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 …

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Van Hulle, Dirk. "Worstward Ho". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 October 2004; last revised 30 November -1.
[, accessed 28 April 2015.]