From antiquity, to the Middle Ages, to the Renaissance, and to the early modern period, a genre of poetry flourished in the West that has fallen out of favour in the recent times. This is didactic poetry, poetry of instruction in astronomy, hunting, farming, philosophy, and in all fields of sciences, arts, and recreational activities. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Jesuits produced a great quantity of Latin didactic poems. These poems revealed of the early modern Jesuits, local literary fashions, classical traditions, contemporary events and inventions, scientific developments, cultural knowledge, and social mores. Didactic poetry was the best literary genre for the cultivation of the Jesuits, the modern teaching order par excellence. The majority of Jesuit didactic poems were written by teachers, most of whom were writing in a radically transformed world of print and science, and in the scholarly language of Latin that was facing its gradual decline in the eighteenth century. Most of these poems were initially written for their fellow Jesuits and not for the proper literary classes of humanities and rhetoric. By the turn of the eighteenth century, didactic poems began to take a special place among the Jesuits, and a consciousness of contributions to the Jesuit tradition and microtradition ensued wherein the didactic poems took a special part.
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