MARIATEGUI'S AESTHETIC THOUGHT: A CriticalReading of the Avant-Gardes* VickyUnruh

University Kansas of

Jose Carlos Mariateguidevoted the most productive years of his short life (1894-1930) to analyzing contemporary Peru. Because of this emphasis, a substantial portion of the research conducted in the past thirty years has addressed his political and social thought. More recent investigations, however, have sought to document the significance of his aesthetic ideas, an appropriatedevelopment in light of Mariaitegui's extensive writings on literature and the visual arts. For example, the periodical Amauta,which appeared under his editorship twenty-nine times between September 1926 and March 1930, was primarilya magazine of the arts and intellectual life, notwithstanding its political agenda and indigenista orientation.1Also, Mariategui'sdetailed essay on Peruvian literature, "Elproceso de la literatura," the most extensive of the is Siete ensayosde interpretacion la realidad de peruana(1928). In addition, between 1924 and 1930, the widely read Lima weeklies Variedades and Mundialregularlypublished his criticalarticles on national and international topics, including a large number of pieces on literature and the arts. Recent inquiries into Mariategui'sliterarythought have addressed such issues as his modern concept of literary realism, the relationship between his artistic concerns and a Marxism that has been repeatedly characterizedas "open," and the role of aesthetic issues in his social agenda for Peru.2This research has established Mariaitegui's importance in the arts, not as a creative writer (although he did write poetry, plays, and short stories in his youth) but as one of LatinAmerica'sfirst practicing literarycritics.
*Supportfor this study came from two sources. Initial researchinto Mariategui's role in Peru'savant-gardeswas conducted in the summer of 1983in Lima with the support of a TinkerFoundationgrant. Additional investigations, particularly into contemporarytheories of the avant-gardes,were carriedout in the spring of 1986under a resident fellowship at the Center for Twentieth-Century Studies at the Universityof Wisconsin-Milwaukee.I would like to thank LARRManaging Editor Sharon Kellum and one anonymous LARR reviewerfor constructiveeditorialsuggestions.


LatinAmerican Research Review A salient feature of Mariaitegui's aesthetic criticismwas his close attention to the positions and practices of the interwar avant-garde movements in Europe and Latin America as well. He had originally an planned to call Amautaby the name Vanguardia, orientation evident in the journal's commitment to disseminating innovative intellectual and aesthetic currents as well as in Mariategui'sfrequent references to himself and his contemporariesas "hombresde la vanguardia."He also commented extensively on expressionism, futurism, dada, surrealism, and Latin American responses to these movements. In addition, Mariategui has often been characterizedas the prime mover of PeruvianvanBut guardism of the 1920s, particularlyin his role as editor of Amauta.3 although scholars have noted the connections between his support of aesthetic innovation and his social agenda for Peru, no in-depth investigation has been done on the relationship between his exegesis of the avant-gardes and the development of his aesthetic thought. The purpose of the present study is to undertake this investigation. Mariateguiwas an avowed Marxist, "convicto y confeso," and a founder of Peruviansocialism. But in politics as well as art, he was also a divergent thinker and a critical interpreter of contemporary movements who appropriated diverse ideological currents in forming his own conception of Latin American history and life. For example, his political thought was shaped not only by his readings of Marxbut also by Bergsonian and Nietzschean antipositivist vitalism, Benedetto Croce's aesthetic idealism, Georges Sorel's theory of myths, and the conof cern with culturalissues characteristic ItalianMarxistAntonio Gramsci. Mariategui'saesthetic tastes and sources were similarlydiverse. His favorite artists and writers included Luigi Pirandello, Vladimir Mayakovsky, George Bernard Shaw, Waldo Frank, Panait Israti, Blaise Cendrars, George Grosz, and Cesar Vallejo, and he drew on a multitude of contemporaryexperimentalmovements to form his own ideas about art and his own program for Peru'sculturalrenewal.4The complex connections between Mariategui'saesthetic thought and social agenda were both manifested in and shaped by his response to the postulates and practicesof the avant-gardes.

The European avant-gardes of the period immediately before and after WorldWarI, which Mariateguiobserved, analyzed, and publicized in Peru, undertook a serious critique of the prevailing technical modes and social relationships that had shaped artisticproduction. On the one hand, in rejecting mimetic conventions, avant-garde artists sought a more "authentic"apprehension of life and a return to primary experience unmediated by censors of reason. On the other hand, they

or manifesto-style creative texts. and short stories. which were often marked by indigenous cultural exigencies.MARIATEGUIIS AESTHETIC THOUGHT attacked the artist'sautonomy and distance from everyday life. Although it can be argued that the vanguardists created their own brand of elitism by producing highly inaccessibleworks. and Oswald de Andrade. engagement in artistic experiments through often ephemeral little magazines.These activities were undertaken primarilyby groups but also by individuals and were shaped in part by Europe'savant-gardesthrough writers with transcontinental experience such as Vicente Huidobro. plays. "is far more than the liquidation of the category 'work' [of art]. "Whatis involved in these manifestations.6 Despite their regional differences. It is the liquidation of art that is split off from the praxis of life that is intended. he wrote poetry. history. he became one of the more cogent and imaginative architectsof that inquiry."5 The centrality of engagement to the avant-garde project was underscored not only by assaults on implied readers and spectators from the page and the stage but also by the eventual conversion of many vanguardists to ideologically diverse causes. and."Burgerasserts. these undertakings often reflected similar agendas and generated paralleldebates about issues concerning modernity versus cultural authenticity.7Because of Mariaitegui's fascination with the European avant-gardes and his commitment to developing a program for Peruvian culturalindependence. interest in the avant-gardesdates from his European Mariaitegui's exile from December 1919 to March 1923. In Theoryof the Avant-Garde. He had initiated his journalistic career at the age of fifteen with Lima's conservative La Prensabut soon became involved in movements for aesthetic and social change. a privileged status originating with romanticismand culminating in late-nineteenth-century aestheticism. In the 1920s and early 1930s. In 1916 47 . modernismo. Peter Burger posits the emergence of vanguardist discourse as a stage of self-criticism in art history and a challenge to art's social status as a bourgeois institution. These efforts. espiritunuevo. folklore. were characterizedby the affirmation of specific aesthetic positions. manifestoes. they also promoted the model of a criticallyengaged artist as an alternative to the self-involved poetemauditof the art-forart's-sake mode. and politics. and occasionally serious interdisciplinary investigations into language. The fundamental economic and social transformationsthat took place in Latin American life during the decades following WorldWarI gave Latin American vanguardism its distinct character. in Brazil. self-consciously experimentalartisticventures arose in almost every Latin American country and were designated by such names as vanguardia. Out of this debate arose a criticalinquiry into the aesthetic values and social relationships shaping artistic practicein Latin America. During these years. arte nuevo. Jorge Luis Borges.

Colonida with its iconoclastictone and nationalist orientationprefigured Peru'sliteraryavant-gardesof the mid-1920s. an officially scripted exile. Edited by AbrahamValdelomar. In Paris."8In 1918 he left La Prensafor the more liberal El Tiempo. Mariategui spent most of his time in Europe in Italy. dispersed from their Zurich center. an enthusiasm that survived the latter's conversion to fascism. founder of the leftist group Clarte. he wrote critiques of the national scene. for the Berlinphase of dada and for the emerging experimental theater of Erwin Piscatorand BertoltBrecht. he arranged for Mariaitegui's European sojourn as an "informationagent" for Peru. particularlyhis emergent Marxism. This association kept Mariateguiin touch with developments in Frenchsurrealismeven after he returned to Peru. Marinettispeak. in which he supported Lima'semerging labor movement and opposed the reformist dictatorship of Augusto Leguia (1919-1930). As a result. dada leader TristanTzara'sencounters with Andre Breton and Phillippe Souppault were paving the way for the merger into surrealism. was Henri Barbusse. Mariategui'sintensified participationin Lima's radical university reformmovement had begun to blur the lines between his aesthetic and social concerns. Mariaitegui's Europeanexperience proved fundamental to the development of his political thought. This sojourn also vastly enriched his knowledge of contemporaryartistic movements and exposed him to the postwar avant-gardes at their peak. and moving toward socialism. Shortly after Mariateguiarrivedin Rome. Meanwhile. He also founded two journals of political commentary:the ephemeral Nuestraepoca(1918) and. stylized compositions) and heard musical experiments by FrancescoBalillaPratella.with whom he corre48 . editor of Der Sturm. however.9 He arrived in Paris at the time when dada founders. then a center for literaryand visual expressionism. where he was exposed to the visual avant-gardesat the 1920InternationalExposition in Venice of works by major painters and sculptors. Mariateguiattended performancesof plays by major modern dramatists and of futurist sintesi (brief. There Mariategui met HerwarthWalden.LatinAmerican Research Review he participatedin the aestheticist literarygroup that published the magand azine Colonida sent poetry to this review. Manifesto Futurist of In 1923Mariaitegui arrivedin Berlin. shortly after the new president assumed power. however. he distanced himself from what he later called his life as a "decadent. he read the majorfuturist manifestoes and heard futurist founder F. T. At the TeatroSperimentale degli Indipendenti. Mariategui's most significant Paris contact. He developed a strong admiration for the theater and narrativeof Pirandello. were regrouping there and in Berlin. La Razon(1919). with Cesar of the Technical Music. founded by former futurist Antonio Bragaglia in which many surrealistswere later drawn. Byzantine literary where savant.

