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  1. Customer reviews
  2. Latin American Vanguards

Public Education, and contributed to the interdisciplinary and socially oriented magazine El Maestro — Several also participated in La Falange: The journal's literary offerings included poetry, prose fiction, and plays. Peru's literary vanguards coincided historically with the eleven-year reformist dictatorship of Augusto B. Numerous provincianos brought to the city by student reform activities participated in Lima's vanguards, and Peru.

Numerous other short-lived vanguardist magazines appeared in Lima, Arequipa, and Cuzco during the s. Ironically, many of his compatriots regarded Vallejo's poetry as the prime example of the autochthonist vanguardism that they espoused and he ostensibly rejected. Although less extensive and enduring than movements in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Peru, significant vanguardist activity or debates also developed in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Ecuador in the s was marked by intense liberal-conservative struggles, mounting pressures for progressive political change and social reforms, student activism prompted by a broadening class base in university attendance, and a brief dictatorship — According to Humberto Robles, such events intertwined Ecuadorean vanguardist inquiries and experiments with prevailing cultural politics and polemics.

Important literary experiments included Hugo Mayo's poetry and Pablo Palacio's prose fiction and brief dramatic experiments, and avant-garde techniques shaped the early poetry of Jorge Carrera Andrade, one of the country's leading twentieth-century poets. Still, vanguardist activity in Ecuador may per-.

Robles has argued that polarized positions between classical and socially committed concepts of art allowed for little middle ground and that, by the decade's end, socially oriented art had become the norm. Social, Americanist, or indigenist concerns often marked the thinking of those who did support the idea of an avant-garde or undertook vanguardist experiments. Its late development notwithstanding, Nicaraguan vanguardist activity constituted a major event in the country's cultural life and the only sustained group effort of its kind in Central America.

During the late s and early s, Nicaraguan conservatives and liberals struggled for power. Seeking an alternative site for the Panama Canal, the United States had intervened in the country's economic and political affairs for two decades, and Augusto Sandino emerged as a progressive symbol of national autonomy and resistance to U. Nicaraguan vanguardists, whose political allegiances ultimately spanned the spectrum, also opposed U.

Although contact with U. Its inaugural manifesto sought the cultural renovation of Nicaragua through dissemination of international avant-garde trends and the development of national art forms in every field. Its activities included debates and polemics, public performance events, and the collection of Nicaraguan folklore and popular linguistic, poetic, and musical forms to be incorporated in experimental works. Literary production included mainly poetry, some experimental prose, literary commentary, and performance pieces.

The short-lived group's work profoundly influenced Nicaraguan artistic life for years to come, and Cuadra became one of the country's major contemporary writers and intellectuals. The "status" issue, that is, Puerto Rico's anomalous colonial relationship with the United States, has shaped the island's political and cultural life throughout the twentieth century. During the s, polit-. Puerto Rican vanguardist activity, which spanned these years, was marked by a comparable intensification of autochthonist concerns.

This innovating activity included a rapid succession of "isms" undertaken by a relatively small groups of poets: As a whole, Puerto Rico's vanguardist activity was characterized by the predominance of poetry and linguistic experiment, by an Americanist continental orientation, by a gradually emerging focus on national and Antillean cultural motifs, and by the island's first literary affirmations of West African language and culture as significant cultural presences.

Uruguay in the early decades of the twentieth century provided, by one account, "the happiest example of political democratization and social modernization in Latin America" Halperin Donghi This era was marked, according to Tulio Halperin Donghi, by an openness to change and an optimistic sense of national identity — In a comparable spirit, Uruguayan vanguardist activity of the s was, as Gloria Videla has shown with regard to one of its principal journals, La Pluma —31 , both eclectic—open to a range of international and Latin American influences—and often nativist in its concerns.

Poemas con olor a nafta. The Man Who Ate a Bus: Poems with the Odor of Naphtha. But La Pluma, edited by Alberto Zum Felde and later by Carlos Sabat Ercasty, was perhaps the most comparable to other major Latin American vanguardist journals in its synthesis of international trends with continental connections and local concerns. Although group vanguardist activity in the country was relatively late developing and short-lived, according to Osorio, an ambience of student and intellectual resistance culminating in generated new thinking about art and culture with long-term consequences.

Vanguardist activities in other countries were either extremely brief, limited to a single work or writer, or too late in their emergence to be considered within the historical and artistic parameters normally defining these movements in Latin America. But a few others should be mentioned. Although no notable vanguardist activity developed in Guatemala itself, Miguel Angel Asturias's early prose fiction and dra-.

Both also participated in Parisian and Latin American vanguardist networks. Regional differences notwithstanding, the common ground of these vanguardist activities throughout Latin America provides the focus for the chapters that follow. As detailed below, each of these presents its own thesis and conclusions. But the pieces are also connected by a concept that is useful for characterizing Latin American vanguardism as a whole: It also brings into focus three fundamental ideas about the vanguards in Latin America that weave through my own five chapters.

