Alex Anderson

Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Fellow

20162017 Forum on Translation

Alex Anderson

Comparative Literature

College, 2018

Alex is a junior from Havertown, PA. He is majoring in Comparative Literature with a concentration in Literary Theory and speaks French and German. His research interests include modernism and modernity, post-colonialism, psychoanalytic studies, translation studies, and philosophy of language. Outside of the Penn Humanities Forum, Alex is a senior editor for the Penn Political Review and design editor of the Penn Review.

Beckett at the Limits of Language: An Analysis of Worstward Ho and its French Translation

Samuel Beckett is perhaps the most important case study for translation studies because of his systematic effort at translating all of his texts from English to French or French to English. He could not, however, translate the 1983 Worstward Ho. The prose being denser and sparer than in his other works, he felt he was unable to properly render it in French, and only allowed his close friend Edith Fournier to attempt it after his death. My project will study Fournier’s French translation of Worstward Ho as Cap au pire with the aim of answering what makes something untranslatable. We will see what Worstward gains and loses in translation and should then be able to assess the limits of language and representation.