Parallele Motive bei Johann Amos Comenius und Baltasar Gracián
Parallel Motifs in the Works of Jan Amos Comenius and Baltasar Gracián
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The field of comparative literature has yet to consider in depth the connections between early modern Spain and Bohemia. This article discusses one of the most interesting aspects of this broader comparative theme: parallel motifs and themes in the works of J. A. Comenius and of Baltasar Gracian. The specialist literature has tackled this subject, but many of the questions regarding similarities between the two authors remained unanswered. The focus in this contribution is in particular on the similarities and differences between Comenius' 'Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart' and Gracian's 'El Criticon'. The style and structure of both works are described, and some of the typical problems of the Baroque mind - such as the critique of Humanism, the search for a practical philosophy and the tension between visions of the world as harmony and as chaos - are considered. These themes are, of course, more or less common to other writers of the period, and it is therefore suggested that sources which might have been used by both Comenius and Gracian are studied. An effort is made to trace the common textual influence of the Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata on both authors; this, however, remains a hypothesis, which might serve to provoke a more thorough investigation of the influence of Lucian on Renaissance and Baroque writers, and of his contribution to the origin of the modern novel.
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