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Decadent ModernityCivilisation and 'Latinidad' in Spanish America, 1880-1920$
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Michela Coletta

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941312

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941312.001.0001

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Mythologizing the internal Other: rural tradition as antidote to modern civilization

Mythologizing the internal Other: rural tradition as antidote to modern civilization

(p.57) 2 Mythologizing the internal Other: rural tradition as antidote to modern civilization
Decadent Modernity

Michela Coletta

Liverpool University Press

The emergence of literary and cultural criollismo has usually been looked at in the context of early-twentieth-century nationalism. While these analyses have contributed to a better understanding of the extent to which early-twentieth-century responses to immigration shaped the political debate over the following decades, they seem to underestimate the pervasiveness of civilisational constructs at the turn of the century, thus failing to fully appreciate the specific contexts in which the first coherent attempts to come to terms with ideas of the modern were made. Breaking away from previous interpretations that look at the early-twentieth-century discourse about the nation almost exclusively in terms of a reaction to the phenomenon of mass immigration, this chapter focuses on the turn-of-the-century period and shows that, both in the River Plate and in Chile, discourses of the autochthonous primarily originated in response to the hegemonic outward-looking idea of modern civilisation. The chapter analyses the shift from the idea of a barbaric past to that of rural tradition. The countryside was used to counterbalance the refined and decadent urban civilisation based on European cultural models.

Keywords:   Autochthonous, Criollo, Criollismo, Nationalism, Gaucho, Roto, National mythology, Invented tradition, Rural tradition, Spencerianism

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