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His message is clear and simple: we are what we have made ourselves to be; and we cannot alter that simple fact. Above all he insists that, although the story is realistic, the characters and their activities are basically absurd. The mood is set in the opening paragraphs, which describe the arrival at Broadcasting House of Murke, a producer in the Cultural Department. Instead of going directly to his office, Murke insists on continuing upward in the elevator until he reaches the upper floors.
Murke has been entrusted with an unusual and special task—the removal of the word "God" from two talks on "The Nature of Art" given by Dr. Bur-Malottke, a noted academic.
Due to a crisis of conscience the great man had insisted that the word be replaced with the formula "that Higher Being Whom we revere," and it falls to Murke to ensure that this is done. Absurdity is heaped upon absurdity when Bur-Malottke refuses to rerecord the talks and insists that the tapes must simply be recut. To do this he has to return to the studios to record the phrase "that Higher Being Whom we revere" a total of 27 times, not just in the nominative case but also in the vocative and genitive.
This small action is his protest against the sterile modernity of the studios in which design has been subordinated to art. The real nature of his discontent, however, is revealed toward the end of the story.
From the edited tapes Murke collects silences—the places where a speaker pauses for a moment—and keeps them on tape. It is his pleasure to play the tapes in his spare time both as a respite from the demands of his work and as a means of keeping sane. Like the scene with Bur-Malottke, the description of Murke sitting at home with his collected silences is both comic and deeply ironic. In view of the thousands of words he has to produce each day, Murke believes that the only justifiable attitude to take to language is silence.
There is another aspect to the introduction of silence. Wo warst du, Adam?
Open Preview See a Problem? Lists with This Book. Felipe rated it it dokotr amazing Dec 26, The Murke of the title is a psychology graduate whose first job is as editor for the Cultural Department at Broadcasting House. The entry has been added to your favourites. Write a customer review. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web.
Doktor Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen: Eine Satire (German Edition)
Murke's Collected Silences (Doktor Murkes Gesammelten Schweigen) by Heinrich Böll, 1958