Univerza v Ljubljani - Filozofska fakulteta - Oddelek za anglistiko in amerikanistiko
INTERTEXTUALITY AND COAUTHORSHIP
IN THE THREE PLAYS BY W. H. AUDEN AND CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD
Author: Peter Purg
Mentor: Dr. Uroš Mozetič
Ljubljana, the 10th of April 2001
This study applies two fairly distant, even seemingly incompatible concepts of intertextuality and coauthorship onto the three dramatic texts that were written jointly by W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood and may be said to represent the core of what is today considered English political verse drama of the 30’s: The Dog Beneath the Skin (1935), The Ascent of F6 (1936) and On the Frontier (1938). In the initial part of the study coauthorship is discussed with only sparse reference to other theoretical sources, which is mainly due to a lack of suitable works that could prove applicable to the chosen topic. Coauthorship nevertheless indicates the point of departure as well as the direction of the subsequent, more elaborate theoretical treatment of intertextuality. Several theories, taxonomies and definitions of intertextual phenomena are re-designed, combined and levelled (intertextualised!) as to offer a practical platform for the discussion of the three plays. Apart from the basic intertextual discourse (e. g. general vs. special intertextuality, different classifications of markers, genres etc.), some digressions into intermediality and intertextual cultural code are performed to illuminate further aspects of the topic later on. Several vital collaborations (mainly of W. H. Auden, less of Christopher Isherwood) with other authors may serve as an introduction to the extremely “co-operative” atmosphere of the then artistic circles and are complemented by a more minute account of the two authors’ joint literary production with specific attention to the realm of drama. In the final, topically predominant part of the study, the texts are being dealt with as regards their coauthorship and intertextuality by mainly referring to the authorities of literary history and criticism. That is, by way of conclusion, joined with some closer observations of the three texts as such: by granting examples and pointing at the traces (markers) of different intertextualities - thus further developing the concept and confirming its manifold relevance - the texts display not only pivotal socio-historical but also some of their psychological, even political relevance. And throughout the study, a notable portion of such potent intertextuality proves to owe its (productive) roots as well as its (receptive) effect to the condition of coauthorship.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
2. 2. 1.
LEVELS OF INTERTEXTUALITY (Marko Juvan) ............................................
2. 2. 2.
THE DYNAMICS OF INTERTEXTUALITY ...................................................
2. 2. 3. FURTHER INTERTEXTUALITIES (Heinrich F. Plett) .........................
THE COLLABORATIONS OF AUDEN AND ISHERWOOD .........................
(Kallman, Britten, Isherwood)
CONTEXTS OF THE THREE PLAYS ................................................................
TEXTS OF THE THREE PLAYS ......................................................................
INTERTEXTUALITY AND COAUTHORSHIP OF THE THREE PLAYS ......
GENERAL INTERTEXTUALITIES ...................................................................
SPECIAL INTERTEXTUALITIES ......................................................................
FOOTNOTES (sorry for not interlinking!)
This text is an attempt of bringing together two concepts which at the first glance may seem at least fairly unfamiliar if not completely devoid of any affinity: coauthorship1 and intertextuality2. The foremost reason for such suspicion originates largely from the temporal incompatibility of the two concepts, owing to the fact that intertextuality as a concept rises with the fall of the concept of authorship, i. e. with the death of the author.3 It was not until the postmodernists „deconstructed“ the concept of authorship that intertextuality could really gain ground in art theory. Texts (of any kind, i. e. pertaining also to arts other than literature and extending towards „intermediality“)4 were largely freed of the gravity of origin, thus in position to undergo not only fruitful crossover examinations but also daring (and often trifling) interpretative combinatorics. Yet one thing should be stressed in particular: most authors dealing with intertextuality agree that - more or less explicitly and with their theoretical and practical importance largely depending on genres and periods - intertextual phenomena have existed ever since, thus being immanent to all texts, especially to those of literary character.5
The three dramatic texts that will be dealt with in this study were written in the 30’s,6 some three decades before the actual inauguration of the term „intertextuality“. Thus they could not have been burdened by any kind of the authors‘ intention of making them particularly „intertextual“. But by taking a closer look at the texts, a calculated application of certain strategies of text-connection, producing particular interference (with the purpose of adding to their poetic effectiveness and critical range) could hardly be contradicted. Beyond doubt, there is a number of overt signals of intertextual reference that can be discerned from the three texts, especially when placing them in concrete historical, social and political context. In this respect coauthorship only adds to the accessibility of such extratextual reference, opening a large „intertext“7 of double or multiple coding8 that produces additional critical connotations and poetic coherence.
The fact that the mere condition of jointly producing texts should enable authors to pay particular respect to the texts‘ common reference and thus enforce their pointed, relevant interrelatedness is only seemingly paradoxical. Especially in the case of Auden and Isherwood such „coauthored“ texts gain outstanding extratextual relevance and can afford many a redundancy precisely due to their being produced and consumed in a relatively unified time and place by a relatively unalterable audience.10 A further most obvious advantage of texts produced jointly by Auden and Isherwood is an idiosyncratic combination of highly compatible inter- as well as extratextual qualities that either of the authors must have contributed: Auden‘s subtle sense for the poetic and his penetrating intellect blend perfectly with Isherwood‘s extraordinary intuition for stage-efficiency, dynamic scenarios and above all a credible impersonation of ideas.11
In respect to intertextuality coauthorship as a(n enforcing) condition may most productively and without much difficulty be observed on the level of interference between/among different poetics as well as politics, artistic as well as ideological patterns. Whereas the consideration of how (if at all) the respective qualities will prove explicit may largely depend on the transparency and topicality of the (text-production) context as well as on the depth of insight into the specific oeuvre. On the one hand the different perspectives of the authors have a tendency to submerge under the text surface, blended beyond recognition. On the other hand there are instances when a certain kind of dialogue12 may be noticed within an otherwise linear, unison part of text. Of course with most texts of joint authorship their semantic ambivalence can hardly be reduced to two (or more) different perspectives. Nevertheless it could be presumed that it is much easier to define a text’s relation to other texts within the oeuvre of a single author, thus bringing out an intertextuality of a different kind which may in turn prove an appropriate tool for paring a text of its monolithic „authority“, opening it towards others of the kind. Since it denies the established, somewhat classical relation between the author and his/her text, intertextuality in an coauthored context may seem to face the problem of authorship as such even more drastically. The best way out of this double knot opens in the space between/among the authors - in their joint contexts, mutual experience and shared or opposite opinions as manifested intertextually either in their (auto)biographies, other relevant records (e. g. letters and diaries), finally, and most prominently, in their oeuvres.
Within this study coauthorship largely involves another kind13 of intertextual reference which relates to more specific strategies of interconnecting texts. In chapter 5. the three plays are analysed as well as synthesised with respect to their mutual quotations and allusions, some advantageous variations of elements, structures and themes. By stressing the authors‘ joint efforts of writing and producing effective, relevant drama, an attempt is made to discern patterns and strategies of imitation and repetition within the three texts.
Primarily this chapter deals with intertextual terminology, since all theoreticians, without an exception, present their taxonomies in a complex and very often impracticable way, which demands a good deal of abstraction and synthesis, if one is looking for a tool, applicable on a certain (and certainly not any kind!) of textual corpus. This thesis makes use of a combination of three different taxonomies that prove not only most systematic and uncomplicated but above all relevant in terms of being broad-minded and flexible (Plett14); up-to-date and thorough (Juvan); well-organised and dealing specifically with English literature (Broich/Pfister).
2. 2. 1.
LEVELS OF INTERTEXTUALITY (Marko Juvan)
As a result of thorough historical investigations and broad considerations of almost all state-of-the-art intertextual theories,15 Juvan’s manifold classification may at present prove the most reliable source when taking intertextuality as a topic - in general and world-wide. He distinguishes between two basic levels of intertextuality: general and special (also citatory intertextuality or citing). The treatment of these terms may at this stage appear somewhat improportional, the reason being that their close application takes place in the text analysis and intertextual synthesis of chapter 5.
Juvan understands general intertextuality16 as universally pertaining to all texts/utterances and not as a privilege of specific genres or even periods and authors. On condition of looking at a text „semiotically, i. e. actualising any system of signs,“17 this definition concerns the author and the recipient along with the entire communicational act. Beyond the traditional communication model, this term denotes a central condition of production, reception and existence of texts, their formal and semantic structure, their legibility. Every text exists and is understood only through its being semantically and structurally connected with other statements and codes, types of discourses, styles and genre conventions, stereotypes, archetypes and clichés.18 Furthermore, general intertextuality becomes a notably prolific concept especially when extended to the field of intermediality. 19 According to Juvan, through its interaction with other texts, a text „produces and articulates the identity of its declaratory subject, constitutes its existential, socio-historic, cognitive and ethical attitude.“ Nevertheless, extrapolating this kind of argument soon displays a weakness in reference to the discussed plays, since within this realm the author necessary loses control over the meanings and the pragmatic value of his/her text, thus ending up in complete alienation from the recipients of the text - and the text itself. But with Auden and Isherwood’s plays this could not have been the case, since the authors were in constant contact with their „context“, i. e. they remained committed, well-informed and closely connected with the theatre and even with its/their audience, both in the text- as well as theatre-production stage.20 Yet it has to be admitted that at present the dramas in question are being scarcely staged, although they pertain an indisputable poetic quality and a constant, even omnitemporal political, socio-historical relevance. Beyond their satirical character, they may still be read and even staged as highly up-to-date. Instead (and even exactly because!) of critically referring to the concrete persons and places, they nowadays hold a great intertextual potential, ethical as well as aesthetical.