In his descriptive essay, which was often misread as prescriptive, Ortega characterized modern art as a whole not only the vanguards as "dehumanized. In the modern mode, Ortega observed, an object of art is artistic only to the degree that it is not real. Whereas the average person, he asserted, prefers art that most resembles ordinary life, in modern art, a "preoccupation with the human content of the work is in principle incompatible with aesthetic enjoyment" 53; HW 9— While mimetic or realist art encourages the recipient to focus on the garden or the human content, modern art, in Ortega's view, turns perception toward the pane and the transparency inherent in a work of art.

In its focus on modern art's distancing strategies that shift perceptual modes, Ortega's concept of dehumanization is not unlike the early Russian formalist idea of defamiliarization ostranenie in Victor Shklovsky's. During the historical avant-gardes, he affirms, art entered a stage of self-criticism as artists questioned the category art and its claims to autonomy from nonart or life.


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In this view, then, it is precisely through the "dehumanization" that alters perceptions by calling attention to the Orteguian windowpane that the avant-gardes forced artistic recipients to think about the idea of art itself and its relationship to life. Thus the very distancing quality in modern art that Ortega called dehumanization turns the public toward, not away from, lived experience.

I have already argued that Latin American vanguardism conceived art and intellectual endeavors in activist terms. Artists employed antimimetic strategies, among a range of vanguardist activities, precisely in order to turn art toward experience in more provocative ways. By "engagement" I do not mean. I use the term more comprehensively to designate various kinds of involvement or immersion, including confrontational engagement by artistic works or events with readers or spectators; critical or intellectual engagement through their work by artists with their immediate surroundings; or a desired metaphysical engagement with existence or the cosmos by artists seeking transrational plenitude.

In Latin America, moreover, vanguardist activity, as I have shown for individual countries, was quite often critically engaged with what was regarded as specifically Latin American experience. In this vein, the concept of a "rehumanization" of art alludes on a second level to a contemporary response within the Latin American vanguard movements to Ortega's essay, an averse reaction more to the word dehumanization itself than to the specific points raised in the piece.

This negative response to a word or to what was perceived as the spirit behind it in no way minimized Ortega's contribution to the emergence of vanguardist activity in Latin America. Along with the transcontinental connections established by Latin American writers in direct contact with French or Spanish peninsular movements, Ortega's widely distributed Revista de Occidente was a primary source of information about the latest developments in modern art.

This debt was frequently acknowledged, and Ortega's and visits to Latin America fostered enduring intellectual contacts. Nonetheless, there was a fairly widespread reaction in Latin America's vanguard movements to what was perceived, accurately or not, as the gist of Ortega's widely disseminated essay. Art, it was argued in countless manifestos and critical writings, even in its most modern forms, had everything to do with experience, and the words human and humanized became veritable buzzwords in Latin American vanguardist discourse.

This did not always constitute a direct response to Ortega but sometimes simply expressed a particular artistic orientation or tone. Thus he argued that art should "humanize things" OC 1: The poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, in the manifesto launching Brazil's A Revista in , included in his plan for action the resolution to "humanize Brazil" and suggested that this would be accomplished by artists ready to "collide with real life" GMT Although they did not necessarily delve as deeply as Ortega into the theoretical problems he had posed, other writers were clearly reacting specifically to his essay.

The new art, he argued, "does not become dehumanized but instead becomes humanized just as it penetrates the soul of humanity and nature" "Trozos" 2. In his observations on surrealism, Alejo Carpentier explained that those using the term "dehumanization" he did not mention Ortega by name were accurately describing a modern turn away from sentimental, domestic intrigues.

But he then went on to argue against characterizing the vanguards, surrealism in particular, as aloof or skeptical and to affirm that his was an era of passionate faith in the value of intellectual and artistic pursuits HV — Casanovas attributed dehumanization to the bourgeois spirit and rejected artistic speculations of a merely formal quality because they lacked "human value" or "social transcendence. Portal argued in , two years after the appearance of Ortega's essay, that while some new artists had failed to see a connection between innovation and social engagement, the more recent Latin American vanguardists had emerged in a milieu marked by the "humanization of art," conscious of a "double mission in aesthetics and in life" MPP Art, he explained, should always make contact in some way with the "disorderly humanity" that Ortega believed modernity had exiled from the work of art.

Although he recognized the critical power of what he called "formal conquests," that is, of the vanguards' "dehumanized" strategies in Ortega's terms, he also argued that art's paradoxical relationship to life should be one of engaged autonomy. A New World orientation permeated the work of both of these writers and of many of their contemporaries addressing the question of Latin American art's human substance. Torres Bodet spelled it out.

I address this issue most directly in the third and fifth chapters, but the problem shapes the entire study. On the broadest level, my work is founded on the rather evident premise, to which I have already alluded in describing regional developments, that Latin American vanguardism, notwithstanding the interaction with European currents, unfolded within its own cultural contexts and that the life experience with which it openly engaged was often peculiarly its own.

More specifically, some Latin American writers claimed vanguardism itself as a fundamentally Latin American phenomenon. As I explore in the chapters on Americanism and language, this move was actually quite different in kind from, even counter to, the broader claim that Latin American innovative art was more "humanized" than the European. Instead, Latin American vanguardist activity sometimes constructed images comparable to what Ortega would call dehumanization, or to similar ideas of estrangement or nonorganicity, not as mere aesthetic strategies or effects but as phenomena peculiar to Latin America's lived, historical experience.

To recapitulate, then, the concept of a "rehumanization" of art points to three broad ideas that underlie these five chapters: Framed by these ideas, each chapter addresses the more specific artistic and cultural problems investigated by Latin American vanguardists. In the first chapter, "Constructing an Audience, Concrete and Illusory: Here I show first how vanguardist manifestos employ specific rhetorical strategies to act out a given aesthetic position as the dramatic confrontation of a dynamic speaker with two audiences, one participatory and one adversarial.

In a comparable mode, the four generically hybrid manifestostyle performance texts examined here display the type of art that they espouse, portray art as a "doing" process that incorporates its recipient into the doing, and dramatize the desired spectator's participation in. Here I demonstrate that, interacting with prevalent poetic images of the artist and drawing on modernity's technological and activist motifs, the manifestos recast the aestheticist tradition of lyric subjectivity and cosmic detachment into an artist figure of movement and action, still introspective but also marked by the dynamic images of the times.

Intensifying these tensions, prose fiction portraits of the artist construct an urbanvagabond artistic persona. Marked by an elusive interior consistency, this artist's lyric inheritance—verbal virtuosity and a sharp inner eye—is often turned outward toward critical interaction with both literary tradition and a concrete world.

The third chapter, "'Surely from his lips a cockatoo will fly': Manifestos with an Americanist orientation generally perpetuate romantic, organicist myths of America through images of an integrated, telluric body-continent, rooted to ancestral origins, a body for which the new American artist will provide a voice. On the surface, prose and poetic creative texts reinforce these images. Chapter 4, "On the Interstices of Art and Life: Theatrical Workouts in Critical Perception," returns in a more theoretical vein and through plays by Roberto Arlt, Xavier Villaurrutia, Vicente Huidobro, and Oswald de Andrade to the artistic recipient.

The vanguards' attention to the interaction between art and experience is often manifested in an antimimetic impulse and a focus on the process of representation. Theater's palpable connections with that process offered singular opportunities for vanguardist inquiries. Through sometimes highly abstract dramatic texts, writers exploited the stresses in theatrical expression.

Focusing on theatrical fantasies of personal or social transformation, the works examined tamper with performative conventions. In the process, they expose spectator complicity in the performance and reconstruct the act of watching a play as a strenuous exercise in critical perception, designed, if not to transform worlds, to challenge the ways that we see them. Vanguard Tales of Linguistic Encounter," readdresses the vanguardist focus on the autochthonous but with more specific attention to language and linguistic identity. Here I draw on manifestos and a wide range of poetic, prose, and dramatic works with language themes.


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  • As with the Americanist stories, the vanguards' focus on language becomes intertwined in Latin America with issues of cultural critique. On one level, the movement's linguistic thematics intersect with ongoing historical debates about the oral and the written. In addition, inventive and recuperative linguistic ventures, incorporating fabricated, "primary" languages or autochthonous linguistic artifacts into self-consciously modern texts, arc embedded in seemingly contradictory stories.

    On the one hand, artists seek their expressive power in the utopian notion of a linguistically pure, original space. On the other, they undermine this idea with a culturally affirmative poetics of linguistic impurity and estrangement, underscoring the foreignness of all language and the critical power of cultural translations. Although the five chapters address major artistic and cultural problems posed by the vanguards in Latin America, this study does not pretend to present an all-encompassing or conclusive assessment of the movement.

    Other issues touched on here might well provide the focus for future work by the growing community of vanguardista investigators, for example, the complex and problematic relationship of women writers and intellectuals to primarily male-dominated vanguardist activities or the often contradictory vanguardist approach to popular or mass culture. The writers who participated in these movements asked themselves difficult questions about what art should be like and how artists should be.

    Readers will find that their polemical, exploratory, contentious, and qualified answers point directly to many of the artistic, linguistic, and cultural questions that continue to mark literary and theoretical discourses in these, our own times. A great pleasure and a great honor to discover you. At this moment, we are witnessing the spectacle of ourselves. On a summer evening in , a group of aspiring young Nicaraguan artists executed a curious recital for a Granada audience.

    Dressed as a clown and carrying a ladder, a nail, a hammer, and a rope, Luis Downing recited "El arenque," his translation of Charles Cross's "Le Hareng Saur. Pasos's recitation was accompanied by an offstage orchestration of drums, cymbals, whistles, and shots Arellano, "El movimiento," 32— Although the Anti-Academy was one of the later vanguardist groups to emerge in Latin America, its activities were still reminiscent in spirit of the audience-assaulting, performative phase of the early European historical avant-gardes.

    An integral part of that movement's carnivalesque legend, this phase included the most notorious early futurist parades and serate, confrontational and occasionally riot-producing evening demonstrations, the dadaist "Africa Nights" in Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire, and the public-provoking manifestations of later Berlin dadaists and early Parisian surrealists. The radical playfulness of these manifestations thinly disguised a serious sense of purpose. These events constituted a fundamental component of the vanguards' exploration of artistic media and the social processes that shape them, as well as the impulse to create new audiences for a new art.

