Between Modernismo and Vanguardismo: Tradition and Innovation in Pablo Neruda's Crepusculario.
Romance Notes, 2005, Spring, 45, 3
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CHILEAN poet Pablo Neruda published his first collection of poetry, Crepusculario (1923), during the transition from Modernismo to Vanguardismo. Acknowledging the book's dissonant nature, the poet himself portrayed it as an encounter between his own expression of personal experience ("mi voz") and "voces ajenas" (Crepusculario, 11, 107). (1) Like other contemporary poets, Neruda was challenged to shape his own poetic voice in the face of strong precursory Modernista conventions and fresh avant-garde developments. In the two poems that frame the collection--"Inicial" and "Final"--Neruda establishes a conscious, though implicit, dialogue between Modernismo and Vanguardismo and between his own creative identity and the external literary pressures surrounding him. Consequently, Kristine Ibsen has misjudged Crepusculario as "poesia de soliloquio," though she rightly views it as "una muestra importante de la tentativa de un poeta en busca de una voz autentica" (257, 266). A careful interpretation of these two key poems within the context of the collection reveals thematic and stylistic counterpoints that parallel the dispute between tradition and innovation and the poet's struggle to give utterance to his own poetic voice. (2) Despite its distinction as the first published collection by Spanish America's leading twentieth-century poet, Crepusculario has generated scant critical attention. It is generally given brief mention in major studies on Neruda and has been the exclusive subject of a limited number of critical essays (Concha, "Borges, Neruda"; Concha, "Proyeccion"; Cortinez; Escoto; Lago; Loveluck; Loyola, "Crepusculario"; Montes, "Importancia"; Montes, "El primer libro"; Prado; Rocha Gutierrez; VillegasMorales). Indeed, later literary critics and Neruda himself have tended to diminish its significance, dismissing Crepusculario as a mere product of past literary tradition or a derivative assimilation of Modernismo (Agosin, Alazraki, Costa, Duran [and Safir], Lozada, Rocha Gutierrez, Rodriguez Monegal and Silva Castro). (3) At the same time, others view the book as a foreshadowing of Neruda's later work (Agosin, Edwards, Ibsen, Loveluck, Montes). Even more curiously, in spite of the prominent and symmetrical placement of "Inicial" and "Final" within the structure of Neruda's earliest poetry collection, critics have overlooked these two poems. (4) As his first major poetic experiment, Crepusculario, from first to last or from "Inicial" to "Final," is a necessary stepping-stone in Neruda's creative evolution and its alternately orthodox and heterodox nature lays the groundwork for his challenging avant-garde period, commencing with Tentativa del hombre infinito (1926).
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: Mar 22, 2005
- Publisher: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Romance Languages
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 14 Pages
- Language: English