Susanna Spero is a specialist in 20th century French literature, genre theory and translation studies. Her current research focuses on the role of bilingualism in contemporary poetry. After earning a PhD from the Sapienza University of Rome in 2000, she taught at the University of Paris 8 and the University of Franche-Comté before joining the University of Siena, where she has taught since 2003. Her doctoral work focused on the evolution of drama and narrative in the work of Samuel Beckett, in relation to bilingualism. She is the author of a forthcoming book entitled L’invenzione di una forma. La poetica dei generi di Samuel Beckett (Quodlibet 2012). As a translator, she has published Italian editions of texts from classical authors (Voltaire, Diderot, La Fontaine), works of contemporary writers (Ndiaye, Céline) and, since 2005, has been in charge of a postgraduate course in Literary Translation.
The aim of this project is to study the very peculiar work of Romanian poet Gherasim Luca (1913-1994), exiled in Paris around 1950, who adopted French as his literary language. In his poetry, he finds new meanings through the disarticulation of language, by semantic hijacking and creative stammering. His writing is strongly linked to his visual art practice (cubomanie) and to his poetry readings, a kind of vocal performances that emphasises the oral dimension of the poems. This research project will study in particular Luca’s work on language and the effects of exile and bilingualism on his writing. In fact, Luca proceeds to turn language into a body, with a physical, vocal and visual existence. The research will be conducted by studying Luca’s archives at the Bibliothèque Jacques Doucet. This institution holds all of Luca’s manuscripts and graphical works, together with many of his other personal papers and objects. This research is the first step in a larger project based on the study of the appropriation of the French language by two other writers, Samuel Beckett and Amelia Rosselli, who are connected with Luca by the same practice of deconstruction and reinvention of language. The goal of this investigation is to establish the contribution, from a theoretical point of view, of a bilingual poetics on a new literary form of movement.