Genre differentiation in Czech Baroque verse

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For its methodology this article draws chiefly on the theory of intertextuality, emphasizing the genre as model. It is premised on the idea that similar works gradually group around a successful prototype text, leading to the genre category. The author takes issue with existing classifications of Czech Baroque verse, and questions the validity of fundamental criteria such as the opposites secular:spiritual, to be sung:to be spoken, lyric:epic. He proposes a more sophisticated differentiation of genre in contrast to forms of publication, which include the hymn book and the broadside ballad. His interpretation concentrates particularly on the production of Czech hymn books, both Roman Catholic and Lutheran, which is distinguished by a quite surprisingly wide range of genres and sub-genres. From contemporaneous books on poetics and rhetoric one can reasonably deduce mainly Humanist genre terms like eclogue, ode, and epicede. Contemporaneous sources also distinguish between two distinct, even considerably opposed, categories - the hymn and the lament -, which in practice appear in various forms (the Christmas anthem, the Easter anthem; the lament of Protestant exiles, the Passion lament, and the funeral lament). What is particularly important in hymn books is the distinction - not made in Czech scholarly literature on the topic, but common, for example, in the German-speaking world - be- tween the hymn (closely linked with high days and the liturgy, intended primarily for choral singing) and the spiritual song (used in the cultivation of the individual spiritual life in private; with an indirectly expressed religious content; employing topoi of contemporaneous non-religious verse). Among the hymns there are, for example, the Whitsun anthem, the Eucharistic anthem, and the Marian hymn. Among the spiritual songs there are songs of personal anxiety, sung meditations on vanity and transience, and love songs addressed to the Lord Jesus. The various genres were concealed in the particular form of publication in which they appeared.

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