and he also attended performances of expressionist drama. and in the pages of Amautafrom 1926 to 1930.14 Although Mariategui's support of self-designated vanguardist artists and activities transcended ideological affiliations.In Peru most of these publications appeared between 1926 and 1930. and ephemeral magazine in Peru and many throughout Spanish Americathat called themselves innovative or avant-garde.13He also directed generally favorable attention toward selected Hispanic vanguardists outside Peru.MARIATEGUITSAESTHETIC THOUGHT sponded after his return to Peru and whose work he published in Amauta. Peruvianist. Mariateguibecame acAt quainted with the satiricalpaintings of George Grosz. Mariaitegui predicted in 1924 that the playful dimension of the new art. When he returned to Limain 1923.1"The work of a small number of people. several of whom were involved in forming Peru'semerging leftist parties. Mariategui later observed approvingly that nowhere did the arts of the avant-gardes receive greater official encouragement than in the Soviet Union of Lunatcharsky's (1:114). era Mariategui'sItalian chronicles appeared in Lima's El Tiempo between 1920 and 1922. and film during this time. he undertook a serious analysis of the European avant-gardes in various forums: in his articles for Mundialand Variedades.12Mariaitegui encouraged these activities editorially in the pages of Amautaand also through personal correspondence. and futurist experiments. his assessment 49 . For this reason.He also visited Walden'sprivate galleries of contemporaryart. Mariategui began to follow developments in Russian postrevolutionaryvisual arts. the regular literarydiscussion in groups held in his home between 1924 and 1926. although he did not analyze their aesthetic positions with the same rigor to which he subjected the European movements. these magazines combined literary experiments in the vanguardist mode with Americanist."10 Berlin'sCafe Schoteldam. artist. literature. expressionist. coinciding with the life span of Amauta. but he perceived a potential source for Latin America's cultural development in vanguardism'scritical power and creative spirit (11:19). whom he praised for keeping the USSR open to cubist. 'He also became interested in the progressive culturalpolicies of Anatol Lunatcharsky. its cosmopolitan "pirouettes. an artist he continued to admire. which he later called one of the world's most "complete museums of modern culture. and a few of them addressed artistic topics such as futurism.Those published in Lima were edited by friends or acquaintanceswhom Mariateguiknew through political activities or the literarygatherings in his home. or indigenista cultural politics. He gave even stronger support to individual Peruvian artists whose work was highly innovative or influenced by the literary avant-gardes. he actively encouraged and supported every group. however. Although he canceled a projected trip to the Soviet Union."would not take root in the New World.

"In Mariategui's view. His exegesis of vanguardism was therefore directed toward discerning its coherent. despite their internecine differences and chaotic dempnstrations: "Elproceso del arte moderno es un proceso coherente. he perceived a serious purpose in its experiments. But the attack on bourgeois art. could be in intent as well as outcome either reactionary. el dadafsmo. these qualities had been announced by dada but had culminated in surrealism." he wrote. each proin vided a different "element. artfsticos. Mariaitegui asserted.cientificos. Mariateguibelieved that the avant-gardemovements were coherent. and integrative elements as well as the substance of its criticalpotential and "revolutionaryspirit.""value.15 Amauta's first issue cast its own vanguardism in similarlyeclectic terms: "Estudiaremostodos los grandes movimientos de renovacionpoliticos. and was motivated by a unifying and constructivelycriticalworldview. leading to an extreme aestheticist posture of art for art's sake or the "decadence" of mere "formal conquests. logico.Although each avant-gardetendency in isolation might not present a specific new formula for art. Through this analysis. "Los mas grandes artistas contemporaneos son. sin duda. de cosas serias" (6:69). constructive. Grosz. Breton. He also viewed these movements as constructive and integrative: "El cubismo. filosoficos. He wrote in 1924. the avant-gardesin their playful and iconoclasticmodes were the "quintessence" of the same declining bourgeois society whose artisticexpectations they sought to attack. or Huidobro. which was epitomized in his mind by some of his favorite artists like Mayakovsky.he viewed the avant-gardesas the most important aesthetic development of the postwar era."or "1principle" the elaborationof an integrated whole (6:19). organico."'16 Amauta's offerings-even after its commitment in 1928to more explicitly 50 . al mismo tiempo que acusan una crisis anuncian una reconstruccion"(6:19)." or revolutionary. and Vallejo. "Aunquetengan todo el aire de cosas grotescas.literarios. Mariategui suggested.He later submitted that because art was a barometerof the times. Mariategui was neither a "believer"in vanguardism nor a promoter of a specific aesthetic creed. Rather. el expresionismo. bajo su apariencia desordenada y anarquica" (6:63). Although Mariateguioccasionally defended the playful dimension of modern art and confessed personal delight in savoring its offerings like "bonbons" (12:109). los artistas de vanguardia" (6:63). posing a reconstructionof positive culturalvalues (6:18-22). "se trata. he graduallydeveloped a concept of an "authentic"or "comprehensive"vanguardism. en realidad.Review Research LatinAmerican of the pertinence of the European avant-gardes to Latin America provided a focal point for his inquiry into the relationship of art to social life.Their art constituted an original and eclectic synthesis of many vanguardist techniques. Todolo humano es Artistic material always made up a significant portion of nuestro. Unlike Marinetti.

which will be examined here: the mimetic connection. "Ilove nature but not its substitute. Rationalism. he was placing literature. he was employing the word procesoin its forensic sense. MARIATEGUI S CRITICAL READING OF THE AVANT-GARDES Art and Reality One unifying thread in the internationalavant-gardeproject was its attack on conventions of representation."reveals a good deal about his views on the artistic issues of his time. divisions and connections between artists and their public and between high art and popular culture. The avant-gardes' antimimetic stance was a legacy of the romantictraditionand turn-of-the-centurysymbolism. the unconscious.17 At this point. "El proceso de la literatura. and the metaphysical can be traced in part to the diverse antipositivist. he was still writing within the aestheticist tradition of the poete maudit. As he explained. under scrutiny and on trial. or art's relationship to reality. In contrast. For example. an antipathy toward narrative. futurists. But a certain anti-aestheticism was implicit even in the review's initial position. and surrealists alike affirmed that in rejecting representation. and by extension in his commentaries on the avant-gardes. they were turning toward reality. dadaists. affirmedin his 1914Non serviam manifesto that young poets should turn their backs on both nature and literary tradition to create an autonomous world. or art itself. and a loss of faith in the cognitive power and vitality of Cartesian discourse." The title of Mariaitegui's essay on Peruvian literature. but it differed from these movements in conception and intent. whose work bridged the avant-gardesof the Old Worldand the New. that critical process addressed three fundamental issues. but this attitude also constitutes one of his strongest ties to the avant-gardes. Underlying visual and verbal experiments was a rejection of referential mimesis. Chile's Vicente Huidobro. vitalist turn-of-thecentury philosophical currents that shaped his intellectual development. had served only to discredit the rationalist project with its "paradojica eficacia de conducir a la humanidad a la desconso51 . For Mariategui. the foundation of the postwar bourgeois world in decline. thus affirming that in his examination of Peruvian materials. which placed art on an equal footing with other intellectual activities as only one of several endeavors to be undertakenby Peru's"hombresnuevos.and the implicationsof vanguardismfor creatinga new Peru."wrote dada artist Hans Arp in opposing the artisticpracticesof naturalism. if not always in results.MARIATEGUITSAESTHETIC THOUGHT political ends.'8 The denigration in Mariaitegui's writings of the scientific and the rationalin favor of the intuitive. not away from it.

had relinquished in the modem era the remnants of its ritual or sacred function."20 described it as "one of the saddest roads that leads to everything.21 WalterBenjamin'slandmarkessay. Once liberated from the "trammelof verisimilitude. His vitalist declaration that art was a symptom of the "plentitude of life" (6:186)was comparablein spirit to Berlin dada founder RichardHulsenbeck's account of his simultaneous poems as nothing more than a "hurrah for life!"19Mariategui also praised the French surrealistsfor having paved the way for the "recovery of the superreal" (6:178)and suggested that the demise of artistic realism had actually facilitated knowledge of reality and energized man's relationship to the world.25also recognized that the avant-gardeswere attacking art as an institution. the multigeneric collage as form Merz of dada. As alternativesto the concept of an organic work of art. and favoring the visual.and the fantastic would reintegrateart with life: "Elarte se nutre de la vida y la vida se nutre del arte" (6:186). either directly by suppressing narrativein the visual arts or by emphasizing the visual and synthetic aspects of verbal art. He observed that ultramodern aesthetic experi52 .Review Research LatinAmerican lada conviccion de que la Razon no puede darle ningun camino" (3:23). This quest for unmediated experience was manifested in denigrating the verbal. "No more words." proclaimed TristanTzara. celebrated Declaring that the era of Descartes had ended. "The Workof Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. they created a new myth of the authenticity and originality of art. In reacting against aestheticism. particularlythe discursive.". vanguardistsattackedart'sdistance from everyday life. Mariaitegui the demise of the "mediocrepositivist edifice" (3:26)and characterized his own age as antirationalistand "shaken by the strong currentsof the irrational and the unconscious" (7:39).TristanTzaracharacterizedliterature while Breton as "a note of human imbecility to aid future professors.23Yet by setting the search for primaryexperience against the mediated quality of mimetic activity.24 the futurist sintesi. their decontextualized "works"parodied art's techniques and questioned its status. Internationalvanguardism blamed art's distortion of human experience not only on mimetic realismbut also on the institutionalization of art itself."22 demise of the aura of art was actually equivocal." artists would be free to launch themselves into the "conquest of new horizons" (6:24). who has been called the WalterBenjamin of Latin Americanletters. Agreeing with the surrealists."posited that the work of art. Mariategui. having gradually lost all claims to authenticity or uniqueness. an aura of immediacy rather than of distance. particularlyliterature. its distance But the avant-gardes' response to the from ordinary life or "aura. the irrational. Mariateguiaffirmedthat reinstatingthe fictitious. and the unexpected surrealist metaphor all sought the imminence of (in)sight.

as in the work of George Grosz. He perceived this predilection in the avant-gardes. he preferred art in which devices were not laid bare and the illusion of organicity was maintained. This preference can be detected in his review of Soviet writer G.MARIATEGUIIS AESTHETIC THOUGHT ments arose from a conception of art that was "absolutely diverse" (6:64)and that the dada reaction against contemporaryart'sintellectualism contained the "germs of a new aesthetic" (6:43).and it also permeated his own writing." he wished to see it "without literature"and without the "ambiguous and captious lens of erudition"(3:77-78).Mariateguiargued for art that would capture the "living essence" of reality (7:23) and praised works that contained the "smallest possible dose of literature" (7:110). He also valued visual and verbal satire. For example. 316). He censured writers whom he regarded as mere "artisansof the word" (1:172)while praising those like Vallejowho synthesized elements from symbolism. This contrast is reminiscent of avant-garderhetoric affirming that language served both to deform the more primary activity of thought and to mask what might be more directly experienced without it.But he was drawn far more toward the avant-gardeimpulse to recreateart'saura through a new idea of authenticity than toward the critique of aura implicit in recognized verbal gymnastics and decontextualized works. A sustained dichotomy emerged in Mariategui'sown discourse between art as distorting artifice and art as primary or "organic"engagement with life.and he suggested that contemporaryart'sobsession with form as an end in itself was ultimately a sign of sterility and decadence.In Mariategui'sopinion. dada. Asserting art's proximity to the authenticity of life. and surrealismbut also used a language divested of "all rhetoricalornament" (2:310. He asserted that in order to know Italy "naked and living.Nevertheless. Similarly. his observations on the Italian landscape linked visual experience with intensity and authenticity but traditional literary verbiage with artificialityand deceit. the desire to see the world differently was the motivation behind avant-garde innovations in the 53 . Mariaitegui the critiqueof aestheticism implicit in the avant-gardes'iconoclasm and the attack on rationalism underlying linguistic experiments. Mariateguicharacterizedvisual experience as more immediate than verbal. In his critique of verbal artifice. expressionism. Elsewhere Mariategui affirmed the inextricablerelationship between form and content (2:309)and conceded the criticalpower of "pure nonsense" in his review of the work of Peruvianwriter MartinAdan (11:155). Ognev's Diario de Kostia Riabtzev:"La literatura decadente y 'deshumanizada' nos ha habituado tanto al ruido de su tramoyaque esta obra en la que funcionan silenciosamente las ruedas y las poleas del artificio nos llega con la naturalidad de un mensaje directo de la vida" (7:110-11). Mariategui's writings on art revealed a fundamental prejudice against self-reflexivity.

and he suggested that synthetic principles had enriched verbal art as well. The avant-gardes' ideal of the new artist attacked the academic spirit of intellectual life as well as the often megalomaniacalaestheticism of the poete maudit. it was the activist impulse of this search for a new faith that linked his artistic agenda with that of the vanguardists who saw poetry as a "fabulous form of action. Accordingly. however.Latin American ResearchReview visual arts (6:62). This Sorelian concept of the contemporaryworld's need for a "greatfiction" to overcome postwar skepticism is fundamental to Mariategui'sidea of art. It must be kept in mind. He affirmed humanity's need for a metaphysical conception of life (3:24) and manifested his intellectual kinship with the surrealists who sought in their pursuit of the marvelous an intensification of human experience. divested of the rationalizationsof realism and the pretensions of aestheticism."26 Mariateguiwrote. that in Mariategui'sworldview. Mariategui'sassessment of the avant-gardes returned repeatedly to his conception of art's engagement with social life. the tone of this inquiry was often equivocal. Furthermore. Similarly. and for this reason. the best silent films were those that almost totally eliminated the verbiage of captions and relied instead on the immediacy of the image. restoring experiential immediacy to art and achieving a productive interaction between the real and the fictitious were desirable because of their implications for pragmatic and metaphysical human needs. "una gran ficcion que pueda ser su mito y su estrella" (6:24-25). and ren. quiere ser hoy accion.because he viewed his own era as revolutionaryand quixotic. TheArtist and the Public:Bridgingthe "Great Divide" Although the relationship of artists and intellectuals to the public they were addressing was called into question by the European avantgardes. the dramaticwork of Pirandello and the futurist sintesi had eliminated traditionally "literary" and "wordy" theater and created a more faithful apprehension of reality (3:71). Mariateguisuggested that a new art. the visionary artist who had "often seen God face to face. ought to satisfy "man'sneed for the infinite" (3:23)and encourage the development of a myth that might serve as an ideal. esto es combate" (3:17). For example.a work that Mariategui awarded his highest praise. mas que pensamiento. like Charlie Chaplin's TheCircus. in the synthetic poems of Argentine ultraista in the overpowering of words by image in the cinematographic techniques of Cendrars'sL'Or(6:114). He also commended the interactionof the visual and the verbal in the poetic art of PeruvianJose Maria EguOliverio Girondo. Thus the activity of art was inextricably intertwined with the conduct of human affairs. "Lavida."27But the new 54 .

He shared the rejection of the aestheticist artist and the disengaged intellectual. which it simultaneously assaulted with invectives and unintelligible works and courted in attempting to forge a new alliance. For example. however. joined with the occasional madness of a few delicious beings. a contemporary theorist of internationalvanguardism.29 "We spit on humanity.." street"32 As an incisive reader of the avant-gardes." what Marinetticalled "the proletariatof the gifted men in power. modem movements like expressionism and dada had promoted artists as latter-day jesters and minstrels in an attempt to level hierarchies between artist and public (6:65). But he concluded that the movement's mistake was or reinstituting the "artocracy. and more specifically. As alternatives to the traditional "hierophants"and "priests" of high art. whose intimate psychological upheavals had provided art with its center and its shape. they declared that their objective was to instill a "currentof confidence" in the audience. Mariategui also praised futurism for having contributed to the demolition of "the tedium of the academic. and the known. the most isolating feature of the aestheticist worldview was its overestimation of the individual poetic subject. Despite the fact that aestheticism persisted in some postwar art. transformationalunion yet between artists and their knowledgeable public: "the wisdom of crowds ." although he admired the subjectivityof writers like Andre Gide. Mariateguioften perceived these contradictions. but their attempts to bridge the great divide often exacerbated the breach. Andreas Huyssens. and he spoke disparagingly of the secessionist spirit of the "morbidart of turn-of-the-century literatiin whom a worn-out epoch is in decline" (3:160).MARIATEGUI S AESTHETIC THOUGHT model of the criticallyengaged artist was as ambiguous as the avantgardes' attitude toward the public. He sometimes classified such art as "decadent."31 Although the surrealists inherited the mystical legacy of the poete maudit. Marcel 55 . Mariategui believed that the attack upon cultural conservativism was the most salubrious feature of the avant-gardes.28The avant-gardes'critique of aestheticism unquestionably attacked such dichotomies.. they called for an art "capable of facing the breadth of the and affirmed that "poetrymust be understood by everyone." the dadaists declared. although the futurists provoked riots at their serate(evening demonstrations).In its overestimation of art and its "fondness for reclusion.30 Tzaralater envisioned a messianic." which had isolated artists and intellectuals from the mainstreamof Italian life (15:221)." the aestheticist ivory tower had removed art from effective social engagement. the old." According to Mariategui. recently coined the term "the great divide" to describe the "volatile"quality that has characterizedthe relationship between high art and mass culture since the mid-nineteenth century. to designate the kind of critical discourse that distinguishes between the two.

