Masarykova univerzita Filozofická fakulta Ústav pro studium divadla a interaktivních médií Karolína Stehlíková Language Used in Drama at the End of the Twentieth Century



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Masarykova univerzita

Filozofická fakulta

Ústav pro studium divadla a interaktivních médií

Karolína Stehlíková


Language Used in Drama at the End of the Twentieth Century

(A Textual Analysis of Works by Jon Fosse and their Place in the Scandinavian Context)


disertační práce



Školitel: Prof. PhDr. Jiří Munzar, CSc.

BRNO 2006

Prohlašuji, že jsem předloženou práci vypracovala samostatně a použila jen uvedených pramenů a literatury.
I hereby declare that I have written the submittted work independently, on my own, and have used only the literature I refer to.

Karolína Stehlíková, Brno, 21. 9. 2006.





0. Acknowledgements 5

1. Introduction 7

1.1 The crisis of European drama throughout the twentieth century 9

1.2 In-yer-face drama 14

1.3 Other significant styles 17

1.4 Conclusion 24

2. The 1990s – the boom in New Scandinavian Drama 25

2.1 The Situation in Scandinavia 25

2.2. A brief look back 26

2.3. The foundations of the Scandinavian boom 29

2.4. The typology 45

2.4.1 Themes 45

2.4.1.1 Family as an illness 45

2.4.1.2 Disintegration of the society 47

2.4.1.3 Disintegration of identity 49

2.4.2. "-isms” 52

2.5. Conclusion 65

3. Jon Fosse and the specifics of his work 68

3.1. Who is Jon Fosse today? 68

3.2. Fosse’s literary, theatrical and philosophical background 71

3.3. Characteristics of Fosse’s dramatic style 77

3.3.1 Analysis of the play The Name 80

3.4. Fosse’s position in a Norwegian cultural context 89

3.5. Fosse’s position in a World theatre context 95

4. Shifts in the dramatic structure 99

4.1 Space and time 99

4.2. The character 118

4.2.1 The character and its relation to reality, time and space 118

4.2.2 The character and its relation to other characters 128

4.2.3 The character and the discourse 134

4.3 The dramatic situation 145

4.4 Conclusion 149

5. The theoretical problems of translating contemporary drama 150

5.1 Translating drama 150

5.1.1. General tasks of the translator 150

5.1.2. Other considerations 154

5.1.2.1. Intertextuality 154

5.1.2.2. The stylistic model 158

5.1.2.3. Swearing 159

5.1.2.4. Untranslatable facts 165

5.2 Translating Fosse 166

5.2.1 How to treat Nynorsk? 166

5.2.2. Translating free verse 167

5.2.3. Poetic figures present in Fosse’s texts 172

5.2.4. The projection of the expressional line of the original in the translated text 178

5.2.5. Graphic equivalence 180

6. To put it bluntly... 186

7. Appendix 190

7.1. The list of plays by Jon Fosse and a selection of his other works 190

7.2. Jon Fosse: Winter. Translated into English by Ann Henning Jocelyn 192

7.3. Jon Fosse: Zima. Translated into Czech by Karolína Stehlíková 255

8. Summary 288

8.1 English summary 288

8.2 České resumé 289

Bibliography 292

Quoted texts (originals) 299

Quoted texts (translations) 300



0. Acknowledgements


I should like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have supported me in various ways during the process of writing this work. First of all, I should like to thank those who read my dissertation at various stages of the writing process and gave me their comments. They are Prof. PhDr. Július Gajdoš, Ph.D., the former supervisor of my work, from the Department for Theatre and Audiovisual Media at Masaryk University in Brno; Prof. PhDr. Jiří Munzar, CSc., my present supervisor, from the Department of German, Scandinavian and Netherland Studies at Masaryk University in Brno; and Prof. Veronika Ambros from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Toronto.

I should like to express special thanks to Prof. Kjell Helgheim from the then Department of Music and Theatre Science at the University of Oslo, my Norwegian consultant, and to his colleague cand. philol. Siren Leirvåg from the same department. Writing about something that we are not part of always carries the risk of incorrect data evaluation. Without the supevision of my Norwegian colleagues I would also haved missed a number of interesting materials which they drew to my attention. In short, this work would look very different without the help of these two people.

My special thanks go to Jon Fosse himself. He was very supportive, supplying me with all of his plays (and their translations) and answering numerous enquiries he had probably had to answer thousands of times before.

I should also like to thank all the other Scandinavian playwrights who were willing to send me their plays and discuss their work with me. Amongst others, I should like to thank Morten Jostad, Arne Lygre and Mattias Andersson.

The person who kept me updated concerning the newest events regarding new Scandinavian drama was Eli Bangstad from the Norwegian Playwrights’ Association.

The three institutions that provided financial support for my one-semester stay at the University of Oslo in 2004 should be named here: the Norwegian Government, the Norwegian Playwrights’ Association and Masaryk University. At this point I should therefore like to thank the people who helped me to realize my stay in Norway – Prof. Kjell Helgheim, already mentioned above; Kjell Kristensen, the former head of the Norwegian Playwrights’ Association; and PhDr. Thomas Donaldson Sparling, B.A., head of the Department of Foreign Affairs at Masaryk University.

I also want to express great thanks to my friend Mary Katherine Jones, M.Sc., who proof-read the whole work and polished my English.

Last but not least I should like to thank my patient husband, who – although having nothing to do with theatre otherwise – read the whole work as it developed and supplied me with useful lay comments, helped me to solve the graphics layout and gave me moral support throughout the whole process, which from time to time I found to be unbearably long.

On my journey I have also met a number of people who supported me either intellectually or morally. Let me name them in alphabetical order:

Prof. František Čermák, PhDr. Zbyněk Černík, Martin Čičvák, Øyvind Osmo Eriksen, Dr. Anne Helgesen, Prof. Frøydis Hertzberg, PhDr. Miluše Juříčková, CSc., Carolin Mayer, Jon Refsdal Moe, Alexandra Myšková, PhDr. Petr Peňáz, Jan Antonín Pitínský, Doc. Mgr. Martin Putna, Dr., Prof. PhDr. Eva Stehlíková, Prof. Vigdis Ystad, Mgr. Barbora Závodská, Cecilia Ölveczky, Hanne Ørstavik.


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