Friday, October 20, 2006

Centenary Celebration of Beckett Continues with MLA's Marjorie Perloff, October 30

Chestertown, MD, October 19, 2006 — In the third of a series of four events celebrating the centenary of the birth of Irish writer Samuel Beckett, Washington College's Sophie Kerr Committee presents "In Love with Hiding: Samuel Beckett's War, " a lecture by Marjorie Perloff, President of the Modern Language Association, Monday, October 30, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room of the Miller Library. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Unlike the many critics who approach Beckett as primarily a philosophical writer whose principal subject is "alienation" or "the human condition," Marjorie Perloff insists on the importance of his precarious life as a member of the resistance in Nazi-occupied France—even though he never wrote about them directly—as a key to understanding his work. She will illustrate this point by discussing, among other texts, Beckett's most famous play, Waiting for Godot.

Marjorie Perloff has long been recognized as one of the most energetic and innovative of contemporary literary critics. A champion of avant-garde poetry, she has authored hundreds of articles and a dozen books, including The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage, Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media, and Poetry On and Off the Page: Essays for Emergent Occasions. In addition to her books of literary criticism, Perloff has written theVienna Paradox, which recounts her childhood in Austria, from which her family fled in 1938.

The reading is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, which works to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most "ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor" and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.

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