Between Theory and Practice
Edited By Agnieszka Borysowska and Barbara Milewska-Wazbinska
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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