Ozvěna ve svatoivanské legendě F. Bridela (1656)
Echo in the Legend of Saint Ivan (F. Bridel, 1656)
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Tis study focuses on the motif of the echo in Baroque literature. It is based on an analysis of the Latin legend of Saint Ivan by Fridrich Bridel (1619–1680), Vita sancti Ivani, primi in regno Boëmiæ eremitæ (Te Life of Saint Ivan, the First Czech Hermit; Ludmila Sedlčanská, Prague 1656). Tis book was written as a prosaic biography with occasional lyrical passages, one of which is a dialogue between the hermit Saint Ivan and his own echo. As St. Ivan meditates on life in the wilderness and on the vainness of the world, his echo consoles him and gives him advice. Tis text refects a popular motif in other European literature of its time, characterized by a renewed interest in ancient myths and their philosophical and Christian interpretations. In the secular literature, the motif of the echo could be found mainly in love poetry, typically involving an unhappy lover who roams a deserted landscape (locus terribilis) until he is met by his own echo, which responds to his lamentation and gives him comfort. In religious poetry, by contrast, this echo would be understood as the voice of God, responding to a character — ofen in the allegorical fgure of the ‘spiritual bride’ — who has gone in search of God. While Bridel’s legend presents the echo as a spiritual voice, it is also indebted to older myths based on the theme of romantic love, so that the dialog between St. Ivan and his echo efectively produces the motif of the spiritual marriage. Te fgure of the echo was used mainly in the literature of Bridel’s time in connection with popular conceptual poetics. In the fnal analysis, Vita sancti Ivani demonstrates how Bohemian literature was infuenced by the aesthetic theory of its period.
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