The displacement of Alfonso Reyes to the periphery of “nuestro centenario” highlights some of the major questions concerning the Generation of 1927 and its impact on the modern appreciation of Góngora and the definition of gongorismo. Considering that Rubén Darío was widely perceived to be the origin of the modern cult of Góngora in Spanish, the stature of Alfonso Reyes as “primer gongorista de las nuevas generaciones” meant a new form of primacy that clearly pointed to the dominance of Latin America in the narrative of contemporary poetics. Thanks to Foulché, who had carefully made his own discovery of the Chacón manuscript coincide with the inaugural year of 1900, Reyes was widely heralded as leader of a new wave, the avant-garde of gongorismo, just as Rubén Darío before him was seen as leader of its first wave. As Miguel Artigas tells us: “En Rubén y por Rubén comenzó la adoración de los poetas modernos españoles por el viejo y denigrado Góngora” (Góngora y el gongorismo 6-7). I would like, then, to explore the anxiety that the Latin American origin of gongorismo caused in Spain in both its poetic and philological dimensions. I consider it key for understanding the highly opportunistic, theatrical and ephemeral battle for Góngora orchestrated in 1927 by the socalled Generation. Moreover, it provides a different angle from which to approach the ongoing polemics about its arbitrary membership, its contrived identity, or the most uncomfortable issues concerning the depth, originality and commitment of its gongorismo. I want to show that the attempt to turn Góngora’s commemoration into “nuestro centenario” was a reactionary intervention in literary history born of sheer nationalist pride, which achieved, on the one hand, the normalization of Góngora as a viable icon of Spanish national identity and, on the other, the appropriation of Modernism within the native legacy of gongorismo.To do this, we need to go back to the beginning.

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Copyright © 2013, Society for Renaissance & Baroque Hispanic Poetry. This article first appeared in Calíope: 18:2 (2013), 161-193.

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