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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article assesses an articulation of modernity in Spanish-American modernism. First, it examines epistemological/taxonomical debates about “excessive” imitation—the most frequently mentioned critique of the modernistas in Spanish-American literary history. The article approaches this field-defining debate by asking a deceptively simple question: how did Darío have access to what he knew about the latest in French literature, art, and culture? The second section of the article explores the opposition between the bourgeois king and the poet around which the tale is structured as a statement about modernity. The article derives modernity from an analysis of this constitutive disjuncture between, on the one hand, a neocolonial economic liberalism that commodifies, rationalizes, and socializes objects in a particular way and, on the other, a discourse which laments the loss of a poetic knowledge of objects in the face of the poet' inexorable subordination to wage labor.

Keywords: Spanish American modernism, excessive imitation, neocolonial economic liberalism, modernistas

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