At what point does gentle mocking of their borrowed wares become overt parody? Any history of the evaluation of poetic modernismo in Spanish America would constitute in itself a history of social and esthetic values of this century.
Although the modern critic does not expect consensus on the relative worth of a particular work nor even dare to prescribe definitive standards for what constitutes an exclusively "literary" work, modernismo is still strongly associated with "dependence. Criticism can reflect a society's ideas about itself, and much recent criticism reflects modernismo 's own self-questioning.
With the nineteenth century's emphasis on the idea of romantic "genius," of the specially selected transmitter of spiritual energy or revelations, the classical division of public and private languages breaks down.
And to a large degree, the stability of genre is shaken. The late nineteenth century refuses even more the notion of writer as public spokesperson, either as legitimizer or adversary—critic of society.
One has only to think of the role of poet—statesman in early nineteenth-century Spanish America to see the contrast with the generation of modernistas. The emphasis on interiority and personal expression even fragments the idea of the author or the book concept. The individual writer is seen on personal terms, and the concept of a coherent work gives way to fragmentary expression. As personal consciousness rather than social or ethical norms becomes increasingly the organizing principle, the individual style itself acquires new functions. If the frame of reference is personal consciousness and individuality, then style must allow for personal idiosyncrasy, even invention or destruction of genre.
If we read these works of modernismo as clues. Except for the clearly defined stance of those who take the adversary role to a certain power group as is the case in protest literature , even national literatures receive ongoing evaluations and reassimilations. In this vein, a general tendency in Spanish American criticism has been to lump together all modernista writers under the label "rubenista" and to assume that the enclosure of the rich poetic forms of modernismo were prisons from which more recent poets have needed to liberate themselves.
Although countless studies have pointed out the many styles, sources, and individual patterns of modernista poets, the survival of a facile critical grouping is difficult to overcome. In "What Is an Author? Texts, books, and discourses really begin to have authors other than mythical, "sacralized" and "sacralizing" figures to the extent that authors became subject to punishment, that is, to the extent that discourses could be transgressive.
Perhaps it is time to study discourses not only in terms of their expressive value or formal transformations, but according to their modes of existence. The modes of circulation, valorization, attribution, and appropriation of discourses vary with each culture and are modified within each. The manner in which they are articulated according to social relationships can be more readily understood, I. In short, it is a matter of depriving the subject or its substitute of its role as originator, and of analyzing the subject as a variable and complex function of discourse.
The movement of modernismo, which is usually chronologically delineated between the years and , has been credited with revitalizing the Spanish poetic idiom by means of three major contributions: 1 innovations in meter, rhyme, and syntax; 2 an expansion of subject matter; and 3 a change in the perception of the poetic function.
This type of criticism centers on the rebellious aspects of the movement, its attempt to break away from the models and archetypes of Spain and the colonial heritage. Variously called torremarfilismo, cosmopolitismo, or decadentismo, the movement of modernismo has been criticized as an aberrant faction of escapist writers who would not accept their immediate environment nor reflect it in their poetry.
Less attention has been focused on the reasons for the conscious attempt to join another order of writers, however, an order more far-reaching than their present one. The innovations of modernismo are based on the modernistas ' widening awareness of their dependence, both economic and cultural, on traditional and European models and their decision to fill the cultural vacuum resulting from this dependence.
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Their innovations arose from a necessity of invention. Having become aware of the smaller sphere of action accorded to the writer, they sought to reclaim the lost importance and to develop a different role for the poet. In the same manner, their rebellious attitude manifested itself in a willful transgression of the public norm and its tastes. Their rebellion united them in a common purpose, with an emphasis on virtuosity and individual expression.
An important element in defining the goals of the modernistas is the examination of the. A look at their social and economic position can clarify the reasons for their decisions. During the last part of the nineteenth century the major cities in Spanish America, especially Buenos Aires and Mexico City, were assimilating European movements at an accelerated pace.
The transmission was manifold and simultaneous, and the proliferation of new ideas and styles—in the sciences, in the arts, and in literature—constantly thrust a choice upon the intellectuals. In part, the adoption of a style inaccessible to a large public was a reaction against the narrow range of roles assigned to the writer. With the diversification of society, due in large part to massive European immigration and growing industrialization,  there was no longer an absolute identification between the ruling classes and the intellectual.
New immigration, varying degrees of industrialization, and labor-oriented social movements changed the maps of Spanish American cities in the early twentieth century. As the poet was thrust into the marketplace for example, journalism and adoption of new "marketing" techniques , so poetry would follow its poets into turbulent urban spaces. At the same time that modernismo as a poetic movement is flowering, poets and intellectuals are calling for an upheaval of old traditions. In his "Discurso en el Politeama" of he calls for the overthrow of the old order:. In this work of reconstitution and vengeance we cannot count on the men of the past: the aged and decayed stumps have already produced their evil-smelling flowers and their bitter-tasting fruits.
We want new trees to give new flowers and fruit! Old ones to the tomb, young ones to the task!
Modernismo 's emphasis on the ideal of an intellectual, and not necessarily an economic, aristocracy was part of a persistent search to create a new role for artists in a society whose hierarchies were being dissolved. As professional roles became more specialized, the role of the intellectual was also being reduced. No longer a sideline activity in addition to other professional ones, writing was becoming a specialized occupation, although a financially precarious one.
Literary and social critics such as Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault have provided cogent explanations for the elevation of art to a religious discipline in the latter half of the nineteenth century. With the advent of photography and other means of reproduction, literature seemed to be losing its hold on the quasi-mystical role assigned to the artist.
The rising demands of egalitarian social movements also threatened to displace the artist's rank. A cult of writing was aroused to restore confidence in literature as a separate reality, rather than as a range of styles, interchangeable and therefore dispensable. Poets were to be interpreters of a medium that offered mystical insights.
Attention to the techniques of such a discipline was therefore of the highest importance. Several studies in Spanish America have been especially influential in their examination of the changes in the writer's status and the impact of these changes of poetic practice. Among the critics who have interpreted the nature of this artistic as well as social phenomenon, some have concentrated more on the socioeconomic aspect of its web, while others have sought its secrets in the rich texture of surging aesthetic theories and practices current in Europe at the time.
The analyses of Rama and Paz point up the two complementary aspects. There is here a primary proof, so general, that it was a commonplace of the last two decades of the century: the desertion of the poets is a consequence of the new machine age, more precisely, of the economic system which it imposed, which, in addition, transformed the poets into servants of imperative economic necessities. Yet even to speak of markets, machines, and modernization in terms of the artist hardly brings forth the image of the hurried businessman—writer. As Rama points out, "Por el momento, el 'mercado' literario no exist???
As Roberto J. The book market is completely paralyzed, which naturally is reflected in literary activity, extremely scarce, which has had to take refuge almost exclusively in the press.
La Revista Nacional has been the first periodical in Buenos Aires that has paid its contributors, thus demonstrating that it was time for productions of genius to be valued for what they were worth, to facilitate the advent of professional writers, the only ones who can give us our own literature. Striking is his description of the magical practice involved in pushing out the daily passages, as if the heightened speed of' market rhythm increased the flow of' creative power.
In: Gurman, A. Puget, M. In: Zoologica Scripta. Enriquez, A. Zac Flewids Bleach. Chair: Lale Say Turkey.
He not only explains the economic necessity of working with periodicals but praises it as a new source of' inspiration. Writing about commonplace events provides practice for less mundane efforts:. You know about the struggle of the man of letters, everywhere atrocious or martyred, but nowhere as in these societies of Latin America, where even the soul feels its way about, and intellectual speculation has almost no place.
You have had a good field for experience, and that is the daily newspaper. I have heard it maligned and depicted as the tomb of the poets.
Well, if continued work on different topics doesn't make us agile and flexible in thought and in speech, what then will? It is clear, despite his attachment to the ideals of the superiority of beauty, that the changing sounds and rhythms entered his perception. The dependence on Europe by the financial and social elite had also led to a devaluing of local productions of all kinds.
In the case of literary production and outlets for publication, the lack of faith in local writers resulted in little financial support for their efforts. In Argentina, for example, publishers cited the scarcity of national literary works of quality and the absence of a large reading public as reasons for promoting mostly foreign works.