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ABSTRACTS

Claire Norris (Bryant and Stratton College)
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places": Using Beckett to Endorse Writing as Therapy for Translating the Traumatic

    It is well known that Beckett was a perfectionist when it came to his writing. While there are "no symbols where none intended" (Watt) you cannot ignore anything in the Beckettian canon, despite the fact that it is all too easy to be led down the rabbit hole. There are many personal connections between Beckett and his texts, with both explicit and more oblique references made to his life and experiences. These may be mere literary devices and/or red herrings, but I believe that Beckett (at least partially) inserted and indeed translated so much of himself into his texts for an important reason.

    My paper will argue that Beckett tried to write out his own personal traumas, the crises if his nation(s), as well as the more universal "human" traumas in his texts. Writing was very important for Beckett and it helped him through very difficult times in his life. I believe that for Beckett, writing and the resultant translation, were therapy. My paper will focus on Beckett's attempts to write out the different traumas mentioned above and I will discuss the "writing cure" in relation to Beckett's texts and the need he had to explore and represent traumas to himself and others.

    I will end by moving beyond Beckett to examine the lesson he provides in relation to trauma and therapy for writers, instructors, students, and, as ever with Beckett, people. Trauma is an important part of life, and as such, people must deal with it in some form or another (even if this is through avoidance and/or renunciation). Through his mix of tears and laughter, Beckett provides us with a healthy way of dealing with trauma, enough so that we can carry on with our lives. Beckett becomes an example of how to deal with trauma, and to utilize it, through writing and testimony, as a means to heal or cope with complex psychological or emotional wound(s).



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