Trinity launches eighth annual Samuel Beckett Summer School

This year’s theme is Beckett’s relationship with disability

Trinity has launched its eighth annual Samuel Beckett Summer School, hosted by the School of English and the School of Creative Arts. This year’s theme is Beckett’s relationship with disability and how he portrays it in his work.

The Summer School aims to share the latest research on the world-renowned writer and his work with up to 50 students from all across world. According to the event organisers, Dr Nicholas Johnson and Dr Sam Slote, Beckett is to this day an important benchmark in the ever-expanding area of disability studies. His works redefine ability and embrace human dependence.

Alongside the learning-oriented aspect of the Summer School, there are also several cultural events and learning opportunities open to the public throughout the week-long Summer School programme, which runs this year from July 29 to August 3. The events will discuss a wide range of disability-related issues. A panel discussion open to the public on “Beckett and Disability” will take place in the Long Room Hub at 11am on Wednesday.

The public can also enjoy some highlights of the Beckett collection held by Trinity College Library in the Long Room. This exhibition will run until August 22 and includes photographs of Beckett directing, as well as a notebook donated by Beckett himself which reveals the impact of bilingualism on his creativity and works. Writing in both French and English, the bilinguality of Beckett’s works is a rare testimonial to how the creative mind engages with and  experiences the world.

Trinity Library’s Principal Curator, Jane Maxwell, explained: “Beckett exhibitions are always popular with the hundreds of thousands of our visitors for whom Beckett and Trinity are almost synonymous. But it is particularly satisfying to curate an exhibition specifically for a Summer School full of enthusiastic Beckett fans.”

Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906 and studied French, Italian and English during his time in Trinity. After graduating, he emigrated to France, where he met and worked with James Joyce. During the Second World War, Beckett joined the French resistance. After the war, Beckett wrote exclusively through French.

The Beckett Summer school emphasises that it is not simply an academic conference, but rather a “unique experience for students, scholars and lovers of Beckett’s works” that aims “to explore Beckett’s works from a variety of different perspectives” by bringing various and vastly different areas of study and research to the one table.