Jean-Michel Rabaté, President of the SBS.

To conclude without concluding, I’ll quote a passage in French from Beckett’s 1945 story ‘Le Calmant’: ‘A moi maintenant le départ, la lutte et le retour peut-être, â ce viellard qui est moi ce soir, plus vieux que je ne le serai jamais. Me voici acculé â des futurs’. Beckett’s statement is relevant: I am, we are, obliged to face a future, or perhaps futures in the plural. I mention this because the English version skips it, merely evoking ‘the old man I am this evening, older than my father was, older than I shall ever be’. This appears in the context of new struggles and radical departures. To have one’s back against futures should be understood positively. It is precisely what we are facing right now.

Thus, it was fitting to see the various Beckett societies enter the future resolutely, and this will be helped by the new president of the Samuel Beckett Society, Mark Nixon, who will begin his mandate in January 2013, and by the new editor of the Beckett Circle, Peter Fifield, who is beginning now. I want to salute both – with them, the future looks bright and exciting. It will bring unheard of possibilities to all scholars, young and old, experts or beginners, as will our calculated and tactical move to England. Our friend Graley Herren, who has been editing the Beckett Circle for many years, will be sorely missed, but we know that, like us all, he will remain active and connected electronically. For us, then, no calmative, no return, but all our wishes for a shared future. Ubi nihil vales, nihil velis, sure. But Vale! (Be strong!) all the same…

Published in The Beckett Circle, Autumn 2012.

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Posted by:Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. He is the author of Beckett's Late Stage (2018), and his work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals. He holds a BA, MA, and a PhD in English Literature. His website is a personal journal offering commentary and analysis across literature, film, music, and the arts.

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