Three recent books on Modernismo

9 05 2011

Poesía y prosa de Bonifacio Byrne. Ed. Francisco Morán. Doral, Florida: Stockcero, 2011. 374 pgs.

The complete title of the book is Bonifacio Byrne o el TIC diabólico y raro del modernismo hispanoamericano (una introducción a la vida y obra del poeta cubano). In republishing Excéntricas (1893) not only will we recover Bonifacio Byrne’s most important volume of poetry, but also one of the most important titles of Cuban modernism, and one which will certainly enrich the canon of Spanish-American modernismo. This is both a critical and carefully commented edition of Excéntricas and other selections of Byrne’s poetry and prose, which also includes an updated bibliography and a survey of critical approaches to his poetry. The edition also features a rigorous introduction that introduces the author to the reader, places the poet in the context of his time and brings to light his singularity as a modernista poet. Francisco Morán, professor of Spanish-American literature at Southern Methodist University is the editor of this volume. Prof. Morán, who has published extensively on the main figures of modernism, was in charge of the edition of Juana Borrero o la obsesión del obstáculo, also published by Stockcero.


Kelly Comfort. European Aestheticism and Spanish American Modernismo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 200 pgs.

European Aestheticism and Spanish American Modernismo examines the changing role of art and the artist during the turn-of-the-century period and considers the multiple dichotomies of art and life, aesthetics and economics, production and consumption, and center and periphery. Through a comparative analysis of fictional works from Wilde, Huysmans, and Mann in the European context and Dar o, Silva, Casal, and Gutiérrez Nájera in the Spanish American context, this transatlantic study locates a shared interest in the philosophy of ‘art for art’s sake’ in both aestheticism and modernismo. The analysis of the aims and attitudes of different types of artist protagonists considers the intersection between the artist figure and the impressionistic and creative critic (chapters 1 and 2), the producers and consumers of art (chapters 3 and 4), and the aesthete, the dandy, and the flaneur (chapters 5 and 6). It also outlines the ways in which the artist figures avoid ‘art for life’s sake’ (Part I), protest ‘art for the market’s sake’ (Part II), or promote ‘life for art’s sake’ (Part III).


Peter Brooker, Andrzej Gasiorek, Andrew Thacker, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 976 pgs. 

The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms situates literary modernisms and the modernist arts in a series of unfolding relations with mass society and popular culture in both national and transnational settings. An unparalleled resource containing over fifty specially commissioned essays, the Handbook updates and extends the scope and depth of previous synoptic guides, bringing together new approaches to the more obvious themes of modernist studies as well as new research on the variety of cultural, aesthetic, and geographical factors that were intrinsic to the creation of modernism. The contributors draw upon a variety of interdisciplinary approaches and new methodologies in order to take account of the development of revisionist modernist studies over the past three decades. Two particularly innovative features of the Handbook are its focus upon the cross media and international character of modernism. A number of the essays examine visual culture and other media in order to delineate the aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural formations linking the innovations and experiments of literary modernism with work in other arts and media. Others seek to analyze how Anglo-American and European models were inflected in a different temporal frame and in quite distinct geographical contexts. The Handbook is divided into six sections in order to reflect changed critical perspectives upon modernism’s formal innovation and experiment, to foreground the relation of literature and the other arts, and to understand these in appropriate intellectual, social, and geo-cultural settings. The received canon is therefore revisited and ‘made new’ as the varying aspects of metropolitan, regional, national, and transnational modernisms come into view.