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dc.contributor.advisorUnruh, Vicky
dc.contributor.authorRapp, Jacob W.
dc.description.abstractAt the end of the nineteenth century several writers in Mexico and other countries in Spanish America began to experiment with new literary forms and ideas; these intellectuals eventually came to call themselves modernistas and their cultural production has come to be known as modernismo. Though many studies have analyzed modernismo as an hemispheric phenomenon, my approach in this dissertation focuses on the uniquely national issues and circumstances that shaped how modernismo developed in Mexico and how modernismo shaped Mexican cultural development from 1876 to 1908, a period that corresponds historically with the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. Mexican modernistas provoked heated debates about the relationship between literature and society as they engaged in conversation with opponents who represented the literary establishment, and in their novels, modernismo became an influential discourse that both challenged deterministic worldviews and advocated personal freedom. Bringing together cultural histories of Mexico with more traditional literary analyses, this dissertation traces both the struggles (i.e. between science and religion, tradition and innovation, cosmopolitanism and nationalism) and the continuities (i.e. liberalism and the autonomization of culture) that guided the production, circulation, and consumption of the Mexican novel at the turn of the twentieth century. In my readings of Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera's Por donde se sube al cielo and Amado Nervo's Pascual Aguilera, El bachiller, and El donador de almas, I establish the outlines of the modernista challenge to materialist explanations of human behavior and the desire to incorporate cosmopolitan culture into Mexico's cultural field. Contrasting these novels with José López Portillo y Rojas's La parcela both demonstrates the anxiety that modernismo provoked among more traditional writers as well as reveals a shared desire for greater autonomy from politics among Mexico's fin de siècle cultural elite. Formal innovation and traditional nationalism form an uneasy alliance in Carlos González Peña's La musa bohemia, which I analyze in terms of the changes made to the modernista sensibility by the members of Mexico's Ateneo de la juventud. I conclude by documenting several examples of similar literary debates in which traces of the modernista discourse can be seen throughout Mexico's twentieth century.
dc.format.extent263 pages
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsCopyright held by the author.
dc.subjectLatin American literature
dc.subjectModern literature
dc.subjectGonzález Peña
dc.subjectGutiérrez Nájera
dc.subjectLópez Portillo y Rojas
dc.titleLiving the Polemic: The Mexican Novel in the Age of Modernismo, 1876-1908
dc.contributor.cmtememberAnderson, Danny J.
dc.contributor.cmtememberKuhnheim, Jill S.
dc.contributor.cmtememberDay, Stuart A.
dc.contributor.cmtememberFlores, Ruben
dc.thesis.degreeDisciplineSpanish & Portuguese

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