As opposed to the above, special intertextuality labels only literary texts with a reduction to certain literary genres, styles or works. Referring to Riffaterre and Bloom Juvan at this stage concentrates the concept of intertextuality within a poetic, literary domain: „interaction with other verbal works of art, the literary tradition, i. e. with the entire universe of verbal signs and conventions“.21 Literary texts are opposed to non-literary ones that are said to be „prevailingly mimetic“.22 The second, more rigid criterion reduces such intertextuality to certain literary types, genres and styles, e. g. parody, classicism, imagism, postmodernism etc. He thus defines it as a „perceivable, stylistic and semantic quality of a literary text - but not any text“,23 further conditions being that the author should intentionally refer to other texts and codes, that the reference should be materially present and not only recognised, but also understood and interpreted as such by the recipient.24 This kind of reference is valid only when the text refers to another concrete text and not to sign systems, codes or conventions. Special intertextuality also explicates the marking of intertextual reference and transformation, since elements and strategies are organised into typologies (devices, structures, meanings and functions).25 It is also this level of intertextuality which „emphasised as the starting point in literary-historical research that literature is a self-referential system interacting with social discourse“.26 After consulting various taxonomies of the kind, Juvan’s well ordered typology of citatory figures and sorts according to the index agents of transposition, imitation and description undoubtedly proves the most practical for this study. Nevertheless, rather than sticking to a single one, the attempt of bringing together intertextuality and authorship on the example of the three plays by Auden and Isherwood demands a combination of at least two or more theoretical systems that will be dealt with in the following two chapters.
Thus, by way of pragmatically summarising his efforts to update the coexistence of some old and many new worlds of intertextuality, for Juvan, “the socio-historically movable border between general intertextuality and citing is determined by an intertextual cultural code which is a part of literary competence, and also by paratextual and intratextual indices/symptoms of citing, e. g. quotations in titles or stylistic agrammaticality.”27
2. 2. 2.
THE DYNAMICS OF INTERTEXTUALITY (Ulrich Broich, Ulrich Sauerbaum, Horst Zander)
One of the first profoundly systematic dealings with intertextuality should probably be ascribed to Ulrich Broich and Manfred Pfister, the editors of the informative and consistent 1985 collection of theoretical and practical studies on the topic. Apart from some valuable contributions on the intertextuality of dramatic texts, the last, more practical part of the book, focuses on English literature, offering illuminating insight into a culturally „specific“ field of textual communication. The book is decidedly influenced by the postmodernist conception of intertextuality as a dynamic, sliding concept that focuses on the recipient, although many an article strives for some kind of solid systematics that could accommodate all the divergent aspects and conceptions of the phenomenon.
Endeavouring some consistence and very suitable for the purpose of this thesis is Broich’s classification of markers of intertextuality. Among the markers in separate texts or text-units he includes titles, subtitles, footnotes, mottoes, prefaces, epilogues and the like. As this study is about to exemplify, in the case of drama such texts may appear as whole scenes, monologues, dialogues or even poems within the text. A lower level of such reference is represented by afterwords and essays, separated from the main literary text, but published in the same book/medium. This category also comprises texts without direct connection to the text in question such as letters, diaries etc. that are also very important in coauthorship, since they may provide valuable extratextual information28 about the collaboration that is often echoed intertextually within jointly produced texts.29 Another group of markers is labelled markers within the communication system which address the recipient within the texts as for example characters quoting or mentioning another text30 (characteristic of the German drama of the late 20’s as developed and practised mainly by Ernst Toller and Bertolt Brecht) or even acting in a specific, typical, i. e. strongly referential way. These strategies and techniques entered English drama and theatre mainly through the strong reception of German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism, above all through the immense influence of Bertolt Brecht, who particularly inspired the work of W. H. Auden.31 A book or another medium may even appear as a concrete object in a story or as a prop in a play as e. g. radio and newspapers in the plays by Auden and Isherwood which do not offer much intertextuality of the special kind, but by being extremely up-to-date trigger an intensive general reference to the matters of the day as brought about by the mentioned media. According to Broich, the most powerful characters with direct, unison extratextual reference are concrete historical (or still living) persons that re-occur in a text, their representatives or different kinds of - more or less generalising - substitutions (Michael Ransom for T. E: Lawrence in The Ascent of F6 or the paradigmatic Leader in On the Frontier). The third category, markers outside the communication system, usually lack the intensity of reference of the above two groups, since they already possess the necessary prominence for the reader to perceive them as such. Names of characters as well as inverted commas and different typeface, foreign language, slang, dialect or even stylistic distinction all qualify as markers of intertextuality.
An extreme instant of this kind is the so called context of permanent intertextuality32 (e. g. in the works by Tom Stoppard and Arno Schmidt which display a specific density of intertextual reference, pointing at the phenomenon‘s metapoetic weight) or a more traditional kind of reference to emblematic and strongly iconic images, episodes, events and other patterns in „well-known“ texts such as the Bible (e. g. the central image of the dog’s skin in The Dog Beneath the Skin or the integral episode of ascent in The Ascent of F6).
By way of conclusion Broich pleads for a dynamic complex of markers that denotes the parallel impact of different markers and their specific dynamics within a text,33 thus coming close to Juvan’s final condensations of intertextuality.34 These dynamics are being modified by the historic point(s) of time, by a text‘s social background, which, as already stated above, was of high relevance in the English political drama of the 30’s - a time of great social awareness and participation in public life, including arts and sports as well as politics - almost incomparable to the present day. Broich also stresses the importance of the co called in-group mentality that lowers the „signal threshold“ (Signalschwelle),35 bringing the text nearer to its pre-text(s), which is beyond doubt the case with the three plays of Auden and Isherwood: writing and playing for a relatively constant group of people with connatural (political and aesthetical) inclinations is more than obvious in the case of the then London audience of the Group Theatre.36
Within the same book Ulrich Sauerbaum is much more sceptical about intertextual relevance of the historical persons and their artistic permutations,37 however, his major contribution may be found elsewhere, namely in stressing the importance of genre in the realm of intertextuality. According to Sauerbaum intertextual phenomena support the establishing of canonical genres - this he smoothly exemplifies on the illuminating instances of E. A. Poe and Conan Doyle.38 Indeed, although a genre of its own, the English political drama of the 30’s may prove a ground slightly too hostile for a discussion of canon. His central hypothesis that the more established a genre, the less intertextuality it needs for its constitution and consolidation39 may thus stand as a convenient point of departure later on, and is followed by a plethora of more „generalising“40 ones, the most important being that the constitution of literary genres largely depends on the production of intertextual structures.41 Nevertheless it is necessary to stress that in the case of the three plays and the English political drama of the 30’s the term „genre“ with all its implications has been established and applied only locally within a fairly limited, almost exclusive branch of „Auden studies“.42 Balancing on this rather narrow branch of literary theory, intertextuality will still be invited to prove its actual weight and importance with more concrete examples in the following chapters of this study.
Digressions into the already mentioned realm of intermediality are, from the point of view of this thesis, not only extremely relevant for the present and future application of intertextual „skills and knowledge“ but also of some importance for the chosen subject matter.43 Delivering some important observations as to how different medial contexts complement intertextuality, Zander pins down the difference between the two related phenomena with the following paradox: the more the post-text refers to the pre-text, the greater the gains of intertextuality, but the lesser the impact of intermediality,44 which may hold perfectly true for Shakespeare’s plays (converted into film, various TV-formats, radio-plays, opera, ballet, music, painting, performing arts, computer games etc.), but does not apply to such an extent on the intermedially less prolific plays of Auden and Isherwood that were written for an expressionist kind of political theatre. The satirical quality45 may only have been effective in the form of radio-plays,46 whereas the poetry of W. H. Auden, the pervasive lyrics and melodies of the songs (owing much also to Britten and Isherwood) found quite some echo - separated in the musical medium as well as within the respective literary oeuvres of the authors. However, when „mediating“ the word onto the stage one has to bear in mind the following fact:
„By reading a play or through other productions of the play, a great part of the audience produces a certain horizon of expectation (Erwartungshorizont, P. P.), and they often evaluate a production in relation to its pre-text, i. e. to other post-texts of the pre-text.“47
Of course, an important factor in terms of a play’s reception is also its temporal character, the relative historical distance between the production and the consumption of the play, especially if the play was written in a short period of time and produced soon afterwards, treating nearly „daily“ topics. With the central intention of being staged as soon as possible, the political plays could afford (more or less overt, but still) exact and efficient extratextual reference to the topics of the day. The „timeless“ plays of Shakespeare possibly possess „the greatest“ general universality of reference. And yet it could hardly be denied that the English political verse drama of the 30’s is concerned with an even wider and more thorough problematic spectrum: beyond the „local“ themes of the day it is often transgressing into the European political and socio-economic space, exercising potent criticism on humanity in a global context, finally all but neglecting the (intra)personal, psychological and even psychoanalytical aspects of the individual.48
2. 2. 3. FURTHER INTERTEXTUALITIES (Heinrich F. Plett)
Taking off with a repeatedly violated rule that „nomenclatures obstruct the dynamism of intertextual sign processes“49, Plett soon arrives at numerous polarities, manifested by intertextual phenomena, dividing them somewhat practically into attitudes (intertextuality vs. anti-intertextuality), concepts (text vs. intertext; reduction vs. totality; material int. vs. standard int.) etc.50 Initially he organises quotations in a kind of grammar51 according to their quantity, quality, distribution, frequency, interference and markers that may be either explicit (overt seams) or implicit (covert seams), all depending on the recipient’s quotation competence. A further classification is that of the pragmatics of quotation,52 including functional modes that imply the category of intention (authoritative, erudite, ornamental and poetic) and perceptional modes suggesting actual effect which are much harder to assess than the functional ones, since they demand a common context on both sides of the communication model. Intertextuality with a positive communicational effect takes place only if sufficient social, political and historical background is delivered, that is when quotations and allusions are noticed and understood as such. At this point Plett also mentions stages of perception and quotation thresholds53 between them, similar to the concepts of Broich‘s mentioned above. He divides different intertextualities54 into repetitions (classified according to choices, norms and evaluations of the author) and transformations, including different kinds of substitutions (such as medial,55 linguistic and structural56), addition, subtraction, permutation and complexities (such as syntagmatic serialisation and paradigmatic condensation). Plett is another one to stress the temporal character57 of intertextuality: the synchronic existence of texts produces a certain co-presence of the past that can be handled only by the aid of (text-controlling) institutions, mediums and media, whereas their diachronic existence relates rather to individual experience.58 And the committed kind of interpersonal as well as intercultural semantics, as shown below on the example of the three plays, take place exactly in an intertextual dialogue between the two perspectives.
