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).

Beckett and philosophy

Beckett and philosophy is the title of challenging read of usually unconnected literatures. Richard Lane embarks on the challenge “theorising Beckett and Philosophy” in Part 1 of the book. This is followed by 2 other parts on “Beckett and French thought” and “Beckett and German thought”. The whole book constitutes an attempt to identify the links between seemingly unrelated work. Sometimes spurred by tiny citations, the importance of influences becomes apparent.
Beckett like Rousseau favours speech over writing. Speech giving access to nature. This, Beckett has taken from French thought traditions. Redefining philosophy after the 2nd world war links Beckett to the thoughts of Adorno and Habermas (early writings). Posing Nietzsche’s thoughts as a post-modern project of endless questioning, Beckett himself enters into a kind of Socratic dialogue with Nietzsche. Spoken words become writing, the written word resembles an unspeakable void. The borders between void and silence, between spoken and written, become blurred. The essence is the world in-between.
It appears like irony and yet it is our very existence. We probably need somebody to translate Beckett for us in order to better understand his philosophical stance. “Beckett translates Beckett” is such a book title. It invites us to study Beckett’s own efforts to translate himself, at least from one language to the other.

Geben und Nehmen

Gedanken aus Anlass des Weihnachtsfestes.

Zum Schenken gehören immer 2 Parteien. Gerade Weihnachten ist ein Geben und Nehmen. Dazu gab es in der letzten Adventswoche eine interessante Sendung von 5 x 10 Minuten im Deutschlandfunk von Mechthild Klein. Hier erstmal die Links.

Judentum Kleine Geschenke vollenden die Schöpfung

Buddhismus Reich ist, wer teilen kann

Atheismus Schenken mit Hintergedanken

Christentum Früher war weniger Lametta

Islam Großzügigkeit – die Tugend des Propheten

Selbst mit dem Wissen über die kulturellen Bräuche beginnt erst die multikulturelle oder interkulturelle Herausforderung. Als College Master im Krupp college hatten wir für solche Feierlichkeiten ein festliches Essen mit kleinen Geschenken und Livemusik abgehalten. Das fand ungeteilte Zustimmung. Interkulturelle Kompetenz lehren und dabei lernen war uns immer ein Vergnügen.

Frohes Geben und Nehmen wünschen wir in der Post-Covid19-Zeit wieder!