Merino’s introduction to his Vallejo anthology

This anthology is so extensive, one might as well assign the complete works. But it is an Austral, so not expensive, and well made unlike some of these. And the introduction is rather good, so perhaps it is something one should in fact have for classes … or give to one’s McNair scholar as a beginning text.

The introduction begins by invoking the beautiful poem Enereida: “habrá bulla triunfal en los Vacíos.” (This poem is already about making a joyful noise.)

It points out that Vallejo’s Huamachuco school was “arielista,” and quotes from Rodó’s essay El que vendrá, of which Vallejo learned there (cf. Acaba de pasar el que vendrá):

Entre tanto, en nuestro corazón y nuestro pensamiento hay muchas ansias a las que nadie ha dado forma, muchos estremecimientos cuya vibración no ha llegado aún a ningún labio, muchos dolores para los que el bálsamo nos es desconocido, muchas inquietudes para las que todavía no se ha inventado un nombre…

Merino thinks Vallejo is concerned about identidad nacional (and I add, this is so even if he, experimental, cannot be a national poet like Neruda). He even goes so far as to say Vallejo offers one of the most lucid visions of A.L. in his literary work. All of this, he says, has to do with the time in which C.V. started working, that consolidation of A.L. in the early 20th century. Industrialization stepping up with the advent of the world war. The Mexican revolution, the Russian one. His autoctonismo, different from Santos Chocano’s, is evident throughout HN, which has references to the Andean world and also Andean traces (here I overread Merino) in the language.

Temporality of being and the “yo no sé” mark all of Vallejo’s symbology, it is said; religious symbology is made non-divine. But Vallejo is a choral being, multiple, as Ortega has said (apud Flores, Aproximaciones, II: 41). So we have the heterogeneity of being and can perhaps consider connections to the otredad machadiana; we have the desire to discover a new order of the real; we have materiality of language as it mediates between consciousness and reality:

El mar, y una edición en pie,
en su única hoja el anverso
de cara al reverso. (T LXIX)

And Vallejo is dialectical, says Merino, unlike other vanguardistas. Represen-tación dialéctica del mundo. “Vallejo era eso: el principio del sueño, el final de la certeza. Nosotros tan sólo somos su sombra.” Yes, this is a good book for a student and I will give it to my student.




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