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School of Modern Languages and Cultures: German Studies

Staff in the Department of German

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Publication details for Professor Jonathan Long

Image: Thomas BernhardDie Macht der Gewohnheit.' class='dec2'>2006 'Thomas Bernhard's Die Macht der Gewohnheit', in Hutchinson, Peter (ed.), Landmarks in German Comedy, Lang, pp. 211-226
  • Publication type: Chapter in book
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0820469955

Author(s) from Durham


Public demand for comedy has always been high in the German-speaking countries, but the number of comic dramas that have survived is relatively small. Those which are still read or regularly performed all have a serious purpose, and this collection of fourteen essays on the most distinguished of them shows how laughter can be exploited to treat personal, moral, and social problems in a way that would not be possible in tragedy. The texts range from the seventeenth to the late twentieth century, and no fewer than half of them are by Austrian writers. The contributors show how these plays are often subversive, regularly arousing an uncomfortable, self-challenging laughter, and how they treat such widely ranging subjects as language and communication, the complications of the sex drive, the inflexibility of the Prussian mind, and the behaviour of Austrian celebrities during the Third Reich.
The essays are all written by specialists in the field and were originally delivered as lectures in the University of Cambridge.


British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature.