Spanish-language literary movement of the late 19th–early 20th century, founded by Rubén Darío.

Reacting against the sentimental romantic writers then popular in Latin America, modernistas wrote on exotic themes and often about artificial worlds
the ancient past, the distant Orient, and the lands of childhood fancy and sheer creation. With "art for art's sake" as their creed, they brought about the greatest revitalization of language and poetic technique in Spanish since the 17th century. Its adherents included Peru's José Santos Chocano (1875–1934) and Cuba's José Martí. Though the movement was over by 1920, its influence continued well into the 20th century.

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▪ Brazilian art
      in Brazil (Brazilian literature), a post-World War I aesthetic movement that attempted to bring national life and thought abreast of modern times by creating new and authentically Brazilian methods of expression in the arts. Rebelling against the academicism and European influence that they felt dominated the arts in Brazil, the Modernists rejected traditional dependence on Portuguese literary values, attempting in their works to reflect colloquial Brazilian speech (rather than “correct” Portuguese) and often treating distinctively Brazilian themes based on native folklore and legend. They experimented with literary form and language, using free verse and unconventional syntax, but their concern with literary reform was primarily as a means to social reform rather than as an end in itself.

      The Modernist movement first gained wide recognition with its Semana de Arte Moderna (“Week of Modern Art”), an event held in São Paulo in 1922, provoking controversy with lectures on the aims of Modernism and readings from works by such Modernist poets as Mário de Andrade (Andrade, Mário de) (q.v.).

      The movement, however, soon splintered into several groups with differing goals—some Modernists, among them Oswald de Andrade (Andrade, Oswald de) (q.v.), focused specifically on the nationalistic aims of the movement and agitated for radical social reform; others, such as Manuel Bandeira (Bandeira, Manuel) (q.v.), who is generally considered the greatest of the Modernist poets, sympathized with its aesthetic principles but lost interest in its political activism.

      By 1930 Modernism had lost its coherence as a movement, although its organizers continued to write in the Modernist idiom. Its influence on the development of contemporary Brazilian literature has been profound both through its stylistic innovations and through its emphasis on folklore and native themes.

      late 19th- and early 20th-century Spanish-language literary movement, begun in the late 1880s by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (Darío, Rubén) and initiated by the publication of his book of poems and short stories Azul (1888; “Blue”). While the movement had no manifesto or organized principles, it stemmed from a reaction against the literary naturalism of Émile Zola and against the wider bourgeois conformity and materialism of Western society. The poets of the Modernismo movement used free verse and sensuous imagery to express their own highly individual spiritual values. They were influenced by the French Symbolists and Parnassians in their use of daring metaphors and innovative metres. The principal members of the movement were, besides Darío, the poets Antonio Machado and Juan Ramón Jiménez and the novelist Ramba del Valle Inclán.

      The first phase of Modernismo was marked by the establishment of the periodical La Revista Azul (1894–96) in Mexico. Darío traveled widely at this time, promoting Modernismo in Spain during stays in 1892 and 1898 and throughout Latin America. A second important Modernismo periodical, La Revista Moderna (1898–1911), was also founded in Mexico. While Modernismo as a movement ended by 1920, its influence continued well into the 20th century in both poetry and prose.

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Universalium. 2010.