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Title: Eine alltägliche Tätigkeit : performing the everyday in the avant-garde theatre scene of late nineteenth-century Berlin
Author: Schor, Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This dissertation situates late nineteenth-century Berlin's reception of naturalist drama in contemporary discourse about European modernism, which to date has disregarded the significant impact of this cultural environment. Examining the Berlin avant-garde's demand for "truth" and "authenticity," this study highlights its legacy of promoting more honest and dynamic forms of human interaction. Sketching the historical background, Chapter 1 demonstrates how the reception of Henrik Ibsen in Berlin fuelled creative strategies for a more honest approach to theatre. From literary matinees to more egalitarian ways of directing theatre, this moment in cultural history significantly shaped people's understanding of theatre as a tool for social criticism and as a means of creating a sense of intimacy. Two important figures are highlighted here: literary critic and theatre director Otto Brahm, central to the promotion of naturalism, and his more prominent protégé Max Reinhardt, who developed Brahm's legacy. Situating these developments in a theoretical framework, Chapter 2 draws on the concept of "the everyday" as set out by Toril Moi, Stanley Cavell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein to link the role of the ordinary on stage to the avant-garde's search for authenticity and truthfulness. Through this framework, Ibsen's social dramas from A Doll's House to Hedda Gabler (Chapter 3) can be seen perfectly to exemplify this shift in perspective from the 1880s through the 1890s, revealing the complexity of truthfulness in communications. Tracing these themes in other dramatic works, innovative readings of Arthur Schnitzler's Liebelei (Chapter 4) and Rainer Maria Rilke's Das tägliche Leben (Chapter 5) shed new light on these two fin-de-siècle authors. By highlighting these authors' previously unrecognised connections with Berlin's avant-garde theatre scene and their dramatic exploration of interpersonal connection, this study shows both how theatre functioned as a tool to examine human relationships and to what extent twentieth-century literature was grounded in this way of thinking.
Supervisor: Morgan, Benjamin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.722546  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modernism (Literature)--Germany--Berlin--History ; German drama--19th century--History and criticism ; Avant-garde (Aesthetics)--Germany--19th century ; Theater--Germany--Berlin--History--19th century ; Germany--Intellectual life--19th century
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