Obscure loqui. Zagadki i ich definicje w łacińskich traktatach i podręcznikach poetyki XVI–XVIII wieku wobec tradycji antycznej

Barbara Milewska-Waźbińska

Abstrakt

Obscure loqui – Riddles and Its Definitions in Latin Treatises and Handbooks of Poetics in 16th–18th Century Due to the Ancient Tradition

The statement of Julian Krzyżanowski that a riddle is a literary genre standing on the border between literature and language is the best inspiration for a philologist to undertake research on this issue. The article contains considerations on definitions and theory of this popular genre in old literature. It is mentioned that the most complete theoretical and literary reflection on the riddles in the early modern era was concluded by the Italian humanist Lilio Giraldi in his Latin work Libellus, in quo aenigmata pleraque antiquorum explicantur, first published in 1539 in Basel and then again in 1551. Giraldi directed his thoughts first to the Latin definition of the riddle noted by Aulus Gellius. The author of the article points out that scholars do not report the ambiguity of the riddle genre in their research, and especially they ignore the fact that Gellius caused trouble to humanists when he used the word „scirpus”in his definition. Although in ancient times theoretical reflection on the riddle was not too abundant, the author’s attempt to go through ancient sources in Greek (Aristotle, Plutarch, Athenaeus) allows to penetrate deeper into the definitions, terminology and semantics of the riddle genre and to consider functioning in modern literary theory and practice terms derived from the Greek language, such as: aenigma, griphus, logogriphus. The author of this article emphasizes that in contrast to the theoretical ancient reflection, in the treatises on poetics and rhetoric created in the Renaissance, and above all in the Baroque, including the works of Jesuits, one can find a lot of extensive remarks about the riddles which were willingly practiced at that time. An example of a vivid interest in this subject matter is the Latin manuscript, discussed briefly in the article. The text was written in the first half of the 18th century and contains, among others, notes on the theory of poetry. Among the issues enclosed in this manuscript textbook, a lot of space is devoted to the riddles. Despite the terminological ambiguity of the riddle genre and the equivocality of definitions, which were carefully noted by the authors of the theoretical treatises, the author of this article in the conclusion emphasizes the extraordinary popularity that various forms of riddles enjoyed in literary practice in the 16th–18th centuries.

Słowa kluczowe: riddle, definition, reception of classical antiquity, Neolatin literature
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