Between Theory and Practice
Edited By Agnieszka Borysowska and Barbara Milewska-Wazbinska
The Judas the Traitor Epigrammatic Cycle. Introduction into Jacob Masen’s Theory of the Argutia Sources. Jarosław Nowaszczuk
The Judas the Traitor Epigrammatic Cycle Introduction into Jacob Masen’s Theory of the Argutia Sources Jarosław Nowaszczuk University of Szczecin The search for effective ways of forming the argutia is one of the signifi- cant literary problems of the end of Renaissance, and most of all, the times of Baroque. In general, scientists agreed that the skill of capturing thoughts in a unique way, causing surprise by uncommon presentation of the subject, is an inborn gift, or a talent.1 They did not question, however, that there was also a certain method which allowed achieving good re- sults. The German Jesuit, Jacob Masen, one of the prominent scientists of his epoch, presented his own view on this matter by elaborating on the above provided statements in a new formula.2 To this issue in the field of epigrammatic creativity he devoted his work Ars nova argutiarum.3 He is generally known as the author of a comprehensive treatise in the field of poetics, entitled Palaestra eloquentiae ligatae and a poem entitled Sarcotis. The latter work was to a certain extent used by John Milton. The writer was even blamed that his Paradise Lost was a plagiarism.4 Masen himself was a versatile artist and his output was quite impressive. He put much effort into getting a deeper understanding of the issue of argutia. He even called himself “a master of the art of argutia” (magister in arte acuta).5 1 See: Bohuslai Balbini Verisimilia humaniorum disciplinarum seu Iudicium privatum de omni litterarum (quas...
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