Area Handbook for Argentina

By Frederick P. Munson; Thomas E. Weit et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10 ARTISTIC AND INTELLECTUAL EXPRESSION

The description or definition of a national tradition has consistently been the theme of controversy among men of letters since the establishment of the nation. The history of artistic and intellectual expression is more precisely a history of personalities than of movements, for although creative activity is vigorously pursued and applauded, one of its most outstanding characteristics is its heterogeneity. Within that broad spectrum, however, two divergent trends--one European-oriented, one uniquely Argentine--have become increasingly pronounced over the last century.

Nineteenth century romantic liberals, such as Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Juan Bautista Alberdi, sought intellectual emancipation from the Hispanic heritage. They rejected as barbarous the influences of the Pampa and adopted French and Anglo-American trends as the model for the nation. In the same period José Hernandez wrote an epic poem, which was to focus attention upon the gaucho as the symbol of national culture.

By the end of the century, though some intellectuals continued the 19th-century liberal trend of rejecting that which was native and looking to Europe for cultural inspiration, a new movement was under way to revive spiritual values asserted to have been lost through immigration and materialism. This "nativism," or search for a national aesthetic based on Spanish and indigenous traditions, found expression in Ricardo Rojas' book, Eurindia.

Although Argentinidad (Argentineness)--as expressed in gauchoesque literature and folklore--has gained increasing popularity with the general public since the 1950's, the intellectual elite, cultural descendants of the 19th-century liberals, have continued their cosmopolitan outlook and have dealt with universal themes. European recognition remains the aspiration of writers, musicians and artists who feel that cultural nationalism is obsolete; contemporary emphasis, however, is on partnership or participation in the European cultural tradition rather than on imitation. The younger intellectuals are placing increasing emphasis on social relevance and rejecting the work of many of the well-known older writers, including the internationally acclaimed stylist Jorge Luis Borges.

In the academic disciplines Argentina's greatest contributions traditionally have been in education, jurisprudence and medicine. Sarmiento

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Area Handbook for Argentina
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Country Summary vii
  • Table of Contents xi
  • Section I. 1
  • Chapter 2 - Physical Environment 9
  • Chapter 3 - Historical Setting 29
  • Chapter 4 - Population and Labor Force 45
  • Chapter 5 - Ethnic Groups and Languages 59
  • Chapter 6 - Social Structure 69
  • Chapter 7 - Family 83
  • Chapter 8 - Living Conditions 95
  • Chapter 9 - Education 117
  • Chapter 10 Artistic and Intellectual Expression 143
  • Chapter 11 - Religion 165
  • Chapter 12 - Social Values 179
  • Section II. Political 187
  • Chapter 14 - Political Dynamics 197
  • Chapter 15 - Foreign Relations 211
  • Chapter 1 6 - Public Information 225
  • Chapter 17 - Political Values and Attitudes 247
  • Section III. Economic 253
  • Chapter 19 - Agriculture 267
  • Chapter 20 - Industry 287
  • Chapter 21 - Labor Relations and Organization 305
  • Chapter 22 Domestic Trade 331
  • Chapter 23 - Foreign Economic Relations 347
  • Chapter 24 - Financial and Monetary System 357
  • Section IV. National Security 375
  • Chapter 26 - The Armed Forces 391
  • Index 435
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