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Samuel Beckett's How It IsPhilosophy in Translation$
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Anthony Cordingley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474440608

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440608.001.0001

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A Poetics of Translation: Dante, Goethe and the Paideia

A Poetics of Translation: Dante, Goethe and the Paideia

(p.16) 1 A Poetics of Translation: Dante, Goethe and the Paideia
Samuel Beckett's How It Is

Anthony Cordingley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores Beckett’s polyphonic, multilingual intertextuality. It begins by examining the role of Dante’s DivinaCommedia in the composition of Comment c’est and challenging the received idea that Dante’s work is the ur-text underwriting Beckett’s novel. It charts when Dantean images enter the work’s genesis and how they are volatilized when rendered in the French of Comment c’est and the English of How It Is. Beckett is shown to inscribe into his Dantean images and echoes, allusions to other texts in the French and English traditions. A new theory of Beckett’s multilingual authorship is offered, which draws on his use of Gœthe, the Bildungsroman and his acute attention to dynamics of pedagogical transfer and paideia.

Keywords:   Samuel Beckett, Intertextuality, Translation, Bilingualism, Modernism, Dante, Gœthe, Bildungsroman, Paideia

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