Vicente Aleixandre's Stream of Lyric Consciousness

Vicente Aleixandre's Stream of Lyric Consciousness

Vicente Aleixandre's Stream of Lyric Consciousness

Vicente Aleixandre's Stream of Lyric Consciousness

Synopsis

Focussing on 'La destruction o el amor' (1935), this study explores Aleixandre's surrealist masterwork from an intertextual perspective inspired by the theories of Harold Bloom, Michael Riffaterre, Gerald Genette, and others. Among the cultural and literary intertexts considered are surrealism and the seminal role of Freud, metaphor, genre, narrtive technique, and ancestor poets. An intertextual tack is instrumental in perceiving logic behind Aleixandre's surrealism, an irrational-appearing poetry widely taken as privately produced and self-contained. Key to the poetic logic of Aleixandre's surrealism, the intertextual horizon throws light on Aleixandre's place in his own generation and in literary history.

Excerpt

At the time Vicente Aleixandre (1898–1984) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in the fall of 1977, his poetry was so little known outside of Spain that commentators in American journals were vexed. Saturday Review (10 December 1977) carried a thirteen-line squib that began, “The Nobel people have again outdone themselves in the matter of obscurity.” Although from a Hispanist’s perspective such ignorance may be deplorable, it really should not have surprised us, because those who do not read Spanish had been offered scant opportunity to acquaint themselves with Aleixandre’s work, despite the esteem he had long merited in his own country. Until one year prior to the prize award, he was represented in the United States by a few scattered translations of individual poems, mostly in the little magazines. in 1976–77, with remarkable prescience, two bilingual volumes of his poetry were published, and nine poems appeared in Hardie St. Martin’s Roots and Wings (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), a bilingual anthology of modern Spanish poetry. Yet the three 1976–77 books provided English-speaking readers with a total of only forty-two poems from Aleixandre’s immense production—duplications taken into account. It was a beginning that was later to be supplemented, though insufficiently, the Nobel having provided the impetus. in his anthology’s introduction, St. Martin, writing of Aleixandre’s generation, claimed, “There probably have never been in recent times so many great and distinguished poets living and working in the same place, at the same time, each one different from the others, as there were in Spain in the 20s” (7). It is easy to agree with him; Aleixandre was a worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize, whether one views the award entirely as a response to his work, or partially as recognition of his poetic group, the Generation of 1927, or even as due in some measure to his extraordinary and continuing influence as poetic genius and guiding friend among the poets who followed him. José Luis Cano’s Homenaje a Vicente Aleixandre (Madrid: Insula 1968) contains poems . . .

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