THE COLLABORATIONS OF AUDEN AND ISHERWOOD
Owing to a lively, creative and increasingly international atmosphere in the European literary scene of the 30’s, Auden’s somewhat intricate and divergent collaborations are all but easy to assess, especially within the context of this study. With Isherwood he collaborated more intensely before the second World War, whereas in the 50es and 60es he invested more of his creativity into rehabilitating the art of libretto with Chester Kallman. After the accomplished The Rake’s Progress for Igor Stravinsky in 1951 they collaborated on a rather free though successful translation of The Magic Flute (1956), followed by a more careful interpretation of Don Giovanni59 (1959). Elegy for Young Lovers60 (1959/61) was dedicated to the memory of another prolific and talented librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and followed by another successful libretto for Hans Werner Henze, The Bassarids61 (1963). For Nicolas Nabokov they adopted Love’s Labours Lost.62 The two also produced a vigorous version of great musical genius when translating Brecht and Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny63 that was also published, but never staged and - possibly due to Auden‘s slight contempt of ballet - included Isherwood when adopting Brecht and Weill‘s „ballet-with-songs“ entitled Seven Deadly Sins (1958).64 Auden met Benjamin Britten, the author of music for The Ascent of F6 and On the Frontier (that was later dedicated to him), when working for the G. P. O. Film Unit. Catalysed by the unit’s director John Grierson, it was to become a very productive relationship: they collaborated on the most successful film-scores for the G. P. O. (Night Mail and Coal Face, both produced in Auden’s prolific year 1935, were probably the most valuable English documentaries of the period) as well as in the United States (US, 1968) and Canada (Runner, 1962).65 Night Mail was to Auden the first proof that „poetry could be used in films“66 although often some of Auden‘s most brilliant lines of verse had to be left out for not fitting the shots (i. e. the medium as such), since they were said to be „unrecordable“ by camera.67
With quite some support of Christopher Isherwood,68 his childhood friend, secret lover and devoted collaborator, Auden became the „hero of the left“69 in the period between 1933 and 1938. Due to their mutual experience of the post-1933 Germany they shared a politically and socially committed point of view, manifested in a most extravagant and intelligent way particularly in the three plays that may be said to represent the core of the English political drama of the 30’s: The Dog Beneath the Skin (1935), The Ascent of F6 (1936) and On the Frontier (1938) are dealt with at length in the following chapters. They were not only placed on the top of the leftist intellectual barricades, but obviously tried to „act locally - think globally“ and „... as the world political situation worsened, Isherwood and Auden's style combined the energy of popular entertainment with the urgency of sacramental ritual.”70 Their further well-known collaboration is Journey to a War (1939), a book about their trip to China, a more obscure one being a play The Reformatory or The Enemies of a Bishop, where the two ex-classmates nostalgically recalled the “end-of-the-term romp” in a “prep-school atmosphere” that offered solid background for application of poems and interludes - these techniques were to become probably the most prominent and influential quality of their jointly written works.71 Isherwood’s works gathered audience gradually and basically achieved fame through media other than books: After a well-accepted novel All the Conspirators (1928) Isherwood went to Germany. The four years of “gathering material” inspired his novels Last of Mr. Norris (1935) and Goodby to Berlin (1939), reissued as The Berlin Stories (1946). John Van Druten’s plays, I Am a Camera (1951) and the blockbuster Broadway musical Cabaret (1966) were essentially influenced by Isherwood’s works of the period. Other writings like Prater Violet (1945), The World in the Evening (1954), Down There on a Visit (1962), A Single Man (1964), or Meeting by the River (1967) lacked the swing of his pre-war publications. During the war he turned to Hinduism, writing an important esoteric compilation entitled Essentials of Vedanta (1969) that could already be seen as anticipated in some psychological motives of the main character in The Ascent of F6.72 When Christopher and His Kind was published in 1972, Isherwood was already emerging as an icon to the intellectual wing of the gay movement.73
CONTEXTS OF THE THREE PLAYS
The three satires of W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood belong to the meanwhile sufficiently defined „English political verse drama of the thirties“.74 The coauthored plays were preceded by Auden’s drama debut The Dance of Death (1934) and later on followed by his poetic play The Age of Anxiety (1847), beyond doubt distinguished with greater originality and poetical idiosyncrasy than the two adopted operas Paul Bunyan (1941) and The Rake’s Progress (1951). As the only dramatic output of Isherwood’s apart from his collaborations with Auden one could consider the above mentioned 1952 adaptation of his pre-war novels I am a Camera and the 1966 musical Cabaret. The immediate co(n)texts of the three plays are thus represented by Auden’s The Dance of Death, Stephen Spender‘s The Trial of a Judge (1938) and Louis MacNeice’s Out of the Picture (1937) which create the core of what is considered „English political verse drama of the thirties“ and were all produced by the Group Theatre. 75
The common topical features of these works may be summarised as follows: a critical stance towards the international as well as local politics of the time, active pacifism, opposition towards the consumerist, industrial patterns in the then European society and defying the general social passivity through alienation of people among each-other. Stylistically they were struggling to introduce an idea of „total theatre“ that would comprise not only poetry in its most communicative way of presentation, but also revolutionise the theatre by way of linking the actors/directors/authors not only to each other, but especially to their audience („theatre in the round“ and other strategies of the Brechtian „breaking of the ramp“). In trying to overcome their deficit in acting and diction, e. g. when staging choruses (largely due to insufficient rehearsals, because of their constant financial instability) they struggled to develop a unified, typical style. The Group Theatre introduced minimalist, expressionist scenic design and masks as well as chorus-songs (that could most efficiently present poetry), the plays were accompanied by high-quality atmospheric music, ballet and pantomime.76 In his elaborate study on the Group Theatre, Mirko Jurak justly claims that „it is doubtful whether all of these plays would have been performed in the thirties, if the Group Theatre had not existed“77 and stresses the company’s importance in view of the fact that - due to the appearance of cinema (with film taking the place of drama as the entertaining mass medium), the resulting commercialisation of the theatre (fashion of musicals) and severe censorship - English professional theatre was at that time experiencing a major crisis.78 Although of inconstant quality and different success (but a loud echo in public), accompanied by the whole range of critical response,79 the three plays were staged almost immediately after they were written and, together with other „politico-poetic plays“, belonged to the profitable part of the Group Theatre’s repertoire. Furthermore, the texts were also staged by some other minor, even student theatres80 in the country, as well as published and read out in private circles.
TEXTS OF THE THREE PLAYS81
Auden and Isherwood’s first jointly written play, The Dog Beneath the Skin, is a parabolic comedy, based on the (highly paradigmatic, i. e. intertextual) motif of the quest that shows a young man’s journey through the world of the time, represented by allegorical state-of-mind locations (the false morals of the prejudice-infested village Ambo Pressan, the imaginary collage of „escapist self-obsessions“82 of the Paradise Park or the modern Sodom and Gomorrah of the Nineveh Hotel83) and highly typified characters (the knight-errant Alan Norman or the dog-skinned lost saviour prince Sir Francis Crewe). Through the three major stages of the hero’s quest the „picaresque utopia of false panoramas“84 presents individual problematic areas of the then socio-political reality as seen and satirised by the authors. Epically estranged and chopped into exemplifying (albeit transparent and linearly, i.e. traditionally ordered) episodes the charade uses destructive as well as constructive arguments to point at burning issues, but in the end only reluctantly proposes the better-future plan. A recurring element, likely to qualify as the topic of this drama, is also known from the picaresque tradition: reality vs. fantasy. Fantastic episodes not only pervert but also point at extratextual reality, whereas objective facts, as perceived by the characters of the play, are only of the superficial kind - so is the dog’s skin that convinces only intratextually and the apparentness of which is sarcastically present(ed) to the reader and the theatre audience. Among the three plays, The Dog Beneath the Skin was repeated most often and was, probably due to its freshness in style and relevance as well as transparency of satire, warmly accepted by most and the widest spectrum of audience.
