Mapping the Landscape, Remapping the Text: Spanish Poetry from Antonio Machado's Campos de Castilla to the First Avant-Garde (1909-1925)

Mapping the Landscape, Remapping the Text: Spanish Poetry from Antonio Machado's Campos de Castilla to the First Avant-Garde (1909-1925)

Mapping the Landscape, Remapping the Text: Spanish Poetry from Antonio Machado's Campos de Castilla to the First Avant-Garde (1909-1925)

Mapping the Landscape, Remapping the Text: Spanish Poetry from Antonio Machado's Campos de Castilla to the First Avant-Garde (1909-1925)

Synopsis

Mapping the Landscape, Remapping the Text: Spanish Poetry from Antonio Machado's Campos de Castilla to the First Avant-Garde (1909-1925) explores the mapping of identity and memory in Antonio Machado's (1875-1939) Campos de Castilla (1912, 1917) before studying its disruption by the avant-garde movements Ultraismo (1918-1925) and Creacionismo (1910s-1930s). Machado's attribution of identity to the landscape was remapped by the first avant-garde in order to circumvent the placement of identity in textual landscapes that are coded as national or regional, transform the conception of subjectivity and identity through a reconstruction of poetic form, and reposition Spain at the center of the European avant-garde. Renee M. Silverman focuses on the way in which these mappings and remappings affect perspective and perception.

As Silverman argues, both Ultraismo and Creacionismo employ spatio-temporal simultaneity and the multiperspectivism of abstract visual art idioms such as Cubism to break the bond between people and place that is characteristic of Campos de Castilla. Yet, as Silverman emphasizes, there are some important differences between Ultraismo and Creacionismo, particularly in Gerardo Diego's (1896-1987) idiosyncratic brand. This book--the first in English to center on Ultraismo and Creacionismo--contrasts the way in which Ultraismo's leader, Guillermo de Torre (1900-1971), displaces the subject from the terrain of memory, freeing it to cross borders, with how Diego re-roots identity in the textual landscape so as to restore a sense of collectivity to vanguard poetry.

Excerpt

On the cover of Guillermo de Torre’s (1900–1971) avant-garde poetry volume Hélices (1923), the neutral blacks, browns, and beiges of the wood-engraved print (xilografía) by Rafael Barradas emphasize the graphic structure of the image (see fig. 0.1, p. 259). Dominating the right-hand side is a large figure wearing the uniform and cap of the urban worker. Its right arm folds across the waist, while its left arm gestures commandingly towards a cluster of smaller figures at lower left. With a sharp-angled bill, its cap echoes the forceful left-arm signal. Below the principal figure’s extended arm, the group of minor figures labors; their bodies slant dramatically forward and back, as if pushed and pulled by the sheer force of effort. Deep V-shapes created by black lines contouring the smaller figures repeat the upside-down triangle between the body of the big figure and its outstretched arm, simultaneously becoming the triangle’s compositional extension and generating an ethos of physical work: in our apprehension the image snaps into focus as being “about” construction. Similar to the art form of xilografía, Barradas’s design foregrounds the act of making, and establishes a metaphorical relationship between such making and the “architecture” of the avant-garde poetic text. I propose the concept of a textual architecture to reflect

a xylograph is an engraving on wood or, as in this particular work by the Uruguayan artist Rafael Barradas (1890–1929), the impression made from one. Xilografía (xylography) was popular with the Spanish avant-garde and could frequently be found in its journals, especially those linked with the Ultraísmo movement. Barradas and Norah Borges (1901–1998), Jorge Luis Borges’s sister and Torre’s future wife, were among xilografía’s most successful interpreters. See the original 1923 edition of Hélices published by Mundo Latino.

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