Baroque Literature: In the 17th and first half of the 18th centuries, Austrian Baroque literature did not form one single tradition, but branched out into three different directions, clearly distinguished from each other by their programmatic claims and points of departure: The learned poetry in neo-Latin, which was mostly written by members of monastic orders (Instructional Religious Plays), was still very much under the influence of classical models and drew its inspiration from Italy and Spain. It continued the tradition of Humanist and Renaissance poetry and primarily served to glorify the ruling house and the church.
V. Gleissenberger and S. Rettenpacher were important representatives of this school. Much more popular with the reading public, however, was the specific Upper German Catholic poetry, which was characterised by its sympathy with popular culture, local themes, and a lively language rich in imagery. The eloquent sermons of the Barnabite monk, Florentius Schilling from Alsace (1602-1670), who lived in Vienna from 1633, achieved great popularity, as did those of Sebastian Felsenegger, Abraham a Sancta Clara and the prose of Matthias Abele von and zu Lichtenberg (1616/18-1677) from Steyr, which was, however, purely intended for entertainment. Humorous popular plays such as those by J. B. Adolph and later M. Lindemayr, which were sometimes even written in the vernacular, were also successful. In competition with the first two modes of writing were those authors from the Protestant nobility who saw themselves as the successors of M. Opitz and J. J. Grimmelshausen. These included the notable poetess C. R. von Greiffenberg, as well as her teacher and mentor W. Stubenberg, who made a name for himself as a translator of Italian and French novels, and W. H. von Hohberg, the author of epics and specialist literature, who were both members of the "Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft" (The "Fruitful Society"). One of the most important Baroque poets was the writer J. Beer, from an Upper Austrian Protestant family. His development of the picaresque novel in the tradition of Grimmelshausen marked a new high point of this genre. The large amount of specialist literature of the Baroque period is also of great importance, such as the economic and historiographic works of P. W. Hörnigk, F. A. Brandis and H. Guarinonius.
Literature: I. Pyritz, Bibliographie zur deutschen Literatur des Barockzeitalters, 1980ff.; G. Dünnhaupt, Personalbibliographie zu den Drucken des Barock, 1990ff.; H. Zeman (ed.), Die österreichische Literatur. Ihr Profil von den Anfängen im Mittelalter bis ins 18. Jahrhundert. (1050-1750), 1986.