Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save a shortcut to an article to your desktop…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The way you save a shortcut to an article on your desktop depends on what internet browser (and device) you are using.

  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Casement, P.J. (1982). Samuel Beckett's Relationship to his Mother-Tongue. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:35-44.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:35-44

Samuel Beckett's Relationship to his Mother-Tongue

Patrick J. Casement


The novels of Samuel Beckett are examined in the light of the details of his life as portrayed in the Biography by Deirdre Bair. In his writings there are frequent references to mothers, many of which are contemptuous. In his life we find that Beckett felt suffocated by his complicated attachment to his mother, to which nothing short of a geographical distance offered any hope of remedy

and that alone was not enough. It is suggested in this paper that Beckett's difficulties in writing in English, his going to live in France and his abandoning English (his mother-tongue) for French as his primary literary language, reflect his search for a 'transitional space' in which he could recover a capacity for creative play in language. This begins to emerge with a new richness upon his eventual translation of his French writings into English, which he started only after his mother had died. In this, to begin with, he needed the help of a co-translator before he could eventually translate his own work into English on his own. There are striking parallels between this and the interpretive work upon dreams in analysis.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.