    There is a fundamental connection between the oral public manifestation and the written manifesto that usually provided the self-defining cornerstone of vanguardist activity. Both the manifesto and the manifestation assume a polemical stance on a new kind of art; both dramatize the conflict with aesthetic tradition and societal expectations posed by that art; and both seek to resituate the artistic recipient in the eye of the creative storm. Because of the specific cultural environments in which Latin American vanguardism unfolded, audience-engaging evenings such as the Nicaraguan Anti-Academy's multimedia production were somewhat less frequent than the futurists' ribald evenings or Dada's public-provoking events.

    But the written manifesto was a predilect genre for Latin American vanguardists. In addition, some writers also produced a hybrid of manifestation and manifesto in a singular kind of text I call a performance manifesto. Combining elements of poetry, music, drama, oratory, and sometimes dance, these multigeneric texts constitute scripts for a public performance and build on the intrinsic theatricality of the manifesto itself. The manifesto quality of these multigeneric creative works becomes most evident if we examine first the performative qualities of the vanguardist manifesto itself.

    From the late teens into the early s, written manifestos that directly confronted an implicit audience with particular aesthetic and cultural positions proliferated in Latin America as widely as the ephemeral groups and little magazines that produced and published them. But because until recently research on Latin America's avantgardes had often focused more on authors and works than on vanguardism as an activity, it is difficult to determine the extent to which self-designated vanguardist groups and individuals engaged in actual public manifestations.

    But, in addition to the Nicaraguan AntiAcademy's evening of lyric theater, a few other such activities have been documented. In September, the theater group presented a performative evening at the Teatro Olympia in a multimedia synthesis of folkloric music, dance, and dramatizations designed to promote the idea of a national art as well as to suggest a comprehensive concept of a total performative event Schneider, El estridentismo —8.

    In a similar spirit, during the mids members of Buenos Aires's Florida group produced the Revista Oral , the brainchild of the transplanted Peruvian simplista poet Alberto Hidalgo. Peru's principal regional vanguardist gathering, the indigenista Grupo Orkopata of Puno that met regularly between and , periodically counterbalanced its serious seminar-style exchanges on art, literature, folklore, and history with more boisterous and bohemian Pascanas nocturnas Nocturnal Interludes. On these occasions, group members reportedly dressed up as Indians, drank chicha, chewed coca leaves, and interspersed experimental poetry and prose readings with songs in Quechua and Aymara Tamayo Herrera More enduring than these extravagant events were the numerous manifestos published in Latin America primarily during the s.

    These texts served several functions. A few, in particular those produced by the most prolific of Latin America's manifesto writers, Vicente Huidobro, laid out in detail the aesthetic ideas of a particular individual. More commonly, manifestos were published by groups or individuals representing them to announce the creation of a new "ism" or aesthetic orientation, the constitution of a new artistic gathering, or the publication of a new little magazine. The aesthetic details of a particular program advocated by a written manifesto—radical metaphors, disruptive syntax, typographical experiments, free verse, culturally specific art—were often less critical for what these documents communicated than were the expository structures and rhetorical strategies with which these programs were laid out.

    The prototypical manifesto possessed a highly dramatic structure, and its confrontational discourse put into play conflicting views of art and culture by employing rhetorical strategies with a potentially theatrical effect. In The Futurist Moment, the title for which is drawn from Renato Poggioli's characterization of vanguardism's futuristic phase Poggioli 68—74 , Marjorie Perloff notes the theatrical quality of the futurist manifestos. Indeed, the futurists, Perloff and others have insisted, provided the model for subsequent vanguardist manifestos.

    While suggesting that he wrote mediocre and derivative poetry and prose, Perloff notes that Marinetti was a brilliant conceptual artist who employed public performances and written manifestos to "transform politics into a kind of lyric theater " 84; my emphasis. In "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Walter Benjamin noted a similar quality in the vanguards' advocacy of an art of palpable public engagement that eventually unfolded into the Fascist aestheticizing of politics and the Communist politicizing of art , two sides of the same audience-engaging coin.

    But the "futurist moment," as Poggioli demonstrates, is a characteristic that belongs to all of the avant-gardes 68 , and, to some extent, this is also true of futurism's rhetorical strategies. Thus many Latin American manifestos possess the striking theatrical tone and display specific dramatic qualities observed by Perloff in the futurist documents. Specifically, Perloff notes a we-you communicative framework in Marinetti's manifestos, a scheme in which a communal "we" of the artists addresses the collective "you" of the mass audience 87 , a group that most manifestos simultaneously provoke and court.

    I believe that Perloff's observation may be expanded, however, for in many Latin. American manifestos there is actually a more complex we-you-they scheme, a triadic relationship that is fundamental for defining the artistic confrontation that the manifesto embodies. The manifesto's speaking voice frequently assumes the first person, an "I" or a "we" identified with a specific aesthetic or ideological position.

    But this speaker is actually inclined to address two audiences, one more directly than the other. An explicit audience, the "you" openly addressed, is courted in openly engaging tones. The manifesto's speaker seeks this audience's support for whatever cultural or aesthetic program is being proposed and casts this "you" as an ally in the struggle against the other, more implicit audience that provides a target for the document's attack.

