Communication strategies in Edward Albee's and Martin Walser's work : a comparative study

Stern, Margrit (2017) Communication strategies in Edward Albee's and Martin Walser's work : a comparative study. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis is based on a comparative study of plays by two contemporary authors: Die Zimmerschlacht and Ein fliehendes Pferd by the German author Martin Walser and A Delicate Balance by the American playwright Edward Albee. Critics have stressed the emphasis which both playwrights lay on dialogue as the driving force of their dramatic art. Hence an analysis with pragmatics appears particularly pertinent. I demonstrate that methods and findings from linguistic pragmatics applied to ordinary language are equally relevant to critical analysis of dramatic action. My work draws in a broad but targeted way on pragmatic devices mainly from three different studies: G. Leech, The Principles of Pragmatics, P. B. Brown and S. C. Levinson, Politeness. Some Universals in Language Usage and P. Watzlawick, J. B. Bavelas, D. D. Jackson, Pragmatics of Human Communication. A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes. I elaborate on how the tenets of pragmatics expose levels of meanings and character’s motivations not immediately derivable from the surface structure of utterances. I aim to provide pragmatic devices to explore a character’s behaviour and communicational targets and also focus on the level of communication between playwrights and audiences. Not withstanding their cultural differences both authors reveal similarities in their approach. They are concerned with social reality and its effect on human relations. Although not overtly political the plays by the two authors clearly denounce the refusal of individuals to engage beyond their own interests as social conformism thereby suggesting the necessity of embracing a more tolerant and empathetic attitude. Language is shown to illustrate the individual struggle between social demands, private desire and demands of contemporary society.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > European Cultures & Languages
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 11:25
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 11:25
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/246

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