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Signed by Nicaraguan poet José Coronel Urtecho (1906–1994) and eight other writers, including Joaquín Pasos Argüello (1914–1947) and Pablo Antonio Cuadra (1912–2002), this document is the first manifesto of the Anti-Academia Nicaragüense literary group. Responding to what they deem as the formalist and sterile qualities of the Academia Nicaragüense de la Lengua, the anti-academistas call for the creation of an avant-garde literary movement that will give a fresh perspective to issues concerning the nation. This fierce, youthful revolutionary movement should be founded on two pillars: the investigation of the “pure”—that is, indigenous and vernacular national tradition, on the one hand—and the creation of the new national literature, on the other. The group also outlines a wide range of militant and propagandistic strategies that will help them accomplish their goals.
This document is the first manifesto of the Anti-Academia Nicaragüense literary group, recognized for launching the avant-garde movement in Nicaragua. It was first published in El Diario Nicaraguense [(Granada), year 32 (April 26, 1931)]. The notion of concentrating one’s artistic energies into what the nation produced and what it had to offer, which this proclamation extols, was in tune with leftist political thought in Nicaragua in the 1930s. Indeed, the militant rhetoric of war and revolution used by José Coronel Urtecho (1906–1994) and the other authors evokes the violent struggle sustained between 1927 and 1933 by guerrilla general Augusto César Sandino (1895–1934) and the U.S. Marines (the U.S. occupied Nicaragua from 1909 to 1933). This young generation of writers was also responding to the end of rubendarismo—the Spanish-American modernist literary movement initiated by Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (1867–1916) at the end of the nineteenth century. In fact, with this manifesto, the newly formed group of avant-garde artists echoed a widespread sentiment best expressed in Jorge Luis Borges’s quote: “Thank God rubendarismo is finally over!Rubendarismo was our homesickness for Europe” [“Prólogo,” Índice de la nueva poesía americana, ed. Alberto Hidalgo et al. (Buenos Aires: Sociedad de Publicaciones El Inca, 1926), 15].