Acta Comeniana 33:79-102 (2019)

The article deals with changes in the epistolary style of Jan Amos Comenius during the 1630s – the period in which Comenius expanded his epistolary networks and became an important figure in the Republic of Letters of that time. The au-thor analyses how Comenius fashioned himself and how he changed his rhetorical strategies when approaching various groups of scholars. Comenius was concise, firm and self-confident in his correspondence with German educatio-nal reformers. When it came to his confessional opponents, however, he did not hesitate to employ harshly defamatory and mocking rhetoric. Special attention is paid to the emotional codes and language of scholarly love which Comeni-us used in his communication with Samuel Hartlib from 1634 onwards. The au-thor shows that these usages related both to an idea of non-utilitarian friendship and mutual love between scholars and to strategies for acquiring financial support. Comenius adopted only some aspects of emotional language during the 1630s. These were likely those parts which were moderate enough to be re-conciled with his religious identity and self-fashioning. Instead of developing a specific discourse of male intimacy or a homoerotic vocabulary, he adopted elements of the epistolary rhetoric shared by Hartlib and his collaborators. His emotional codes belonged to a learned practice of letter-writing that Comenius mastered by reading and imitating letters circulated within the Hartlib circle. © 2019, Czech Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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