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Baroque Latinity

Baroque (c. 1580–c. 1720) is important as the earliest aesthetic – and cultural – movement to have global impact since it was spread through dynastic ambition, mercantilism, and missionary fervour. Latin, as a supranational language, played a major role in propagating this style. In literature, Baroque was characterized by rhetorical devices, especially through exaggerated forms such as paradoxes, anachronisms, antitheses, and oxymora that roused the emotions and engaged the senses. Interfacing with vernacular literature, the Neo-Latin literature of the seventeenth century contributed not only to the development of drama, but to the rise of the novel, as well as to the evolution of more traditional forms such as the epic and the epigram. Beyond belles lettres, Latin supplied lyrics to musical compositions of the time and was employed in the visual arts. In politics, Latin served as the language of treatises and contracts; in religion, it furthered the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. It became the language of international scientific communication, used to announce and explain new discoveries. The ability to write in the common European language of scholarship was an indicator of educational achievement in an age when rhetorical and grammatical competence was demanded.

In co-operation with UCL's Department of Greek & Latin, with leadership from Principal Investigator Prof. Gesine Manuwald, this AHRC-funded network aims to engage with the current revival of Baroque studies by addressing Baroque both as a literary style, one that distorted the norms based on the Greeks and Romans that had been systematized in the Renaissance, and as an artistic period, a complex stage in the development of post-Renaissance classicism. CELL's Honorary Senior Research Associate Dr Jacqueline Glomski is Co-Investigator for the network.