“A Worthless Reptile”

The Turkish Language Reforms and Samuel Beckett

In: Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

Abstract

During the 1960s and 70s, direct invocations of Beckett’s texts began to appear in works by writers belonging to a Turkish literary movement called bunalim edebiyati, or Literature of Despair. These writers were critical of the Turkish republic; their productions also coincided with the formation of social movements that sought to address the sociocultural effects of the Turkish language reforms. This paper argues that Beckett’s method and thematic engagement with self-translation informed how Turkish writers negotiated language reforms in their own writing. Writers examined include Adalet Ağaoğlu and Ferhan Şensoy as well as Beckett productions by Barbara Hutt.

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