In The Ascent of F6 almost all central characters may be said to refer to their objective correlatives, the strongest reference of the kind being the hero-character of Michael F. Ransom, inspired predominantly by the person of T. E. Lawrence,85 even though the play is formally dedicated to an „actual“ climber, Auden’s brother John Bicknell Auden, the image of whom must have further contributed to the textualisation of the central character - whereas the reviewers of the time were incline to compare Ransom to Hamlet.86 The fact that Lawrence was homosexual87 was probably only a minor source of sympathy to the homosexual couple, the major reason probably being that he was known as contemptuous towards the dominant society and its etiquette, living an individualist life, dedicated to extreme physical as well as profound intellectual experience. Also some other characters are said to be „derived from Scott’s race to the South Pole. The noble self-sacrifice of the sick Lieutenant Oates, walking out into the blizzard to give his comrades a chance of survival, is repeated in the suicide of one climber, while the deaths of Ransom and his last companion echo the tragic outcome of Scott’s expedition.“88 This may be seen as one more proof of extratextual reference gliding towards intertextuality - especially in the case of literary and historical „texts“ of such temporal proximity. Above that, the national, political context is strongly typical and, more explicitly than in the previously written play, refers to the then situation. The ascent vaguely reminds of the quest, only that this one is being followed by and through modern mass media, whereas the „private“ impact of the institutional brainwash is shown on Mr. and Mrs. A, representing the ideologically (over)ruled caste that never realise the actual motives of the undertaking. The fantastic scenes are shifted deeper into the characters, giving the spectator a more „personal“, (psycho)analytical view, which is what contrasts this work to the distinctly epicised scenes of The Dog Beneath the Skin and probably even makes it more favourable with the reviewers as well as with the then theatre audience. Though the entire action is psychologised, the „extratextual“ satire remains strong, which takes place mainly through the sobering force of Auden’s sharply sarcastic verse, presented by the chorus. Probably owing to the contrasting portrayal of the well-shaped, credible central character and his cardboard „friends and foes“, high poetic quality and aimed application of verse as well as because of the manifold, but well balanced levels of dramatic action, the play is nowadays considered as the theatrically most efficient and of highest artistic value among the kind.
For jointly writing On the Frontier the authors took several years which - probably with the purpose of undisturbed coauthorship - also included their journey to the Lake District. Even though it was to become a Brechtian kind of revue with radical leftist appeal, Auden and Isherwood decided to risk a further deconstruction of dramatic technique towards avant-garde experiment. Yet in 1937 the Group Theatre was already losing some of its members and by the time of staging the authors‘ last jointly written play in November 1938 it already lost much of its audience, too. Although treating the most prominent topics of the time - the spread of fascism in Europe, the nearing war, both springing from a globally motivated imperialist politics and militant capitalism - the play could not find a sufficient audience anymore, since the public was already flooded with all but pacifist discourse. Thus the entertaining aspect of such satire - along with some artistic surplus - had to be sacrificed for a more drastic political approach. The irrational and grotesque elements were substituted for direct demagogical appeal (straight through the character’s mouth), the songs overtly persuading the audience to take up immediate action, which by that time must have become the only way for the art(ists) to answer reality of such pessimist kind.89 Even though the play critically deals with the exploiting lot, the common-man citizen is given special attention, since it has obviously come down to the underprivileged masses that can either radically change the flow of events by overthrowing the ruling caste (the workers at the gates) or resign to suffering, divided by inner and outer frontiers, set by somebody else as e. g. the Romeo-and-Juliet characters of Anna and Eric.
INTERTEXTUALITY AND COAUTHORSHIP OF THE THREE PLAYS
In an attempt to point at notable intertextual potential of coauthored texts, this central, albeit concluding chapter applies the theoretical concepts of intertextuality and some aspects of coauthorship upon the three plays. When looking at these specific works as well as “cooauthored” texts in general, coauthorship as such - and especially within the given context - proves a condition much harder to assess than intertextuality. That is mainly why the texts‘ interactions and relevant references are treated primarily from the point of view of intertextuality and, only if both, plausible and feasible, are additionally discussed in terms of coauthorship. Thus, by way of synergy, intertextual phenomena may point at certain aspects of coauthorship that, in turn, enable various forms and levels of textual interconnection to be presented in this study. With some daring generalisations and its hopefully illustrative reasoning as well as scarxe but pointed exemplification, this study can still only sketch some of the relevant intertextualities and aspects of coauthorship, leaving a large part of the more minute comparative efforts to be endeavoured in the future.
Marko Juvan’s basic taxonomy is here differentiated and refined through the application of some other typologies and definitions, presented in chapters 2. 2. 2. and 2. 2. 3. Based on exemplification of the analytical kind, texts are being synthesised in relation to each other, observed as belonging to (and even establishing) a certain type or genre and cross-examined in terms of their concrete extratextual allusions, ideological innuendoes and explicit reference to other verbal texts.
In view that, according to Juvan, general intertextuality is „universally pertaining to all texts and utterances“90, trying to assess it within any limited quota of text(s) may seem somewhat futile. Nevertheless, by applying some specific aspects of it, this category soon shows a remarkable potential, offering some new views on the texts themselves as well as on their intertextual and contextual interaction. Through taking into account the entire communication model and further enriching it with some „semiotic“ aspects of text reception, one could claim that, in the case of the three plays, certain features of the production as well as the reception and even intermediate modification91 may be well worth taking into consideration. This then comprises the whole lot: actual planning, preparing, writing and publishing of the dramatic texts (i. e. coauthorship), their entire way through the processes of censorship92 and staging93 as well as their reception among different readers and audiences, e. g. within some private circles (special readings and stagings of „original texts“ that were not yet subject to censorship), before the „standard“ audience (close friends and members of the Group Theatre, sympathisers of the company in terms of shared ideology and aesthetics, regular theatre-goers inclined towards avant-garde and experimental theatre) or in the most prominent performances at the prestigious (but still mediocre) Westminster Theatre.
„The semantic and structural connection with other statements, codes, types of discourses etc.“94 may be observed in the development and establishing of a genre: as already stated in chapter 4. 1., political verse drama possesses several unmistakable conventions that qualify as „establishing a genre“ and could, in spite - or precisely because - of the (textual as well as contextual) idiosyncrasy of the here considered plays, be observed in its diverse variations throughout the entire development of literature. These could be further elaborated and/or limited by several other criteria as e. g. language/culture (English), culture/society (political; implying social commitment of the texts and their authors within a specific culture), formal aspects (verse drama) and historical time (the 1930’s). Furthermore, Ulrich Sauerbaum stresses the fact that „intertextual phenomena support establishing of canonical genres“.95 According to Sauerbaum‘s thesis that intertextuality is a paramount means of „constituting and consolidating“ a specific genre, one could readily assume the following: Auden and Isherwood’s plays - that in the case of English political verse drama of the 30’s undoubtedly belonged to the central corpus of „typical“ texts - consolidated the genre not only by their manifold intertextuality, but also through serving as a „mouthpiece“ to their (opinion-leading) authors. Furthermore, the authors were occasionally referred to as „angry young men“96, which cataphorically anticipates another similar type that may be said to have escalated to the level of genre some two decades later.
Stereotypes and archetypes are another „general“ intertextual feature worth mentioning, since Auden and Isherwood‘s plays are prominent for their rich mythological, i. e. intertextual reference to the „collective memory“ (the character types of Romeo and Juliet97 in On the Frontier; the archetypal decadence of the Nineveh Hotel or the everyman escapists of the Paradise Park in The Dog Beneath the Skin) and even to the subconscious (the demonic Mother of Ransom’s98 and his Oedipus complex in The Acent of F6 or Alan Norman’s sublime search for „the father“99 in The Dog Beneath the Skin, additionally supporting the hypothesis about the importance of coauthorship).100 So the (omni)present, social(ised) stereotypes, often verbalised through the dramatic characters as clichés, as well as the many internal(ised) archetypes prove the principal means of bringing out a satirical, (self)critical point in these plays, the actual intention of the respective authors being for the most part left to conjectural speculation.
