Basic information
Original title:
Jezuitske gledališke igre kot dejavnik razvoja novoveške dramatike: slovenski in srednjeevropski kontekst
1 March 2018–29 February 2020
Jesuit Plays as a Factor in the Development of Early Modern Drama: The Slovenian and Central European Context

Jesuit theatre was the most successful and enduring theatre institution of the European early modern period (from c. 1555 to 1773). Initially relying on Latin humanist drama, Jesuit theatre evolved into a significant pedagogical-didactic and religious-propagandist medium and established two principal types of theatre performances: school plays and religious plays. Jesuit dramatic and theatre work also influenced cultural development of the Slovenian ethnic territory. It is agreed that the Jesuit theatre of the historical Slovenian lands (Carniola, Carinthia, Gorizia, Styria) was the first to achieve certain continuity. Notwithstanding this consensus and the fact that Jesuit theatrical activities are recorded in reliable historical sources, general studies of Slovenian drama devote little space to them, while they are almost non-existent in the wider consciousness. Through a detailed research into primary sources and comparisons with Central European contexts, the project aims to prove that Jesuit drama and theatre belong to the most important factors of theatre history in Slovenia.

The project focuses on Jesuit dramatic activities in the Ljubljana College of the Society of Jesus from its foundation (1597) to the dissolution of the order in 1773. The research object also includes the playwriting of the neighbouring colleges (Graz, Klagenfurt, Gorizia and Trieste) and the links with the theatre life of the other colleges of the then Austrian Jesuit Province (the territory of today’s Central and partly South-eastern Europe), primarily with Vienna as their centre.

A constitutive goal of the project is to register and elucidate Jesuit and non-Jesuit sources that have been thus far overlooked or neglected. This is the basis of a digital repository of preserved titles of plays, periochae (a kind of early theatre programmes with short summaries of the plays and lists of actors) and manuscript and printed Jesuit plays performed in Ljubljana. Following a thorough analysis of the sources, the study attempts an interpretation of the themes and genre typology of the performed plays with regard to the occasions when they were performed. It considers both main types of Jesuit drama (school and religious performances) while also examining the issue of the use of the Slovenian vernacular in the predominantly Latin Jesuit theatre.

To better understand the goals that the Jesuit order wanted to achieve via its drama and theatre, the project investigates Jesuit programmatic texts and their theoretical views on theatre.

The most prominent representatives of Jesuit drama in the historical Slovenian lands are carefully studied. The project examines the occurrence of plays with similar themes within the Austrian Jesuit Province and makes conclusions about their interdependence. The comparative aspect of the study shows how the Jesuit drama from the Slovenian ethnic territory is situated into a wider European context.

Using a functional interdisciplinary synthesis of various philological and historical methods (from textual criticism through theatre history to digital humanities), the project aims to demonstrate the following: first, Jesuit drama in the Slovenian lands in the early modern period was an important factor of the general cultural development; second, it awoke an aesthetic perception of theatre and drama; third, it created foundations for the subsequent development of Slovenian theatre culture. Since Jesuit drama in the Slovenian lands was part of the universal European Jesuit theatre, the research findings will also be relevant to European scholarly and general audiences.

Project steps

The postdoctoral research project Jesuit Plays as a Factor in the Development of Early Modern Drama: The Slovenian and Central European Context pursues the above research goals in the following four stages of research:

Stage 1: research work in Slovenian and foreign libraries and archives:

- studying existent Slovenian and foreign literature on Jesuit drama and theatre

- collecting information on Ljubljana Jesuit drama performances and searching for possible preserved periochae as well as manuscript and printed plays in Slovenian archives and libraries

- collecting information on Jesuit drama performances in Ljubljana, Klagenfurt, Gorizia, Graz, Trieste and Vienna, and searching for possible preserved periochae as well as manuscript and printed Ljubljana plays in foreign archives and libraries

- examining archival materials and existing literature on Capuchin processions and their folk religious theatre

- examining preserved archival fragments of religious plays in Ruše

Stage 2: research into the programme orientation (Jesuit programmatic and theoretical texts) and Jesuit self-definition of drama and theatre:

- analysing the Jesuit perception of the importance of drama and theatre on the basis of the fundamental documents of the Jesuit order

- analysing the Jesuit theoretical self-definition of drama and theatre on the basis of two fundamental works

Stage 3: analysis, interpretation and critical evaluation of the sources and literature, and the preparation of a scholarly digital critical edition of the play Haeresis fulminate:

- compiling an inventory of the preserved titles, periochae, manuscript and printed texts of Jesuit plays performed in Ljubljana

- designing a digital repository of the Ljubljana Jesuit theatre

- research based on the analysis, interpretation and critical evaluation of sources and literature

- publishing interim research findings in scholarly articles, which will serve as the basis for the scholarly monograph to be published after the end of the project

- preparing a scholarly digital critical edition of Schönleben’s play Haeresis fulminata

Stage 4: dissemination of research findings:

- publishing findings of stages 1, 2 and 3 in scholarly articles and in lectures

- publishing the scholarly digital critical edition of Schönleben’s play Haeresis fulminata

- concluding the preparation of the online digital repository of Jesuit dramatic performances in Ljubljana


Tušar, Magda (interviewer), Katarina Šmid (interviewee), Monika Deželak Trojar (interviewee), Matej Petrič (interviewee) and Luka Repanšek (interviewee). Kulturni fokus: meseci in letni časi: astronomska znanja, koledarji s svetniki in prazniki, vreme v letnih časih. Ljubljana: RTV Slovenija, 13 Mar. 2020.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Mesto letnih časov in mesecev v ohranjenih dramskih besedilih ljubljanskih jezuitov: predavanje na 11. Grošljevem simpoziju »Meseci in letni časi od antike do renesanse«, Atrij ZRC SAZU, Novi trg 2, Ljubljana, 5 Mar. 2020.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Jezuitske gledališke igre na Slovenskem. In: Mohorjev koledar 2020. Celje: Mohorjeva družba, 2020. 73–77.

Ručigaj, Luka, Monika Deželak Trojar, Anja Dular and Sonja Svoljšak. Katalogi in inventarji Auerspergove knjižnice kot pomniki njenega kulturnozgodovinskega pomena in razvoja skozi čas. Ars & humanitas 13.1 (2019): 123–150.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Oče Ludvik in sin Janez Ludvik Schönleben v Ljubljani, zanjo in tudi o njej. Ljubljana med nostalgijo in sanjami 8.2 (2019): 7–42.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Govorjena beseda ima veliko moč: jezuitsko slovstvo: dramske predstave in pridige. Družina, 15 Dec. 2019. 23.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Vloga perioh ali sinops za rekonstrukcijo dramske ustvarjalnosti ljubljanskih jezuitov v zgodnjem novem veku. In: Starejši mediji slovenske književnosti: rokopisi in tiski. Ed. Urška Perenič and Aleksander Bjelčevič. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete, 2018. 139–147.

Janez Ludvik Schönleben (1618–1681): 400-letnica rojstva: program simpozija in povzetki referatov. Ed. Monika Deželak Trojar. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 2018.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Schönlebnova drama Haeresis fulminata (1651). In: Janez Ludvik Schönleben (1618–1681): 400-letnica rojstva: program simpozija in povzetki referatov. Ed. Monika Deželak Trojar. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 2018. 18.

Deželak Trojar, Monika. Tridesetletna vojna in njen zgodovinopisni ter literarni odmev v Schönlebnovih spisih. In: Tridesetletna vojna in slovenski etnični prostor v prvi polovici 17. stoletja: program in povzetki referatov. Ed. Vanja Kočevar and Miha Preinfalk. Ljubljana: ZRC SAZU, Zgodovinski inštitut Milka Kosa, 2018. 24–25.

Golja, Marko (interviewer), Monika Deželak Trojar (interviewee). Izšlo je: Monika Deželak Trojar: Janez Ludvik Schönleben (1618–1681). Ljubljana: RTV Slovenija, 15 Nov. 2018.

Lead partner

Project manager

Funded by

Slovenian Research Agency

Fields of research

General and comparative literature, literary criticism, literary theory H390