RHYTHM AND SILENCE: RUBÉN DARÍO’S SHAMANIST POETICS
Tapia Hernandez, E.A.
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This thesis focuses on an unexplored facet of the so-called “renewal of poetry” of the Hispanic fin de siècle by establishing Rubén Darío’s “shamanist poetics”. In the face of the aesthetic and philosophical decline of the Spanish language, the Nicaraguan bard renewed poetry. His endeavor consisted of a radical return to the mythical sources of his art, a rethinking and a re-experiencing of its most elemental virtues. In Darío’s poetic context, the “stress-accent” became an almost empty abstraction, signifying nothing in itself (Jitrik). As concept, it merely alluded to a phonetic feature of words. However, as this thesis argues, the “poetic-shamanist” (rhythmic) revolution of the stress-accent as it becomes the “soul” of language, “revived” the latter. In order to demonstrate Darío’s shamanist poetics, I will introduce his figure as poet as well as the contexts that led him to become a revolutionary of language (chapter one). Second, I will expose the belief systems that led Darío to come into contact with the shamanist tradition. Then, I will introduce shamanism itself as well as the poet’s appropriation of it (chapter two). Finally, this thesis aims to show evidence of Darío’s own shamanist poetics by close-reading some of his poems. This analysis elucidates how Darío, as a shaman-poet, displays his own “technique of ecstasy” (chapter three). As analytical tool, I apply Martin Heidegger’s thinking, who assists me to clarify how such technique works. By means of the ecstatic experience, the shaman-poet performs his task as “healer” of the soul, that is, as language healer or language renovator. In the introductory section, I establish Darío’s “shamanist poetics” on the grounds of George Steiner’s idea of “language revolution”. Then, I underscore the relevance of this thesis by alluding to the shaman as a figure able to cover the vacuum of knowledge in the Darian Hispanic scholarship on the metaphysical and existential dimensions of Darío’s poetry. Third, I justify the use of Heidegger as analytical tool.