Writing Pantomime: Genre Conventions and Developments of Text, Gesturality and Theatricality in German-Language Drama.

Project Details


This project seeks to analyze the performativity and text theatricality of the literary pantomime, understood as the genre and art form in which stories and actions are acted out without speech. Although conceived for (silent) performance on stage, many pantomimes by German speaking authors at the turn of the century were rarely performed and appeared mainly as literary texts. This project will explore the pantomime as a dynamic genre and focus on the paradoxical status of the text and the textual form in which pantomimes since 1900 are cast. More specifically, this research will address the dynamic hybridity of the pantomime from the early 20th century to its contemporary adaptations in post-1945 drama.

The project sets three research objectives: Firstly, it will analyze the great variety of textual and rhetorical forms of the pantomime. Secondly, the project will focus on the narrative dimension of the didascalic ‘Nebentexts’ in different modes of pantomimic writing. Thirdly, it will address the performativity of the inscribed gesturality and the logic of representation in pantomimic texts. As such, this project will offer a detailed vision on modernist and (neo)avant-garde modes of pantomimic writing in the German-language drama-tradition. Combining and extending the methodological perspectives of text theatricality, performativity and narrativity, the project will chart an under-researched area of the pantomime as a genre at the crossroads of textuality and performance.
Effective start/end date1/10/1730/12/20

Flemish discipline codes

  • Linguistic typology


  • pantomine
  • text
  • drama
  • Gesturality