Fellow 1990-91

Mara R Wade

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Triumphus Nuptialis Danicus: German Festival Culture at the Danish Court in the Seventeenth Century

The present research will result in a series of publications as books and articles on German literature and court culture in the seventeenth century. The "Great Wedding," or "det Store Bilager," was the most significant theatrical event in Northern Europe during the Thirty Years' War. The Danish Prince-Elect Christian (1603-1647) married Magdalena Sibylla (1617-1667), the daughter of the Saxon Elector Johann Georg I, on 5 October 1634, that is, between the Danish Peace of Lübeck (1629) and the Saxon-negotiated Peace of Prague (1635). The celebrations were attended by representatives of all major European powers and allegorical ballets, plays, fireworks, and pageants proclaimed the political message of the Danish crown both to those present and, by means of numerous fête publications, to those who were unable to attend the nuptial festivities. All of these festivities were carefully organized around dynastic themes representative of the Danish royal house within a greater European context. As the most important festival during the Thirty Years' War, these entertainments merit scholarly attention.

Professor Wade's initial work on the "Great Wedding" of 1634 from the perspective of German drama at the Danish court opened up entirely new avenues for cross-cultural and interdisciplinary study of German festival culture at the court of Christian IV. The product of this research will be a book entitled Triumphus Nuptialis Danicus, which places the festivities in the context of European court culture of the Renaissance and Baroque.