Radio drama as language - based = 'logocentric' (research)

Character is constructed by language  (BELOW)
 Spectrum of language: Stoppard to Beckett (BELOW)
 Extra-linguistic / pre-linguistic (BELOW)
 Failure of language (BELOW)
 Radio = verbal primacy (BELOW)

Character is constructed by language
 Character is language
 What effect does this have on writing for radio and on acting/directing?
 The depths revealed in a character are further language, further discourse.
 Language relies on rules, on causality and consistency.
 What language struggles are there in radio plays?
 Can a radio character abandon language? Have a failure of language?
 Doubt the meaning of words, stammer, misuse language?
 Use language which reveals disconnectedness? Incomprehensible?
 Logocentric = centered on language
 Logorrhea = uncontrollable talkativeness

Spectrum of language: Stoppard to Beckett
 Language can be highly problematic - in the novel. But on radio? Is radio 'essentially' bound to language? How much questioning of language is observable in radio plays, particularly in 'art' radio plays?
 Modernism on radio in the Fifties: Breakdown and build-up of language = Beckett and Dylan Thomas
 (1) Dylan Thomas, Stoppard are one tendency - Inventing language anew, make the universe in parts of speech. Puns, exuberance, language games, prose poetry. Expanding universe of language. Creative and playful possibilities of language.
 (2) Beckett pushes towards silence
 An escape from explanation and expansion. Repetition, rhythms, strict structures.
 Extraordinary that Beckett moves into radio, the language medium. His swerve from 'All That Fall', which is so language-based, but questions it, through to the last monologues.
 To the edge of the sayable, the unnamable. Last Modernist, lack of playfulness.
 Minimal verbal consciousness.
 (3) Postmodernism = character is unknowable and cannot be penetrated by language
 How much of this on radio, especially in the 'art' slot, Radio 3, and monologues on radio?

Extra-linguistic / pre-linguistic
 Live in the world with the contradiction that language is omnipresent and inadequate: language articulates the world and language cannot reach the world.
 Postmodernism: American school of Surfictionists who have abandoned representation altogether, and present an artificial discontinuity and absence of causality.

 Failure of language

Example from Handke's novel, The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick:
Bloch, the main character, wants to experience objects and the world without language. He wants experience that by-passes language and is in a prelinguistic state or ax extra-linguistic state.
'He saw and heard everything with total immediacy, without first having to translate into words, as before, or comprehending it only in terms of words or word games. He was in a state where everything seemed natural to him.'
Bloch is robbed of true experience by language intervening between him and the objects. Language robs things of their true being and makes them false and unreal.
'Everything he saw was cut off in the most unbearable way... as though the things all around him had been pulled away from him. The wardrobe, the sink, the suitcase, the door; only now did he realise that he, as if compelled, was thinking of the word for each thing. Each glimpse of a thing was followed by the word.'
At the end of the novel, nouns are replaced by crude drawings. Language has lost a representational function.

 Language is a failure as a means of communication. It disconnects not connects. It threatens.
 Derrida : words do not refer to the world of facts anymore, but only to themselves.
 Wittgenstein : words are a series of word games which refer to themselves within their own self-contained system.

Radio = verbal primacy
 Panofsky analysis of different functioning of space in theatre and cinema
 cinema's concern with physical reality
 radio's concern with physical reality through the voice
 Allardyce Nicoll (7) cinema's power over time and space is its fourth dimension
 fifth dimension in radio of interiorising
 voice frames narratives
 Limits of reasonable discourse / WORD BASED

 Savage Night, character Charlie Bigger:
'After a while everything was said that we could say and it would have been like talking to yourself. So we talked less and less, and pretty soon we were hardly talking at all. And then we weren't talking at all. Just grunting and gesturing and pointing at things. It was like we'd never known how to talk.' Jim Thompson p 144, noir novelist
margins of narration
language itself become empty and meaningless

 radio drama always through human signifier, conveyance of human voice
 word-based: radio drama is a linguistic event, levels of the self where words interact, and achieve formulation in words, linguistic formulation, but above the level where they rise and aspire to words, but do not achieve utterance
 level of conceptualization, formulating, where we disguise evidence of inner turmoil, it has to still other 'voices' of the mind, except for 'interiorizing, dreaming, preformed speech
 question of the voice is not the question of the mind, but question of meaning is limited to the question of the voice
 privileging the personal voice, individuality



Continuing through the site: What is radio theory for?

Theoretical issues & writing-up your project


 What is radio theory for?

 Theory - what is it?







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