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Rubén Darío

Darío, Rubén (rōbĕnˈ därēˈō) [key], 1867–1916, Nicaraguan poet, originally named Félix Rubén García Sarmiento. A child prodigy, he gained a thorough knowledge of Spanish and French cultures through reading; it was then widened during many years abroad in both South America and Europe as diplomatic representative of various Spanish American countries. He was particularly influenced by the writings of the French Parnassians. Darío was the leader and founder of modernismo, emphasizing perfection of form, musical expression, and an ineffable sadness related to that of French symbolist poetry. His influence on contemporary Spanish and Spanish American writers was enormous. Azul [blue], written in 1888 when he was 21, revolutionized the whole of Spanish syntax and metrics; it was followed by Prosas profanas (1896), a departure from pure form and content to grace, beauty, and exoticism. Cantos de vida y esperanza [songs of life and hope] (1905) is concerned with the future of Spanish America. El canto errante [the wandering song] (1907) shows Darío's elegance strengthened by considerable power and technical mastery. His profound work "Poema del otoño" [autumn's poem] (1910) is often considered his masterpiece.

See his Selected Poems (tr. 1965); biography by C. D. Watland (1965); studies by C. Jrade (1983), P. Pearsall (1984), and S. Ingwersen (1986).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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