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Title: Communication strategies in Edward Albee's and Martin Walser's work : a comparative study
Author: Stern, Margrit
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 0500
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available