ERC-Projekt Early Modern European Drama and the Cultural Net (DramaNet)
The proposed dissertation project seeks to investigate, from a comparative perspective, tendencies of Scepticism in early modern (Western) European drama as specific examples of the withdrawing and usage of “floating cultural material available in the cultural net” that characterizes early modern drama. Considering the phenomenon of the highly influential revival of ancient Scepticism in the 16th and 17th centuries, which took place in a time of massive upheaval and radical changes in hitherto valid certainties, this project aims to explore the ways in which and to what extent elements deriving from Scepticism, the dominant intellectual discourse of the period, as well as its related epistemological questions and strategies of argumentation, have been incorporated into contemporary English, Spanish, French, and, if applicable, German drama. Particular attention will be devoted to Spanish dramatic texts, including La vida es sueño (1634/35) by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and Lope de Vega’s Lo fingido verdadero (1608/1621), while other plays will be considered as well, among them Shakespeare’s Hamlet (~1600). Further emphasis will be on aspects concerning the structural device frequently used in early modern theatre of the ‘play-within-the-play’ in the texts analysed in this project, which will be considered in relation to the concepts deriving from the sceptical discourse thematized in the plays.