French and English Lit, that's terrific - it's basically what I want to do. Well, maybe English literature and european languages, actually. And yes, part of the reason why I'm learning French is so that I can appreciate the French Beckett. If all goes well I'm going to do volunteer work at a French school. So your amusing phrase 'herding cats' is probably an apt description of what I'll spend my next year doing.
Your summers in France put a big smile on my face; one of my dreams (and I don't have that many) is to cycle throughout the South of France for one or two months. I don't drink, so unfortunately I won't be able to appreciate the fine French wine. Where did you cycle? And would you recommend a particular route?
[I still can't get over the fact that James Knowlson was your tutor. Everytime I go to his Damned to Fame just to check something about Beckett's life I end up reading not only the sought-after information but also the following 20 pages.]
This priceless photo is of a very eccentric man named Daniil Kharms, a Russian absurdist writer contemporary of Beckett. Though there's no evidence that either of them read the other they share some similarities and have often been compared. If you like Beckett you'll probably find Kharms's antics hilarious, or at least intriguing. Look up "daniil kharms incidences", see the first result. Just read the first (arguably his best, and most famous too), it'll take you 20 seconds and you'll get an idea of what the tone of his stories are.
I'm curious to see that 50's milkman of yours, so here's how you go about setting it up: when you're on LitNet there's this bar underneath the "Welcome, emily00" part, which has the "search" and "log out" options; in this bar click on the first name, "User CP"; then, on the left, under "Settings & Options", click on the option "Edit Avatar"; from there on it should be easy. Hope you get there despite my directions.
Yes, I teach French as well as English Literature and Language (I must be mad!), although there is very little French Lit in the A level syllbi these days. I have to say, Beckett's plays resonate for me more powerfully in French - perhaps because I first studied them in that language.
How fantastic to be able to spend a whole year in France becoming fluent. I spend the summer there most years, cycling and drinking wine (not simultaneously) and the odd week in June looking after 15 year olds on a French Exchange programme. It's a nightmare - like herding cats.
I love your signature photo, by the way. What/Who is it? I think I shall put my 1950's milkman one next to my name, if I can work out how to do it.
Thank you very much for the pointers; 'self-delusion' seems to me to be a particularly apt term to use when talking about SB. And I think I'll definitely have to skim through some Descartes, whom he seems to parody and move away from when he questions the possibility of self-awareness.
Goodness gracious, the James Knowlson? I'm reading his marvellous Damned to Fame as we speak! That's a very impressive literary 'connection', I must say. Beckettwise, it could only have been better had you known SB himself. And you've taught Godot in French? Nice! So you've taught literature, then? Or French? Or both? I'm actually planning on spending my next year in France so as to learn it properly.
Greetings, fellow Beckett lover! Always nice to find someone who likes the man I'll spend my summer reading. My idea has always been to write on the 'Representations of Madness in Samuel Beckett', preferrably before he was famous (i.e. before Godot became the shizzle). I think I'll argue that he's quite sympathetic towards the insane (and show how say his multi-lingualism and other biographical elements might contribute to that outlook). I'm starting to have some doubts, however. What do you think, would I do well to look into this? I know I can count on your sincerity, I must say I take great pleasure in reading your very straightforward posts.
ignoramus et ignorabimus