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Viajes de un cosmopolita extremo

Abstract

Darío’s double orientation—toward the lettered audience and toward the masses—allowed him to innovate in many fields. As a correspondent for the most important Spanish-language newspapers, Darío wrote numerous chronicles that we now consider under the generic heading “travel writing.” Some of these chronicles were collected in books during his lifetime; others were compiled after his death; and still others have never been republished since they came out in scattered newspapers. Rubén Darío’s travel chronicles are indispensable to understanding the geopolitical location of his writing and the changes and negotiations required of a Spanish-language culture that sought visibility at the turn of the century.

Montaldo, Graciela. Rubén Darío. Viajes de un cosmopolita extremo. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2013.

Rubén Darío created the coordinates by which literature written in Spanish was inscribed into the turn-of-the-century map of the world. The operations he deployed in doing so included the adoption of modern aesthetics that kept pace with European—and especially French—developments. They also featured a particular construction of the figure of the cosmopolitan writer as a versatile Latin American who knew he was writing from the periphery but longed to burst onto the scene at the center. In addition to this geopolitical dimension, another important aspect was the hybrid character of writing at the turn of the century, when lettered culture first had to contend with the new mass media. In only a few years and with just a handful of very innovative works, Darío’s operations reshaped Hispanic American literature, giving it a very high level of aesthetic refinement and connecting the innovative areas of the Hispanic American tradition to the new massive cultures (those that Jacques Rancière defines in Aisthesis as the center of modernity).

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