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A vague term for the self‐conscious cultivation of peculiarities of style—usually elaborate, ingenious, and ornate—in literary works of any period. Like the baroque, with which it often overlaps, mannerism is a concept more clearly defined in art history than in literary studies: art historians have marked out a Mannerist period (roughly 1520–1610) between the High Renaissance and the Baroque, characterized by distortions of figure and perspective. Clear equivalents in English literature of this period would be the mannered style of euphuism and the elaborate conceits of the Elizabethan sonnet. In Spanish literature, the term can apply to conceptismo and Gongorism; in Italian to concettismo and Marinism. But mannered styles can be found in many later periods, from the Latinate style of Milton to the far‐fetched similes of Raymond Chandler. A common indicator of literary mannerism is that the elaborate manner is maintained, whatever the nature of the matter treated.

Subjects: Literature.

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