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Title:The Ludus de Antichristo and the making of a monastic theatre: imperial politics and performance at the abbey of Tegernsee 1000-1200
Author(s):Thomas, Kyle A
Director of Research:Symes, Carol
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Symes, Carol
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Camargo, Martin; Durham, Lofton; Stevens, Andrea; Syer, Katherine
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Medieval theatre
middle ages
twelfth century
Abstract:The Ludus de Antichristo (Play about the Antichrist) is one of the most fascinating, yet under-researched and poorly understood examples of medieval drama. A product of the imperial Benedictine monastery at Tegernsee, the Ludus is a twelfth-century play (c. 1159 CE) that was written to perform the monastery’s perspectives on sacred and secular authority in the renewed tensions of the protracted Investiture Controversy that were inflamed by the conflicts between the self-styled “Holy Roman Emperor” Frederick I “Barbarossa” and Pope Alexander III. In addition to its dramatization of contemporary issues surrounding imperial and papal politics, the Ludus was also placed into service in the cloister school at Tegernsee Abbey. Thus, the play stands as a valuable example of a medieval theatre in which performance acts at the center of political and educational institutions, revealing how individuals processed, distributed, and debated the most important topics at the forefront of state-building in medieval Europe. The work of this dissertation will show how drama, as a form of documentation and a form of presentation, was central to a growing network of exchange between the various spiritual and secular authorities in medieval Europe. Building upon the work of Carol Symes and her re-defining aspect of theatre as a "common stage"—as an explicit challenge to the narrow model of the modern public sphere posited by Jürgen Habermas—I employ Symes' paradigm of performance as a site for agency and exchange in all aspects of medieval life to earlier eras and broader boundaries. In the end, I will show how the Ludus de Antichristo participates in longstanding medieval traditions whereby theatricality serves as a vehicle for public discourse and informs the recognition, display, and dissemination of political agency.
Issue Date:2018-04-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Kyle A. Thomas
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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