    This second audience is rarely addressed directly, but the vehemence with which the manifesto's speakers characterize this absent "they" betrays an unconfessed hope that this audience, too, is listening and will be moved. This absent but it is hoped eavesdropping audience is held accountable for everything the manifesto challenges: Thus the manifesto dramatizes a sharply drawn opposition between a new aesthetic program and the implicit, third-person audience whose views it assaults.

    This communicative scheme is not unlike that adopted by a political candidate who addresses an absent but deliberately unnamed opponent: A closer analysis of the Latin American manifestos' communicative structure reveals how essential this scheme is for constructing a concrete identity and artistic position. In her study of Argentina's vanguards, Francine Masiello has insightfully observed that manifestos for different groups constructed diverse images of an artistic self and the foundation for pacts among writers often based on an oppositional stance 70— But I am concerned more specifically here with examining the concrete strategies employed in manifestos throughout Latin America for imagining particular kinds of relationships between an artistic group and its varied audiences.

    Most speaking voices in these documents use specific rhetorical moves to create a sense of collectivity, a single identity constituted through many. In other cases, as in the first estridentismo manifesto "Actual," a singular, first-person speaker occasionally slips into the plu-. Much of what the manifesto's first-person voice actually says serves simply to affirm the speakers' own sense of being and identity: The concrete definitions that follow identify the speakers closely with the advocated new art or "new sensibility.


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    • The theatricality of these characterizations lies in the imagery's palpable dynamism. We can visualize these speakers in emphatic, even frenetic, motion before us, and this quality is reinforced by the long lists of action. A striking feature of the manifesto's speaking "we" is the reliance on its two audiences, the document's directly addressed "you" and its more obliquely invoked "they," for the process of self-definition. Normally, the manifesto characterizes its directly addressed "you" on a grand scale in terms that are simultaneously specific and select, on the one hand poets, artists, "special" people , and more general and allencompassing, on the other: The modes of addressing this rhetorical "you" reveal contradictory pulls in the vanguardist project.

      Specifically, the vacillating between specificity poets and artists and a more global generality the youth of America, for example manifests the tension in vanguardist discourse between the elitism of the manifesto's speaking voice—a self-selective and privileged "we"—and the impulse to address a mass audience. In his work on the avant-gardes, Andreas Huyssen has recast the term "the great divide" to describe the "volatile" quality that has characterized the relationship between high art and mass culture since the mid-nineteenth century and, more specifically, to designate the kind of critical discourse that distinguishes between the two vii—viii.

      In their critique of the previous generation's aestheticism, the European avant-gardes unquestionably attacked such dichotomies but at the same time exacerbated that great divide. For example, although the futurists provoked riots at their serate, in Marinetti's "The Futurist Synthetic Theatre," their objective was to instill a "current of confidence" in the audience Selected Writings The dadaists declared that they would "spit on humanity" Ribemont-Dessaignes , and yet Tristan Tzara envisioned in Seeds and Bran a utopian, transformational union between artists and a knowledgeable public: What sharpens this aristocratic-democratic tension in Latin American manifestos, documents produced primarily in countries with high illiteracy rates and still relatively small reading publics, is the implicit, sometimes confessed, recognition that the desired mass audience the speaker is addressing directly does not really exist as a separate entity but is simply an extension of the speaker's utopian project for change.

      In part, this admission is manifested in the hyperbolic characterizations of the "you" as an entity far too vast to assume a concrete identity, such as "the men of the universal fraternity" or "the youth of America. In addition, in the manifesto's communicative scheme, verb forms reinforce the mirror identification of this "you" with the manifesto's speaking "we.

      Such forms are common in political rhetoric "let us move forward Occasionally, a manifesto openly confesses that the separate, supportive audience it addresses does not, indeed, exist and must be conjured up or hammered out from an amorphous mass public. The speaker addresses this nonexistent audience directly—"the hypothetical and uncertain being for whom we compose this"—and then adds in the line that provides an epigraph for this chapter , "Comrade reader: A great pleasure and a great honor to discover you" GMT Thus, to affirm its own existence, the manifesto's speaking "we" advocating a.

      Equally essential for the manifesto's project is the audience that is never directly invoked, those against whom the speaking "we" define themselves. Interestingly, the manifesto characterizes this absent, adversarial audience that it never acknowledges directly in far more concrete terms than the all-encompassing "you. But, more important, in constructing the collective, integrated speaker, the manifesto relies heavily on what it is challenging, and the oppositional stance is inextricably linked to the speaker's own identity.

      Similarly, the Brazilian Verde manifesto reveals the relative unimportance attributable to the specific object of attack and emphasizes the indispensability of the adversarial stance itself: Much more different than the folks next door" GMT Although the manifestos' lists of what was opposed were meticulously detailed and often seemingly endless, most vanguardist groups opposed fundamentally the same things: The manifesto's theatrical quality, however, derives from the oppositional stance itself and from the rich, often satirical imagery with which these documents construct an absent, adversarial "they" to complete a triadic communicative scheme.