the one who has . He often grouped traditional artists and intellectuals into a single category. such exaggerated subjectivity contributed to overestimation of the artist and an inflated judgment of art's place in society (1:198) and absorbed creative energy that might otherwise be directed toward a positive engagement with life.The possibility of such revolutionarygoals implicit in the interest. self-reflexive tendency in contemporary art that he characterizedas "morbid. and Sergei Eissenin and suggested their work was a key to understanding their times."36 individual. he highly esteemed them.LatinAmerican Research Review Proust." "neurosis. The Technical Manifesto Futurism Literature of and urged artists to "destroy the I in literature. Mariategui also admired Freud. In his search for models for these "new men.""sickly.Berlin dadaist Hans Arp declared that man was "no longer to be the measure and the surrealistscampaigned against "the narcissistic of all things. avant-gardeproject was precisely what sustained Mariaitegui's the potential role for a new breed of artists or intellectuals particularly in bringing about change in Latin America. reactionagainst subjectivityconstiOn the face of it."35 dada linked the cult of the individual to the decline of Westerncivilization. and he agreed with the surrealists that exploring the unconscious might transformhuman experience. a cloistering. eaten up the universe."37 But in Mariaitegui's view. the avant-gardes'censure of subjectivism was prone to "relapses"into aestheticism: "Es frecuente la presencia de relajos de decadencia en el arte de vanguardia hasta cuando superando el subjetivismo.. disdaining the "bacillus of skepticism" that both groups had recently suffered and their status as malcontents in conflict with life and history (3:35)." Mariategui was intrigued by the avant-gardes'exploration of the relationship of art to politics."or "lassitude.. particularlythose whose divergent aesthetics or ideology made them impossible to categorize. se propone metas realmente revolucionarias"(6:21). He often wrote of the emergence in a modern revolutionary era of "new men" who would assume a more engaged role in contemporary events while maintaining a criticalstance.."a "voluptuous laxity.. He insisted that no great artist had been apolitical in his pas56 . que a veces lo enferma. His objection to psychologism concerned its obsession with the isolated "case"of the individual artist. Mariategui's tutes an essential point of contact with the avant-gardes in that the decentering of the individual consciousness was a significant element of the avant-gardeattack on both turn-of-the-centuryaestheticism and and the romantic tradition."In Mariategui'sopinion. Similarly. whom he credited with having articulatedin scientific discourse what poets had intuited through their art. Yet even while Mariaitegui aimed his most acerbic barbs at intellectuals and artists.

which was the function of political parties. .intellectualsas intellectuals could not engage in formulating a doctrinal line. sera para los po- bres no solo la conquista del pan. But he also emphasized that revolution was not merely a material enterprise: "La Revolucion .which was similar in intent to Amauta.Among artists of the avant-gardes. Waldo Frank. the proper role of intellectuals in such ventures was to contribute elements of "criticism. Mariategui'smodel for engaged intellectual critique was Henri Barbusse'speriodical Monde. he affirmed. critique and commitment. cultural life and politics often operated in separate domains. Mariateguibelieved that during eras of great social upheaval like his own. "Elpoder de creacion es uno solo" (12:85). art would necessarily function within its own domain: "a la revolucion. Girondo. just as it had in Mariategui'sown development. For Mariategui. these passionate rationalists and faithful skeptics included such figures as Der Sturm's Walden. del pensamiento y de todas las complacencias del espiritu"(1:172). Miguel de Unamuno. Vallejo. The futurists' error had occurred not in exploiting the political ideals of art but rather in imagining that a committee of artists could create a political doctrine (15:222). Barbusse. and Pedro Henriquez Urefia. intellectual. political.But even in service of the revolution. and Diego Rivera) were those who synthesized the technical virtuosity of a range of avant-garde styles while staying in touch with everyday experience. According to Mariategui. and critical activity.this connection between intellectual or culturalactivity and politics would naturally be strengthened in revolutionary periods. sino tambien la conquista de la belleza. del arte. los artistas y tecnicos le son mas uitiles y preciosos cuando mas artistas y tecnicos se mantienen" (3:336). But in the practicalworld. and debate" (7:46).Jose Ingenieros.The best artistic vanguardists (like Grosz. the true vanguardists or "new men" were those who not only sharpened the critical tools of their own disciplines through contact with the most innovative trends but also sought to overcome the distance those disciplines often imposed from ordinaryhuman affairs. . the surrealist followers of Andre Breton (who had neither fallen into the futurist trap of submitting politics to the "rulesand the tastes of art"nor confined their activities to "pure artistic speculation") exemplified the desired balance between aesthetic ideals and political commitment (6:47). Intellectual vanguardists were those who could somehow expose the fictive status of human myths and at the same time overcome their own skepticism and mitigate oppositions between mind and heart. and religious issues to bear on aesthetic.investigation. The political impact of art and intellectual activity was to 57 .MARIATEGUIIS AESTHETIC THOUGHT sions and that man's indivisible spirit inevitably brought moral. He wrote of art'srelationship to the Mexican revolution.Similarly.

Lunatcharsky. Puesto que debe combatir. But it is important to note that he held qualified views about the abilityof the mass public to comprehend artisticcreation or criteria. Su instinto lo desvia de la duda esteril.LatinAmerican Research Review be founded not on their practitioners'participationin politicalparties or elaborations of political doctrine but on their capacity to keep in touch through their work with ordinary life. however. Mariategui often spoke enviously of the ordinary person's capacity for commitment and action: El hombre iletrado no se preocupa de la relatividad de su mito." But in Mariaitegui's writings.act&ia. he saw the "unlettered man" as a "nonreflexive"believer. Progress had always been achieved by the imaginative few (3:45). and transformationalepochs required a creative and engaged elite. He praised Lunatcharskyfor preserving the "artisticpatrimony" of prerevolutionaryaristocraticand bourgeois culture as well as for his efforts to educate the general public about art. a team of "heroicand superior men" (3:52)charged with increasing the public's cultural awareness and encouraging the development of its aesthetic talents. mejor que el literato y que el filosofo. He suggested that the "common taste" had always rejected the work of great artists initially and that the general public. reflecting his mixed views on this subject.and his own discourse (like that of the avant-gardes)sometimes reinforced the idea of a moderate. one generally ill-equipped to discern the relativity of his own truths and under some circumstances prey to fascist both a cultural guardian of tradition and an ardent promoter of the artisticavant-gardes. divide. Puesto que debe actuar. No ambiciona mas que lo que puede y debe ambicionar todo hombre:cumplirbien su jornada (3:33). On the other hand. which possessed essentially classical tastes. The connection between artists or intellectuals and the ordinary public. Nada sabe de la relativainsignificanciade su esfuerzo en el tiempo y en el espacio. cree. whose function was both educational and creative and whose ability to effect change depended upon a healthy relationship with "the people. Pero generalmente encuentra. The need to be in touch with popular culture lay at the heart of Mariaitegui's conception of the new intellectual and artist. if not great. Puesto que debe creer. denied the status of art to the radically different spirit of modern works (6:64). could neither be forged through the political agenda of an assemblage of aesthetes (15:222)nor be founded on a naive return 58 . combate. and he affirmed that art was a symptom of the plentitude of a social order (1:113-14). Mariategui also rejected as illusion the underlying premise of the more politicized avant-gardes that an empowered proletariatcould immediately create its own art. "the people" constituted a multiform entity. su propio camino.was an exemplary member of such an elite. On the one hand. No le seria dable siquiera comprenderla.

