A theatre of choric voices: Jandl and Mayröcker's radio play Spaltungen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter considers the vocal figurations in the radio play Spaltungen (1969) by the Austrian authors Ernst Jandl and Friederike Mayröcker. The chapter investigates how the manifestations of these voices connect with the theatrical phenomenon of the chorus within the medium of the radio and the genre of the experimental radio play. After a brief overview of the history of the chorus, especially in the German context of the first half of the twentieth century, and a commentary on the Neues Hörspiel of the 1960s, the chapter analyses Spaltungen as a site of conflict between singular and collective vocal entities. The reading shows that the multi-layered vocal structure relies both on the literary principles of concrete poetry and on experimental acoustic techniques of processing sounds and utterances. With this dynamic structure the radio play destabilizes the performance format of the cultic mystery play with its hierarchical relation between the messianic male leader and the cheering mass of followers. The chapter concludes that the disembodied quality of the radio play can be read as an extreme reduction of the corporeal phenomenology of avant-garde mass spectacles and its fascist successors that tried to evoke corporeal presence even on the radio.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTuning in to the neo-avangarde
Subtitle of host publicationExperimental radio plays in the postwar period
EditorsInge Arteel, Lars Bernaerts, Siebe Bluijs, Pim Verhulst
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781526155702
ISBN (Print)9781526155719
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021


  • Literary Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'A theatre of choric voices: Jandl and Mayröcker's radio play Spaltungen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this