Delmira Agustini, Sexual Seduction, and Vampiric Conquest

Delmira Agustini, Sexual Seduction, and Vampiric Conquest

Cathy L. Jrade
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vm1v3
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    Delmira Agustini, Sexual Seduction, and Vampiric Conquest
    Book Description:

    Delmira Agustini (1886-1914) has been acclaimed as one of the foremost modernistas and the first major woman poet of twentieth-century Spanish America. Critics and the reading public alike were immediately taken by the originality and power of her verse, especially her daring eroticism, her inventive appropriation of vampirism, and her morbid embrace of death and pain. No work until now, however, has shown how her poetry reflects a search for an alternative, feminized discourse, a discourse that engages in an imaginative dialogue with Rubén Darío's recourse to literary paternity and undertakes an audacious rewriting of social, sexual, and poetic conventions.

    In the first major exploration of Agustini's life and work, Cathy L. Jrade examines her energizing appropriation and reinvention of modernista verse and the dynamics of her breakthrough poetics, a poetics that became a model for later women writers.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18341-2
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. CHAPTER ONE AGUSTINI AND HER WORLD
    (pp. 1-35)

    In an outburst of enthusiasm Luisa Luisi called Delmira Agustini (1886–1914) “the first woman poet of America” (169). Taken with Agustini’s imaginative power and groundbreaking alterations tomodernistadiscourse, Luisi, like many of her contemporaries, was ready to overlook earlier women writers of world-class stature like Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Gertrudis de Avellaneda and to declare the Uruguayan poet the first of her kind in Spanish America. This type of sweeping response to Agustini’s poetry was not untypical, for Agustini combined a creative rewriting of modernista tropes with an aggressively sexualized perspective never before found in...

  5. CHAPTER TWO THE DIALOGUE BEGINS: El libro blanco (Frágil)
    (pp. 36-81)

    Like many of the contemporaneous Anglo-American women writers mentioned in chapter 1, Agustini fashions a language of artistic creation reflective of erotic arousal linked to the seduction of an older male counterpart. She pushes herself “not to look back,” to break out of the old, constraining patterns, and she begins to distance herself from the linguistic and moral traditions dominated by men. She begins to alter modernismo’s sexual metaphors for literary paternity and to formulate an innovative language for her carnal and poetic passions. She looks for a way to produce poetic offspring that is not limited by convention. These...

  6. CHAPTER THREE DRINKING FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF THE OTHER: Cantos de la mañana
    (pp. 82-118)

    For Delmira Agustini writing is an all-consuming passion which she comes to equate with an erotic desire that promises ecstasy and produces anxiety. InEl libro blanco (Frágil), the still-tentative Agustini wavers between timidity and audacity, between fragility and assertiveness as she sets out to define her art and her role as poet. She discloses, in increasingly sexual terms, an attraction to a male other who functions as an ideal partner with whom she explores the possibility of reinventing what it means to be amodernista. The images that she turns to reveal the imprint of Dario’s works, the power...

  7. Figures
    (pp. None)
  8. CHAPTER FOUR TURNING LOSS INTO EMPOWERMENT: Los cálices vacíos
    (pp. 119-163)

    Delmira Agustini’s tumultuous life, with its successes and tragic end, was shaped by both the opportunities and the dangers generated by the cultural shifts occurring in Uruguay at the beginning of the twentieth century. Her life also reflects the daring with which she sought to move beyond the entrenched social and conceptual conventions of her day. During the six years between the first and last books of verse published during her lifetime, she constantly reimagined her role as both a woman and a poet, seeking a symbolic strategy that would allow her to overcome personal and poetic limitations and conquer...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE ASPIRATIONS AND ABIDING DISAPPOINTMENTS: Los astros del abismo
    (pp. 164-198)

    Over the course of her career, as she becomes a more confident and selfreliant poet, Agustini finds creative ways to express her efforts to break away from the dominant writers of the day and their imposing perspective. InLos cálices vacíosshe seeks autonomy from her lover/model/mentor by imagining him dead, mourning his demise, locking him in tomblike structures, and then moving on. His death makes room for a new generation of aspiring artists, who take the opportunity to fill the void left by his departure. InLos astros del abismo¹ (The stars of the abyss) she expands this vision,...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 199-236)
  11. WORKS CITED
    (pp. 237-246)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 247-264)