Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Germanic Languages and Literatures


English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 9-1-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Gerhild Scholz Williams


In my dissertation I examine to what degree the representation of masculinity in Daniel Casper von Lohenstein's dramas--in its multiple forms--serves as commentary on the historical-political realities facing seventeenth-century Silesia. Silesia's population was predominantly Protestant, which caused significant political and confessional tension with the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. This dissertation demonstrates that throughout Lohenstein's dramas the representatives of ancient Rome, the legitimate predecessors to the ruling Habsburgs, experience a decline in masculine-coded virtue while Rome's opposition--primarily female characters--experience an increase in this very virtue. These strong female figures present in each play represent other modes of governance and other modes of organizing social power, which gain legitimacy in Lohenstein's dramatic rendering of historic events. Finally, I demonstrate how the Ottoman Empire is coded as feminine in Lohenstein's works in an attempt to contain a formidable enemy in literary representation. Ultimately, the struggle for power depicted in Lohenstein's dramas focuses on domestic issues and I conclude we must read Lohenstein's dramas as a staged form of resistance to the imperial hegemony.


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