To understand the baroque style, one must understand the impact of the Protestant Reformation on the position of the Catholic Church during the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. The thinkers of the Reformation encouraged a sparse and severe style, and in response to this, the Catholic Church encouraged the opposite: an ornate, sumptuous, highly decorative style, also known as the baroque. This style impacted the arts in general, so baroque elements can be observed in architecture and painting as well as in literature of this time period.
Contemporary writers of the baroque style are known collectively as contributors to a Neo-Baroque body of literature. These writers are sometimes known for their emotional excess and their embrace of other kinds of excesses, like allusions and certain rhetorical styles. British writer T.S. Eliot, American writer Djuna Barnes, and Chilean writer Jose Donoso have all been identified by scholar Monika Kaup as Neo-Baroque in their style and subject matter.
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