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The Baroque: Beads in a Rosary or Folds in Time

By Helen Hills


When Benedetto Croce associated the baroque with decadence he was developing a current of critical thinking which had construed the term ‘baroque’ pejoratively since the seventeenth century. This essay explores the idea of a baroque that is neither pejorative nor ‘early modern'’ by outlining the etymology and history of the term ‘baroque’, tracing its chequered history as a term of abuse in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through Benedetto Croce's characterization of the baroque as ‘decadent’, to two radically different ways of interpreting the baroque adopted by Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze. This paper asks whether we might consider the baroque not as decadent, but as antidote to decadence, of baroque as troubling the smooth waters of a linear historicism

Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:8913

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