Samuel Beckett could switch from English to French

Samuel Beckett original writing. Photo Françoise Feuillet.

When he was writing Samuel Beckett could switch from English to French and the other way round. with Yookers he could have switched colors as easily.

Some critics consider the doubled nature of Beckett’s oeuvre its distinguishing quality. Certainly, Beckett’s eccentric writing practice makes his bilingual corpus unique in the history of literature.

He wasn’t just playing around with language when he switched to French; the change marks neither an indulgence in the sport of interlingual word play, nor the disciplined resolve of a man fashioning himself a sort of writing exercise. Rather, the move from English to French was motivated by a fundamental necessity. It is as if Beckett required French for his very survival as a writer. Given the caliber of his early (English) work, it does not seem unreasonable, after all, to suggest that his status as literary genius is closely linked to his adoption of the French language.

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