Before joining his clinic in Machupichu, Dr. Cidad will attend a dental congress in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He asks me for some advice on the past of this island in the works of Menendez Pelayo. I do not hesitate for a second and recommend the fourth chapter of it History of Latin American poetry… This work is still relevant for understanding not only the past, but especially the present of all of Spanish America. Created to commemorate the fourth century of America’s discovery, its first name was Anthology of Latin American Poets published between 1893 and 1895, and although it contains only lyrical works, the introductions contain, as Don Marcelino humbly puts it, enough news about epic and dramatic poets to be considered together as a whole. a fairly detailed history of Castilian poetry in America…
Indeed, these introductions, collected in 1911 under the title Poetry history of Spanish-America, constitute the true cultural history of Spanish America. Anyone who enters this book without “literary” and political prejudices will soon notice that the history of literature has been suppressed by the humanist perspective adopted by Don Marcelino; Sometimes it seems that we are reading the true social and political history of much of the literature in Spanish in Latin America, while other times we feel that we are participating in the birth, birth and development of new political nations. resulting from civil wars between the Spaniards, immigrants from America. The contradictions and paradoxes of these processes are analyzed subtly and accurately. The connections, relationships, encounters and disagreements between literary creation and the political, social and cultural institutions of Spanish America, from the discovery of America to the fall of the Spanish Empire, are presented, studied, and persecuted with such a degree of intelligence that even today is necessary for the conduct of the global history of Latin America.
V Poetry history of Spanish-America it is still, and difficult to say, the most complete cultural history of Spanish America. Neither the general and no doubt commendable views of Pedro Henriquez Urenia, Alfonso Reyes, José Vasconcelos, Mariano Picon Salas, Octavio Paz, Herman Archiniegas, Zavala, O’Gorman, Zea and others on the cultural history of Spain America managed to surpass the work of Menendez Pelayo. This is not a concept of the history of wide literature, that is, full of references to universities and institutions of educational and cultural socialization, books and books, scientific activity and philosophical thought and other activities, art and the press, but rather the construction of literary and cultural history as the basis of political and social history of Latin America.
So I naturally recommend this book to Brujo de Villahizán for his strictly literary judgments about poets in the Spanish language of America, but above all because it is artistic or rather humanistic approach to Spanish America… This book simply shows that the approach to literary history is inseparable from the political and social history of Hispanic American society. Menendez Pelayo builds a beautiful account of the history of the Spanish Empire and the process of its fragmentation based on the history of literature. Some of his studies are artistic synthesis of the social history (sic) of Latin American literature. In short, this book is the best example of a humanistic analysis of Spanish literature in America. Despite notable exceptions, this model of literary criticism in our time, unfortunately, is not widespread and wasteful; on the contrary, ignorance of the “faculties” of the humanities, philosophical and philological sciences of the University of the twentieth century tried to discredit and stigmatize them with all the means at their disposal. The value of humanistic analysis, that is, the interpenetration and sometimes the continuity of Don Marcelino’s historical, philosophical and literary analysis, for the renewal of humanities research in Spain remains to be explored.
With this work, Don Marcelino has created a wonderful and enjoyable metabibliography because it collects direct sources from each historical period and at the same time provides constant news of where to study them. it key work to initiate modern American exploration and, moreover, it is the source of wisdom about Spanish culture in the world. His analytical pursuit of research becomes a poetic synthesis of the Spanish literature of America. This type of cultural history is itself a literary genre, encompassing the history of poetry and its criticism. Literature and culture, if we talk about it with Alfonso Reyes, go together throughout the entire work. This poetic anthology of poets is an unsurpassed metabibliography, or rather, has not yet been surpassed as an ensemble work. It never ceased to be the starting point for all studies of Spanish-American poetry. I am inclined to think that his anthology clearly surpassed all the previous ones, among which Poetic America, published in 1846 by Juan Maria Gutierrez, and none of the subsequent ones, including those performed in recent decades, can compare with him either in quantity or in aesthetic and humanistic criteria used by don Marcelino.
