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Title: The origins and legacy of the Viennese Kasperl : a theatre clown's dialogue with the Enlightenment dialectic
Author: Hanna, Andrea Karen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 9508
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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For most German-speakers, of all ages, the name 'Kasperl' conjures up joyful images of a harmless children's puppet theatre character. Recent research in Austrian popular theatre has uncovered Kasperl's origins in live theatre performances from the eighteenth century, however. The 'Kasperl Project' concluded that Kasperl is a product of the Enlightenment civilization process and therefore a watered-down and ineffectual successor to his bawdy and flamboyant predecessors in comic theatre. The 'Kasperl Project' did not devote much analysis to the linguistic comedy of these plays, however. The Kasperl character's linguistic comedy is therefore the subject of this doctoral thesis. From the character's origins through to present day popular theatre, this thesis investigates the potential for socio-political commentary and engagemenUhat was embedded in Kasperl's comic word playas a means to subtly challenge state reform, censorship and rule. Comically subversive word play from an apparently harmless theatre clown is revealed as a survival strategy in Austrian popular theatre to best meet the challenge of a new era that largely took its cue from linguistic and educational reforms. With reference to Bakhtin's theories of the chronotope and the carnivalesque, to the history of the theatre fool and to historical, social, economic and political circumstances, this thesis asserts the theatre clown Kasperl 's role in popular theatre's engagement with the Enlightenment, not as a passive repository of state demands, but as an active agent of dialogue and change through to the present day.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available