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Die zwei Körper der Königin. Daniel Casper von Lohensteins "Sophonisbe"

Achim Geisenhanslüke


Pages 195 - 216



Taking as a point of departure Walter Benjamin’s study on the origin of the German baroque drama (‘Trauerspielbuch’) the article elucidates the reciprocal relation between nature and history in Lohenstein’s play Sophonisbe. The comparison to the French model, a play with the same title written by Corneille, enables the observer to discover the specific particularities of the German baroque ‘Trauerspiel’. The difference between tragedy and ‘Trauerspiel’, which Benjamin has pointed out in his study, is in fact overcome by Lohenstein’s adaptation of the Sophonisbe material. By presenting his heroine as a politically active and influential queen, who, however, fails when confronted with the power of Rome, he offers a crucial contribution (still underestimated today) to the Europeanisation of literature which also functions as a critical commentary on the history and politics of the Habsburg monarchy.

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