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(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…

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Brusniak, Friedhelm, “Rhapsody”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 24 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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