As already mentioned in chapter 2. 2. 1., the infinite loop of universal intertextuality (that questions and excludes the author(s) and centres on the reception end of communication) does not represent an actual threat to the argument of authorship in the case of the three plays, since Auden and Isherwood wrote them with an almost demagogical purpose, an overt intention of influencing a „relatively coherent“ audience that they could have foreseen, i. e defined in advance in terms of its political beliefs and (social) background knowledge. Admittedly, the reception of their dramatic texts later on, when they were and are still being only scarcely staged is - exactly due to the lack of „external“ interpretation - intensely subject to the individual kind of intertextuality, pertaining to internalised texts from diverse sources within a single recipient, referred to by Plett as „diachronic existence of texts“, here also mentioned in chapter 2. 2. 3.101
An important, yet problematic aspect of the collaboration between Auden and Isherwood is their respective contribution to the jointly written plays, since it cannot be easily discerned. Apart from the manuscripts of the plays, their private letters and a (probably unrecorded) lecture of Isherwood’s on his collaboration with Auden (according to Plett all belonging to „markers in separate texts or text-units“, thus executing intertextuality of the „general“ kind) the evidence of the part that either of the two played when actually „textualizing“ the plays is rather sparse. The most literary historians and reviewers would probably agree on a simplified presumption that Auden contributed poetry and that prose was Isherwood’s domain. However, some other collaborations of the two show that Auden’s tendency could have been to always take on the larger part of the job, in this case even the „prosaic verse“ of the plays, leaving to Isherwood only the development of the plot and the pragmatic aspects of dramatic texts as e. g. possibility of staging a play, portraying the characters in a feasible way and making them „impersonable“, less poetically elevated, even somewhat more popular. Especially with verse drama, Auden must have felt on his home ground, since there prose was being strongly lyricised - apart from the quality of rhythm, the parabolic genre of satire (as well as its pragmatics)102 called for higher poetic codification that was undoubtedly Auden’s eminence. Most transparently such divergence may be seen in the text of The Dog Beneath the Skin as a whole, since in this play - apart from a seemingly incoherent plot with cut-up episodes, confusing as regards the Aristotelian unities - poetry for the first time proved of central weight. And a central problem: „It is true that poetry is not always a functional part of the play, that thoughts expressed in dignified verse are in opposition to the clownish action taking place on the stage, that the play is split into scenes and that the main tension is to be sought in separate scenes, for there is no unity of place and time.“103
5. 2. SPECIAL INTERTEXTUALITIES104
In terms of this „narrow“ kind of intertextuality the three plays still manage to fit the rather sharp criteria of „specific genre“, since, according to Wolfgang Weiß,105 satire is considered one of the „intensely intertextual“ literary genres, applying parody as its major perceivable, stylistic and semantic quality with strong extra- as well as intertextual reference. Nevertheless, with the three plays, specific reference to the „literary tradition“106 is scarce and hard to assess since the „signal threshold“107 is on the one hand held low for the intended (although never really reached) simple, working-class audience, otherwise set extremely high due to the authors‘ wide horizon in arts and humanities and also because of highly encoded parody that should manoeuvre the text through the censorship sieves of the Lord Chamberlain’s office.108 Nevertheless, farfetched innuendoes were sometimes exchanged for fairly explicit mockery and “in the second half of 1935 a number of members of the Lord Chamberlain's office were extremely worried by the works of Auden and Isherwood,” since “Auden's role as co-author of the play gave the Lord Chamberlain's office additional problems. Had The Dog Beneath the Skin been by an unknown playwright it would probably have been banned in its entirety but Auden already had a considerable reputation.”109
The condition of intentionality, as summarised by Juvan, in the three coauthored plays is certainly present, even prominent beyond any doubt, since the authors not only knew and sympathised each other since preparatory school but were, at the time of jointly writing the texts, also a nearly inseparable couple. And if that may not entirely qualify for an argument supporting their common intentions, one has to acknowledge the existence and the relevance of the authors’ shared artistic as well as political views (implying many an “intention” in terms of changing the individual and the society to better as well as influencing, even revolutionising drama and theatre). These were derived mainly from the jointly experienced, intense atmosphere of Berlin in the late 20’s and early 30’s.110And it is precisely that which makes the paradigmatic saturation of the three plays only the more probable in terms of intentional and multiple reference of the “private kind” as originally exemplified in Nicolas Jenkins’ article “Private References in The Dog Beneath the Skin.”111
As far as Auden and Isherwood‘s dramas are concerned, Juvan’s claim that, in the case of citing „the reference should be materially present and not only recognised, but also understood and interpreted as such by the recipient“ is already much harder to prove. A skilled kind of manipulation of the markers of intertextual reference (that should be recognised ) demands for a certain levelling of the above mentioned signal threshold (referred to by Plett also as „quotation threshold“ between different „stages of perception“)112 that should not remain too low as to underchallenge and bore the „intertextually more sensitive“ part of the audience, but also not too high as to overburden an average(ly educated) audience. The Audience may namely very well have been politically motivated and understood the more evident references to persons or places, but lacked the necessary horizon to recognise and denote the more subtle signals that demand a certain minimum of textual (in this case world-literature) knowledge as e. g. the montaged (untypical)113 quotes from Shakespeare or from some ancient Roman authors: Aichilles or Catullus in The Dog Beneath the Skin, quoted almost at random by the escapist poet of the Paradise Park. Alienated from the world and his own language,114 this resigned „textor“ communicates only by quoting texts of other people, thus representing an emblematic (archetypal?) example of the vicious circle and anticipating the subversive, infinite kind of (general) intertextuality three decades later.115 Another instance of such intertextual travesty is observed by Mirko Jurak in the same play when the chorus accompanies the execution of the prisoners with „a persiflage of the entering choral, litanies and Black Mass, combined with praising of Zeus (Jupiter) and the war god Mars.“116
According to Juvan, special intertextuality is detailed through markers of intertextual reference as well as intertextual transformations (practically systemised also by Plett and mentioned above in chapter 2. 2. 3.). His typology of citatory figures and sorts is organised according to the index agents of transposition, imitation and description, that could be efficiently amended by some aspects of Plett‘s intertextual grammar.117 Systemised by Broich118 according to their unity and role within the communication system, the markers converge into a dynamic complex,119 establishing an intertextual cultural code120 and thus not only displaying, but primarily giving way to a new quality of literary competence. By applying these systems to the plays coauthored by Auden and Isherwood, one necessarily stumbles over a number of instances, demonstrating relevance of such endeavours:
An example of transformation of both, the textual (macro)structure as well as characters and particular events may be seen in how The Dog Beneath the Skin was influenced by Bertolt Brecht’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930) that Auden later also translated. According to Plett, transformation includes different kinds of substitution, one of them being also the structural, where the conventions of a genre (here the parabolic subgenre of charade) remain the same, the characters and events experiencing changes of different levels and kinds. In the case of Auden and Isherwood their ideological and poetic potential sufficed for a radical change of the latter, thus the dependence upon the pre-text may in this case be estimated only as inspiration or modelling, whereas the authors probably observed some efficient ethical points of Brecht’s as regards „a symbolic survey of the moral state of Capitalism, which exposes its links with the rising tide of Facism.“121 According to Christopher Innes, another explicit structural reference, yet of the „cataphoric“ kind, is the „transformation of the village (Ambo Pressan, P.P.) into a fascist camp (where in one early version of the play - anticipating John Arden’s ending in Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, 1959... - a machine-gun is turned upon the audience.“122 Innes also asserts further intertextual references of the collective, mythological as well as of the particular, literary kind - some of them even being explicated by the author(s) as e. g. that „the human dog echoes Peter Pan, while as Isherwood himself realised, there is a strong `whiff of Barrie in his Mary Rose mood` in the supersensory trysts between the lovers from warring sides of On the Frontier (1939) (sic!).“123 In The Ascent of F6, Innes stresses „Auden and Isherwood’s focus on the nature of salvation, paralleling Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral (1935)“124 and observes (general) transformations of the joint mythological, symbolical basis in that „the motives that would corrupt Ransom’s sacrificial act are the same as Becket‘s in Eliot‘s play: pride, the will to power, and the `detachment` from common humanity, which come from having the qualities to be a `saviour`...“125 On the very beginning of the play Michael Ransom also quotes from a pocket volume of Dante and reads a passage out loud. After putting down the book, he readily perverts the image of Ulysses by imagining him speaking to his audience as „a crook speaking to crooks“.126 Thus the text is preset by the condition of intertextuality and may be observed as using the potential of this initial cultural and literary reference throughout its entire length.
Apart from the dramatis personae referring to „concrete historical (or still living) persons, that re-occur in a text, another strong;marker within the communication system“128 in terms of both, extratextual analogy and repetition within all three texts is the „all-purpose fascist country of Ostnia“.129 Its negative character can be observed as increasing along the rise of totalitarism in Europe (not to be neglected is also Auden’s experience of the Spanish civil war, condensed in the famous 1935 poem Spain, when Auden decided to overtly reject naci(onal)sm and resorted to the left). As another explicitly intertextualised place, a state with even sharper implications of fascism, „Westland“ is used in The Dog Beneath the Skin as a less explicit historical parallel to Germany (before being produced, the text even had to be altered as to disguise reference to Germany and avoid international conflict), whereas in the years of staging On the Frontier, overt criticism of nazi Germany - again by placing the dramatic action to „Westland“ - was even encouraged by the authorities.130 In The Ascent of F6 „Westdale“ and „Sudoland“, along with their medially manipulated descriptions, may be seen as further examples of showing at geopolitical polarisation in the then Europe.
A fairly critical aspect that is shared among the three plays is also their diagnostic treatment of the media. To a much lesser extent of “intermedial”131 character, all three texts deal with the manipulating and exploiting aspects of mass media. In On the Frontier as well as in The Ascent of F6 common people are shown confined to their habitats and connected with the external, “real” world only through media, i. e. newspapers and radio. Their opinions and decisions are being formed and modified almost exclusively according to the information they get filtered through these (similarly enslaved) mouthpieces of the “ruling caste”. The hypocrisy and opportunistic (textual!) frolic of the two journalists in The Dog Beneath the Skin even qualifies them as “proper writers”132 in the eyes of the (at this stage still fairly naive) hero. Although well-informed and even somewhat motivated as characters, they only sparsely catalyse dramatic action and remain in a submissive, resigned stance.