The jungle and confused world of thousands of poetry anthologies, almost as many as constellations of poets, becomes easy and orderly for me when I read one written by Don Marcelino Menendez Pelayo about Spanish-American poets. Everything that seemed dark to me becomes light, and the opaque becomes transparent. The simplicity of his prose, the style of which again goes unnoticed, is an artistic stimulus for endless reading about different eras of lyric poetry in America. Also, this work, like almost all of his works, can be viewed from a triple perspective. It contains sources, that is, it collects a large collection of materials for the study of Spanish literature in America. This is an inevitable general introduction for those who wish to study the literature of Spanish America. Finally, very well-founded critical criteria for take responsibility for the culture of America through literature…
I hope Brujo de Villahisan will easily achieve these successes when he reads the chapter, Poetry history of Spanish-America dedicated to “Santo Domingo”. But just in case you need a quick tip or even a guide to stimulate wider readership, here’s mine. You can easily find out about the affection that Columbus had for this island; You will understand how and why at different stages of its history Spain despised the island, calling it Hispaniola; its shores are loved by pirates, pirates-corsairs, filibusters and other thieves at sea, not to mention land; Don Marcelino simply tells how the island was divided and Haiti came into being; he explains “the political vicissitudes and changes of domination that the island went through in the 18th century, and especially during the Black Revolution in Haiti”; severely criticizes the Basel Treaty, “the hated and unacceptable act of ceding the Spanish part of the island”, as well as the struggle of the Spanish-Dominicans against the French in 1808, that, “despite Basel, they remained true to the Spanish flag.”
I am convinced that Dr. Cidad will also find Don Marcelino’s description of the fidelity of the race, some Spaniards, its origins, fascinating; These men and women, despite their political “elite”, wanted to remain Spanish and suffered from the French domination that never took root, wrote poetry, tried to educate themselves with authors such as Muñoz del Monte, and fought alone. that the one who “separated Santo Domingo from the metropolis in 1821, and no one knew about it in Spain, where the island was considered completely lost a long time ago, he fell under the brutal domination of the blacks of Haiti, who for twenty two years they kidnapped it from the European civilization and tried to erase all traces of its past, up to the prohibition of the official use of the Castilian language ”. I believe my friend Angel would be delighted to read Don Marcelino’s account of the liberation of the Dominicans from the tyranny of the Haitians, a mixture of Gaulish and Ethiopian languages, and foundation of the Dominican Republic by don Juan Pablo Duartewho received his entire education in Spain; and you will feel sad when you read the news about the war between 1861 and 1865 for the re-annexation of the Dominican Republic to Spain after seventeen years of painstaking and extremely difficult study of the new country, “little or nothing favorable to the development of literature”, the exclusivity and complexity of this event is not yet studied as modern historiography deserves, and today, as yesterday, most Spaniards know nothing of this war …
I do not want to tire of the names of the authors studied by Don Marcelino in this chapter, but I cannot help remembering the first one he mentions in the distant, and sometimes very close, 16th century; begins his story of the Dominicans, the island of Hispaniola, Primada de las Indias, a favorite of Columbus, with a pessimistic tone, to express that this was not the most literary place in the history of Spain in America: to give beauty along with misfortune as a dowry, she cannot take , except for a few pages in the literary history of the New World. ” But right there, not allowing us to fall into despondency, he gracefully moves his pen to introduce us to one of the most exciting characters in Spanish history, located between the borders of the Middle Ages and the threshold of modernity. Don Marcelino spreads his wide literary cloak and receives Morlaco from Hispaniola from Veronica: “Yet the intellectual culture on this island has a distant origin, directly from the very fact of the Conquest; since the Keeper of the Fortress of Santo Domingo was a captain Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes… He is one of the greatest chroniclers of Spain in India. General and natural history of India It is still an endless treasure of memories that another person with more letters and harsher taste would allow to be lost, not without serious damage to future historical science, which benefits from everything and often finds revelation in little. great “.
In short, he concludes the chapter with an unforgettable reflection: “No one can demand samples of taste from a nascent literature formed under such unfavorable conditions (…). a handful of people of Spanish blood who, forgotten or slightly less than the metropolis since the seventeenth century (…), withstood all the tests, continued to speak Spanish, formed the people; they found, in the midst of the harsh conditions of their life, some kind of loophole for the ideal, and sooner or later they have poets. ”