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UBC Theses and Dissertations

De la república de las letras a la república oriental del Uruguay : el neoclasicismo en la formación del estado y el sujeto nacionales (1811-1837) Karamán Chaparenco, Julio Omar


This dissertation examines the role played by Neoclassicism in the nation-building process in Uruguay during the first third of the 19th century (1811-1837). Strongly influenced by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, literary Neoclassicism celebrated the dreams of modernity of the ruling class and its intellectuals. Sophisticated literary texts, political materials and propaganda loaded with references to the Graeco-Roman culture appealed to the most educated individuals to enlist them in the ranks of the revolution, first, and later as active members of the civil society. One of those Neoclassic writers, Bartolomé Hidalgo, also developed a different poetic language, the Gaucho genre, to include illiterate rural masses into the modernity project. My study investigates the way literary Neoclassicism worked on pre-existing cultural materials to create a set of symbols, references and role models both for the citizen and the state. My working hypothesis suggests that being Neoclassicism a closed, strictly organized system, it was very well suited to express concepts like institutional order, political stability and reign of the law to set the foundations of the state. Gaucho genre, on the other hand, operated as a counterbalance to those perspectives, both in terms of its literary language as well as in its criticism to the task of inserting a bourgeois modernity into a pre-capitalistic society. The dialogue and tension between Neoclassicism and Gaucho genre can therefore be read as the confrontation of two different projects related to the role of the learned and the popular. The dissertation is divided in four chapters. Chapter 1, “Los letrados, gestores de sueños”, explores the influence of European thought in the building of the state as well as the role of the learned. Chapter 2, “El estado y la institucionalidad”, studies the use of Graeco-Roman references in the writing of the liberal agenda and how it was contested by the Gaucho literature. Chapter 3, “La construcciôn del sujeto republicano”, discusses the way the inclusion/exclusion of individuals as citizens was processed. Chapter 4, “El legado del Neoclasicismo fundacional”, links public spaces and popular demonstrations to show the dialogue between Neoclassicism and popular culture in contemporary politics.

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