Download New German Dramatists: A Study of Peter Handke, Franz Xaver by Denis Calandra PDF

By Denis Calandra

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Extra info for New German Dramatists: A Study of Peter Handke, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Heiner Müller, Thomas Brasch, Thomas Bernhard and Botho Strauss

Sample text

The eariy plays, including Stal/erhof and Ghost Train, deal with people more or less on the fringes of society, where the inadequacies of speech are most acute. While the use of proverbs and other types of formula speech are often in grotesque discord with the realities of his characters' situations ('God helps those who help themselves' is more than a little ironic coming from a crippled retarded teenage mother living in concubinage with an over-the-hill lover soon to die of pneumonia), and often signal the dead end of personal expression and of any hope of working out one's problems through conversation.

In My Foot My Tutor and other Handke works the later thoughts of Wittgenstein seem also to apply. The later Wittgenstein approached the task of philosophy more with the eye of an artist than that of an analyst. He published hardly a thing, but uttered cryptic remarks about the whole area of experience beyond logic and language, feIt to be there, as in dreams, though never tangible nor precisely knowable. The subjectivity in Handke's writing is relentlessly critical: he himself, his own thoughts are typical models for the thoughts of his generation.

Handke's manner of describing the stage and the actions on it, forces the director and performers to make certain judgments about the nature of theatre art. By extension, the audience is forced to do the same. Working on the script, one becomes aware of the interpenetration of 32 Kroetz and Handke: A Comparison thematic material and formal means. Ideas cannot be abstracted from their enactment. Perception in the theatre is a primary idea in the play. When Handke writes, 'In front of the farmhouse we see a peculiar, longish object and ask ourselves what it might represent' he is referring to the naturalistic theatre's habit of representing things, and to a conventional audience's inclination to want to decipher the representation.

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