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Grant number like: FT-55423-07

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Edmund J. Goehring
University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario N6A 5B8 Canada)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2007 – 8/31/2007

Don Juan in Purgatory: Theater and Religion in Mozart's Vienna

For most of the eighteenth century and much of the next one, Viennese theaters produced versions of the Don Juan tale, including Mozart's "Don Giovanni," during the Octave of All Souls. Explicating how a secular comedy about a hell-bound libertine relates to an official feast day devoted to speeding the dead out of purgatory--all during an Enlightenment that gave little heed to threats of eternal damnation--is the main focus of my proposed NEH project. The topic forms the center of a book, often using little-known primary documents, that reassesses the significance of Mozart's opera and, through looking at this unusual Viennese intersection of religion and theater, reexamines the character and reach of the Enlightenment in Austria.