cipation from the past of Spanish letters themselves, in thecohort of the 1890's.
Where in English the notion of 'modern-ism' scarcely entered general usage before mid-century, inSpanish it was canonical a generation earlier. Here the back-ward pioneered the terms of metropolitan advance -- much as inthe nineteenth century, 'liberalism' was an invention of theSpanish rising against French occupation in the epoch of Napoleon, an exotic expression from Cádiz at home only muchlater in the drawing-rooms of Paris or London.So too the idea of a 'postmodernism' first surfaced in the ____________________
, Vol 2, Madrid 1950, p. 19: 'the new spiritthat animates a small, but proud and triumphant, group of writers and poets inSpanish America today: modernism'.-3-Hispanic inter-world of the 1930's, a generation before itsappearance in England or America. It was a friend of Unamunoand Ortega, Federico de Onís, who struck off the term
. He used it to describe a conservative reflux withinmodernism itself: one which sought refuge from its formidablelyrical challenge in a muted perfectionism of detail and ironichumour, whose most original feature was the newly authenticexpression it afforded women. De Onís contrasted this pattern-- short-lived, he thought -- with its sequel, an
that intensified the radical impulses of modernism to a new pitch, in a series of avant-gardes that were now creating a'rigorously contemporary poetry' of universal reach.
De Onís'sfamous anthology of Spanish-language poets, organized accord-ing to this schema, appeared in Madrid in 1934, as the Lefttook office in the Republic amid the count-down to the CivilWar. Dedicated to Antonio Machado, its panorama of 'ultra-modernism' ended with Lorca and Vallejo, Borges and Neruda.Minted by De Onís, the idea of a 'postmodern' style passed intothe vocabulary of Hispanophone criticism, if rarely used bysubsequent writers with his precision;
but it remained withoutwider echo. It was not until some twenty years later that theterm emerged in the Anglophone world, in a very different ____________________
Federico de Onís,
Antología de la Poesía Española e Hispanoamericana(1882-1932)
, Madrid 1934, pp. xiii-xxiv. For De Onís's view of the specificity of Hispanophone modernism, whose representative thinkers he believed to be Martíand Unamuno, see "'
Sobre el Concepto del Modernismo
'", La Torre, April-June1953, pp. 95-103. There is a fine synthetic portrait of Darío himself in
Antología, pp. 143-152. During the Civil War, friendship with Unamuno restrained De Onís,