Spanish Modernism and the Poetics of Youth: From Miguel de Unamuno to 'La Joven Literatura'
Published: November 2017© 2017
312 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.00 in, 5 b&w illustrations
In Spanish Modernism and the Poetics of Youth: From Miguel de Unamuno to La Joven Literatura, Leslie J. Harkema analyzes the literature of the modernist period in Spain in light of the emergence of youth culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Harkema argues for the prominent role played by Miguel de Unamuno—as a poet, essayist, and public figure—in Spanish writers’ response to this phenomenon. She demonstrates how early twentieth-century Spanish literature participated in the glorification of adolescence and questioning of Bildung seen elsewhere in European modernism, in ways that were not only aesthetic but also political. Harkema critically re-examines the relationship between Unamuno and several Spanish writers associated with the so-called Generation of 1927 (known as at the time as “la joven literatura” or “the young literature”). By situating this period within the wider framework of European modernism, Spanish Modernism and the Poetics of Youth brings to light the central role that the early twentieth century’s re-imagining of adolescence and youth played in the development of literary modernism in Spain.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Spain, Modernism, Youth
Ch. 1. Unamuno’s Poetics of Youth, 1895-1907
Ch. 2. The Heroic Age: The Residencia de Estudiantes, José Moreno Villa, and Spanish
Adolescence During the First World War
Ch. 3. “Un joven auténtico de 366 años”: Fashioning a Young Literature
Ch. 4. Hercules and Hermes: Versions of Artistic and Political Youth
"Leslie Harkema has written an excellent book on an important but neglected subject: the productive relationship between Unamuno and the younger writers of la joven literatura, and she has shed new light on both. For a superannuated unamunologo like the present reviewer it is heartening to know that Unamuno studies have passed into the capable hands of discerning, well-informed, and industrious young scholars like the author of this well-researched and informative book."C. Alex Longhurst, Bulletin of Spanish Studies
"Harkema’s book repositions Unamuno as a pivotal figure in the development of a surprising, sometimes counterintuitive, and always fascinating reconfiguration of the relationship between youth and poetic form in early twentieth-century Spain. With authoritative readings, vivid prose, and her own nuanced translations, she charts a new course for understanding this complex moment in international literary history."Gayle Rogers, Department of English, University of Pittsburgh
"Harkema’s book delves into an important yet largely neglected aspect of the Spanish literary scene of the 1910s, 20s, and 30s, namely the ongoing relationship between Unamuno and the younger writers from those decades. The reader comes away with a renewed and more profound appreciation for Unamuno’s poetry and essays, for the literary production of authors such as José Moreno Villa, Gerardo Diego, Ernesto Giménez Caballero, and José Bergamín, and especially, for the complex and evolving impact that the ’elder statesman’ Unamuno had on younger writers born around the turn of the century. Above all, it will henceforth be impossible for critics working on this period to approach the history of the Residencia de Estudiantes, the notion of 'la joven literatura', or indeed, the broader concept of youthfulness − that was much discussed over precisely those years − without taking into account the many fresh and penetrating insights that this study has to offer."Andrew Anderson, Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia