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   "It is only fair to say that the arrows that were
transferred into "flying asps" and the birds that
became "feathered zithers" were part of a larger
plan. Luis de Gongora y Argote (1561-1627)
wrote in a twisted, torturous style in his later
years, his syntax deliberately distorted in order to
highlight words and create an unreal world.  But
he inspired many imitators, who inspired many
critics and, unfortunately, his name is now a
synonym for a deliberately obscure, meaningless,
and affected ornamental style. The Spanish poet
after whom Gongorism is named was essentially
a lyric poet in his early years, his work was much
admired by Cervantes, though no poem of his
was published in his lifetime. Readers have
discovered that his baroque Gongorisms, a great
influence on modern poetry, are far from
meaningless, as difficult as the long poems like
are to read. Gongora, who adopted
his mother's name, was a priest as well as a poet
and dramatist.  Toward the end of his life he turned
back from cultivated obscurity to a simple,
unaffected style."

(Robert Hendrickson, The Henry Holt Encyclopedia
of Word and Phrase Origins
, New York, NY)        


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