Spain Literature Part I

By | January 27, 2022

On the Spanish literature of the years following the civil war and, subsequently, the immediate postwar period in Europe, the immobility of the internal situation always had a decisive weight: whoever was induced to decrease its importance in view of an autonomous consideration of the values ​​of narrative and poetry, would not only fall into an error of historical evaluation, it would sin of partiality even on the specifically literary terrain. In fact, the prolongation of political isolation, while it has sharpened the traditional controversy over the “enfermedad de España” (always fueled by more responsible essays), has also contributed to accelerating the crisis of twentieth-century poetry and poetics – neo-romantic or symbolist – towards an unspecified instance of realism.

According to CLOTHINGEXPRESS, a few years were enough, from the foundation of the magazines Escorial (1941) and Garcilaso (1943), so that the classicist movement of “Juventud creadora” could demonstrate its limited possibility of renewal, its character as a closed, diversionary and episodic literary experience rather than a break with traditional symbolist and purist contents. Of those who had been the animators of the movement, few remained faithful to the premises of poetics (J. García Nieto), while the most gifted, to whom we owe an incomparable lesson in refinement and stylistic coherence in the context of classical structures, begin with the sonnet (D. Ridruejo, LF Vivanco, L. Panero, L. Rosales), have tried different experiences since 1945 or have been silent for a long time, and still others have traveled the entire parable that led them towards forms of realistic claim and objectification of their poetic world (R. Morales). It is understood that this group had a much lesser influence on the formation of very young poets than other attempts that in the same years older masters, belonging to the “generation of the 25”, had gone on making both outside the classical schemes as at the limit of their primitive experience: so, in particular, Dámaso Alonso, first with Hijos de la ira (1944) and then with Hombre y Dios (1955), and Vicente Aleixandre with Sombra del paraíso (1944) and with Mundo a solas (1950). Resolving and overcoming the original Symbolist attitude in an anguished search for the “situation” of the poet in the world and among things, and therefore accentuating the cognitive, humanitarian, realistic aspect of that existential tendency which at first had made to speak with reason of a neo-romantic phase, they ended up imposing themselves on the disquiet of the last poets as more stimulating voices of the closed and not prolongable virtuosity of “Juventud creadora”. No wonder that right from the, 1942; Angel proudly humane, 1950), which has established itself in the last decade, alongside that of Gabriel Celaya, as perhaps the most authentic expression of the group of very young poets (for which lovers of shrewd and abstract periodizations already speak of a third and of a fourth “generación literaria”). But while the relationship with Alonso, and more indirectly with Aleixndre, L. Cernuda and J. Guillén demonstrates that there is a line of continuity and a certain commonality of stylistic travail at the root of the old and new poetics, it is clear that on the new, first of all in the work of poets such as Otero, Celaya, E. de Nora, J. Hierro, the ethical-political instance intervenes more and more decisively as an internal element in the very necessity of singing: not an occasional matter, but an ineluctable condition, which arouses, in common with the mentioned poetry of the masters, the inspiration and the language of anguish, of the word “arraigada”, and that anguish and that language resolutely channels towards a more concrete protest, in an area of ​​realistic notations in the midst of which not only the longed for classicism, but the very possibility of a symbolic discourse, end up disappearing. Of this restlessness, which is both formal (against the alambic surrealism, the mere classicist ideal or the arid metaphorism) and ideological (against the twentieth-century conception of an “deshumanizada” art), the Antología Consultada de la poesia española, edited by C. Bousoño, who wants to follow and ideally overcome, after twenty years, the other famous anthology dedicated by G. Diego to the best voices of his generation: singular restlessness, since it is attended not only by the Celayas and the Oteros but also, and in the foreground, artists such as C. Bousoño and JM Valverde, who still feel linked to classical structures, to religious and intimate instances and, ultimately, to a certain aristocratic spirit conservative, rather than hinting at some occasional declaration of principle. It is no coincidence that in recent years, in contrast to weakened conservative resistances, grouping around elite magazines (for example: Poesía española by JG Nieto) or alongside periodicals (e.g. Insula) and other tendency initiatives that are basically traditional although they are also open to recording the new and the revolutionary (the Antología de la nueva poesía española edited by JL Cano, the series of “Adonais”), an accentuation of the social components of inspiration, not without explicit materialistic attitudes, characterizes the most numerous attempts, often by very young poets (J. Goytisolo, J. López Pacheco, C. Barral, J. Gil de Biedma, JA Valente, etc.) and nourish the theoretical effort of some young critic (above all JM Castellet, author of a new interesting anthology, Veinte años de poesía española, 1960) and some magazines ofavant-garde (AcentoDestinyPoetry of Spain, etc.). Yet, even in these manifestations, acquired poetic results, sometimes very happy, require an adequate classification in an environment full of visible contradictions: the European reader feels that that anxiety of rupture and renewal, albeit vigorous as a general state of mind, has not given itself, or has not yet found, uniform theoretical foundations. Around that nucleus of political unease that is common to all, unequal and discontinuous impulses are stirred up, from a generic nonconformism to the more or less hidden need for traditional support points, from a still vaguely existential Christianity to an undefined and undefined social realism. free from schematisms in its literary solutions. Again: to the renewed reading of Machado, very coherent and understandable also on the level of taste, accompanied by the platonic and sentimental suggestion of Unamuno and the reluctance for Jiménez, and Ortega and his “art deshumanizada” are condemned; but the necessity, which opposes him, of a poem, frankly engagée, thinking of D. Alonso and V. Aleixandre, does not reckon with the roots that these in turn sink, at the origin, precisely in the world of the irrational in which Orthogism had life and raison d’etre.

Spain Literature 1