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Title: Poetry and ideology : the effect of the politics of the interwar years and the Spanish Civil War on the poetry of César Vallejo
Author: Lambie, George Robert
ISNI:       0000 0001 3604 3836
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1987
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My initial interest in the work of the Peruvian poet César Vallejo began in 1981 during the final year of a Degree in Comparative American Studies at the University of Warwick. This interest was further stimulated in the following year while I was studying for a Master's Degree in Latin American History and Literature at the University of Liverpool. It was here under the supervision of Dr. James Higgins that I began to focus specifically on Vallejo's last two collections of poetry, Poemas humanos and España, aparta de mi este céliz. both of which were written during his years in Europe from 1923-1938. Working in this area for two terms I became aware of the fact that while there are many excellent studies of Vallejo's Poemas humanos, as indeed is also the case with his first two books which were published in Peru, Los heraldos negros and Trilce. the same was not true of his final book on the Spanish Civil War, España, aparta de mi este cáliz, which has received disproportionately less critical attention than his other works. However, most writers would agree that the poems that Vallejo includes in this final collection are some of his finest. Consequently, it occurred to me that this imbalance was not simply a reflection of the aesthetic preference of Vallejo's critics, but rather an indication that those methods of investigation which had been successful when applied to the main body of Vallejo's poetry were wanting when it came to the study of his Spain poems. The source of this problem I surmised, lay in the fact that in contrast to most of Vallejo's earlier work, these poems represent a conscious attempt by the poet to incorporate political ideas into his art: a process which had apparently not been fully appreciated 1/ his critics. On the basis of this realization it was decided that a new approach to Vallejo's Spain poems might be explored, which would depart from existing methods of analysis which have tended to focus on textual interpretations of these poems, without taking adequate account of external influences on the formation of their content. Central to the formulation of such an approach would be an extensive study of Vallejo's intellectual development during his years in Europe aa indicated in his prose writings, and especially the articles which he wrote for the Peruvian press as a Paris based correspondent between 1923-1931; this being also the period which coincided with his first years of political commitment. Furthermore, an attempt would be made to place Vallejo's politicization within its contemporary historical context, so that the significance of his ideas and his poetry could be measured against the wider artistic and intellectual trends of the interwar years. The above proposals were duly submitted to Dr. James Higgins and Professor Clifford Smith at the University of Liverpool, and Professor Alistair Hennessy at the University of Warwick. Thanks to their recommendations to the Department of Education and Science I was granted an award to undertake two years full-time research. After spending a year examining the works of Vallejo's critics and all the available material in this country which deals with his years in Europe, I applied to the DES for financial assistance to make a research visit to Peru, where I hoped to gain access to the prose writings which Vallejo produced during the interwar years. Thanks to the support of the DES I was able to spend two months in Peru. During this period I worked mainly in the Biblioteca Nacional in Lima, where most of the articles which Vallejo wrote in Europe for the Peruvian press are kept. While I was in Lima I also received invaluable advice and assistance from a number of Vallejo scholars, and in particular Professor David Sobrevilla and Professor Willy Pinto Gamboa, of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Indeed, Professor Sobrevilla must be credited with making a substantial contribution towards the research for this thesis, by kindly agreeing to lend me a draft copy of Jorge Puccinelli's unpublished compilation of Vallejo's European journalism entitled Deade Europe. Even though this work does not include all of the articles which Vallejo had published in Peruvian journals while he was a foreign correspondent, having access to this earlier research saved several additional weeks of study in the Biblioteca Nacional, and gave me sufficient time to visit Trujillo where some of the articles not kept in Lima, or included in Deade Europe, are to be found. In Trujillo I worked at the Biblioteca Central of the Univeraidad Nacional de Trujillo which holds a complete collection of the regional newspaper El Norte to which Vallejo submitted numerous articles during the mid 1920s. On returning to England I embarked on a detailed study of Vallejo's intellectual formation in Europe as represented in his journalism, while at the same time attempting to link this process with the wider political, social, and intellectual developments of the period. Hopefully this research has resulted in a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the development of Vallejo's intellectual and political thinking during his years in Europe than has been recognised in previous studies of his life and works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Department of Education and Science
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures