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A Spanish term for ‘conceitism’, i.e. a cultivation in poetry of conceits or elaborate metaphors and paradoxical images that challenge the reader to notice occult relations among things. This became something of slogan among some early 17th-century Spanish poets, who on this account became known as conceptistas, notably Alonso de Ledesma Buitrago in his three-volume Conceptos espirituales (1600–12) and the more important figure of Quevedo. The doctrine of conceptismo was theorized in terms of wit (agudeza) and of the combined virtues of obscurity and brevity by the prose writer Baltasar Gracián y Morales in his critical treatise Agudeza y arte de ingenio (1648). There are some parallels here with the practice of the English metaphysical poets, and more clearly with the equivalent Italian movement of concettismo. See also baroque, mannerism.

Subjects: Literature.

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