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A Companion to Spanish American Modernismo

A Companion to Spanish American Modernismo

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 156
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Spanish American Modernismo
    Book Description:

    Modernismo, a literary movement of fundamental importance to Spanish America and Spain, occurred at the turn of the nineteenth century, roughly from the 1880s to the 1920s. It is widely regarded as the first Spanish-language literary movement that originated in the New World and that became influential in the "Mother Country," Spain. Characterized by the appropriation of French Symbolist aesthetics into Spanish-language literature, modernismo's other significant traits were its cultural cosmopolitanism, its philological concern with language, literary history, and literary technique, and its journalistic penchant for novelty and fashion. Despite the splendor of modernista poetry, modernismo is now understood as a broad movement whose impact was felt just as strongly in the prose genres: the short story, the novel, the essay, and the journalistic crónica (chronicle). Conceived as an introduction to modernismo as well as an account of the current state of the art of modernismo studies, this book examines the movement's contribution to the various Spanish American literary genres, its main authors (from Martí and Nájera to Darío and Rodó), its social and historical context, and its continuing relevance to the work of contemporary Spanish American authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, Sergio Ramírez, and Mario Vargas Llosa. ANBAL GONZLEZ-PÉREZ is Professor of Modern Latin American Literature at Yale University.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-524-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. 1 The Modernista Age
    (pp. 1-23)

    Modernismowas a literary movement of fundamental importance to Spanish America and Spain, which took place over a period of forty years at the turn of the nineteenth century, roughly from the 1880s to the 1920s. Not to be confused with the Brazilianmodernismoof the 1920s, which corresponds to the European Avant-Garde or to English-language Modernism, Spanish Americanmodernismois widely regarded as the first Spanish-language literary movement to have originated in the New World and to have become influential in the “Mother Country,” Spain. Although the splendor ofmodernistapoetry is still one of its most admired aspects,...

  4. 2 Modernismo and Journalism: The crónicas
    (pp. 24-52)

    Crónicais the name given in Spanish to a hybrid genre that combines literary with journalistic elements in a variety of ways, resulting in brief texts that often focus on contemporary topics and issues addressed in a self-consciously literary style. Still a vibrant genre that continues to be practiced today by major Spanish American writers, from Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa to Elena Poniatowska and Luisa Valenzuela, thecrónicawas created in the Americas by themodernistasduring the 1870s and 1880s. They were inspired by a similar type of article calledchroniques, which began to be published...

  5. 3 The Modernista Short Story
    (pp. 53-69)

    Themodernistashort story was one of the earliest and most successful by-products of the narrative experiments carried out by themodernistaswithin the brief confines of thecrónica. Indeed, themodernistas’ modernizing penchant focused almost as intensely on the short story genre as on poetry itself. Significantly, Rubén Darío’s first great literary success was achieved withAzul… (1888), a collection of short stories accompanied by a handful of poems. Like Darío, the earlymodernistaManuel Gutiérrez Nájera, despite his prestige as a poet, also chose a short story collection as his first published work.Cuentos frágiles(1883) was Nájera’s...

  6. 4 The Modernista Essay
    (pp. 70-86)

    A rich tradition of Spanish American essayistic writing preceded themodernistas, harking back to Colonial times in works of Baroque science and historiography such as the Mexican Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora’s (1645–1700)Libra astronómica y filosófica(Astronomical and Philosophical Balance, 1670) andAlboroto y motín de México(Uprising and Mutiny in Mexico, 1692), as well as Enlightenment-influenced works of scientific travel and observation such as the Spaniard Alonso Carrió de la Vandera’s (1715?–1783)El lazarillo de ciegos caminantes(A Guide for Inexperienced Travelers, c. 1776). However, if the essay is regarded as a genre in which ideas,...

  7. 5 The Modernista Novel
    (pp. 87-108)

    In view of the key role played by prose writings in the development ofmodernismo, it is not surprising that themodernistasalso contributed greatly to the genre of the novel in Spanish America. Themodernistalegacy to the Spanish American novel is significant and extensive, despite the fact that themodernistasdid not predominate in this genre as they did in poetry, or in theircrónicasand short stories. As Max Henríquez Ureña points out, in Spanish America “after the 1880s, novelistic production increases in quantity and importance.”¹ Supported by a tradition dating back to the Independence period (in...

  8. 6 Modernista Poetry
    (pp. 109-127)

    Until a few years ago, to speak ofmodernismomeant to speak primarily aboutmodernistapoetry. I have explained elsewhere in this book why this is no longer the case, and how the renewed appreciation ofmodernistaprose has allowed for a better understanding of the far-reaching significance of themodernistamovement in Spanish American culture. Nevertheless, it is true that, at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginnings of the twentieth, poetry still took pride of place among the literary arts, despite the evident achievements of the novel. Themodernistasstill worked in an environment in which...

  9. 7 Modernismo’s Legacy
    (pp. 128-138)

    Over the past few decades, a return tomodernismohas been taking place in contemporary Spanish American literature. By “return” I do not mean, of course, an attempt to evoke and re-createmodernismoas a whole, nor a wish to revive old-fashioned styles and ways of writing. I am referring instead to allusions tomodernismo, some as short as a few pages and others as lengthy as a novel, that can be found in many significant works of Spanish American narrative and poetry from the late 1960s until today. My purpose in this brief concluding chapter is to present an...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 139-146)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 147-150)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 151-151)