Rubén Dario’s Modernismo: Modernism away from Europe

Rindon Kundu & Saswati Saha

Sikkim University, India & Jadavpur University, India

     Volume III, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF


The present paper is an attempt of looking at trends of modernism that developed outside Europe in the Latin American nations. Europe has always been regarded as the centre which organizes and controls modernity and Modernism. This paper takes into consideration Rubén Darío’s concept of Modernismo and tries to show how trends of modernity and Modernism can also be located in regions outside the periphery of the continent of Europe. The paper concentrates on how the small Latin American countries were struggling hard after independence to break away from the neo-colonial cultural control of the former colonizers and were looking forward to a newer kind of creative impulse based on the ideas of thematic innovations, flowery language, exquisite meter, brevity of expression, emphasis on form and structure, and harmonious rhyme scheme. Darío experimented with the form and content of poetry in the 1980s and 90s and emphasized on pristine beauty much influenced by the Classical Greece, Parnassiansim and French Symbolism. Darío was looking outwards, away from the Spanish cultural influence to bring about this revolution in the Hispanic literature. But Darío’s Modernismo is not the only kind of modernist approach noticed in the Latin America. This paper also brings out the major criticism faced by Darío from his contemporary poet Enrique González Martínez, who rejects the ‘superficial’ beauty in Darío’s works and brings into context a much wiser inward looking approach to solve the conundrums of everyday existence in Latin America. The paper will specially focus on Darío’s image of the swan and Martinez’s contrasting figure of the owl to bring out the contrast between Darío’s Modernismo and González Martínez’s Indigenismo.


Keywords: Modernismo, Darío, Modernity, Latin America, Modernista

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