BSLS/JLS Essay Prize Winner 2016

The BSLS are pleased to announce that this year's winner of the essay prize jointly awarded with the Journal of Literature and Science is Rachel Murray’s essay titled ‘Vermicular Origins: The Creative Evolution of Samuel Beckett’s Worm’.

We offer our many congratulations to Rachel.

The judges wrote: “This essay offers a meticulously researched, original account of the development of Beckett’s interest in the larval. Arguing that Beckett conceived of his language and writing in ‘larval’ terms, having read various scientific texts on insect life, the essay convincingly traces how the influence of the ‘worm-state’ on his work grew from the late 1930s. What particularly stood out was the use of archival sources to demonstrate how Beckett engaged with Darwin and to show how Beckett’s understanding of the creative impulse was influenced by Henri Bergson’s writing on evolution. From these readings, the essay shed new light on some of the sources which informed Beckett’s concern with pre-linguistic, instinctual forms of expression. Interweaving exemplary close readings of Beckett’s fiction and his letters, the essay offers a fascinating, historically grounded view of Beckett’s own vermicular evolution as a writer, and as such it is a deserving winner of the 2016 prize.”

Rachel's essay will appear in one of the next issues of the Journal of Literature and Science: