I am Lisel Adam, visiting student from Paris Sorbonne, and I am the author of Beckett’s self-translation: Linguistic variations between “Pas Moi” and “Not I” (1972).This zine, like those my peers, is the result of many investigations, and specifically for me of a study of Samuel Beckett’s translation of Not I that aimed at querying how his Franco-Irish identity may have informed his practice. In fact, there is a common tendency to place Beckett either within the frame of French literature or within the scope of Irish literature, which is neither right nor wrong, and yet creates a lack of understanding of Beckett’s work and philosophy. I hope my zine contributes to thinking about Beckett’s use of languages and cultures beyond national borders.
Lisel, Mathilde and Savannah in the embodied practice workshop on Beckett’s TV plays facilitated by Nicholas Johnson
During the term, we had the opportunity to meet with various experts in order to practice acting, experience Beckett in virtual reality, or even discover the Beckett Collection owned by the Library. These workshops gave me the tools to understand Beckett as an artist, and more importantly, as a human being.
The unusual format of the zine was very helpful to learn in ways that classical academic assignments do not allow. I always felt unsatisfied with my essays in college, as they were not fully representative of my personality and my interests. This project made me realize that genuine research can take other forms and be carried out through creative and innovative frameworks, and I feel more confident with my work now.
Some of the students in the Manuscript Department discovering the Beckett Collection with Jane Maxwell
Finally, I also engaged with disciplines and methodologies that I was unfamiliar with beforehand. I conducted my first interview of an actor, which was demanding but stimulating, and I also practiced epistolary research and genetic criticism, inspired by our visit to the archive, where Jane Maxwell showed us letters, manuscripts and notebooks. These invaluable contributions taught me a lot about the multiplicity and diversity of sources that we can use as students, which makes learning a lot more exciting and empowering.