Mexico Early Literature


Among the indigenous cultures that flourished in “New Spain” (much larger than today’s Mexico) in the pre-Hispanic era, two clearly emerge also for their literary contributions: the Nahuatl, in the center, and the Maya, from Yucatán to El Salvador. Unfortunately, the texts that survived the Spanish domination are not many; but those gradually brought to light by contemporary scholars (Garibay, León Portilla, Mediz Bolío, Recinos, etc.), as well as those partially preserved by the first Spanish missionaries (Sahagún, Ximénez, etc.), document the existence of a rich poetic (epic-mythological-cosmogonic, lyric, dramatic) and prose (historical, celebratory, narrative) literature, both Nahuatl and Mayan, as well as more evolved and characterized poets such as King Netzahualcoyotl. Height and density of mythical-religious thought and energetic capacity for metaphorization and stylistic transfiguration characterize this poem, capable of narrating grandiose myths such as that of Quetzalcóatl, the famous civilizing “feathered serpent”, of singing the beauties of nature (with particular sensitivity for plants, flowers, splendid tropical birds), to express regret for the brevity of life and the inevitability of death, and to celebrate the exploits of heroes and gods. Closely linked to rituals, music and dance, the poem is divided into a surprising variety of expressions: from the pure short elegy to the complex cosmogonic and theogonic poem, such as the extraordinary Popol Vuh of the Maya, to the dramatic ” battle ” (Rabinal-Achí). The prose mainly presents annals and stories (particularly pathetic those that narrate, on the side of the vanquished, the drama of the European conquest) and didactic-moral narratives or mere amusement, sometimes not without humorous variegations. Overall, a vast and original literary heritage, which even Mexico today considers its own and, despite the cruel amputations suffered, alive and fruitful.

Mexico Early Literature


After the violent and often brutal impact of the military conquest, Spain also brought its own European and Renaissance culture to Mexico: missionaries, founders of colleges such as that of Tlatelolco for young indigenous people, humanists such as Cervantes de Salazar (ca. 1514-1575) and theologians, historians, chroniclers, teachers, enlightened bishops such as Zumárraga and Vasco de Quiroga, poets such as Cetina (ca. 1520-1557), Cueva (ca. 1543-1610) and Balbuena (1568-1627), the first singer of the beauties of the new world in the poem La grandeza mexicana, viceroy like Antonio de Mendoza, aware of the need for cultural integration, and printers (first the Lombard Juan Pablos or rather Paoli), who in the sec. XVI printed over 170 works of linguistics, philosophy, science and literature. With its university, founded in 1551, the numerous colleges, the many initiatives (frequent poetry competitions, theatrical performances, etc.), According to commit4fitness,Mexico became and remained for a long time the most important cultural center in America; and Creole and mestizo writers soon arose, with an ever clearer awareness of their Americanness. Eminent and original, among all, were the playwrights Fernán Gonzáles da Eslava (b. 1535) and J. Ruiz de Alarcón (1581-1639), who rivaled Lope de Vega; the prose writer, scientist and poet C. de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645-1700), the poets M. Bocanegra (1612-1668) and sister Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648-1695), whose poem Primer Sueño (not to mention the splendid non-fiction prose Respuesta a la muy ilustre Sor Filotea de la Cruz and of the sacred and profane theater) remains one of the capital texts of the Hispanic Baroque.


Critical and scientific prose developed in the eighteenth century, with the Jesuits Clavijero (1731-1787), Alegre (17291788) and Abad (1727-1779) and the poligraphs Alzate (1729-1790) and Eguiara (1696-1763), the neoclassical poetry, with Manuel de Navarrete (1768-1809), and journalism (the first newspaper, Diario de México, 1805-17), as well as, right at the end of the colonial regime, the tragic theater (Ochoa, 1783-1833), the prose of costumes (Castro, 1730-1814; Sartorio, 1746-1829), the autobiographical controversy (Servando T. de Mier, 1763-1827) and finally the narrative, thanks to J. Fernández de Lizardi (1776-1827). Romanticism, which coincided with the country’s political independence, brought with it a vast flowering of lyric poetry (Sánchez de Tagle, 1782-1849; Quintana Roo, 1787-1851; Ortega, 1793-1849; Rodríguez Galván, 1816-1842; J. Pesado, 1801-1861; Manuel Carpio, 1791-1860; JM Roa Bárcena, 1827-1908; M. Flores, 1840-1885; M. Acuña 1849-1873), which lasted until the threshold of the century. XX with José Peón y Contreras (1843-1907) and Juan de Dios Peza (1852-1910); of theater (Fernando Calderón, 1809-1845; Rodríguez Galván, 1816-1842) and of narrative and critical prose (Ramírez, 1818-1879; Altamirano, 1834-1893, author of Clemencia, El Zarco and other notable novels); in addition to an abundant publication of publications and political controversy, historical studies on the troubled events of the country, etc. Between 1880 and 1910, during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, the studies of sociology and realistic and naturalistic narrative developed under the influence of positivism, with important texts by E. Rabasa (1856-1930), J. López Portillo (1850-1923), R. Delgado (1853-1914), H. Frías (1870-1925), F. Gamboa (1864-1939), who was also a playwright and publicist, C. Gonzáles Peña (1885-1955) and by the polygraph and educator J. Sierra (1848-1912). Modernism, which opened new avenues for opera, in the wake of European symbolism, finally had original representatives in Mexico as well, such as M. Gutiérrez Nájera (1859-1895), S. Díaz Mirón (1853-1928), MJ Othón (1858-1906) and, above all, A. Nervo (1870-1919), LG Urbina (1864-1934), JJ Tablada (1871-1945) and E. González Martínez (1871-1952), recognized masters of the avant-garde of the century. XX.