A study of the developing use of the extreme in the plays of Franz Xaver Kroetz

Mackenzie, Neil (1983) A study of the developing use of the extreme in the plays of Franz Xaver Kroetz. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The subject of this thesis is the identification, delineation and analysis of the depiction of the extreme in the dramatic work of the Bavarian playwright Franz Xaver Kroetz. This aspect is considered central to Kroetz's literary activity because of the light it sheds on the political implications of the plays, which ultimately merit as much attention as their literary value. This theme may be approached in a number of ways. The present study attempts to demonstrate its contentions in the context of a threefold division of the contents of Kroetz's plays into action, language and characters. This division is necessarily artificial: it has been chosen in order to illustrate that the same trends are visible and consistent in each of the three fields under analysis and thereby constitute an adequate reflection of a general development valid for the whole of Kroetz's literary activity. The early notoriety enjoyed by Kroetz was due almost entirely to the element of the extreme in his portrayals of acts of violence, inarticulacy and characters from the fringes of the social landscape; Kroetz was widely disqualified as a depictor of pornographic and irrelevant excesses. At all times, however, these alleged excesses have stood in the service of his political goal of revealing the brutality of the social system of which they are the products, thereby activating the insight and energy required to improve this social order. The elements of the extreme which characterise his early plays, however, were soon recognised as potentially inimical to this goal, in so far as they obscured their political statement by repelling or distracting their viewers. Aware of this inherent danger, Kroetz began to modify his depiction of the extreme in significant ways. In each of the fields under discussion there is a clear movement away from the depiction of the extreme, tempered by a reluctance to abandon it completely. The elements of the extreme either diminish in frequency and intensity or are accompanied by features emphasising their representative value and sociological significance. The demonstration of this development and the exposition of its implications form the substance of the three central sections of the present study. This central body of material and exegesis is framed by an introductory and a concluding chapter. In the introduction, following some brief autobiographical information, Kroetz's literary activity is outlined as a surrogate for political action, an undertaking which must be seen to be fraught with difficulties. By dint of its oppositional nature, Kroetz's literary production is destined to meet with massive resistance, in forms ranging from direct boycott to continual condemnation and patronising toleration at the pens of allegedly objective critics. These practical obstacles raise the question - not unique to Kroetz - of whether literature can ever be adequate as an instrument of political change. In conclusion to the three central chapters, which trace Kroetz's efforts to endow his literary work with maximum political efficacy, the final section attempts to apply conventional literary criteria to his work and to allocate it a place in dramatic taxonomy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Supervisor's Name: McHaffie, Dr. Margaret
Date of Award: 1983
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1983-83212
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 07:54
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 07:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83212
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83212

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