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La busqueda de la identidad argentina en Lugones Dmitrowicz, Gregory

Abstract

This study examines the literary works of the Argentine writer, Leopoldo Lugones (I874-I938), from an integral perspective. Although Lugones attained almost immediate recognition as one of the most outstanding and representative Argentine writers and published numerous books, he is known today primarily and almost exclusively for his contribution to the "modernist" movement in Argentina and Hispanic America. His poetry has not been duly considered within the context of the totality of his writings. The significance of the integral relationship that exists between his thought and his artistic expression has been neglected by his critics or at best only superficially viewed by them. This dissertation seeks to throw new light on the literary works of Leopoldo Lugones by examining the convergence of his thought and his art on a central issue identified in this study as "the quest for national identity in the writings of Leopoldo Lugones." The far-reaching effects produced by the cosmopolitan immigration and the positivist philosophy of progress, also of foreign origin, represented a contradictory view to Lugones's concept of the Argentine realities. His reaction is clearly evidenced by the intense and continuous search for an authentic national image for his country. The problem of national identity thus became one of the foremost preoccupations of his thought and a predominant theme of his writings. In order to counteract the European cultural influence in Argentina and the materialistic philosophy of non-Argentine origin, Lugones attempts to revive the "gaucho" legacy and to promote a departure from the prevailing materialistic interests by adopting a more meaningful system of values based on what he terms the principle of "spiritualization". Furthermore, the concept of "spiritualization" functions as an underlying theme in Lugones 's writings, securing the unity of the totality of his works. This study attempts to determine to what extent Lugones unfolds a systematic program corresponding to his ideal view of national identity, and how the author directs his aesthetic work to achieve his central objective. The first chapter of this thesis establishes the historical background of Argentina from the period of national emancipation (1810) to the generation of Leopoldo Lugones. The second chapter outlines a biographical profile of Lugones in an attempt to trace the personal traits that caracterize his literary creations. Chapters three and four examine respectively Lugones's concept of "spiritualization" and the author's concern with the cultural dimension of his native country. The fifth chapter approaches Lugones's treatment of national identity from the archetypal perspective, examining the author's deductions from the Greek myth of Prometheus, the national forefathers and the exemplary traits of the "gaucho". The sixth chapter investigates how the poetic writings of Lugones reflect the author's primary objective of the search for national identity. The analysis is centred on three principal areas: (1) the continuity of thought between the author's prose writings and his poetry, (2) the social function of aesthetics and (3) the role of poetry in the formation of a national language . The conclusion sums up the findings of this study, confirming that Lugones's literary creations represent a reflection of the objective formulated at the outset of his literary career. It may be restated, therefore, that the literary productions of Lugones confirm the author's intense commitment to the creation of a genuine national identity for Argentina.

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