Introduction to Beckett: Dr Gary Day

"This five-week course will focus on Waiting for Godot, one of the most influential plays of the twentieth century and one which still speaks powerfully to us today. We will relate the peculiar character of the play to the Theatre of the Absurd; we will read extracts from it; we will discuss its origins (one of them is a painting by Casper David Friedrich), its tropes (the bowler hats for example come from Laurel and Hardy), and its many meanings - does it really say, for example, that life is pointless? We will also show how Beckett developed by comparing it to the later play Happy Days. Yes you read that right - Happy Days. But, of course, Beckett was being ironic."

Tutor: Dr Gary Day

"Gary Day was a principal lecturer in English at De Montfort. He gave the centenary lecture on F.R. Leavis at Cambridge and for many years was on the committee of the British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies. He is the author of five books, including one on Leavis, and his latest, The Story of Drama: Tragedy, Comedy and Sacrifice from the Greeks to the Present, was described in the Times Literary Supplement as ‘an ambitious book, richly informative, consistently readable and conscientiously argued’. He has edited various collections of essays on topics ranging from Victorian literature and culture to D H Lawrence. Gary was also for many years a columnist and reviewer for the Times Higher. His essay John Bunyan: Class and Englishness will be published in the The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan next year."