International Conference “Samuel Beckett: Literature and Translation” 2018

Samuel Beckett’s importance for both Irish and Universal literature is unquestionable. He has actually reached the level of cultural icon in recent years. Beckett’s international recognition was established with Waiting for Godot (1953), a work originally written in French which he immediately rendered into English, a pattern he would repeatedly use all through the rest of his life. In fact, he translated into French most of the works he wrote in English, becoming the most important 20th-century bilingual writer. Bilingualism in Beckett could be said to have reached aesthetic status: when Beckett seemed to “fail again” without being able to advance any more, bilingualism offered him the possibility to progress. As a matter of fact, writing in another language seemed the only possible way to further develop for a type of literature that was self locked up. As a result of this process, by the end of his life, as Sinead Mooney points out, Beckett had created an unstable and complex canon in which, from the end of World War II onwards, the difference between original and translation becomes more difficult to ascertain. Beckett was conscious of the enormous importance bilingualism and self-translation had in his literary production and he is known to have helped many translators of his works, showing a keen interest in the way in which his novels and plays were translated into other languages.

However, despite the international recognition provided by the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature, unfortunately his works still remain somewhat unknown in Spain. The aim of this conference is to analyse Beckett’s presence in the Spanish cultural life during the last sixty years with special attention to the Spanish renditions of his works. Although almost all his novels, dramatic works and prose and poetic texts have been translated into Spanish, the quality of those versions greatly varies. Apart from that, many of Beckett’s emblematic texts are now out of print and others are found in very limited editions. This conference intends to provide a forum for debate about the translations of Beckett’s works into Spanish, so that the conclusions of the studies presented here may contribute to future research and to promote a better reception of his works.

For the International Conference “Samuel Beckett: Literature and Translation”, interdisciplinary proposals, either in Spanish, French or English, on the following topics (but not exclusively) are welcome:

  • Samuel Beckett and bilingualism in his works
  • Translations of Samuel Beckett’s works into Spanish and other peninsular languages: An analysis of particular cases and state of the art
  • Samuel Beckett’s reception in Spain
  • Censorship of Samuel Beckett’s works in Spain
  • Beckett and self-translation into English and French
  • Critical trends in the interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s works
  • Samuel Beckett’s philosophical thought
  • Beckett’s exploration of other artistic forms
  • An analysis of Samuel Beckett’s works

Proposals should be sent by e-mail to the following address:, before 30th September 2017, and should include:

  • Title
  • Participant’s name, institutional affiliation and e-mail address
  • 200-300-word abstract

The Scientific Committee will evaluate the proposals and a final decision will be notified during November, 2017 in order to proceed with the process of registration.

Faculty of Letters, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain, 12-13 April 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2017