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Litanic Verse II

Britannia, Germania et Scandinavia


Edited By Witold Sadowski, Magdalena Kowalska and Magdalena Maria Kubas

The book contains comparative analyses of the development of litanic verse in European poetry, from medieval to modern times. Litanic verse is based on different syntactic devices, such as enumeration, parallelism, anaphora and epiphora. However, it is not to be seen merely as a convention of versification as the popularity of different variants of the verse in Europe reflects the religious, intellectual, social and political history of various European regions. The essays in the second volume focus on litanic verse in the Germanic languages. They discuss predominantly the literatures of Protestant countries (Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Norway), but also Austrian poetry.

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Pietist Litanies in German Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Poetry. The Case of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock


German society in the seventeenth century was experiencing a material and spiritual crisis, caused by the Thirty Years’ War. It was a period of great reforms, which were aimed at a moral renewal and a deepening of piety by making the faithful familiar with the Bible. The reforms were carried out mainly by theologians: in Württemberg the Bible was taught by a Lutheran pastor named Johann Valentin Andreä; in Strasbourg professors of theology — Johann Schmidt, Johann Georg Dorsche and Johann Konrad Dannhauer — were engaged in the business of catechising youth and clarifying the principles of Christian faith in their sermons. In Mühlheim on the Ruhr River, in turn, Theodor Undereyck was committed to enlivening the community life. It was at this time that the Pietist activity began, initiated by a small group of male and female Protestants from Frankfurt-am-Main. Their main aim was to awaken and enliven piety in German society. To this religious group belonged, among others, a qualified theologian named Philipp Jacob Spener, the author of Pia desideria (Pious Desires) — a foundation document of the movement which was published in 1675.

The document contained the programme of the movement, which postulated six reforms. The aim of the first reform was to familiarise the faithful with the Bible through both communal reading during services and private reading. The aim of the second was to promote communal activity among the faithful and to restrict the prerogatives of the parson. The third encouraged the faithful...

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