Samuel Beckett: Worstward Ho

(1681 words)

As one of the most enigmatic of Samuel Beckett's texts, and the last of the three works published under the title Nohow On, Worstward Ho (1983) seems to express the desire to come to some form of closure. The final words “Said nohow on.” are an answer to the opening words “On. Say on.” As such, they are an illustration of the important maxim from Beckett's Endgame: “The end is in the beginning and yet you go on.” Worstward Ho is the most radical elaboration of this “and yet”. It is an attempt to reach the worst possible condition, which proves to be an asymptotic journey: like the infinitesimal attempt to reach ‘nothing' with words, the worst cannot be attained with words. For as …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Van Hulle, Dirk. "Worstward Ho". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 October 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8883, accessed 03 August 2015.]