"Living in truth" : moral and political intersections in Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, and Václav Havel

Repository

"Living in truth" : moral and political intersections in Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, and Václav Havel

Show full record

Title: "Living in truth" : moral and political intersections in Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, and Václav Havel
Author: Harger, Jennifer Leigh
Abstract: Often considered to be apolitical playwrights, Samuel Beckett and Tom Stoppard each dedicated dramatic works to dissident Czech playwright (and later President) Václav Havel in the late 1970s and early 1980s—during his imprisonment for his role in writing and distributing the dissident document Charter 77. These dramatic works, with a few others, collectively mark simultaneous, parallel shifts in Beckett’s and Stoppard’s careers toward uncharacteristically explicit political engagement. This report examines these works—Beckett’s Catastrophe and What Where, and Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favor and Professional Foul—through the lens of Havel’s political philosophy, especially as expressed in his 1978 essay “The power of the powerless.” This report argues that Havel’s model of apolitical resistance to injustice, a model he calls “living in truth,” expresses humanist values that these playwrights had long affirmed in their art. Their shared moral vision, along with sympathy for Havel’s plight under a totalitarian regime that distorted language as a tool of oppression, was the catalyst for their new, direct involvement in political matters. The report establishes the historical context of the Soviet-dominated Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, along with relevant biographical and professional narratives for each figure. It then examines closely this selection of Beckett’s and Stoppard’s dramatic works and their shared thematic concerns, and demonstrates how they artistically embody and communicate Havel’s model of “living in truth.”
Department: English
Subject: Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989 Stoppard, Tom Havel, Václav Czechoslovakia Velvet Revolution Living in truth Catastrophe What where Every good boy deserves favor Professional foul Power of the powerless 20th century
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2011-05-3327
Date: 2011-05

Files in this work

Size: 472.2Kb
Format: application/pdf

This work appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full record


Advanced Search

Browse

My Account

Statistics

Information