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Rhapsody
(212 words)

[German Version]

from Greek ῥάπτειν/rháptein and ᾠδή/ōdḗ, “stitched song.” In classical Greece, a rhapsodist sang fragments of the Homeric epics in improvised sequence. The word appeared in English c. 1540 in the sense of “epic poem.” In the literature of German-speaking Europe, Rhapsodie was first used by C. Celtis in 1505 as a term for a sequence of literary compositions without a fixed form or mandatory constraints; it was used in that sense by Luther in 1530, then in the 18th century by Christian Ewald v. Kleist (1765) and I. Kant (“Rhapsodie von Wahrnehmungen,” Kritik der reinen Ver…

Cite this page
Brusniak, Friedhelm, “Rhapsody”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 22 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_SIM_024953>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013



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