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A concetto (ital.), Also concepto (span.), Conceit (engl.), Is an astute idea that connects two actually disparate areas of reality in the form of a comparison , a metaphor , an allegory or a riddle , in order to make to achieve a special surprise effect with a sought-after analogy and to enable a new insight in a memorable way.

The Aristotelian rule that the objects of comparison in the metaphor must not be too far-fetched is pushed to the limit or even deliberately exceeded. The Concetto can express religious or metaphysical profundity as well as spiritual or erotic tension, but also serve satirical or parodic intentions.

The style that the Concetto prefers and uses with particular virtuosity is called Concettismo in Italian , Conceptismo in Spanish . In German it is sometimes called conceptism (more rarely also concettism ).

Concettismo originated in the Italian and Spanish Baroque at the end of the 16th century and experienced its European heyday in the 17th century. The style practice was accompanied by its own aesthetic-rhetorical theory. Its main representatives are Baltasar Gracián ( Agudeza y arte de ingenio , 1648), Matteo Pellegrini ( Delle acutezze, che altrimenti spiriti, vivezze, e concetti volgarmente si appellano trattato , 1639) and Emanuele Tesauro , for whom the title of the treatise is Il cannotelico (1654, extended edition 1670), in German "The Aristotelian Telescope", illustrates the stylistic principle through its deliberately anachronistic metaphor.


The final verse of a sonnet by Christian Hoffmann von Hoffmannswaldau (1617–1679) reads:

Must Atlas and his neck bend before the sky
So gods just have to lie on your shoulders.

After describing the white neck of his beloved as more beautiful than "alabaster, swan, and lilies" for ten verses, the poet lets the conventional description tilt: Atlas carries the sky on his shoulders, in which the gods live. But atlas is also a fine material that the beloved probably wears. The beloved, however, carries on her shoulders - the poet, so the poet himself is a god and (unconventionally) honored just like his beloved.

In Persian literature

Similar to the European Baroque, the Persian poetry of the 17th and 18th centuries was shaped by a concetto style. This literary period is usually called the Indian style (in Iran also Isfahan style ), as many Persian poets left Iran in order to have a better livelihood in India at the court of the Mughals or the Deccan sultanates .

A verse from Țāleb-e Āmoli (1579–1627) is an example:

When my unhappy heart goes into a saffron field
I think that it goes away weeping like a cloud from (this) meadow.

Interpretation by Mireille Schnyder: The poet who emigrated to India is homesick. Saffron fields were typical of India. Saffron is considered to be a cheering drug; but the homesick poet has to cry. The verse also alludes to the four elements: saffron (red) = fire, field = earth, cloud = air, crying = water. “A field” ( zār-ī ) is homophonic with “despair” ( zārī ) and already takes away the weeping. The “meadow” in its colorfulness is a metonym for the world in general, therefore “going to India” = “going out of the world” = “to die”, but with one effect: the weeping of the cloud waters the saffron field. Since weeping = lamenting = singing = poetry, the poet claims that it is precisely his homesickness that brings the splendor of India to bloom.

The poet can put all these allusions into a single verse, and the whole poem consists of ten verses.

See also


  • Henning Mehnert: Bugia and argutezza. Emanuele Tesauros theory of the structure and functioning of the baroque Concetto . In: Romanische Forschungen , 88, 1976, pp. 195-209.

Individual evidence

  1. Mireille Schnyder: The miraculous additions of the world - On the meaning of metaphor and comparison in German and Persian poetry of the 17th century . Peter Lang Verlag, Bern u. a. 1992, p. 164
  2. Mireille Schnyder: The miraculous additions of the world - On the meaning of metaphor and comparison in German and Persian poetry of the 17th century . Peter Lang Verlag, Bern u. a. 1992, p. 171