Another joint feature of all three plays is the motive of Eros - Thanatos that also provides good intertextual potential, especially within the context of psychoanalysis, to which the texts are said to be largely indebted. The ambivalent presentation of sensuality in The Dog Beneath the Skin reaches from the bitterly satirical consumerist variant of decadent carnal satisfaction at the Nineveh Hotel to Alan Norman’s narcissistic self-admiration that would almost have lead him astray and turned his quest into a failure. The almost too obvious Oedipus complex of Michael Ransom in The Ascent of F6 has already been dealt with in the context of intertextual archetypes in the third paragraph of chapter 5. 1. The separated children of On the Frontier were said to escape into the realm of love, the only place really safe from the outside world gone mad in a race towards self-destruction. According to Mirko Jurak, this kind of submergent, escapist love is paradigmatic for English literature, especially with W. B. Yeats.133
Finally - as the probably still most prominent and “constantly up-to-date” aspect - all three plays draw attention to how the naive working-class and especially the manipulated middle-class are both being exploited by the (paradigmatic character types of the) rule of the capitalist and political elite. The workers and the prisoners are hardly in position to change the apparently unalterable flow of events and the brainwashed families of Eric and Anna in On the Frontier keep pushing their children ever deeper into the Romeo-and-Juliet frustration, sentencing them to living together only in fantasy. Condemned to sequestered xenophobia and manic consumerism, Mr. and Mrs A of The Acent of F6 are being animated only by radio-news and newspaper reports, otherwise cohabiting like (as?) automatons in a day-in-day-out stupor. A further example of servile mediocrity, establishing an obviously intended and critically pointed link among the three texts are the villagers of Pressan Ambo, who eventually decide to - internally as well as externally - deny The Dog Beneath the Skin and indulge in their trivial, phantasmagoric lives, defending the better of their hypocrisy.
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1 Within this text the term “authorship” is understood as a synonym for “joint authorship”. In chapters 3., 4. and 5. it is used unanimously in reference to the two authors, W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, whereas in chapters 1. and 2. It may, at least hypothetically, imply authorship of two or more authors.
2 As the topical term of this text, “Intertextuality” is sufficiently defined in the succeeding course of argumentation, mainly since it is impossible to clearly delineate a concept so dynamic and fluctuant not only in its current semantics but even more in its “chaotic” origin and inconsistent development(s) (c. f. chapters 2.2.1. - 5.).
3 C. f. BARTHES, Roland: La mort de l’auteur, Manteia 5, pp. 12 - 17. - Engl. tr.: The Death of the Author. In: HEATH, Stephen: ed. Image - Music - Text, Hill & Wang, New York 1977.
4 For a rather broad postmodern concept of text c. f. JUVAN, Marko: Intertekstualnost, Literarni leksikon, eds. “Študije” vol. 45, DZS, Ljubljana 2000, pp 95 - 106. Furthermore ZANDER, Horst: Intertextualität und Medienwechsel. In: PFISTER, Manfred / BROICH Ulrich (ed.): Intertextualität. Formen Funktionen, anglestische Fallstudien, Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1985, pp. 178 - 196 broadens the concept of text into the realm of (inter)media(lity). Zander’s work will be dealt with in chapter 2. 2. 2.
5 For further reading on this interdisciplinary and often paradoxical dispute c. f. JUVAN, pp 8 - 11; 92 - 138 and chapter 2. of this text.
6 Due to their “local” political weight and up-to date critical stance (largely generating intertextuality!) the most important - but also most frequent - productions are those of the late 30’s. The plays were staged and thus “consumed best” immediately after they were written, also the audience was that of relative constancy, characterised by political rather than uniformity (c. f. chapters 3. 1. and 3. 2.).
7 Here the term “intertext” is used in the meaning of “the common referential domain of two or more texts” as it is used by the majority of the authors, referred to in this study.
8 Derived from the German terms of Doppel- and Mehrfachkodierung that were in this context established by Manfred Pfister, c. f. PFISTER, Manfred / BROICH Ulrich (ed.): Intertextualität. Formen Funktionen, anglestische Fallstudien, Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1985.
9 As one of the areas still to be researched, “the individual contributions of W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood in the plays" ”are also mentioned in the probably most thorough (although outdated) work on Auden and Isherwood’s plays by Mirko Jurak and have apparently not been dealt with separately so far. JURAK, Mirko: The Group Theatre. Its Development and Significance for the Modern English Theatre, Acta Neophilologica, Vol. 2, 1969, p 4.
10 C .f. footnote No. 6.
11 A more elaborate treatment of this matter is found in chapter 3. and the final paragraph of chapter 5. 1.
12 Occasionally intertextually prominent texts are referred to as “dialogical”, the quality in the case of some theoretical discourses even covering texts in general, esp. works by or largely owing to Michail Bachtin (c. f. JUVAN, pp. 106 - 117).
13 Referring to different types of intertextuality, Juvan’s work ends up in distinguishing two basic intertextual “levels”: general and special, also called citing. This taxonomy is dealt with at some lenghth in chapter 2. 2. 2. and is extensively applied to the three dramatic texts in chapter 5.
14 PLETT, Heinrich F. (ed.): Intertextuality, De Gruyter, New York 1991.
15 In his book Juvan deals with virtually all field-relevant sources that, though some of them extremely relevant, cannot be included in this thesis for the reasons of taking too much space and probably only leading the argumentative thread astray, thus causing unnecessary systematic and terminological entanglements. Worth considering is nevertheless the sheer scope of Juvan’s work, offering not only a solid theoretical structure, combined with well-balanced exemplification but also touching upon all major historical sources (poststructuralists and the Tel Quel, the roots of intertextuality in Michail Bachtin’s theory of dialogue, an ample digression to Kristeva and Barthes, a modification of general intertextuality from Riffaterre’s semiotics of poetry to Greenblatt) as well as an overview of the development of special intertextuality (Laurent Jenny, Gérard Genette, Renate Lachmann, Broich and Pfister, Dubravka Oraiè and Susanne Holthius). In addition he also contributes a valuable coverage of intertextual conceptions and theories in Slovenia.
16 JUVAN, pp. 51 - 54.
17 Ibid., p. 54.
18 C. f. ibid., p. 52. I choose not to quote larger parts of the original text but to rather translate and comprise different parts of text as to convey their essential meaning, avoid syntactical as well as terminological obscurity and somewhat economise the line of argumentation. This is to be applied throughout the thesis. Of course, shorter quotations and essential terminology are marked appropriately.
19 JUVAN, p. 54. Also c .f. footnote No. 4.
20 For details c. f. chapter 3.
21 Ibid., p. 55.
23 Ibid., p. 56.
25 For a systematic classification of the “traditional” intertextual phenomena (before Kristeva) c. f. Ibid., pp. 21 - 49, where Juvan systemises and elaborates on the concepts of topoi, loci communes, subtypes and variants of quotations, allusions and paraphrase. A large section is dedicated to parody (with Menippean satire, travesty, burlesque, the mock-heroic genres etc. as subtypes), useful particularly in the case of Auden and Isherwood’s plays. Further definitions are delivered also on pastiche, palinode, cento, anagram, emblem and montage and some concepts cleared on meaning-structure dependency between texts (imitatio/aemulatio, memory, influence, tradition, meta-communication etc.). For an intertextual systematics “after Kristeva” Juvan provides an ample source of criteria and a rich taxonomy that is sometimes not only hard to follow in its argumentation and example, but also highly differentiated and thus nearby useless within the scope of this study. In his system of literary intertextuality he taxonomies symptoms and markers of intertextuality (pp. 245 - 252), distinguishes between transitive and intransitive intertextual elements (p. 252) and differentiates various kinds of intertextual introduction and reference (pp. 252 - 261), deals with intertextual syntax, semantics and pragmatics (pp. 261 - 265) and delivers a typology of citatory figures and sorts (pp. 265 - 274) according to the index agents of transposition, imitation and description (pp. 255ff). For a more detailed introduction to Juvan’s contributions to the theory of intertextuality c. f. J. K. KOZAK’s review of Juvan’s book in “CLCWeb Journal” on “CLCWeb - Comparative Literature and Culture” at the Introit site: http://clcwebjournal.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb00-4/books00-4.html
26 JUVAN, p. 317.
27 Ibid., p. 318 (my italics).
28 C. f. with the intertextual concepts of memory, influence and tradition ibid., p. 68 - 86.
29 As another example of such “secondary” texts of general reference, but great intertextual value, Broich gives Joyce’s letters to Frank Budgen. BROICH, Ulrich: Formen der Markierung von Intertextualität, in: BROICH / PFISTER p. 38.