mas que ningunos de sus estadistas.The common sources were to be found in the artist'sintuition of people's deeper concerns. Mayakovsky'spoetry expressed a "multitudinous faith" comparable to an epic narrative(1:176). in the "awareness of humanity" or the "experience or emotion of the world" (3:120). Mariategui'sgoals were more focused and less global. as evidenced by his frequent employment of organicist metaphors in characterizingthis relationship: "Ninguna literaturapuede vivir y crecer sin raices en una sociedad y en un pueblo vivientes" (6:159).In these declarations."While the work of a poet might express the emotions of a single person. France'spopulist literarymovement in the Zola tradition offered nothing for the revolutionary artist or critic: "Sobre la mesa de trabajodel critico revolucionario .while the greatness of Pirandello'swork rested in part on its having appropriatedthe life of the street: "Lacalle. cauce proceloso de la vida. filosofos. and they ultimately brought him (and his analyses of the avant-gardes)much closer to home. del placer." qualities he found in Chaplin's work. This kind of art would be simultaneously "rigorouslyaristocraticand democratic. La calle. But even if Chaplin'supheavals and antics might alleviate the sadness of the world. art could best serve its "hedonisticand liberating function" by incorporatingthe great divide's polarities. la tristeza del mundo. In his view.MARIATEGUI'S AESTHETIC THOUGHT to the mimetic recipe directing artists to "depict the people" (6:33). del dolor. o sea.Mariategui nevertheless considered a healthy connection with ordinary people to be the source for art's organicityand its link with life. con su sonrisa y su traza dolidas. las ansias de su pueblo y de su epoca. las inquietudes. industriales y artistas" (3:74). his wording favored the collective over the individual dimension of such constructs as "the people" or "humanity. "que no siente las agitaciones. la muchedumbre."Mariaitegui observed that Cesar Vallejo "siente todo el dolor humano... un libro de Joyce sera en todo instante un documento mas valioso que el de cualquierneo-Zola" (6:35). Mariategui'sbelief in the organicity of art and in the need for a creative elite suggests that he saw a more privileged role for artistic activity than did the more iconoclastic avant-gardes. o sea el vulgo."Mariategui wrote. the spirit of the revolutionaryepoch made the expression of shared pain more pertinent than the isolated emotional "case. del bien y del mal" (6:29). although certainly no less challenging.Yethis support for art that had descended from the ivory tower to the pains and pleasures of the street manifested the more egalitarian dimension of the avantgarde phenomenon. es un artista de sensibilidad mediocre. de comprension anemica"(15:222). Su pena no es personal" (2:313). Mariaiteguiwrote that "Chaplinalivia. "El artista. 59 . Y concurre a la miserable felicidad de los hombres.

and centralism)."which appeared in Mundialfrom 1925 to 1929. the land. Mariategui suggested that the accusation that vanguardismwas not Peruvianwas sim60 . Jose Sabogal. however. both autonomously discrete and inextricablylinked. and RicardoGuiraldes. regionalism. critical undertaking in the hands of Peru's "new men"-its engaged artists and intellectuals. public instruction.38 This connection has been explored here thus far by analyzing his criticalexegesis of avant-gardediscourse. Rivera. the European experience had provided the means for Latin America'sself-understanding and the stimulus for its best forms of artistic expression. Mariaitegui major path by which American and Peruvianartists were discovering their own worlds was through avant-garde experiments. Borges. "No hay salvacion para Indo-Americasin la ciencia y el pensamiento europeos u occidentales. particularlyits call for a more vital relationship between art and reality and for more engagement by artists or intellectuals in the tribulationsof the ordinary public.particularlyAPRA founder VictorRautl Haya de la Torreand his followers. peasants. critics have understandably wondered what possible connection Mariategui might have perceived between the experiments of the avant-gardes and the urgent materialneeds of Peru'sIndians. Mariateguiwas insisting on the importance of European intellectual and aesthetic trends for developing Latin American art and thought. To discern the relationship of these ideas to the specifics of the Peruvian situation. It was primarily these people that he was addressing (those he knew as well as those he hoped would emerge) in the title of his column "Peruanicemos al Peru. as exemplified in the works of Vallejo. Critic Gerardo Goloboff and others have correctly suggested that the avant-gardes provided a necessary link between Mariategui's social thought and his aesthetic ideas. and the materialand ideological terms of this enterprise were. in his view. the new peruanidad was to be created out of the interaction of the international and the modern with the autochthonous and the traditional. it is necessary to understand that Mariateguiviewed the ideological dimension of the projectof a new peruanidad as a creative. During an era of intense nationalist rhetoric. This stance earned him harsh criticism from some contemporaries. Considering the subject matter of the other six essays in the collection that includes "El proceso de la literatura"(economics. Girondo. and workers.LatinAmerican Research Review Creating New Peru a Avant-Garde Agenda: An Indigenous The bold objective of Mariategui'sintellectual and political project was to create a new Peru. Furthermore. Realizing this goal would require not only a new Peruvian economy and social structure but also a new idea of Peru and peruanidad. the Indian." he wrote in the preface to his Siete repeatedly affirmed that for the postwar genensayos(2:12). In Mariaitegui's opinion.

the new peruanidad was a "labor of creation" (2:254). and the iconoclastic spirit of international vanguardism could provide a model for this step. que no corresponde a una realidad constante y precisa.40 Mariategui affirmed that. By extension. He cautioned nevertheless that the ideas and techniques of the European avant-gardes must be appropriatedselectively. they should neither be aped uncriticallynor demagoguery be naively pressed into the service of "superamericanist" by those "provinciallypersuaded" of the originality and cultural authenticity of their "most mediocre rhapsodies" of European "isms" (12:75). Instead.Yet national feeling ought to be a fundamental element of any "positive and authentic vanguardism"(11:72). It had emerged with turn-of-the-centurypoetic movements (modernism in Spanish America and symbolism in Brazil) and had been superimposed on a long-standing great divide between learned and popular culture. This tension in Latin America between what Mikhail Bakhtin would call centripetal (or normative) and centrifugal (or divergent) linguistic forces39was at one time characterizedby Angel Rama as a continuing struggle persisting into modern times between the colonialist-shaped "lettered city" and the democratizing forces within it. he affirmed. and the national-and he characterized his own era as the beginning of Peru's cosmopolitan period. whose most importantwork had 61 . the cosmopolitan (allowing the influx of a variety of internationaltrends). un mito. Yet he believed that Manuel Gonzalez Prada. the concept of a national art or literature was still not "excessively concrete" (2:235).It was neither something fixed waiting to be discovered by Peruvian artists nor an autonomous essence independent of historical contingencies. He posited three stages in a nation's cultural development-the colonial. cientificamente determinable" (2:235). Creating the new peruanidad would first require a break with the literarymodels of the immediate past. una alegoria. with a few notable exceptions. Peruvian artistic and intellectual life was still tied to Spain by a "sickly umbilical cord" (2:24) and had extended colonialist relationships into the early twentieth century. lo mas nacional del Peru contemporaneo es el sentimiento de la nueva generacion" (11:72). "Lomas peruano. The nation. Mariategui'sconception of the relationshipbetween international vanguardism and the creation of the new peruanidad was shaped by his view of nationalism. The aestheticist concept of an autonomous artist was a fairly recent idea in Peru and LatinAmerica.a criticaland creative enterprise to be shaped by a healthy interaction with reality using tools selectively appropriated from the European avant-gardes. was itself a variety of fiction whose relationship to reality was not fixed: "una abstraccion.TS MARIATEGUI AESTHETIC THOUGHT ply a reactionaryresponse to its criticalspirit.

