S. E. Gontarski

Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor
WMS 430
20th-century Irish studies, Modernism, performance theory, History of Text Technologies (HoTT) and Modern(ist) book history

S. E. GONTARSKI, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English, Ph.D., Ohio State (1974): writer, director and filmmaker who specializes in twentieth-century Irish Studies, in British, U.S., and European Modernism, performance theory, History of Text Technologies and Modern(ist) book history. He has been a resident Fellow at the Djerassi Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, the Bogliasco Foundation and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome.  He has been awarded four National Endowment for the Humanities research grants, has twice been awarded Fulbright Professorships, has been Guest Editor of the following: American Book Review, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, and Modern Fiction Studies and most recently Drammaturgia.

He is also General Editor of four book series:
1) "Crosscurrents: Comparative Studies in European Literature and Philosophy" with the University Press of Florida;
2) "Anthem Studies in Theatre and Performance" with Anthem Press, London;
3) "Understanding Philosophy / Understanding Modernism" (with Paul Ardoin and Laci Mattison) from Bloomsbury;
4) "Other Becketts" from Edinburgh University Press.

He edited the Journal of Beckett Studies from 1989-2008, and currently serves as Co-Editor with its publication by Edinburgh University Press.


  • Revisioning Beckett: Samuel Beckett’s Decadent Turn. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.
  • Beckett’s ‘Happy Days’: A Manuscript Study. Second, revised edition. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University Press, 2017
  • Beckett Matters: Essays on Beckett's Late Modernism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016
  • Creative Involution: Bergson, Beckett, Deleuze. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015
  • Understanding Deleuze, Understanding Modernism. Ed. with Paul Ardoin and Laci Mattison. New York and London: Bloomsbury Books, 2014. (Reviewed by James Williams)
  • The Edinburgh Companion to Samuel Beckett and the Arts. Ed. and with an Introduction by S. E. Gontarski. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
  • Samjuel Beket: Sabrane kratke proze 1929-1989 s uvodom i bibliografskim beleškama urednika izdanja. S. E. Gontarskog. (Geopoetika, Beograd, 2013). [Serbian translation of Samuel Beckett: The Complete Short Prose, 1929-1989, edited and with an Introduction and Notes by S. E. Gontarski (New York: Grove Press, 1996)] [Winner of the Inicial Award at the Nis Book Fair held at the University City South-east Serbia, 2013: "for a work that connects present and future"].
  • Understanding Bergson, Understanding Modernism. Ed. with Paul Ardoin and Laci Mattison. New York and London: Bloomsbury Books, 2013. [Review by James Bailey]
  • On Beckett: Essays and Criticism. Second, revised edition, ed. and with an Introduction by S. E. Gontarski. London: Anthem Press, 2013.
  • The Beckett Critical Reader: Archives, Theories, and Translations. Ed. and with an Introduction by S. E. Gontarski. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.
  • Un tram che si chiama desiderio / A Streetcar Named Desire. Canone teatrale europeo / Canon of European Drama. No. 7. A cura di / edited by S. E. Gontarski. (Serie diretta da Anna Barsotti e Annamaria Cascetta.) Pisa, Italia: Editioni ETS, 2012.
  • A Companion To Samuel Beckett Wiley/Blackwell, 2010.[Full text]
  • Transnational Beckett ed. with William J. Cloonan, Alec Hargreaves, and Dustin Anderson. Journal of Beckett Studies Books, 2008.
  • Beckett after Beckett (ed. with Anthony Uhlmann), University Press of Florida, 2006. [Review by Tim Parks][Review by Robert M. Kirschen]
  • The Faber Companion to Samuel Beckett: A Reader's Guide to His Life, Works, and Thought (with C. J. Ackerly), Faber and Faber, 2006.
  • The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett: A Reader's Guide to His Life, Works, and Thought (with C. J. Ackerley), Grove Press, 2004. [Full text of book.]
  • Beckett in Scena: Interpretazioni Memorabili nel Mondo (Drammaturgia 9), a cura di S. E. Gontarski e Annamaria Cascetta (Roma: Salerno Editrice, 2002).
  • The Grove Press Reader, 1951-2001, Grove Press, 2001. [Interview with Grove Press author Hubert Selby, Jr., full text.]   [Review by Laura G Carter.] [Full text of book.]
  • Modernism, Censorship and the Politics of Publishing, Hanes Foundation, Rare Book Collection, University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000.
  • The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett, Volume IV: The Shorter Plays, Grove Press (U. S.) and Faber and Faber (U.K.) 1999. [Review by Fintan O'Toole]
  • Samuel Beckett: The Complete Short Prose, 1928-1989, Grove Press, 1996. [The Readers' Subscription featured selection, 1996-7; and New York Times Book Review "New and Noteworthy Paperbacks"]. [Review by John Banville] [Review by Michiko Katutani]
  • The Beckett Studies Reader, University Presses of Florida, 1993. [Review by Melvin J. Freidman][Full text of book.]
  • The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett, Volume II: Endgame, Grove Press (U. S.) and Faber and Faber (U.K.) 1993. ["Notable Books of the Year: 1993," New York Times Book Review] [Review by Mel Gussow]
  • On Beckett: Essays and Criticism, Grove Press, 1986.
  • The Intent of Undoing in Samuel Beckett's Dramatic Texts, Indiana UP, 1985.
  • Samuel Beckett: Humanistic Perspectives, Ohio State University Press, 1983. [Finalist for the 1983 Barnard Hewitt Award for outstanding research in theater history.][Full text of book.]
  • Beckett's "Happy Days": A Manuscript Study, Ohio State University Library Press, 1977.


