17th century in literature  

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Iconologia  (1593) by Cesare Ripa was a highly influential emblem book on Baroque imagery
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Iconologia (1593) by Cesare Ripa was a highly influential emblem book on Baroque imagery
By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, Spinoza is considered one of Western philosophy's definitive ethicists.
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By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, Spinoza is considered one of Western philosophy's definitive ethicists.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
baroque literature, early modern literature, 17th century art, 17th century philosophy

The invention of movable type printing subjected both novels and romances to a first wave of trivialisation and commercialisation. Printed books were expensive, yet something people would buy, just as people still buy expensive things they can barely afford. Alphabetisation, or the rise of literacy, was a slow process when it came to writing skills, but was faster as far as reading skills were concerned. The Protestant Reformation afforded readers of religious pamphlets, newspapers and broadsheets.

Bestselling genres of the time are the pastoral and heroic romances, the picaresque novel, comic fiction and the works of Cervantes. Although written in the previous century, Brantôme's Les Vies, published in the middle of the century set a trend for the emergence of a European market for scandal literature.

Contents

Notable works

Bestsellers

The works that gained the greatest fame—Honoré d'Urfé's L'Astrée (1607-27), John Barclay's Argenis (1625-26), Madeleine de Scudéry′s ‚Clelie or Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig's Römischer Octavia (Octavia the Roman, 1679-1714)—were esteemed both as explorations of the ancient world and as works one would read with an interest in modern life. These heroic romances encapsulated present histories clad in ancient costumes and dove into the realm of the roman à clef, the novel readers would decipher with a key that betrayed who was who within this fictional world. The present fashions of courtly conduct could in the event be found nowhere in such perfection as in these seemingly historical romances. Readers used them as models for their own elegant compliments, letters, and speeches.

Theory

Notable writers

Spain

France

England

17th century English literature

Germany

Events and trends

See also

16th century in literature, French 17th century literature, 18th century in literature




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