Chestertown, MD — Was Samuel Beckett, the great innovator of modern theater, inspired by the paintings of the Old Masters? In his lively and accessible illustrated talk, James Knowlson, Beckett's authorized biographer, will address that question. His lecture is at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday April 18 in the Casey Academic Forum at Washington College. It is free and open to the public.
Knowlson will base his talk on Beckett's unpublished correspondence and personal diaries, to which he has had exclusive access. A personal friend of the playwright for twenty years, Knowlson wrote the acclaimed biography "Damned to Fame. The Life of Samuel Beckett" in 1996. The book was short-listed for the Whitbread Biography Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1996, and won the Southern Arts Association's prize for the best nonfiction work over a three-year period. In the United States, It was also awarded the George Freedley Memorial Award for the outstanding book on theater of 1996. An emeritus professor of French at the University of Reading, Knowlson has written or edited ten other books on Beckett and founded the Journal of Beckett Studies. In 1971, he established the Beckett Archive, now The Beckett International Foundation at Reading.
Knowlson was extensively involved with the productions of Beckett's works during his lifetime. After Beckett's death, he was a consultant for several London theater productions and television films. He has lectured in Japan, Holland, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, where his books have also been translated.
"Beckett and the Old Masters" is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee at Washington College.