Original Research

The domesticated Absurd

Fanny Lacroix
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 5, No 1 | a151 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v5i1.151 | © 2009 Fanny Lacroix | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2016 | Published: 04 April 2009

About the author(s)

Fanny Lacroix, Vaal Triangle Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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In this article, translation, linguistics, philosophy and cultural studies meet in order to discuss the translation of Absurdist theatre. The aim of this discussion is to determine whether the universal and philosophical message conveyed by most Absurdist plays is accurately rendered in translation. Although the Theatre of the Absurd expresses absurd thoughts through absurd language, it is not meaningless, but on the contrary seeks to make people aware of the anguished purposelessness of human existence. It is therefore essential that translations of Absurdist plays render this message in the target language in an equally absurd, yet meaningful way. Since all Absurdist plays cannot be taken into account in the scope of this article, a case study will be carried out, using Eugene Ionesco’s play La Cantatrice Chauve as focus. An evaluation of its English translation by Donald M. Allen, The Bald Soprano, is carried out in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Suggestions are made where relevant to enhance the translation or comment on its level of success.


Theatre of the absurd; translation; Eugene Ionesco


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