El "nocturno" en la poesía mexicana moderna

  1. Puig Guisado, Jaime
Supervised by:
  1. María Rosa García Gutiérrez Director
  2. Alfonso García Morales Director

Defence university: Universidad de Sevilla

Fecha de defensa: 09 January 2024

Type: Thesis


The purpose of this research is to examine the emergence and evolution of the modern poetic subgenre known as the “nocturne” in Mexico. This study, spanning from the Porfiriato era to the end of the twentieth century, opens with an exploration of cultural and artistic expressions referencing the night. It traces its symbolic origins from the earliest literary works that have laid the groundwork for Western literature, including those of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Over the centuries, night has been conceived as a mythical time that encompasses both positive and negative connotations: a phenomenon frequently depicted through various motifs such as the sublime, the forbidden, or the marginal. Since the Romantic era, marked by modern secularization, poets have sought refuge in the night to seek solace in a space paradoxically associated with horror. They express their deep sorrows with heightened subjectivity. The Mexican Romantics, deeply influenced by the Independence movement, mirrored these circumstances in the surrounding natural world and even within the creative process of poetry, particularly among members of the Academy of Letran. A subsequent wave of Romanticism toned down the previous hyperbolic forms, adopting a more everyday language, exemplified by Manuel M. Flores, although themes like suicide persisted in Manuel Acuña's “Nocturno a Rosario”. The subsequent endeavors of fin-de-siècle symbolism, which foreshadowed an autonomous poetry characterized by its interaction with other art forms and internal textual connections, solidified the nocturne subgenre within Spanish-language literature. During the modernismo, José Juan Tablada’s contributions to the nocturne genre were noteworthy. Initially, Tablada embraced a decadent and transgressive aspect, later transitioning to Japanese and simultaneist forms that marked the shift towards the avant-garde. The latter continued to explore nocturnality, celebrating progress and adopting a revolutionary stance through Stridentism. In contrast, the Contemporáneos group, amidst the national debate of the 1930s, expressed discontent through uncertainties and dreamlike imagery in their works. In this context, Xavier Villaurrutia emerged as a prolific cultivator of the nocturne, delving into the secrets of death, and ultimately liberating his repressed homoerotic facet. Poets like Elías Nandino enriched this tradition of nocturnes, but it was Octavio Paz who expanded and connected it with surrealism, delving into the invisible and the mysterious. Paz's work can be seen as a culmination that engages with historical, cultural, and poetic roots. In summary, this research traverses Mexican poetry through the lens of the nocturne, a subgenre that focuses on values contrasting or complementing those traditionally associated with daylight. As a consequence, this historical-critical study attempts to review this tradition from a new perspective and focuses on the fundamental role that nocturnality has played in the shaping of texts in the different evolutions of modernity.