30 It is not clear, why these instances do not qualify under the above category as “text-units”.
31 The author of the probably most influential and all-embracing biography of W. H. Auden, Humphrey Carpenter, stresses Auden’s admiration of “the wonderful German cabaret” and observes a “Brechtian” use of song in The Dog Beneath the Skin (1935/36). Nevertheless Auden claimed to have been more impressed by Brecht’s lyrical poetry than by his drama. They met in 1936, collaborated on various projects (e. g. an adaptation of Webster’s The Duchess (of Malfi), the production of which never took place, or Auden and Sterns‘ translation of Brecht‘s Caucasian Chalk Circle that has never been produced either, though the text became the canonical translation). Through their collaboration the two quickly developed mutual sympathies and influences, but later on began to diverge, theoretically as well as practically. Auden admitted Brecht‘s strong influence on his admiration of German film and theatre as well as on his political beliefs. Later in his life, after „getting bored“ with the translation of Mother Courage he estimated Brecht to have been „a great poet, but he couldn’t think“. C. f. CARPENTER, Humphrey: W. H. Auden, A Biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1992, pp. 85f, 338ff and 412f. Apart from some disagreements about the future development of drama, in the 30’s Auden and Brecht also shared many a view on theatre theory, e. g. the socio-political, demagogical aims of theatre as well as the stylistic and structural means of achieving them (entertainment, estrangement, revue) C . f. JURAK, Mirko: Dileme Paraboliène Umetnosti, Partizanska knjiga, Ljubljana 1975, pp. 32f. Beyond Brecht, the whole German Expressionism (especially the plays of Toller and Kaiser, also J. R. Becher‘s poetry) profoundly influenced the English drama of the period (e. g. Sean O’Casey, Elmer Rice, Jean Cocteau, Eugen O’Neill, even K. B. Priestley), the expressionist plays being mostly presented by The Stage Society (The Sunday Society). C. f. Ibid. pp 35ff. What is more, the extravagant Expressionist kind of „poetry of action“ and some Constructivist dramatic techniques as well as the influence of Luigi Pirandello were probably those to have decidedly inspired Auden’s collaboration with Isherwood, who, equipped with the „first-hand experience of the political polarisation that underlay German Expressionist drama“, was in position to supply an efficient theatrical form to Auden‘s politically committed poetry. C. f. INNES, Christopher: Expressionistic archetypes. W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, in: Modern British Drama 1890-1990, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990, p. 378f.
32 Ibid., p. 42.f
33 As an example of such progressive intertextuality Broich provides T. S. Eliot‘s The Waste Land that - for its complete enjoyment and along with the author‘s constant modifications of the (co-)text - not only requires an exegetic text of its own, a profound knowing of the Bible and a faculty of decoding numerous references to other texts of great complexity, but itself becomes a universally referential text of high specific as well as general intertextual potential.
34 C. f. the concluding paragraph of chapter 2. 2. 1.
35 Ibid., p. 33.
36 This matter may be found elaborated to some extent in chapter 4.
37 C. f. Sauerbaum, Ulrich: Intertextualität und Gattung. Beispielreihen und Hypothesen, in: ibid., p. 53f.
38 C. f. ibid.,p. 60ff.
39 Ibid., p. 73.
40 C. f. ibid., p. 68.
42 C. f. the works of Mirko Jurak as interpreted in chapter 3. and 4. as well as the articles of Nicholas Jenkins and Norman Williams in the Auden Society Newsletter No. 10-11 at the Auden Society Internet site: http://www.audensociety.org/10-11newsletter.html
43 ZANDER, p. 195.
45 A valuable illumination of intertextuality as applied and found in satirical texts is to be found in the article of WEIß, Wolfgang: Satirische Dialogizität und satirische intertextualität, in: BROICH / PFISTER, pp. 244 - 262.
46 Christopher Innes observes that the “poetic drama of the mind” has after WW2 “become the province of radio. Freed from the physical limitations of the stage, and the crudity of visual symbolism, the direct appeal to the ear and the imagination made radio an apt medium for subjective lyricism... “ INNES, p. 385., adding that also MacNeice’s later verse plays (much inspired by Auden and Isherwood’s drama), along with Britten’s music, were all written for broadcasting.
47 ZANDER, p. 181.
48 C. f. chapter 3.
49 PLETT, Heinrich F.: Intertextualities, in: PLETT, Heinrich F. (ed.): Intertextuality, De Gruyter, New York 1991, p. 4.
50 Ibid., pp. 3 - 8.
51 Ibid., pp. 8 - 12.
52 Ibid., pp. 12 - 17.
53 Ibid. p 16.
54 Ibid., pp. 17 - 25.
55 C. f. the concept(s) of intermediality in chapter 2. 2. 1.
56 C. f. notes on Sauerbaum (ibid.).
57 PLETT, p. 25f.
58 Institutions and media store texts to be able to compare them and engulf their intertextual character through the potential of collective memory. Yet intertextual meaning can only be produced individually through the (linear, diachronic) act of text-reception and takes place between the texts, consumed by one and the same recipient. This kind of individual perspective is again of great importance in the case of a constant, coherent, i. e. individualised audience as in the case of Auden and Isherwood’s plays.
59 CARPENTER, pp. 372ff and 399f.
61 Ibid., p. 407.
63 This Brechtian parable was also used as a model for The Dog Beneath the Skin. C. f. chapter 5. 2.
64 CARPENTER, p. 393. This theme is also used by Auden as a model for his first performed experimental piece The Dance of Death (1934), that immediately preceded and both, thematically and stylistically, anticipated the three plays.
65 Auden was well aware that “as a means of influencing public opinion” cinema was to become the strongest as far as the masses are concerned. His scripts were influenced by the imaginary techniques of Eisenstein and Pudovkin and, as a certain extravaganza in the then film-production, he resorted to location-shooting. Apart from writing scripts, Auden also tried directing but soon returned back to the verbal medium. CARPENTER, p. 180f.
67 An 1998 essay on the G. P. O. Film Unit by TSIGIROS, Emmanuel: The General Post Office Film Unit, available at the Internet Site http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/gpo.html sheds some further light on the two most important documentaries: “The most interesting unity of films made during the middle years of the unit were usually shot on lower budgets than the films in previous categories and included a variety of experiments in dramatic construction and in the use of sound. Coal Face (1935) described the brutality of conditions experienced by the coal miners. Many critics believe that this is a Cavalcanti film and that Grierson replaced his name with his own in the titles. The film received a Medal of Honour at Brussels, because of its innovative techniques. Night Mail (1936) was about the collection and delivery of mail on a night train from London to Scotland. Aitken comments on this highly experimental film that `the poetry of W.H. Auden is used to add a symbolic dimension to a narrative on how Royal Mail binds society together through communication. Some commentaries have stressed the degree of identification with the working classes in this category of films. They argued that the landscapes of Coal Face were frightening, the miners looked distant or that the representation of the working classes was confined in men and that working class women were ignored.”
68 The problem that Isherwood is by and large considered a novelist is highlighted already by Mirko Jurak, who also mentions the fact that W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice are discussed generally only as poets. C. f. JURAK, Mirko: The Group Theatre. Its Development and Significance for the Modern English Theatre, p 3. Although being relevant in connection with Auden as well as for the English political drama of the 30’s, Spender and MacNeice are not dealt with in this chapter, since it concerns primarily Auden’s and Isherwood’s collaborations in the field of drama. For further reference and deeper insight into this realm of the English poetry of the 30’s consult O’NEILL, Michael / REEVES, Gareth: Auden, MacNeice, Spender. The Thirties Poetry, Mac Millan, London 1992.
70 MENDELSON, Edward: W. H. Auden. Plays and Other Dramatic Writings, 1928-1938, Faber, New York 1998. A partly-published preface of the book was taken from the Internet site http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/titles/4242.html
71 CARPENTER, pp 105ff. The play is assumed to have been dedicated to two of their teenage Berlin-time lovers, Bubi and Otto, who can partly be recognised as the central characters in the play.
72 Even though symbolically winning over his “parabolically” evil brother, Michael Ransom actually loses the fight since the “morals of the adventure may be that Michael shouldn’t have been using the same means as his brother. In Indian mythology the god Vishnu first intends to kill the Dragon by sword (the symbol of evil), but is illuminated by `the voice of god`, who instructs him to throw away the sword and thus show that he is the god, able of winning over evil.” JURAK, Dileme, p. 161.
73 Isherwood’s bibliography is predominantly taken from the Internet site http://bartleby.com/65/is/Isherwoo.html
74 According to different sources, this relatively definite group of works may be found labelled very differently, e. g. apart from “English political verse drama of the thirties” Jurak consistently uses the shorter term “politico-poetic plays”, whereas Ashley Dukes refers to the type as “song-and-drama political play”. In terms of genre these plays are referred to as “thesis drama”, “parabolic drama” and - often inaccurately, legitimately only in the case of The Dog Beneath the Skin - “charade”.
75 T. S. Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes (1934), outdone in terms of critical response by Auden’s The Dance of Death in a 1934 double-bill performance by the Group Theatre, is also often mentioned within the context and considered the immediate predecessor of the political plays. In spite of many thematic congruities, T. S. Eliot is not considered as belonging to this group of authors not only due to his somewhat different poetics and formal principles, but mainly for not sharing their leftist position and acting aside from the “socialised” and politically dedicated group. Therefore he is not being dealt with in this study. Nevertheless he should be mentioned as a valuable author of theoretical as well as practical contributions within the drama discourse of the time. Further reading on Eliot’s relevance in this context in: JURAK, Dileme, pp. 52 - 64.
76 For an elaborate account of the Group Theatre’s attempts to formally modernise the then English theatre consult JURAK, Mirko: The Group Theatre, pp. 24 - 29.
77 Ibid., p. 4.
79 Due to the play’s ideological commitment the reviews depended on the political positions and opinions of the critics, although the plays did not fail to trigger also some constructive theoretical debate. These conditions my be found elaborated upon meticulously in JURAK, Dileme, pp 129 - 144.
80 Note the exceptional success of The Ascent of F6 among undergraduate students and its numerous “minor“ productions. C. f. JURAK, The Group Theatre, p. 17f.
81 This chapter refers mainly to certain contents and stylistic features of the plays that may prove advantageous for their final treatment with respect to coauthorship and intertextuality in the following chapters. Thus unnecessary detailed descriptions of plots, characters and events as well as blurring content-summaries are avoided as to allow the argumentative line to develop more fluently. Interpreted summaries of contents may be found in INNES, p.379 - 383, further elaborate treatment with respect to certain “problematic areas” to be found in JURAK, Dileme, pp. 145 - 166. If not considered too meticulously as regards their ideological bias, these problematic areas represent a well-ordered series of intertextual phenomena, pertaining to the genre of political verse drama.
82 INNES, p. 380.
83 Jurak observes another historical correlative of the Nineveh Hotel in “the ancient capital of the Assyrian kingdom. This reached its peak around 1300 B. C.. After a long period of prosperity - according to the authors the bourgeois society has also reached its climax - the city was destroyed in 612 A. D.” JURAK, Dileme, p. 148.
85 An actor, who was to enact M. Ransom in one of the earlier productions of the play, had to study Lawrence’s life and personality. C. f. JURAK, The Group Theatre, p. 17 and INNES, p. 384.
87 In the play “Lawrence’s homosexuality might justifiably have been omitted for fear of censorship - although without it the relationships between the climbers are incomprehensible.” Ibid.
88 Ibid., p. 382.
89 The following view that “...this performance could not have been a surprise. The realistic presentation of the coming war, with poetic interludes, songs, and dances was not interesting for the visitors of this theatre.” (JURAK, ibid., p. 23) is thus being opposed, since, by lowering its parabolic character, the play could not have lost much of its relevance for an (at least leftist and/or intellectual) audience, not only stricken by reality, but above all committed to a critical dealing with what then already began to question the future existence of man.
90 C. f. chapter 2. 2. 1. of this study. Same holds also for all further quotations that are not noted otherwise.
91 For the reasons, conditions and results of censorship, applied on the three plays and influencing not the texts as they were written and published, but the plays as produced and thus presented to the audience, consult JURAK, Mirko: English Political Verse Drama of the Thirties: Revision and Alteration, Acta Neophilologica, Vol. 1, Ljubljana 1968, pp. 67 - 78. A valuable contribution of this kind is also the following article of Norman Williams: WILLIAMS, Norman: Auden, Isherwood, and the Censors, in: Audensociety Newsletter 10/11 on the Internet site http://www.audensociety.org/10-11newsletter.html
93 C . f. chapters 4. 1. and 4. 2.; for an elaborate reference consult JURAK, Dileme and JURAK, The Group Theatre on the whole.
94 Chapter 2. 2. 1.
95 Chapter 2. 2. 2.
96 JURAK, The Group Theatre, p. 36.
97 C. f. the last paragraph of chapter 4. 2.
98 Some critics observe a strong resemblance to Auden’s dominant and possessive mother. Apart from that, a further “intertextuality proper” may be observed in the already sufficiently validated reference of Ransom to the (textualisations of the) historical figure of T. E. Lawrence.
99 By pointing at a biographically well-supported reference to Isherwood’s father, Nicholas Jenkins stresses “Isherwood's personal myth - his imagined search for his dead father, Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Edward Bradshaw-Isherwood, probably but not certainly killed in action near Ypres on 8 or 9 May 1915”, also displayed by the character of Sorbo Lamb, who „may suggest a fantasy of the authors that, if the Lieutenant-Colonel had not been killed but very seriously wounded, the morphine needed for pain relief might have turned him into an amnesiac or drug-addict, needing to be searched for by his son in the Berlin of 1929-33.“ Thus Jenkins presents a slightly farfetched, though still convincing example of the authors’ jointly textualizing some of their individual experience, therewith also adding to the thematic and structural interference among the texts. All quotes from JENKINS, Nicholas: Private References in The Dog Beneath the Skin, in: Audensociety Newsletter 10/11 on the Internet site http://www.audensociety.org/10-11newsletter.html
100 “The names Hotham and Luce, both of which first appear in Auden's unfinished 1933 poem "In the year of my youth ...", together provide good evidence of Auden's conscious participation in Isherwood's private myth.” Ibid.
101 C. f. also footnote No. 44.
102 C. f. notes on censorship in chapter 5. 1.
103 JURAK, The Group Theatre, p. 35. On the contrary, The Ascent of F6 is said to have been received better not only because of milder satire, but also due to its being “constructed according to more traditional concepts of dramatic structure and character portrayal.” Ibid., p. 36.
104 As Sauerbaum’s and Zander’s views on intertextuality may be considered rather dynamic (i. e. of the indefinite, gliding kind) and thus belonging predominantly under general intertextuality, Broich’s and Plett’s highly systematic taxonomies will be dealt with chiefly within the realm of special intertextuality. C. f. 2. 2. 2. and 2. 2. 3.
105 WEIß, Wolfgang: Satirische Dialogizität und satirische intertextualität.
106 E. g. the influence of English drama of the Middle Ages in terms of character types, the structure of charade or parabolic textualisation strategies (C. f. JURAK, Dileme, p. 63f) may have relevance for literary theory (of influences), but does not primarily concern the aspects of this study.
107 C. f. 2. 2. 1., esp. Broich’s treatment of “the dynamic complex of markers”.
108 “In the 1930s there were strictly laid-down procedures for a theatre manager putting on a public performance of a new play. The management of the theatre had to submit a complete text of the play to the Lord Chamberlain's office. (This could be a published play-text since books were not subject to pre-censorship and could be banned only on grounds of obscenity, blasphemy or libel.) The Lord Chamberlain's office was empowered to ban a play, require amendments or lay down conditions about its staging on grounds of obscenity, blasphemy, depiction of living characters or political inappropriateness.” WILLIAMS, ibid.
110 A lavish account of their joint Berlin-experience is to be found in PAGE, Norman: Auden and Isherwood. The Berlin Years, St. Martin’s Press, New York 1998.
111 JENKINS, ibid.
112 C. f. 2. 2. 3. and PLETT, p. 16f.
113 Many quotes from Shakespeare’s texts already belong to the “collective quota” of cited texts, shared by a large number of “averagely” educated people; the “untypical” quotes being those that demand a profound knowledge of Shakespeare’s works.
114 C. f. AUDEN, Whystan Hugh / ISHERWOOD, Christopher: The Dog Beneath the Skin, Faber and Faber, London 1986 pp. 94ff; also mentioned by JURAK, Dileme, p. 156.
115 This revolutionary concept of intertextuality owes much to Kristeva and Barthes, who thus “explained the subversive conception of textuality as productivity; connected the concept with an open kind of signification, deconstruction of the subject and code (also the literary one), with a dethronement of the author and a promotion of the reader” JUVAN, p. 161.
116 JURAK, p. 147.
117 C. f. chapter 2. 2. 3. Although of high potential value, a thorough combination of different intertextual systems, does not belong within the frame of this study, as it would lead the argumentative line away from the topic and also demand quite some manoeuvre-space, much likely to be found in broader and more theoretical studies. C. f. also the introduction to chapter 5. For the same reason, in this chapter and especially in this paragraph potentially fruitful combinations and derivations of different theories are only being hinted at, further investigation being left to more specialised studies.
118 C. f. chapter 2. 2. 2.
120 C. f. chapter 2. 2. 1. and JUVAN, p. 318.
121 INNES, p. 380.
122 Ibid., p. 382. It is necessary to add that in 1959 the paradigmatic force of the concept of fascism was, due to WW2, probably much stronger that in 1935, which nevertheless still validates this mixed kind of general and special intertextuality.
124 Ibid., p. 383.
125 Ibid., In view that the two plays were produced almost at the same time, at approximately the same place and were probably both seen by a number of (same) people, Innes’ argument becomes extremely relevant. From the aspect of drama theory, he produces an aggregate of dazzling intertextual connections: “Dramatising an absence contradicts the physical nature of stage representation; and The Ascent of F6 flounders in cliché substitutes. The climax, in which the literal action of scaling the peak is already a metaphor for achieving self-knowledge, and also signifies attaining the spiritual heights of martyrdom, is turned into a heavily symbolic chess game (in which victory is defeat). This modulates into a surrealistic court trial (where acknowledging guilt establishes innocence, and a death sentence sets the accused prisoner free), culminating in a Freudian pietá (with Ransom’s corpse cradled on his mother’s knees).” Ibid.
126 AUDEN, Whystan Hugh / ISHERWOOD, Christopher: The Ascent of F6. On the Frontier, Faber and Faber, London 1972, p. 13f.
127 C. f. Broich’s taxonomy of markers in chapter 2. 2. 2.
129 INNES, p. 383. C. f. also JURAK, Dileme, p. 147.
130 C. f. JURAK, English Political Verse Drama, p. 77f.
131 C. f. ZANDER in chapter 2. 2. 3.
132 C. f. AUDEN / Isherwood: The Dog, p. 39.
133 C. f. JURAK, Dileme, 165f.