Universitatea „Lucian Blaga“ Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere şi Arte ”Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Faculty of Letters and Arts
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1 / 2011
Ruben Dario’s poetry within the context of Latin American modernism
Rubén Darío is one of the most important representatives of Latin-American poetry, also embodying the new type of modernist artist. Far from originating solely with intellectuals from metropolitan Western Europe, the term “modernism” first surfaced in print in the writings of a major author from a small “underdeveloped” country in Central America. It was in the late 1880’s that the celebrated Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (1867–1916) first used and explained the term “modernism” (“modernismo”, in Spanish). As Latin America’s earliest avant-garde movement, “modernismo” was first limited largely to literature: essays, poetry, and short stories. Such was the case with Rubén Darío’s now legendary volume Azul (Azure, 1888), which conjoined the innovative self-critical splintering of poetic language (based on mid-line caesura) with broader critical reflections on the process of modernization. At issue was a heterogeneous new cultural force that linked self-consciously French-influenced vanguard language with period tropes from an agrarian-based Central America and unlikely recollections of little-known pre-Columbian cultural traditions. This tightly intertwined dynamic of formal disjunction and thematic displacement was summed up by the poet in his well-known book entitled Prosas profanas.
Keywords: modernism, avant-garde, Romanticism, Latin-American poetry, modern art
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