Modernism. In Spain indicated with the term of Latin American modernism. From the 1940s onwards, the formula Generación of ’98 (➔ Generation of ’98), coined in 1913 by J. Martínez Ruiz (known under the pseudonym of Azorín). This formula can serve to indicate one of the many components that contributed to the formation of the writers of the Spanish twentieth century, namely participation in the process of critical rethinking that invested Spanish society when, after the colonial war, it found itself reduced to its European dimensions. and that is to the now inescapable reality of the class struggle and the contradictions of an underdeveloped economy. Faced with this critical process, only a few writers, such as Azorín himself, in part M. de Unamuno, and R. de Maeztu with total coherence, gave a solution in a nationalist sense, while for others it was the start of recognition and expression of the essential vital conflict both of the history of Spain and of contemporary society. The element that unifies them all is instead a changed attitude towards the problems of literary creation, a common need to challenge old languages and to invent new forms.
● Modernism, on the other hand, as a term indicating a new taste and a new poetics, began to talk and discuss as early as 1896 in the artistic and literary circles that were forming in the big cities. One of the most active centers of the diffusion of the modernist taste was Barcelona, the most bourgeois city of Spain, that is, where that movement of contestation from the inside which was precisely decadence could more easily develop.
● Subjectivism and pessimism, however, no longer reappear in the forms of nineteenth-century sentimentality and titanism, but in those of exotic aestheticism and exasperated sensualism. The search for a new language was required, which culminated in the symbolist conception and practice. Also in Madrid the magazines promoting ‘new’ and ‘young’ art multiplied: Vida nueva, Revista nueva, Juventud, Arte joven. Then came more mature initiatives such as Helios (led by JR Jiménez, G. Martínez Sierra, R. Pérez de Ayala); and finally he began his publications Renacimiento (1907), which saw the signatures of Spain Rueda, F. Villaespesa, JR Jiménez, brothers A. and M. Machado, G. Martínez Sierra etc.
● In this already large group of new writers, various choices soon began to be outlined. In poetry we can distinguish on the one hand the minor modernists such as Rueda, Villaespesa, M. Machado, poets that is linked to a more epidermal interpretation of the new poetics, and those who, on the other hand, like Unamuno, Jiménez and A. Machado, carried much further the search for a new poetic language, or which, like R. del Valle-Inclán, entrusted aestheticism with the task of expressing a complex and profound revolt against the current condition of man. The first contacts with the avant-gardes and the world conflict mark the end of this first phase of the literature of the twentieth century in Spain. 7.2 The vanguard. distress, but for both of them the greatest creative period ended in those years and thus remained linked to the decadent ‘refusal’. For other writers those years instead meant the discovery of a new creative confidence, which characterized the following decade. In those years the anti-cosmopolitanism that R. Darío criticized in the Spanish culture of the early century as a remnant of a provincial mentality and old individualism was eliminated, and creative forms developed that from time to time can be defined cubist, cubofuturist, surrealist, expressionists. The first magazine in which an explicit contact with the world of futurism was brought forward was Prometeo, revista social y literaria, directed by the one who was the protagonist and solitary interpreter of the spirit of the avant-garde, R. Gómez de la Serna. In 1909 the first Futurist Manifesto and a Futurist Proclamation a los españoles were published in Prometheus. More important and profound were the relations with Cubism. Mediator of the influence of the French Cubo Futurists on Spanish literary circles was V. Huidobro, the young Chilean poet who stayed in Madrid from June to December 1918, returning from Paris where he had worked with G. Apollinaire. In the climate created by Huidobro’s stay in Madrid, ultraism was born (1918) and that is the only, and failed, attempt to give life to an avant-garde movement in Spain. 7.3 The Generation of ’27. The twentieth century was particularly rich in poetry. The first phase of this poetic season is represented by the two poets who elaborated and surpassed in original forms both the experience of Bécquer and the lesson of Darío and the symbolists, namely JR Jiménez and A. Machado, true masters of the poets of subsequent generations and in the first place of the Generation of ’27 (➔ # 10132;). During the 1920s Spanish literature developed around two major centers of cultural activity: the Residencia de estudiantes in Madrid and the Revista de Occidente. The Residencia from 1910 to 1936 was a meeting point for young Spanish and foreign intellectuals in an environment open to all experiences. The Revista de Occidente, founded in 1923 by J. Ortega y Gasset, was until July 1936 an organ of expression of the advanced sectors of Spanish bourgeois intellectuality on the basis of a precise and clear program: to open up without mistrust to contact with ‘Western’ and ‘new’ culture and to contribute to its development with autonomous research. The revolt and optimism of the Surrealists and their poetics came to the Spanish writers of the 1920s as life-giving stimuli, responding to a disposition, already present in some of them, to overcome Jiménez’s perfectionism and Ortega’s vitalism. The intellectualistic and hermetic narrative of those years, on the other hand, never achieved the results of opera.
● The Generation of ’27 was a generation of critics and poets, who, contrary to the representatives of the Generation of ’98, they were aware of belonging to a group and claimed the existence of a bond between them, an affinity, a friendship, a meeting on the level of a common passion: poetry. In the overall unity of the Generation of ’27, a diversity of trends can be identified. 1927 also serves to outline two periods in the group’s activity: a first period (1920-27), of relative homogeneity on the line (which goes back to the work of Jiménez) of ‘pure poetry’, antipathetic, difficult to the point of obscurity ; and a second period (1927-36), in which the division between those who, like Guillén and Salinas, continued on the same line and those who, like In the overall unity of the Generation of ’27, a diversity of trends can be identified. 1927 also serves to outline two periods in the group’s activity: a first period (1920-27), of relative homogeneity on the line (which goes back to the work of Jiménez) of ‘pure poetry’, antipathetic, difficult to the point of obscurity ; and a second period (1927-36), in which the division between those who, like Guillén and Salinas, continued on the same line and those who, like In the overall unity of the Generation of ’27, a diversity of trends can be identified. 1927 also serves to outline two periods in the group’s activity: a first period (1920-27), of relative homogeneity on the line (which goes back to the work of Jiménez) of ‘pure poetry’, antipathetic, difficult to the point of obscurity ; and a second period (1927-36), in which the division between those who, like Guillén and Salinas, continued on the same line and those who, like Lorca and Alberti moved towards a ‘human’, prophetic poetry, in parallel development with respect to surrealism. Fr Salinas develops the theme of love in his fundamental collections; J. Guillén instead invests with a joyfully creative gaze all things, even the most trivial, aiming to capture every possible aesthetic trend.