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«Poesis Artificiosa»

Between Theory and Practice


Edited By Agnieszka Borysowska and Barbara Milewska-Wazbinska

Poesis artificiosa was known in the literary heritage of ancient Greeks and Romans, and in the Far and Middle East. Its tradition was preserved in the Middle Ages and practiced later. Poesis artificiosa gained an unprecedented popularity in the Baroque – a period most inclined towards all manner of special effects. The aim of this book is to present problems related to the Neo-Latin pattern poetry created from the 15th to the 18th century in Central Europe, mainly in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, German Pomerania, and Silesia. In the initial chapters, the authors discuss the practical application of pattern poetry in religious works, in compositions intended for the commemoration of the departed, and in poems featuring panegyric content. The remaining chapters refer to its theoretical aspects.


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Introductory Note


In 1668, the Carmelite Paschasius (a Sancto Johanne Evangelista) pub- lished in Würzburg a book entitled Poesis artificiosa, comprising a collec- tion of miscellaneous poetic forms calculated to impress the readers. The term poesis artificiosa had been adopted to refer to elaborate poetic forms, particularly those composed in Latin. Part and parcel of companions to rhetorics and poetics, poesis artificiosa was to absorb both visual poetry and poetic compositions characterised by elaborate metre, extraordinary word order and puns. Poetic practice of that ilk had already been in place no later than in ancient times. Registered in the literary heritage of both the ancient Greeks and Romans and in the Far and Middle East were works formally arranged into a specific shape or fashioned to evoke a particular reading effect. The tradition of pattern poetry was preserved in the Middle Ages largely owing to such authors as Optatia- nus, Venantius Fortunatus, or the later exponent – Hrabanus Maurus. Written not only in Latin but in vernacular languages and defined in po- etics and rhetorics companions, elaborate poetic forms were domesticat- ed and practiced regularly by sixteenth century European poets. Pattern poetry gained in unprecedented popularity in the Baroque – a period most inclined towards all manner of ‘special effects’. This period was al- so heavily marked by the overall absorption and flourishing of emblem- atics, hieroglyphics, iconology, and other forms underscoring visual qualities of work, resulting from the association that had developed be- tween poesis and pictura. The tradition of pattern poetry...

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