Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Dance Of Death to Dean >> Darr


literary, dario, spanish, america, latin, madrid, latin-america, darios and argentina

DARR), Ruben, Nicaraguan poet: b. 1867; d. Leon, Nicaragua, 7 Feb. 1916. He was of mixed Indian and Spanish blood, and the blend ing of these two strains produced in him a literary temperament very different from that of Spanish writers born and educated in Spain. Dario had much in common with the Mexican Indian poets Altamirano and Ramirez and the novelist and dramatist Mateos, all three of whom were noted orators. In him the fervid aboriginal blood predominated over the Span ish; and in the days of his literary activity his became the voice of the native-born crying out "America for the Americans." At this time his vision was foreshortened to such an extent that, if he did not actually hate the people of non Latin tongue occupying the territory to the north of Spanish America, he found little place for them in the American policy of which he had made himself the mouthpiece. But he eventually came under the influence of Santos Chocano (q.v.), who had already begun to see with a far-reaching and clear vision the inter dependence of Saxon and Latin America. Dario was a man of wonderful adaptability, which enabled him to gather his experiences, his sentiments and his information from the most varied and incongruous sources, to weigh and judge them and to select from them, instinct ively, those that fitted into his program. Soon he began to blow on his trumpet almost as loudly as Santos Chocano had done, announcing himself as the herald of the natural unity of all the races living on the American continents. This was done in the face of a host of writers of lesser talent who could see nothing good in the United States or in the people of English tongue. Yet Dario never became the poetical champion of English-speaking America that Santos Chocano long has been. His was more of a borrowed sentiment, for his interests, edu cation and associations had always been and continued to remain Latin.

Leaving home quite early in his career Dario went to Argentina, where he attracted at tention through his daring literary innova tions, his poetical fervor, the beauty of his style and the vividness of his imagination. Soon his became a name conjure by in Argentina, where a very active school of younger writers gathered about the prophet of Americanism in literature and art, as Dario began to be called. All of Latin-America began to pay at tention to the new voice; Dario's poems began to appear in high class Spanish magazines in Madrid and translations of them in the periodi cals of Paris. The young poet was appointed Nicaraguan Minister to Madrid and he be came a sort of literary lion in the Spanish capi tal, where the younger literary set, especially the Latin-Americans resident in Europe, 'gath ered about him as they had done in Argentina. From Madrid Dario went to Paris, where he continued to be the literary leader of Latin America. As editor of La Revista Mundial he exercised a strong literary influence apart from his poetical efforts. Shortly after the outbreak

of the European War Dario, broken down in health, visited New York, where he read an

Although not 50 years old at the time of his death Dario had been, for a quarter of a century, the foremost literary figure in Latin-America. His genius was cosmopolitan, and his long residence in Argentina, Madrid and Paris largely accentuated this cosmopolitanism. Lit erary and scientific reciprocity between all the countries of the Western hemisphere he saw coming in the not distant future, and he was clear-sighted enough to see that Latin-America was destined to get more out of it than English speaking America. In Poe, Whitman, Long fellow and Hawthorne he recognized spirits kindred to those of Latin-America yet different; and from all of them he borrowed forms of metre and inspiration, and from them he learned to remodel the conventional Spanish rhythm and to give it new forms and greater life and variety. But though he carried the flag of reform yet few Spanish poets have been truer and more fervid interpreters of Latin life and culture than Dario, who had drunk deeply at the fountains of the two mothers of the Latin races.

Dario's first noted success, a volume composed of fervid verse and passionate prose, published in Valparaiso, Chile, in 1888, brought him into almost instant notice. Here he worships at the shrine of beauty and ele gance and he turns his back upon the ex cesses of the naturalistic school with all its crudeness and ugliness. He preached the beauty of language and the musical quality of words; and his strongly poetical and sensi tive nature enabled him to exemplify in his own work his new gospel, which the poets of Latin-America and not a few in Spain are still preaching. in which Dario attempts many innovations and preaches his literary ideals, became the text book of the younger literary Latin-American generation, who acknowledged him as their master. Among his other published works are