      In sharp contrast to the images of youth, vitality, power, and authenticity that characterize the speaking "we," the adversary under attack is constructed with images of fossilization, decay, decrepitude, inauthenticity, and physical and emotional malaise. Thus a sampling of manifestos from numerous countries yields an assortment of similar adjectives used by manifesto speakers to characterize the objects of their attack: The dramatic oppositions constructed by these documents imply a reader who will be drawn into the conflict, who will identify with the directly addressed "you" of the youth of America, and, more important, who will recoil from the pejorative imagery of decay and decrepitude surrounding the adversary under attack.

      The rhetorical strategies, moreover, imply a reader who is a flesh-and-blood listener and spectator, a live audience witnessing a performance. The nouns and pronouns of direct address, the enumerative declarations of principles, the easily identifiable and simplistic oppositions, and the clipped, telegraphic phrases marked by exaggeration and insult all contribute to the ambience of an oratorical event, scripted in a text to be read aloud, proclaimed, or performed.

      In addition, the speaker's cultivation of lyrical prowess and verbal cuteness through comical, insulting, and sometimes scatological one-liners coined to attack the opponent and to characterize the new art reinforces that speaker's identity as a linguistically agile performer.

      A theatrical transition from manifesting to performing is also intimated in the word manifesto, specifically, in its etymological kinship with the verb to make manifest: To manifest is to "make palpably evident or certain by showing or displaying" Webster's Third International, ed. One of the fundamental strategies for involving the spectator in the showing is the reliance on enumeration. Perloff notes that this device, a common political strategy for holding audience attention, showed that the futurist authors meant business But I would add that the manifestos' endless lists, itemized by letters, arabic or roman numerals, or simply the repetition of opening phrases such as "as opposed to.

      Listing is a form of verbal display, a tactic for pulling out, as if from a magician's hat, one item after another and revealing these to an audience. As the list becomes longer and longer, in particular if it includes short, telegraphic phrases, the cumulative effect on the reader-listener is a sensory bombardment reinforced by the verbal aggression in the manifesto's tone.

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      These lines from the atalayismo manifesto typify this image: But the manifesto's performative substance derives from more than its oppositional conflict and the ambience of sensorial activity generated by its predilect rhetorical devices. The manifesto's counterposition of divergent attitudes toward art and culture provides the seeds of a story that can be embodied in a dramatic action. Perloff notes that the futurists often surrounded their manifestos' actual proposals with narratives of the group's activities and discoveries.

      Elements of such site-specific narratives that make direct or oblique reference to the vagaries of a particular group are present in some Latin American manifestos and vanguardist polemical articles. Through its enactment, this story must imagine its own engaged and informed audience, a spectator who might ultimately play a key role in constructing a new art or culture. The vanguardist manifestos, Poggioli observed, were often written with a prose that was more "fiction and literature.

      It is not surprising, then, that vanguardist writers produced manifesto-style creative texts that simultaneously built on the manifesto's performative qualities and developed the narrative seeds that it enclosed. The hybrid creative texts that I call performance manifestos prescribe for concrete public display the new aesthetic relationships and practices espoused in the more straightforward manifestos.

      These works enact the stories of adversarial encounters between conflicting views of culture and art, and while the manifesto incorporates the spectator into its communicative scheme,. Not surprisingly, one can often discern explicit connections between these creative works and the authors' more expository writings on art. Generally, however, these performative texts are artistically richer than the average manifesto, and, resisting strict formal or generic classification, they frequently combine poetry, music, dance, narrative, or ritual display.

      The purpose of these multimedia performances is to spin a palpable tale of cultural encounter that enacts, through metaperformative strategies and metaphors, specific artistic views. In Latin America, moreover, these ostensibly antimimetic works are strikingly culturally specific and make reference to the specific national historical contexts within which modern artistic activity was to emerge. These texts' performative quality is inextricably linked to their concrete playing out, their "doing," of specific aesthetic positions.

      Dramatic codes, as Victor Turner argued, are "doing" codes 33 , and the performance theorist Richard Schechner has similarly defined performance as an "actualizing" activity, one related to "patterns of doing" In the post-Renaissance, literary Western tradition, Schechner argues, these doing patterns are gradually reencoded as patterns of written words that produced modern drama's reliance on a specialized script.

      But the avant-gardes, he suggests, refocus attention on the "doing aspects" of a script Vanguardist writers did produce theatrical scripts, and I examine these in a separate chapter. But the more generically hybrid performance texts, with the concretely confrontational quality of a vanguardist manifesto, illustrate an overriding concern with the palpable doing aspects of art. One of the most striking features of the performance manifesto's "doing" of art is its incorporation of the manifesto's speakers and its imagined audiences, both friendly and hostile, into the conflictive story it tells.

      Although "As enfibraturas" situates the band and orchestra on the theater's terrace "5, instrumentalists under the baton of maestros" , vocalists are to perform from different areas of the city: In the futuristic spirit, the performance is to be staged "On the Dawn of the New Day.

      The oratorio's performers are also characterized by the content of their song and the cues for their performances, and as characters, they represent the adversarial artistic positions embodied in a typical vanguardist manifesto's communicative scheme. Specifically, the piece is organized by an escalating chain of confrontations between the Orientalismos Convencionais traditional artists and the Juvenilidades Auriverdes, rebellious youth with creative projects and steeped in the Brazilian soil. Predictably the Senectudes Tremulinas support the Orientalismos Convencionais, while Minha Loucura, identified as the.

