The movement solidified in Xalapa where the members were granted support from a nearby university. It is characterized by much of what other avant-garde movements were defined by—formal and linguistic experimentation. In the realm of visual arts, this included elements of Cubism, Dadaism, and Futurism.
Explore the Stridentism Movement
The work of the Mexican stridentism movement was politically engaged and experimental. The artists and writers tried new techniques and utilized uniques linguistic styles. Their work was driven by the ideals of the Mexican Revolution. The Revolution has been described as the, or one of the, defining moments in Mexican history.
Today, scholars credit Manuel Maples Arce with founding the movement in Mexico in 1921. It consisted of poets, journalists, musicians, photographers, playwrights, and more.
The Mexican Revolution and Stridentism
The Mexican Revolution began in 1910 and lasted for the next ten years until right before the stridentism movement was founded. The conflict was a civil war, but foreign powers like the United States had an interest in the outcome and were therefore influential. The conflict began as liberals, intellectuals, and thinkers around Mexico began to challenge Porfirio Díaz’s long reign (he had been in power since 1877) in violation of the Mexican Constitution of 1857.
Other causes of the Revolution included the general economic inequality within the country, the dictatorial institutions created and run by Díaz, and the unequal distribution of land.
After the Revolution was over, the country began a period of modernization and change. Manuel Maples Arce’s manifesto, Comprimido estridentista, released in 1921, called on young artists to experiment with their work and break out of what was previously declared as suitable art.
- Manuel Maples Arce
- Germán List Arzubibe
- Salvador Gallardo
- Carlos Noriega Hope
- Arqueles Vela
Examples of Stridentism Literature
“Santa” (Film Script) by Carlos Noriega Hope
“Santa” is considered the first Mexican sound film. It was released in March 1932 and utilized a script written by Carlos Noriega Hope. The story follows a young Mexican girl who is seduced by and then abandoned by a soldier. She is rejected by her family and is forced to seek out shelter wherever she can find it. She passes away at the end of the film in the care of a blind piano player, Hipólito.
He is also remembered for his story stories, published in a collection titled Las experiencias de Miss Patsy.
Las experiencias de Miss Patsy y otros cuentos by Carlos Noriega Hope
Carlos Noriega Hope is also known for his collection of stories, Las experiencias de Miss Patsy y otros cuentos, which translates as The Experiences of Miss Patsy and Other Stories. One of the first sections of the collection, Los nuevos conquistadores, begins with this excerpt:
Conocía ya Los Ángeles. Durante ocho días viajó alucinado por el país que va desde las olas mansas de Long Beach hasta los pinos enhiestos de Mount Wilson. En las aguas del Pacífico sumergió su cuerpo para sentir la caricia de Oriente y en las alturas recordó aquellos versos del divino Rubén:
Here, the speaker begins by discussing the city of Los Angeles, one of the familiar settings in this collection. The speaker describes walking through the city, seeing Long Beach, pine trees, and the waters of the Pacific. As the excerpt continues, the speaker describes swimming and feeling inspired by the verses of Rubén, which he then quotes:
Oh, pinos antiguos que agitara el viento
De las epopeyas, amados del sol!
Oh, líricos pinos del Renacimiento
Y de los jardines del suelo español!
Urbe by Manuel Maples Arce
The poem is divided into five cantos about the modern city, inspired by the changes that Mexico was undergoing after the end of the Mexican Revolution. The first part of the poem, in Spanish, begins with these lines:
He aquí mi poema
a la nueva ciudad.
Oh ciudad toda tensa
de cables y de esfuerzos,
de motores y de alas.
In English, the first lines read:
Here is my poem
brutal and manifold
of the new city,
Oh city all tense
with cables and exertions
with motors and wings.
This literary movement is important as the authors associated with it captured a very specific time period in Mexican history, post-Revolution. The movement was inspired by changing attitudes towards art, politics, and culture.
Stridentism began in 1921 with Manuel Maples Arce’s manifesto, Comprimido estridentista. It gained more steam in the following years before disappearing, only to be “discovered” in the 1970s.
The term avant-garde refers to literature, art, and other forms of expression that seek to push the boundaries of what is considered “art” or “literature.” These movements, styles, and individual works are experimental, engaged with the social climate of the time, and were often considered radical.
Related Literary Terms
- Arte Mayor: a term used to describe a type of Spanish verse. It uses lines ranging in length between eight and fourteen syllables. Some sources describe arte major poetry as only that which has more than nine syllables per line.
- Dadaism: art and literary movement in Europe during the 20th century. It was a reaction to the senselessness of war during the early 1900s.
- Futurism: an avant-garde movement that originated in Italy in the 20th century. It was part of the broader Futurist art movement.
- Literary Modernism: originated in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It was mainly focused in Europe and North America.
- Postmodernism: a literary movement that began in the late-20th century. It was a reaction to modernism after World War II.
- Expressionism: a literary and artistic reaction against realism and naturalism. The writers were interested in emotion and psychology.