The Meaning of History on Lohenstein’s Early Modern Schauplatz

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Part of a shared presentation of the HISTORIES research group: Common topic is the character of Sophonisba in early modern drama.

The Meaning of History on Lohenstein’s Early Modern Schauplatz
When the German Baroque dramatist Daniel Casper von Lohenstein (1635-1683) prefaced his tragedy Sophonisbe, he employed the Antique image of the theatrum mundi as a structuring metaphor and used variations of the concept of “Spiel” no less than 88 times in 275 lines. This paper examines the rhetorical use of the metaphor of the world theatre and the concept of Spiel in the preface of Sophonisbe in order to investigate what kind of notion of history is at play through the theatrum mundi. If the German Trauerspiel’s view of history is characterized by “unafhörsamer Verfall” (Benjamin) and of apophatic theology, how are we to understand the role of this Ancient metaphor in Lohenstein’s preface? The paper will argue that the use of such rhetorical devices points to the fact early modern relations between literature and historiography were highly reciprocal and that such entanglements point to the danger of overtly disenchanted descriptions of early modern views of history.
Periode25. jun. 2021
BegivenhedstitelTransnational Aspects of Early Modern Drama
PlaceringBochum, Tyskland
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


  • Lohenstein
  • Sophonisba
  • Trauerspiel