  • “Two Essays on Tennessee Williams” [Full text]. Književna istorija [Literary History]. XLVII 156 (2015): 181-210.
  • Prof. Stanley Gontarski in Conversation with Jacek Gutorw, Sopot, May 17th 2016
  • [Interview on Tekstualia]
  • "Revising Himself: Performance as Text in Samuel Beckett's Theatre," Journal of Modern Literature, XXII, 1 (Fall 1998). [Full Text]
  • "Editing Beckett," Twentieth Century Literature, 1995. [Finalist, the Andrew J. Kappel Award in Literary Criticism, 1995, at Twentieth Century Literature.][Full Text]
  • "Film and Formal Integrity," Samuel Beckett: Humanistic Perspectives, 1986. [Full Text]
  • "Last Exit to Brooklyn: An Interview with Hubert Selby," The Review of Contemporary Fiction 10.3 (fall 1990): 111-115. [Full Text]
  • [Lawton Interview]
  • "There Is No outside The Image: Bergson on Movement, Multiplicity, and Representation." 11 June 2010 [Listen Here]
  • "The Theater is always Dying," Drammaturgia "Saggi," 14 February 2011
  • S. E. Gontarski interviews Hubert Selby, 31 March 1988.[Listen Here]
  • S. E. Gontarski 1988 Interview: http://portable-infinite.blogspot.com/2020/04/s-e-gontarski-interview-1988.html


  • Visiting Professor, University of California, Riverside, 1982-83
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, 1983-84
  • Research Associate, University of California, Riverside, 1983-84
  • Senior Fulbright Professor, Australia, New Zealand, 1984-85
  • Artist-in-Residence, Djerassi Foundation, 1986
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature and Classics, California State University-Long Beach, 1987-88
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, 1993-94
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, Samuel Beckett Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies and the School of English, University of Dublin, Trinity College, 1994
  • William Evans Professor, School of Humanities, University of Otago, Dunedid, New Zealand, 1994
  • Lansdowne Professor, Department of Theatre, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, 1996
  • Fulbright Professor of American and Irish Studies, National University of Ireland, University College, Dublin, Ireland, 1998-9
  • Resident Scholar, Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy, 2001
  • Academic Director, Florida State University London Study Center, 2005
  • Research Fellow of Theoretical Studies of Theatre (Western/Comparative Theatre Studies), 21st Century COE [Center of Excellence] Institute of Theatre Research and the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University, Tokyo, fall of 2006
  • Director, Florida State University in Ireland, 2008
  • Resident Fellow, Bogliasco Foundation Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, Spring 2011
  • Professor vistante, PROGRAMA DE PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO EM PERFORMANCES CULTURAIS: TEORIAS E PRÁTICAS DA PERFORMANCE, Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG) e Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB) (2012)
  • Visiting Scholar, American Academy in Rome, March 2016


  • Keynote address Charles University, Department of Philosophy, 11 April 2016, "Samuel Beckett in Performance: The Questions We Ask” at The XI Prague Interpretation Colloqium, Chaos and Form: Echoes of Beckett in Literature and the Arts. Published in Litteraria Pragensia (Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University). Eds. Tomáš Koblížek & Petr Koťátko, 2016, pp. 4-25. [Watch Here]
  • Interview in Brazil, 2010 [Watch Here]
  • Interview for "Metropolis" on RTS (Radio Television Serbia) 2 June 2011 (final few minutes of the show). [Watch Here]
  • NPR Profile of Grove Press Publisher Barney Rosset[download mp3 file]
  • Irish Times feature
  • Trinity College, Dublin
  • Lecture in Lódz, May 2014