Cento is a text (often a poem) composed of verses, verses, verses, quotations, quotations and speeches as well as other text passages of well-known authors. Centos parodies the works, the parts they use, mostly not, but rather form a collage. They thus point to the intertextuality of literature (here: concrete references between texts).
The term is derived from the ancient Greek (alt. Κέντρων) and found the way through the Latin into today’s linguistic usage. Originally he meant a patched dress or a patchwork, and thus refers to his own meaning: namely, a flicker of poetry [a work which has certainly been put together from the quotations of well-known poets]. Let’s look at an example verse:
You are coming back? In the corner, broom!
Air! Air! Clavigo! My rest is gone.
The above example shows the first verses of the poem Goethe Quintessenz by the German author Edwin Bormann (1851 – 1912), who was sometimes known for composing poems from other works. The above example includes four verses from famous Goethe works.
You are coming back? is taken from the fist, In the corner, broom! is a verse from the sorcerer’s apprentice and air! Air! Clavigo! was taken from the tragedy Clavigo, and My Rest is gone. also comes from the Faust. Bormann therefore used the well-known passages and put them together to form a new whole. Ebendie’s approach is called a cento, that is, a flickering poem.
Origins of the Centos
The origins of the text collection date back to ancient times. Here, mainly the well-known poets Vergil and Homer were used to create new texts from passages of their well-known works. Later on, representatives of Christianity used pagan texts to create religious prose and poetry (for example, Athenais created the work life of Jesus from homosexual verses).
One of the most famous works of the time is the cento nuptialis of Ausonius, a Roman official and poet, who lived in the fourth century. This is composed entirely of the verse of Vergil, the Latin poet and epic, and portrays the stations of the marriage of Constantia and the Gratian.
In this work, however, it is not only that Ausonius explicitly alienates the well-known poet, but explicitly deals with the details of the wedding in his cento, but he also describes the defilements, but also the defloration (deflowering) of the bride partly strongly criticized.
In the Middle Ages, the genre was mainly used for the spiritual poetry, but mainly in Vergil and Homer, but also in Horaz. Christian works of (partly pagan) ancient texts were often created here. One example is the monk Metellus from the 12th century, who created works from the verse of Vergil and Horace.
Short overview: The most important thing about Cento at a glance
As a cento, also a flicker, is a work, which is mostly composed of other texts. This is a kind of collage, which can have a comic effect, but often refers to the intertextuality of literary texts.
Accordingly, the text can be interpreted as an homage, that is, as a kind of homage or homage of the quoted artist, as well as its œuvre (artistic total), which is the basis of the centos.
Such Centos have been documented since antiquity, with the poets Homer and Vergil serving as a model, which can be due to the fact that the two literaries are written. Nevertheless, Centos can be found in all the literature plagues and are not necessarily a phenomenon of a certain time or literary flow.
Note: Such collages can also occur in music, which is why the concept of the flicker, which is composed of different works, is familiar. The collection of church songs (Antiphonar) by Pope Gregorius was also called Cento.