Essays in Romanticism

Modernismo or Transatlantic Romanticism: José Martí and William Wordsworth

Essays in Romanticism (2021), 28, (1), 43–56.

Abstract

In this essay, I argue that Spanish American modernismo (1880-1917) constitutes an affirmation and negation of Romanticism: it is a manifestation of Romanticism’s critical reason and self-definition as literature in the Spanish American sphere, and it is a denial of Romanticism as a European cultural period and as a metropolitan literary model. To explore this contradiction, I contrast the allegories of literature in William Wordsworth’s “Preface” to Lyrical Ballads (1802) and José Martí’s “Prólogo al Poema del Niágara de Juan A. Pérez Bonalde” (1882). Both texts have been considered as pivotal literary manifestos of Romanticism and modernismo, respectively. Through this essay, its theoretical background, and rhetorical reading, I rethink the transatlantic relationship between both cultural movements and their self-definitions as literature.

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Author details

Alegria, Diego