On Translating Beckett

Mark Twaite has a nice interview with George Craig, who is the lead translator for the immense undertaking that is the collected letters of Samuel Beckett. (Craig also wrote a fine pamphlet on the subject.)

Mark Thwaite: What did you want to achieve with your own book (Writing Beckett’s Letters)?

George Craig: I wanted above all to get away from the notion of translation as pure process buttressed by this or that theory, to give instead some sense of the intimate wrestle that it was in my experience: an urgent conversation with an admired dead friend.

I wanted to make clear that translating Beckett’s words required nothing less than a total personal engagement, with the full range of feeling that implies: swings between hope and despair, intuition and bafflement, and the fear of never catching up. The fragmentary form seemed right for that.

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