Vision and Revision of Spain: Alfonso Reyes in Madrid (1914-1924)
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Anthony Stanton (El Colegio de México)
My research focuses on the work of Mexican intellectual Alfonso Reyes (1889-1959) that was written while he was living in Spain. Reyes’ oeuvre – one of the most influential individual contributions to modern letters and the globalization of twentieth century Mexican literature – is influenced in particular by two historical events in the Western world: the Mexican Revolution and the First World War. In addition, it is closely connected to the works of the Spanish writers of the Generation of ‘98 and Generation of ‘14: Miguel de Unamuno, José Ortega y Gasset, “Azorin” (pseudonym of José Martínez Ruiz), Juan Ramón Jiménez, Ramón Serna, among others. Reyes strove to look critically at the Spanish tradition and to revive it with the ideas of European modernism. This made Reyes, like Unamuno and Ortega, one of the key figures of modernism for the intellectual community of Spanish-speaking nations. Due to his transatlantic experience, Reyes was able to continue his dialogue with other major European humanists and his correspondence with the German Hellenist Werner Jaeger. Finally, Reyes also critically explored in his work the topic of the philosophy of language and phenomenology. In 1944, the Mexican author came up with his own literary theory.