French radio drama from the interwar to the postwar period (1922-1973)
Gray, Richard James
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Radio drama, as a whole, is one of the most underappreciated popular literary forms of the past nine decades. With the advent of the radio, literary expression in the form of radio drama soon found another medium through which it might both entertain, educate, and propagandize. In France, in particular, the uses of radio drama continued to develop in conjunction with the evolution of radio in the periods before, during, and after World War II. This dissertation serves to provide a better understanding of the role of radio drama within French society from 1922-1973. It serves to highlight the emergence of French radio drama and to underscore its uniqueness. It seeks to interpret the intention and the progression of the medium beginning with the pre-World War II period and ending with the radio dramas of the mid-1970s. In addition, this study will show how theater profited from the arrival of radio. It seeks to define the literary history of radio drama during this period. Finally, this work aims to demonstrate how French radio drama of the Interwar to the Postwar period reflected the social and political realities of an ever-changing France. Radio itself became a place of political and cultural opposition. But radio also became an instrument through which the listener could communicate aurally with his environment. This new means of communication served foreign policy, propaganda, cultural and religious objectives that no one could have imagined. The Introduction will situate the advent of radio drama within its proper context and offer an overview of Western radio drama during the period under investigation. Chapter One serves to outline the medium and genre that one calls radio drama, a form of popular literature. It will present in detail the aesthetics of the radio drama and the various typologies that existed throughout the period before, during, and after the German Occupation. In my dissertation, I will make use of both representative radio dramas as well as exemplary ones in order to illustrate the dual capabilities of the genre. Chapter Two serves to highlight French radio dramas that emerged before German Occupation. It will examine representative dramas in detail by looking at radio drama as entertainment, propaganda and a reflection of the contemporary reality. The purpose of Chapter Three is to show the form and function of representative radio dramas that appeared during the period of German occupation. Chapter Four serves to analyze the evolution of French radio drama during the Postwar period. The chapter will examine the new frontiers of radio drama that were beginning to be explored after Liberation. The Conclusion presents an accounting of the results of this dissertation as well as presentation of new perspectives on the future of French radio drama in the Information Age.