2CLASSICAL LITERATUREThe language has always acquired the features of a game since the times of classical literature.Plauto is a clear example of the use of language to describe absurd situations with comic or paradoxical outcomes.
3AMPHITRUOMerc: Ebbene le mie prove ti hanno convinto che non sei Sosia?So: Tu dici che non lo sono?Me: Come potrei non dirlo, se sono io?So: Giuro per Giove di esserlo io e di non mentireMe: Ma io ti giuro per Mercurio che Giove non ti crede. So per certo che crede più a me senza giuramenti, che a tutti i tuoi.So: Chi sono allora io, se non sono Sosia? A te lo chiedo.Me: Quando io non vorrò essere più Sosia, potrai esserlo tu. Adesso che sono io, guai a te, se non te ne vai, uomo innominato!
4SHAKESPEAREPlauto was the model for subsequent authors like Shakespeare who made a powerful use of language in his comedies to convey humour or comic relief.“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” “As You Like It”
5Italian LiteratureThe Italian literature is full of writers who made use of those word games to deal with serious issues in a satirical way like Dario Fo:Commissario: Ma è proprio matto…Cosa c’entra la virgola!Indiziato: Niente, per uno che non sa la lingua italiana e la sintassi!…Che poi mi deve dire che titolo di studio ha, e chi l’ha promossa, lei…Mi lasci finire!…La virgola è la chiave di tutto, si ricordi! Se dopo il “già” c’è la virgola, tutto il senso della frase cambia di colpo. Dopo la virgola, dovete prendere fiato…breve pausa intenzionale…poiché: “sempre la virgola impone diversa intenzionalità”.Quindi si leggerà: “Già” (e qui ci sta bene anche una smorfietta di sarcasmo…e se poi ci vuol fare anche un mugugno ironico sfottente, meglio ancora!) Allora…ecco la lettura corretta della frase: Già… (fa una smorfia e un risolino di testa) Libero docente all’Università, altra virgola, di Padova…come a dire: dai, non sparar frottole…ma a chi la racconti, chi ti crede…solo i fessi ci cascano!Morte accidentale di un anarchico
6DRAMADrama has always been the favourite literary genre for the creation of witty remarks, apparently nonsensical but actually conveying deep meaning and a bitter criticism of society especially in the English drama which experimented various interruptions.
7After the Puritan Age the Comedy of Manners was born and it was based on allusions and a clever and witty use of language:He that first cries out stop thief, is often he that has stolen the treasure.Love for Love by William Congreve
8After the Licensing Act (1737), drama had to wait until O. Wilde and G After the Licensing Act (1737), drama had to wait until O. Wilde and G.B.Shaw to find the brilliant wittiness of its dialogues:Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.The Importance of Being Ernest
9SAMUEL BECKETTDrama developed mostly in Ireland where S. Beckett came from: he gave powerful expression to man’s despair in search for a meaning in life by presenting plays with sparse plots, unrealistic settings, illogical and inconsequential language, characters engaged in nonsensical actions with an effect of bewilderment in the face of existential meaninglessness.
10He was the creator of the theatre of the absurd which seemed to reflect the world of dreams and the nightmares of the subconscious mind.Light heat all known all white heart breath no sound. Head haught eyes white fixed front old ping last murmur one second perhaps not alone eye unlustrous black and white half closed long lashes imploring ping silence ping over.Ping
11HAROLD PINTERHis Pinteresque dialogue has widely been imitated by contemporary playwrights. He reproduces everyday speech with its pauses, hesitations and repetitions. Silence is as important as speech:Davies: but…but…look…listen here…I mean… listen… if I…got down…if I was to…get my papers…would you… would you let… would you…if I got down…and got my…Long silenceCurtain
12TOM STOPPARDIn 1968 the Licensing Act was abolished and a new generation of playwrights started to establish their reputation.Tom Stoppard, under the influence of Beckett, Pinter and Pirandello, developed his own style based on linguistic virtuosity, wit and a range of political and philosophical interests.
13He reflects over the uselessness of human action providing absurd outcomes. Claudius: Friends both, go join you with some further aid: Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain…go seek him out; speak fair and bring the body into the chapel…(Ros and Guil remain quite still)Guil: well…Ros: Quite…Guil: well,well.Ros: quite,quite. (nods with spurious confidence.) Seek him out. (pause) etc.Guil: quite.Ros: well. (small pause) Well, that’s a step in the right direction.Rosencratz and Guilderstern are Dead
14Other literary genresLanguage has been used in nonsensical, absurd and phoney way in other literary genres.
15THE NOVELLouis Carrol created a nonsensical world which abolishes conventional rules, even the basic ones of time and space.
16EDWARD LEARHe wrote the “Book of Nonsense”, a collection of Limericks, serious in their tone but absurd in their content.There was an Old Man in a tree, Who was horribly bored by a Bee; When they said, 'Does it buzz?' He replied, 'Yes, it does!' 'It's a regular brute of a Bee!'
17J. D. Salinger He published “The Catcher in the Rye” in 1951. It’s a tragicomic fictional autobiography of an adolescent who tries to keep his innocence in the phony world of grown ups which he rejects as superficial, false, artificial and empty.
18“Well, I hate it. Boy, do I hate it,” I said. “But it isn’t just that “Well, I hate it. Boy, do I hate it,” I said. “But it isn’t just that. It’s everything. I hate living in New York and all. Taxicabs, and Madison Avenue buses, with the drivers and all always yelling at you to get out at the rear door, and being introduced to phony guys that call the Lunts angels, and going up and down in elevators when you just want to go outside, and guys fitting your pants all the time at Brooks, and people always –”
19G. OrwellHe invented “Newspeak” in his “1984” to show the power of language in the development of the human thought.“The 11th edition (of the dictionary) is the definitive edition,” he said. “We’re getting the language to its final shape…you think …that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words…we’re cutting language to the bone…the whole aim of newspeak is to narrow the range of thought…By 2050…the whole literature of the past will have been destroyed…In fact there will be no thought.”
20Paul FayerabandThe Science philosopher theorized the importance of word games in the development of language claiming the freedom to reach knowledge by using whatever method is felt more suitable by the individual: the anarchic method.
21Nessuno vorrà sostenere che l’insegnamento ai bambini piccoli debba essere affidato esclusivamente al ragionamento…Essi usano parole, le combinano, giocano con esse, finché pervengono ad afferrare un significato che finora era sfuggito loro…E la mia tesi è che l’anarchismo aiuta a conseguire il progresso in qualsiasi senso si voglia intendere questa parola. Anche una scienza fondata sui principi della legge e dell’ordine avrà successo solo se saranno conseguiti di tanto in tanto modi di procedere anarchici.Contro il metodo. Abbozzo di una teoria anarchica della conoscenza.