Academia Peruana de la Lengua." Yet Mariategui often criticized his generation's utopian Americanism.41 Mariateguiand most of Peru'sself-designated vanguardists therefore claimed Gonzalez Prada as a mentor for their attack on the attempt to reinstate colonialist cultural ideals represented by Lima's "futurist"generation."to divest themselves of the colonialist aristocracy. He insisted instead that there were no indications that whatever emerged from a declining Westernbourgeois culture would exclude Europe or spring forth spontaneously from New World soil. According to Mariaitegui. He believed that Jose Vasconcelos'sprophecy of an emerging Latin American cosmic race was too utopian and that the concept of Spanish America was a fashionable phantasm of intellectual and political rhetoric that had yet to assume a coherent shape.42An important member of this group was Jose de la Riva Aguero. before its avant-gardeshad become domesticated and had sought to restore aestheticist goals. whose Caracter la literatura Peruindede del pendiente (1905) occasioned Mariategui'sessay on literature as a direct response. went beyond the model they presented for ending cultural dependence. Riva Agiueroand his contemporaries had helped to institutionalize Peruvian culture and literatureby esand the tablishing the Instituto Historico del Peru. seek linguistic renewal through popular sources. accepting the cultural hegemony of Europe and North America. explore Peru'sindigenous traditions.Eliminatingcultural dependence would also requireabandoning the reactionaryarielista notion of Spanish America's Latin roots (3:148). the RevistaHistorica. had been the first to initiate change in recommending that Peruvian art break with Spain and the conservative Lima spirit. particularlyRivaAgiiero's thesis that advocated adhering to peninsular models.and to refuse at all costs to "make ourselves fiefs to Spain again" (12:117). Mariaiteguimore than once compared the initial role of Peruvian vanguardism to that of early Italian futurism. the Peruvian counterpart of Spain's Academia Real de la Lengua. laboring under a lassi62 . and search for new forms in other literarytraditions.LatinAmerican Research Review predated World War I by two decades. therefore. was to complete the "rupturewith the metropolis. In the case of Peru. however. and abandoning the concept of literaryAmer*icanism as mere exoticism. the New World seemed at times even more weary than the Old. Mariaiteguishared his contemporaries' attraction to Oswald Spengler'sNew Worldidealism and peppered his own assessment of postwar European culture with Spenglerian metaphors: a decadent civilization of "decrepitude"was facing its "twilight"and its "sunset. The value of the avant-gardes for creating a new peruanidad.43 The first task before Peru'sand Spanish America'savant-gardes. According to Mariategui. this approach and much of the content of these efforts represented a restoration of colonialist thinking.

Mariategui'shope was that such an enervated environment could draw energy from the vitalist and liberationist metaphors of vanguardism. While distinguishing indigenist art from indige63 . By casting off the skepticism of the Old World and eliminating all the "refuse" of bourgeois literature."In this process. la limitacion. . Girondo. which he seemed to believe had a salutary creative power."44Interestingly. which encouraged artists to be "superiorto all limitations"(11:79). "originality becomes an organicist metaphor referringnot so much to invention as to sources of life. a feature of European vanguardism sometimes manifested in the cultivation of primitivist art forms. But Mariategui also insisted on the need for an original spirit. Mariateguivoluntarily subscribed to the illusion of inauguration. Mariaiteguirecognized the fictive quality of vanguardism's metaphors of origin. the liberating power of art could be tapped by deploying technical innovations of the avantgardes. to some extent. "originality"was a fiction of a special kind. and the new peruanidad were cast in originist terms: his was the age of the "dawning spirit". he favored the intuitive.his generation was witnessing "'theworld in gestation" and the "germinationof the New World"and bringing about the "dawn" of Peruvian literature. as demonstrated by the work of Sabogal. In Peru. . As art critic Rosalind Krauss has pointed out. as when he referred to futurism's"verbalillusion of inaugurating all things" (11:118). el cansancio de los que no han hecho nada" (11:17-18). la anemia. artists could create works in which "artand the world recover their innocence" (12:107). This preference drew him toward the avant-gardes'antirationalistdimension. a beginning from ground zero. the unconscious. his support of aesthetic indigenismo was circumspect. the new art. a birth. His own characterizationsof his era. . in the aesthetic domain. an extension of the romantic tradition. and the metaphysical over the scientific and the rational. "conceived as a literal origin. within international vanguardism. But while Mariategui was unequivocally committed to creating a more equitable materiallife and a more just environment for Peru'sIndian population. and one more manifestation of cultural decadence. and Vallejo. the originating space that could help create a new peruanidad was to be found in part by recovering the culturalorigins that had been obscured by the colonialist experience. He insisted that revolutionariesin both politics and art must realize that history did not begin with them. Such exoticist views of Latin America had led to ridiculous demands that Peru's Parisian-based surrealist poet Cesar Moro produce work with indigenous themes.MARIATEGUI'S AESTHETIC THOUGHT tude that differed in kind from the self-reflexive skepticism of a declining West: "la pobreza. At the same time. As has been shown here. Mariategui suggested that. el provincialismo del ambiente. But Mariateguisuggested that this primitivistimpulse was often merely a form of exoticism.

had originated with the language of the street.and he parted company with indiwho suggested a total rejection of genist writers like Luis Valcaircel Western thought and a return to indigenous life. as well as its more universal "cosmic sentiment" (11:63-64). had kept in touch with its popular linguistic sources: Abelardo Gamarra (el Tunante) through his use of street language." he wrote. Ricardo Palma through his popular tone. the "native energy" of indigenous cultures could help artists elaborate the great myths of a new peruanidad (as Riverahad done with postrevolutionary Mexican art) and thus create an art more organicallyjoined to the realities of life in Peru.In keeping with the preference for "natural" language over verbal artifice and the belief that the art of his era should express a "multitudinous"experience.El fenomeno es mas instintivo y biologico que intelectual y teorico"(2:333). All classical national literatures."Si el indio ocupa el primer plano en la literaturay el arte peruanos. "no sera' seguramente por su interes literarioo plastico. Connections between Peruvian art and Peruvian experience were to be created by Peru's"new men" not only through the pursuit of myths linking artistic originality to origins but also through forms divested of literaryartificiality. The Peruvian writers who had contributedmost to the creationof a national literature were those who. sino porque las fuerzas nuevas y el impulso vital de la nacion tienden a reivindicarlo. de un Peru nuevo" (2:242). "El literato peruano. No ha podido ni ha deseado traducir el penoso trabajo de formacion de un Peru integral. Mariategui cautioned that this approach did not mean merely using the Indian as a picturesque type. was not for artists to bury themselves in tradition to extract lost emotions from some "obscuresubstratum"(2:310). he affirmed." Mariategui wrote. Rather.LatinAmerican Research Review nous art (which would be produced only when Indians themselves created it). Mariateguiproposed that Spanish America and Peru's literary vanguardists could bridge the divide that had traditionallyseparated them from everyday experience by employing vernacularlanguage. a creative myth for the new peruanidad. In keeping with his rejection of conventional realism. irrespective of the quality of their art. "no ha sabido nunca sentirse vinculado al pueblo. and Mariano Melgar for his "plebeian turns of phrase" and his "streetlikesyntax. Mariateguiproposed that Peru's new artists could acquire an original creative spirit from mestizo and indigenous cultures." Thus popular language both originated national literaturesand provided the perpetual source of literary innova64 . an originating"mood"could be gleaned by intuitively apprehending indigenous life and thought (2:328).By apprehending the "intimateindigenous truth.Instead. or character. But the purpose of artistic indigenismo. motif."artists would communicate the poetic and the metaphysical (not the historical) truths of that world. Mariateguicautioned.

But because Mariaitegui preferred art that maintained an aura of authenticity. and experience of ordinary people. Although an intensely political person concerned with the material sources of social problems. the relationship of artisticrepresentationto human experience and this connection'simplications for the aura and organicity of art. was simultaneously aristocratic in its vanguardism and democraticin its human aura of presence. fascinated by the hedonistic and liberating potential of human creative energy. In the spirit of the avantgardes. he believed that popular language was most effective when it emerged from an organic connection with its sources. contemporaryartists could draw closer to the social realities of Peru and create a "more fertile"human art." and its possible impact on social life. Thus Vallejo'suse of the "vernacularturn" was considered the most authentic because it was neither deliberatenor studied: "su poesia y su lenguaje emanan de su carne y su anima" (2:310). culture. he preferred works of art that.MARIATEGUITSAESTHETIC THOUGHT tion. CONCLUSION Mariategui'sassiduous analyses of the avant-gardes were germane to the development of his ideas about art and to his interrogation of art'sstatus as a culturalinstitution. maintained an illusion of organicity. second. like the work of Chaplin. Gonzalez Prada should be regarded as the initiator of Peruvianmodernity both because he had sought formal innovations in a range of internationalcurrents and because he had supported linguistic renewal through popular sources. He suggested that the best art. and intellectuals a privileged. The innovative potential of popular language had been exploited by even the most cosmopolitan of Spanish America'svanguardistpoets. but less self-isolating. artists. These investigations of vanguardism shaped his approach to several problems: first. and third. space. Mariaitegui's criticalproject placed art itself on trial but insisted on maintaining for art. Art's relationship to social reality ought 65 . and an autonomy of domain. its capacity to express and alleviate "the sorrow of the world. one of those most "saturated by Occidentalism and modernity" who frequently adopted the "prosody of the people" (2:244). What is most interesting about Mariaitegui's artistic criticism is his resistance to the facile or doctrinaire response to the global questions that he posed. among them Borges. notwithstanding technical experiment. Consequently.Through more direct contact with indigenous and popular languages and cultures. the potential of the new art's modes and spirit for revitalizing Peruvian and Latin American culture and forging a new sense of peruanidad in building a new Peru. the relationship between artistic or intellectual activity and the language. Although Mariaitegui valued the satirical and the parodic. he was also a great lover of art.

