Beckett by Beckett

There is an interesting discourse in literature about how to define irony. This really begins with Plato commenting on Sokrates who makes use of the term “eirôneia”. In the history of the idea of irony comes next the philosopher Kierkegaard with his not-ironic treatise “The Concept of Irony. With Constant Reference to Socrates”. Reading philosophy can be really entertaining. It is, therefore, no surprise to find a publication entitled “Ironic Samuel Beckett” (Pol Popovic Karic, 2009). Following Karic there are 3 defining elements of irony: (1) “The message should be intentionally created, …(2) The meaning of an ironic message needs to be “covert”,… (3) During the analysis of a stable irony, the reader can assume that the first interpretation of the ironic message is correct.” (Pol Popovic Karic, 2009 p.49).
Additionally, to understand irony it might be necessary to know more about the context of the statement. Sometimes the ironic statement can only be interpreted as such if you have additional knowledge about the biography of the author (p.47). To understand Beckett better it is advisable to read about his life course in the many biographies available nowadays.
Beckett by Beckett, meaning the translation of Beckett by Beckett himself yields many fruitful insights into his kind of irony and constant reflection and laughing about himself as his very own form of irony. This becomes most evident in the many helpful tables Linda Collinge (2000) presents in her book on “Beckett traduit Beckett”. Translating irony is a tricky endeavour. Many of the translations do not seem to be straightforward at all and can only be understood from the perspective of the whole translation of a piece and the underlying “Haltung”, ironic attitude of the author to his own work. Beckett by Beckett remains a master piece for translaters beyond those from French to English. (Images: Linda Collinge, 2000, p.61-2).