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International Yearbook of Futurism Studies

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Nuevo Romanticismo and Futurism: Spanish Responses to Machine Culture

Lynn C. Purkey
Published Online: 2013-05-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/futur.2013.3.1.181


Marinetti and Italian Futurism received considerable public exposure in Spain during the 1910s and 1920s, yet, in the 1930s, the emphasis shifted towards Russian Futurism and its major representative, Vladimir Mayakovsky. In this essay, I shall examine the dialogue between the Spanish Left and Futurism and its shifts of emphasis from the 1920s to the 1930s, with a particular emphasis on the cultural phenomenon of Nuevo Romanticismo. Although many cultural representatives of the Spanish Left viewed Russian Futurism favourably, they showed a mixed response to the veneration of the machine, found in some of its practitioners. This essay examines some of the Spanish responses to Italian and Russian Futurism, mapping the reception of the latter in Spain and analysing aesthetic convergences and divergences. My main focus will be on three works from this period and their preoccupation with urbanity and mechanization: Cesar M. Arconada’s Urbe (1928), Jose Diaz Fernandez’s La Venus mecánica (1929) and Rafael Alberti’s Radio Sevilla (1938). The former embraces technophilia and a pro-urban stance, while echoing traditional lyric forms. Blending Futurism, Surrealism and Expressionism, La Venus mecánica represents the Spanish Avantgarde’s rejection of modernity’s mechanization. Similarly, Alberti’s agitprop play, Radio Sevilla, exhibits Expressionist and Surrealist tendencies, and antipathy towards industrialization, while exhibiting characteristics that resonate with Mayakovsky’s drama and Marinetti’s revival of Variety Theatre.

Keywords: : Nuevo Romanticismo; Cubo-Futurism; Expressionism; Surrealism; ultraismo; machine cult; the Big City; Rafael Alberti; Jose Diaz Fernandez; Cesar M. Arconada; Vladimir Mayakovsky

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Published Online: 2013-05-22

Published in Print: 2013-05-01

Citation Information: International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 181–208, ISSN (Online) 2192-029X, ISSN (Print) 2192-0281, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/futur.2013.3.1.181.

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