      The imagery of their verse identifies the Orientalismos Convencionais with uniformity, unanimity, and rules in art: Against the Orientalismos' orderly world, the Juvenilidades' verse expresses creative dissonance, passion, and martyrdom for the future cause of a new art. Minha Loucura's first solo elaborates in more lyric and less polemical tones an intertwining of poetic yearnings for transcendence with the Brazilianist program posed by the Juvenilidades: As the confrontation intensifies, the anger and frustration build until the youths collapse in a final delirium.

      The other voices recede, night falls, and Minha Loucura chants a lullaby celebrating the Juvenilidades' sacrifice for the art of a new day: The rebellious youths' martyrdom for their aesthetic cause exemplifies what Poggioli labels the "agonistic" moment of vanguardist movements, a moment that poses a hyberbolic image of the artist as victim-hero whose "self-immolation" is the necessary sacrifice for the creation of future art Poggioli 67— The oratorio's conflicting aesthetic positions are played out in the diverse musical styles of their enactment.

      They sing with regularity a tempo and repetitively da capo , as a "solemn funeral. As their militancy and passion intensify, the Juvenilidades' renditions run the gamut: This composition's contextual markers are evident, particularly its connections with early Brazilian modernismo 's program for change. As enfibraturas do modernismo" The neologistic metaphor "enfibraturas," moreover, encompasses a tone of social and moral position taking as well as the aesthetic "fibratures"—intertwinings of voice, image, and music—of the piece's composition.

      Thematically, the text itself privileges originality, aesthetic deviation, and passion over tradition, artistic convention, and the socioaesthetic order of things. The allusion through the name Juvenilidades Auriverdes to the colors of the Brazilian flag as well as the youths' choices of imagery place the changes they advocate in the context of the cultural nationalism shaping modernismo.

      In keeping with this model, Minha Loucura's lyricism in "As enfibraturas" is shaped by disconnected phrases, and the oratorio as a whole at times overlays the piece's "distribution of voices. The poet's lyricism Minha Loucura provides another link between "As enfibraturas" and the preface's references to "the mad dash of the lyric state" and to a lyric impulse that "cries out inside us like the madding crowd" 18 and 21; JT 8 and The most evident of these is the text's employment of the hyperbolic image, the feature that Poggioli associates with the vanguards' futuristic and apocalyptic tendencies.

      Some perform openly from the esplanade of the city's Municipal Theater, while others are spread out around familiar city sites—buildings, parks, the river. Essentially, "As enfibraturas do Ipiranga" is a script for a performance that is fundamentally not performable. An oratorio is by definition a traditionally large-scale production.

      The characters in that story represent the divergent artistic positions embodied in a typical manifesto's communicative scheme. Specifically, the manifesto's speaking "we" is enacted by the Juvenilidades Auriverdes with the support of Minha Loucura, with whom they identify and associate. Although several of the oratorio's participating groups introduce themselves with the first person "We are the Orientalismos Convencionais" , only the Juvenilidades are.

      Most important, "As enfibraturas" recasts the vanguardist manifesto's characteristic two audiences the "you" and the "they" as participating oratorio performers and literally gives them a voice. As a performance text, the work makes tangible what a manifesto only affirms, that is, the relationship between the "doing" of an artistic composition and the work's intended recipients.

      The piece's visual qualities are essential for bringing this about. The spectatorly or "watching" component of this performance is underscored in the text's epigraphic quote from Hamlet cited in English: In addition, although an oratorio's action is traditionally embodied in verbal and musical exchange, when "As enfibraturas" culminates with the Juvenilidades' frenzied collapse, a scene to be seen is described: The maestri have succumbed.

      Night has fallen, besides; and in the solitude of the thousand-starred night the Green Gilt Youths, having fallen to the ground, are weeping" 62; JT But who is watching? Who sees the orchestra vanish and the night fall? As with the vanguardist manifesto, the speaking "we" in "As enfibraturas," enacted by the Juvenilidades with support from Minha Loucura, addresses two audiences. The adversarial audience, against whom the speaker assumes a specific aesthetic identity, is defined in the more palpable terms.

      Embodied in the Orientalismos Convencionais traditional artists , this group is supported by the bourgeois and millionaire Senectudes Tremulinas, designated with a name that recalls the imagery of malaise and decrepitude employed to characterize the typical manifesto's oppositional "they. Although this adversarial group participates in the performance, moreover, it is also assigned a more explicitly audience-style identity in the city's final response to the Juvenilidades' program for aesthetic reform.

      Loucura concludes the final lullaby to the Juvenilidades, the latter sleep "eternally deaf" to the "enormous derision of whistles, catcalls, and stamping of feet" that bursts forth from around the city 64; JT As with the "you" of a vanguardist manifesto, the oratorio's other audience is openly addressed as the reader, defined as a virtual listener and watcher for the performance of "As enfibraturas.

      At one point, while the Orientalismos Convencionais enumerate the conventions they favor, the endless series becomes a list of repeated suffixes preceded by blank words: Although here the text offers a choice of allegiances, it subsequently instructs the reader-spectator which side to favor. As the Juvenilidades collapse in exhausted rage, they emit a final outburst against their detested opponents: The reader is directed to complete the expletive with the filthiest word known, a move incorporating this implicit spectator into the performance that would be witnessed as well as the Juvenilidades' program for aesthetic reform.

      Both of these audiences are essential for dramatizing the performance text's story of Brazilian modernismo. The negative response to the Orientalismos Convencionais assigned to the oratorio's directly addressed audience casts that reader-spectator as the illusory, supportive audience necessary for the Juvenilidades' program of cultural renewal.

      Published in by Xavier Icaza, a writer with estridentismo connections, Magnavox prescribes a performance on an equally panoramic scale. Comparable to "As enfibraturas do Ipiranga," this text's generic identity is ambiguous, presenting a synthesis of theater, narrative, and polemic. This generic ambiguity, noted by John S. Brushwood in his study of vanguardism in Icaza's work 10 , also characterizes Icaza's most experimental novel, Panchito Chapopote Moreover, lists of the author's literary productions appearing in later works often include the piece under "theater.

      According to the preface, Icaza wrote Magnavox when he returned to Mexico after a year's absence and sought to present "the panorama of today's Mexico" Specifically, he explains, the text seeks to dramatize conflicting ideological perspectives vying for control of Mexico's social and cultural future: In Magnavox , these views are played out by individual voices seeking to address Mexico's people. These addresses are physically laid out in the text like the dialogue in a play. The dialogue is intercalated with narrative interventions that provide social background and historical summary.

      These narrative sections consist of the clipped, synthetic statements characteristic of vanguardist creative works and manifestos but are also, as Brushwood has pointed out, analogous to stage directions in a play Statements such as "Mexico remakes itself" 23 , "Elections.

      The people don't go to the polls" 26 , and "Nobody pays attention" 30 are typical of these "stage directions. As a performance text, Magnavox is organized into six scenes separated by these stylized narrative sections. In the initial scene, following narrative stage directions about the state of the nation, various segments of the population, including a reactionary, a missionary, teacher, and an Indian, speak to illustrate the point.

      Each of the following four scenes consists of a "discurso" or speech by a voice representing one of the four ideological positions in contention for Mexico's future. Each speech is followed by its reception among various segments of society. Three of the four speeches emanate from a separate.

      A man, humble in demeanor and dress, stands on a pyramid surrounded by cacti and faces a volcano. A periscope-style loudspeaker protrudes from its crater, and two more look out from alongside it. Because of his location facing the volcano with his back to the implicit reader and potential "onstage" spectator of Magnavox , this man can be seen as the intended audience of the loudspeaker's performance.

      The second voice, that of an Italian journalist urging Mexico to emulate the southern cone countries by encouraging immigration and foreign investments, emanates from a loudspeaker in Ixtlaccihuatl. From the peak of Orizaba, a third loudspeaker projects Lenin's voice amid thunderbolts, proletarian canons, and the notes of the Internationale. These performances elicit various responses from the chorus of scientists, the "indignant" students of America, the chorus of the mediocre, and even from Romain Rolland from the Alps and Alfonso Reyes from the Eiffel Tower.

      But ordinary Mexican people, the intended audience for the magnavox speeches, only ignore what they hear, yawn, laugh, dance, cry, or shrug their shoulders. As Icaza spells out in the work's preface, Magnavox favors the fourth speech, that is, the autochthonous-nationalist perspective on Mexico's future.

      Following the first three speeches delivered through loudspeakers, Shakespeare takes the stage to explain the meager response from ordinary people: Those are pure talkers" Eliciting sparks as he strikes the pyramid of the sun, Rivera speaks, advocating works over words: Let us continue their interrupted work. Let us realize Mexican works. It is imperative to be of the country.

      It is imperative to express Mexico" Significantly, Rivera is the only speaker to address his audience without a magnavox and the only one to capture unified public attention and receive a positive reception: Painters, some literati, agronomists, teachers, all resolved to realize Mexican works" The manifesto qualities of Magnavox operate on multiple levels. The piece dramatizes conflicting views on Mexico's future and the reception of those views by an explicit audience, Mexico's people.

      By enacting the story of that conflict, the work establishes a concrete relationship with debates about Mexican cultural and aesthetic autonomy that provide a context for estridentismo activity. These debates, which included Vasconcelos's tributes to cultural mestizaje, also surround vanguardist production in the visual arts, in particular the work of Diego Rivera and other muralists.

      Latin American Vanguards

      Comparable to "As enfibraturas do Ipiranga" in this sense, Magnavox openly advocates an autochthonous position for shaping culture and ideology. In addition, the work acts out the more explicitly estridentista position on the engagement of art with life, a view of art as only one of several forms of action that ought to constitute a modern and dynamic Mexican scene. This implicit integration of artistic activity with other kinds of work is often evident in the piece's narrative stage directions: The artists don't let go of their paintbrushes.

      The writers, although nobody notices them, persevere and write" 27— Be the first to review this item Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Customer reviews There are no customer reviews yet. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.

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