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Working paper

Paul Claudel «L’annonce Faite A Marie»: A Study Of Genre

The paper looks at the singular genre of Paul Claudel’s 1911 drama, which the author himself defined as a mystery play. This work is studied as a sort of genre experiment, which became possible in the early 20th century, owing to the blurring of borders typical for Symbolist theatre. One can define two specific levels in the subject matter of the piece: the dramatic one, the actual story and the one reminding us of a mystery play, which shows the events in a universal light, symbolically reflecting the principal episodes of sacred history. A detailed analysis of the interaction between these two planes covers the list of personages and their character, the symbolic meaning of different images and developments of the story, spatial and temporal relations, as well as the influence of liturgy. The author comes to the conclusion that Claudel in «L’Annonce faite à Marie» achieves a unique synthesis of genres, reanimating certain features of a Medieval mystery, and in this way continues with his Symbolist drama the centuries-old tradition of Catholic theatre