From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Baroque actually expressed new values, which often are summarized in the use of metaphor and allegory, widely found in Baroque literature, and in the research for the "maraviglia" (wonder, astonishment — as in Marinism), the use of artifices. The psychological pain of Man -- a theme disbanded after the Copernican and the Lutheran revolutions in search of solid anchors, a proof of an "ultimate human power" -- was to be found in both the art and architecture of the Baroque period. Virtuosity was researched by artists (and the virtuoso became a common figure in any art) together with realism and care for details (some talk of a typical "intricacy").
The privilege given to external forms had to compensate and balance the lack of content that has been observed in many Baroque works: Marino's "Maraviglia", for example, is practically made of the pure, mere form. Fantasy and imagination should be evoked in the spectator, in the reader, in the listener. All was focused around the individual Man, as a straight relationship between the artist, or directly the art and its user, its client. Art is then less distant from user, more directly approaching him, solving the cultural gap that used to keep art and user reciprocally far, by Maraviglia. But the increased attention to the individual, also created in these schemes some important genres like the Romanzo (novel) and allowed popular or local forms of art, especially dialectal literature, to be put into evidence. In Italy this movement toward the single individual (that some define a "cultural descent", while others indicate it as a possible cause for the classical opposition to Baroque) caused Latin to be definitely replaced by Italian.
In Spain, the baroque writers are framed in the Siglo de Oro. Naturalism and sharply critical points of view on Spanish society are common among such conceptista writers as Quevedo, while culterano authors emphasize the importance of form with complicated images and the use of hyperbaton. In Catalonia the baroque took hold as well in Catalan language, with representatives including poets and dramaturgs such as Francesc Fontanella and Francesc Vicenç Garcia as well as the unique emblem book Atheneo de Grandesa by Josep Romaguera. In Colonial Spanish America some of the best-known baroque writers were Sor Juana and Bernardo de Balbuena, in Mexico, and Juan de Espinosa Medrano and Juan del Valle y Caviedes, in Peru.
In the Portuguese Empire the most famous baroque writer of the time was Father António Vieira, a Jesuit who lived in Brazil during the 18th century. Secondary writers are Gregório de Matos and Francisco Rodrigues Lobo.
In English literature, the metaphysical poets represent a closely related movement; their poetry likewise sought unusual metaphors, which they then examined in often extensive detail. Their verse also manifests a taste for paradox, and deliberately inventive and unusual turns of phrase.
For German Baroque literature, see German literature of the Baroque period.