(Apr." Hispamerica nos. NOTES 1." he would have continued to eschew easy answers to hard questions." TEQSE de Psicologia Arte(1970):53-65. Critica literaria: Carlos Maridtegui (BuenosAires: Editorial JorgeAlvarez.and Antonio Pages Larraya." 1972):9-12. 1983):51-67. Diego Meseguer Textual.Poeticae ideologia JoseCarlosMaridtegui (Madrid:Jose Porrua Turanzas. 1 (1976):115-28. IFundamento: Revista Filosofia. their attitude should nevertheless remain edad de piedra y el nacionalismoliterario. tegui. PeterG. 7-45. Writing from the perspective of the third decade. si."Laestetica de Jose CarlosMariaG. no clausura del arte" (6:47-48)."Poeticay marxismoen Mariategui. M. as did those of other politically committed intellectuals of his time. nos.Ironically. shaken by "strongcurrents of the irrationaland the unconscious" (7:39). remaining steadfastly passionate in his reasonings and criticalin his faith. The last three issues of Amauta(numbers30-32) appeared after Mariategui's death. AguirreCardenas."Mariategui. "Ortegay Gasset y Mariateguifrente al arte nuevo. "JoseCarlosMariateguiy el realismoliterariomarxista." Escritura no. under the editorship of RicardoMartinezde la Torre. his introduction to Mariategui'sCorrespondencia (1915-1930)(Lima:BibliotecaAmauta.edited by the Centrode Documentaci6ny Estudios under the direction of RicardoLuna Vegas."Cuadernos y Hispanoamericanos.-Aug.and "Estetica. specifically the ideological project of creating a new 5-6 (Dec. JoseCarlosMaridtegui: vida e ideario. other important pieces include his excellent introductoryessay to the anthology of Mariategui'sliterary writings. 2. 115-27. Valencia(Madrid:Insula. But if artists and intellectuals in the revolutionary era of the 1920s were to abandon their aestheticist towers to face the demands of the times. But the legacy of Mariategui'swriting suggests that. It is difficult for the contemporary reader not to speculate about how Mariateguimight have responded to the problems of literatureand engagement in Latin America posed by subsequent developments in both history and art. hispanoamericana. in keeping with his own idea of Peru's"new men." in Homenaje Luis Leal: estudiossobreliteratura edited by Donald W. 1984).su concepci6n su del realismo (Santiago. Seminal work "JoseCarlos Mariategui" has been done by Antonio Melis. ElizabethGarrels.1983). Bleznick and Juan 0. 34-35 12. Mariaitegui viewed the twentieth century as one of cataclysmicchange.criticaliterariay politicaculturalen la obra de Jose Carlos Mariategui:apuntes. 1970). 1." Textual. Illan. whose "Medio siglo de vida de Jose Carlos Mariategui"appears in Mariategui la literatura y (125-35). 7 (June 1973):66-69. 66 . no. and the role of the most engaged artists or intellectuals in any social cause would always be to provoke debate and critique.Chile:Edicionesde la UniversidadTecnicadel Estado. pero. 325 (July 1977):149-54. his premature death spared him many events that would have continued to test his ideas and ideals. y a Earle. "Mariategui el realismomagico.Art. was "substantially and eternally heterodox" (6:64). Mariaiteguiaffirmed.and the collection of criticalessays entitled Mariategui la literatura y (Lima:BibliotecaAmauta. Other studies dealing with selected elements of Mariategui'sliterary thought include Eugenio Chang-Rodriguez. His views might have undergone change. Significantextensive studies of Mariategui's literarywork and views include Eugenio en Chang-Rodrfguez.YerkoMoretic. 1980). Jose 1969).LatinAmerican Research Review to be one of engaged autonomy: "Autonomia del arte. 1978).

MARIATEGUIIS AESTHETIC THOUGHT See. de la trama: literarias otrasconcomitancias MuchnikEdisobrevanguardias y (Barcelona: tores. vols. 4 of Theory andHistory Literature of (Minneapolis:Universityof Minnesota Press. Peruanicemos Peru(7th ed. 187-98. 1982.diepalismo. Amautain in Lima."LatinAmerican Vanguardismo: Chronology and Terminology. verdeamarelismo Brazil. and Sauil Yurkievich.Colo.).12-50.and Harry E. hombre 8. 6. 118-19 (Jan.vol. Maridtegui la y 109-23. Comprehensivecharacterizations LatinAmerica'savant-gardesinclude MerlinH. Contempordneos Mexico. La escenacontempordnea ed. 1986)." Iberoamericana nos.and vol. 1983. (Lima: BibliotecaAmauta.The most comprehensivestudies of his Europeanexperienceinclude de (Lima: EstuardoNuinez'sLaexperiencia europea JoseCarlos Marittegui otrosensayos y en EmpresaEditoraAmauta.). which have de been reprintedas Cartas Italia.). 1981). in 113. all English translationsare my own. and selected essays in his A traves 48. 3. 5. National and Marxism LatinAmerica: Carlos in Jose Mariategui's Thought Politics(Boulder.Klaxon Revista Antropofagia Brazil). 1979). 48. 1984). 15."Papelesde trabajo: notas sobre la vanguardia latinoamericana. 118-19 (Jan.Forcommentaryon Mariategui's see Antonio Melis's and Eugenio Chang-Rodriguez'swork and Gerardo Mario in y Goloboff. 10.In a few cases. 9. for example.Noe Jitrik. "Mariategui el problemaestetico literario.-June1982):227-54. 81. Vanden.-June1982):149-76. literatura. "Laescriturade vanguardia.Nelson Osorio.Theory theAvant-Garde. 7. as with Huidobro'screacionismo PeruvianAlbertoHidalgo'ssimplismo. 67 . KlausMuller-Bergh. Subsequent de 20 citationsfrom Mariategui's work will be documented directlyin the text accordingto volume and page numbers of the following editions of individual volumes of the Obrascompletas: 1." RevistaIberoamericana nos. 1984). 7 ensayosde vol.Las literarias Hispanoamerica en vanguardias (Rome:Bulzoni Editores. 106-7 (Jan.vol. in runrunismo Chile. Lynne Rienner.vol. El artistay la epoca(9th ed. El almamatinal ed.). 7.). 1975). Temas nuestraAmerica al (7th ed. "Parauna caracterizaci6n hist6ricadel vanguardismoliterario..vol. Obrascompletas JoseCarlosMariategui."Revista de Critica Literaria "El Latinoamericanano. first editions published between 1957and 1970). vol. 1980. de 1980.-June1982):351-66. and postumismo the DominicanRepublic).). 1954):"la influenciaque. in in euforismo.Correspondencia (1915-1930).vol.lose CarlosMaridtegui the Rise of ModernPeru(1890-1930)(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.vol. 2:331. 6. Revista Avance Havana." Iberoamericana nos.or with de in or de a specific ismo (agorismoand estridentismo Mexico. Peter Burger. For examinationsof Mariategui's unorthodox approach to politicalideology. Unless otherwise indicated. canas. The group and its aesthetic position were often identified either with the name of in in the magazine (MartinFierro Buenos Aires. 15 (firstsemester 1982):13-24." Luna Vegas. 1983. the in and ismowas the aesthetic projectof one individual.). 84-85). (12th de (8th intepretaci6n la realidad peruana (22nd popular ed. 4. Luis Mongui6'sLapoesia postmodernista peruana (Berkeley:University of CaliforniaPress. 1983. Hugo Verani. 12.). 2 vols.1986). 56. Signosy obras(6th ed. 1978) and Bruno Podesta'sMariategui Italia(Lima:BibliotecaAmauta. Jose CarlosMariategui.: lack of orthodoxyin the arts." Tradition andRenewal (Urbana: Universityof IllinoisPress. Cartasde Italia(5th ed. 1980. 8.-June1979): Revista 45. y la tecnica:contribuci6nal conocimientode corrientesvanguardistashispanoameriJulio Ortega. of in Forster. ejercieronMariateguiy Amauta el vanguardismoperuano fue tal que esta etapa de la literaturaperuanabien pudiera llamarseel 'ciclo'o el 'clima' de Amauta" (pp. see Jeand sus Chavarria. vol. The primary source on Mariategui'sEuropean experience is his own collection of cr6nicas and articles published in Lima'sEl Tiempo from 1920 to 1922. "Losavataresde vanguardia. 1984)."Revista Iberoamericana nos.volume 15 of the twenty-volume Obras de completas Jose CarlosMariategui (Lima: BibliotecaAmauta.and atalayismoin Puerto Rico. 3. 48. 118-19 (Jan. 2. especially the Revista introductorystudy. 11. 6 (9th ed. 1981.edited by Antonio Melis.). sin llegar a esos extremos de exito en en el proselitismo. ultrafsmoin Argentina. The translationwas taken from Vanden's National Marxism LatinAmerica. of translatedby MichaelShaw.

