panegyric(redirected from Panegyrics)
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(encomium), a laudatory speech. The term originates from the title of one of Isocrates’ most famous speeches, the Panegyricus (380 B.C.).
The practice and theory of the panegyric were worked out intensively in ancient rhetoric. Different types of the genre included speeches praising kings, gods, cities, and animals, as well as speeches that were salutatory, congratulatory, and consolatory. The panegyric’s motifs became systematized: analyzed in turn were the eulogized person’s physical and spiritual qualities, his innate and acquired qualities, and his conduct in war and peace and in court and council. A contrasting literary genre, the denunciation or invective, had an analogous construction.
Paradoxical and parodic panegyrics were popular from early times. An example is Erasmus’ Praise of Folly, which in places becomes harshly satirical. In the Middle Ages panegyrical techniques were used in lives of the saints, and during the Renaissance in political journalism. In the age of classicism, the 17th and 18th centuries, the panegyric glorifying the enlightened monarch flourished: examples are found in the works of J. B. Bossuet and J. B. Massillon in France and of M. V. Lomonosov, F. Prokopovich, and G. Konisskii in Russia. The genre later degenerated rapidly and lost all social significance, surviving only in anniversary speeches. Employed in a broader sense, the term “panegyric” refers to any eulogy, irrespective of how it finds expression—as an ode, for example.
M. L. GASPAROV
In the East. In the literatures of the East the panegyric took form in remote antiquity as poeticized praise of the deity and the authorities. Examples are found in Sumerian literature of the third millennium B.C., in ancient Egyptian literature between the 21st and 18th centuries B.C., and in Hittite literature of the 18th century B.C.. Panegyric poetry attained its most classic form in Persian literature: the court qasida first perfected by Rudaki and later written by other poets, especially Anvari; the religiophilosophical qasida of Naser Khosrow; and the Sufi ghazal written as a eulogy to the deity. The evolution of the panegyric in Farsi poetry was repeated in all the Islamic literatures, among them Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu. Panegyric traits may also be found in literary genres of the Far East and of Southeast Asia; examples are the Burmese genres of the mawgun and the pyo.
I. S. BRAGINSKII