34. 1926). 15. well as EstuardoNnfiez.the four-issue series Trampolin-Hangar-rascacielos-Timonel1926-Mar."Revista Critica de Literaria Latinoamericana no.: WayneState University Press. and cultural politics of Peru's avant-gardeperiod.other Peruvianvanguardistmagazines include the eight issues of Poliedro (Aug. Notesfroma DadaDiary.the single issue of Hurra(1927). Manifesto Surrealism. translatedby Eugene Jolas in TheDadaPainters Poets. edited by BraulioArenas (Santiago:ZigZag. 20 (sec10.84. 17. 1978. For more detailed accounts of the literaryactivities."translated by Harry Zohn.D.. En AvantDada: History Dadaism A of (Hanover. Argentina'sOliverio Girondo and RicardoGuiraldes. 1920). 24. "JoseCarlosMariateguiy la recepci6n del as surrealismoen el Peru. of translatedby RichardSeavarand Helen R. chap." Literaria Latinoamericanano. 22. "Amauta Ph. El vanguardismo la poesiaperuana. in Manifestoesof Surrealism (Ann Arbor:Universityof MichiganPress.the two issues of Guerrilla (1926).LatinAmerican Research Review 11.edited in Arequipaby Antero PeraltaVasquez."'Amauta 1 (Sept. diss. ond semester 1984):89-100. the anti-philosopher.and the seven issues of Chirapu (Jan. edited by Armando Bazan. These writersincluded Spain'sRam6nG6mez de la Sernaand Guillermode la Torre. 23." nois.Carlos Oquendo de Amat (Cincometrosde poemas. 169. Other "complete"vanguardistsfor Mariateguiincluded Phillippe Souppault.1927). mester 1977):57-66. Garde. edited by BlancaLuz Brum Parra Riego. see the chapter "The Avant-Gardiste Workof Art. in and Motherwell.Mexico'sManuel Maples Arce and the estridentistas. 222. Foran analysis of the avant-gardes'attackon the notion of the organic work of art. "Mariategui. 15 (first semester 1982):77-88. de no. 13. little magazines. Mongui6. 12. 1927). Amauta la vany Revista Critica de guardia literaria. en "The Avant-Gardein Peru:LiteraryAesthetics and CulturalNationalism. edited by Hannah Arendt (New York: Shocken Books. 8. "Vanguardismo 3800metros:el caso del Boletfn Titikaka (Puno. XavierAbril. 16. Blaise Cendrars. 1926-1920). "Manifestoof mr.edited in Puno by brothers AlejandroPeraltaand GamalielChurata. Andre Breton. Peruvian writers who received Mariategui'ssupport were numerous: Jose Maria Eguren. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. 1951).and EmilioPetto Rutti.and Cesar Vallejo. 14. edited by Magda Portal (Oct. 5 (first se3. and Emilio Westphalen. 18.Schulz. 30. and 20.For accounts of Mariategui's Amauta's or support of vanguardistactivitiesin Peru. surrealistsCesar Moro. 1982):123-39.60-86.1928). "Presentaci6n 'Amauta."Revistade CriticaLiteraria Latinoamericana no." Revista Critica de Literaria Latinoamericana no. 1926):1. and Serafin Delmar. and Mexico'sJaime TorresBodet and the Contemporaneos associated with the review Contempordneo."Lapoesia vanguardistaen el Peru. See RobertoGonzalez Echevarria.The Voiceof the Masters:Writing Authority and in Modern LatinAmerican Literature (Austin:Universityof TexasPress. 3 of 8.chap. "Prospectodel grupo 'Los Zurdos' de Arequipa."Univera sity of Texas. 1969). aa.Alejanand dro Peralta(Ande. University of Illi(1926-1930):A CriticalExamination. in DadaPainters Poets. Obras completas Vicente de 2 Huidobro. Lane. 1973).and David Wise. and the chapter "Amauta and the Art of the 1920s"in David Wise." in Burger. whom he regardedas a link between modernismo vanguardism.MartinAdan (Lacasa de cart6n. 19.edited by CarlosOquendo de Amat. 25."Revista de CriticaLiteraria Latinoamericana no. translatedby RalphManheim. and edited by RobertMotherwell(New York: Wittenborn. 21.Mich.-July 1928).-Dec.36. 2 of my dissertation. ond semester 1984):101-11."translatedby Mary Ann Caws in Tristan Tzara: Approximate Man and OtherWritings (Detroit. in Illuminations."from the Seven Dada Manifestoes. vols. 1969). 1:653-54.. 223-24. MirkoLauer. see Wilfredo Kapsoli. 68 .1984. Theory the Avantof 55-82. In addition to Amauta. 1964). 1926). 20 (sec10. "Note on Poetry. 15 (first semester. 1985).DadaPainters Poets. del the thirty-fiveissues of the BoletinTitikaka (1926-1930). see MirlaAlcibiades.

1985). 1986). Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes. Rene Crevel. 43. GerardoGoloboff. N. Surrealism. "Mariategui el problemaestetico literario. 69 . Andreas Huyssens. Maridtegui la literatura. 28. Selected Writings Guillaume of Apollinaire (New York: New Directions. 35. 1981). The Futurist in Synthetic Theatre."Discoursein the Novel. "The SurrealistSituation of the Object. dedicated to Gonzalez Prada. Volume 1 of the Obrascompletas Josede la Riva Agiiero(Lima:Publicacionesdel de InstitutoRivaAguaero. edited by Lucy Lippard(EnglewoodCliffs. 29. 27. 1978).: Ediciones del Norte. of edited by Franklin Rosemont (New York: PathfinderPress. W. 27. 259. 42.included essays on his poetic work and his ideas. 1984). Manifestoes of 262.ThePoetAssassinated. Breton. TristanTzara."and "Notasacercadel idioma.H. "Dadaland. translatedby RogerShattuck. Mass Culture.Historyof Dada. in WhatIs Surrealism: Works AndreBreton of and OtherDocuments Surrealism. 1957). 169. edited by R." translatedby MichaelHolquistand Caryl Emerson. Angel Rama.Cardcter la literatura Peraindependiente de del (Lima.translatedby MaryAnn Caws. W. Dutton. Selected Writings.""Conferencia el Ateneo de Lima.109. 40.Mass. y 39. translationby Ana Balakian."from Le Surrealisme service la revoluau de tion.: Prentice-Hall.J. For Gonzalez Prada'sideas on language and literature.: MITPress." Dadason Art.1971). in Tristan and Tzara: Approximate Man. 36. 37. particularly 23-39." TheOriginality the in of and Avant-Garde OtherModernist Myths(Cambridge. vii-viii. See RosalindKrauss. translatedby R. "The Originalityof the Avant-Garde.see "Discursoen el Teatro Olimpo. Strauss. edited by MichaelHolquist (Austin:University of TexasPress. 87. in DadaPainters Poets."all in en Biblioteca PdginasLibres/ Horasde Lucha. 32. for example. in TheDialogic Imagination. 34. in Marinetti: Selected Writings. in Marinetti: Manifesto FuturistLiterature. "Resumed'une conference. Tristan Tzara: Approximate Man.MARIATEGUIIS AESTHETIC THOUGHT 26. Surrealism: Roadto theAbsolute The (New York: E." y Luna Vegas. translatedby Flint. Issue 16 of Amauta (July 1928). MikhailBakhtin. 116. 1956). La ciuidad letrada (Hanover. 157. Marinetti. 215. and Giroux. 33. 110. P. 1976). 272-73.Beyond Communism. Fillippo TommasoMarinetti. 128. Andre Breton. 1971). After the GreatDivide:Modernism. Flint (New York:Farrar. with Emilio Settimelli and Bruno Corra. "WhatIs Surrealism. Cappotelli. Marinetti: Selected Writings. 41. See. GuillaumeApollinaire.1905). in 38. See Jose de la RivaAgiuero. 139. translated by Ralph Manheim. "Note on Poetry. and 31. Technical of translatedby Flint." translatedby David Gascoyne. 1972). Flint and Arthur A."translatedby Mary Ann Caws."in Seavarand Lane. in N. 155.Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Seeds Bran. 44.edited by Luis Alberto Sanchez (Caracas: Ayacucho. Hans Arp.

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