Mariátegui’s revolutionary poetics

MAY mariategui unfinished revolution B6José Carlos Mariátegui’s Unfinished Revolution: Politics, Poetics, and Change in 1920s Peru
Melisa Moore
2014, Bucknell University Press
259 pages, hardback


IT WAS one of those remarkable periods in Latin American intellectual history when the parameters of a tradition were established with long-term consequences for political thought in the region. The oncenio of 1919–30 under President Augusto Leguía signalled the determination of a new Peruvian intellectual cohort led by the Marxist thinker José Carlos Mariátegui to challenge established definitions of modernity and resolve complex issues of frustrated nationhood. Melisa Moore explores the “espíritu nuevo” – a new self-critical and creative way of thinking during the 1920s that characterised Mariátegui’s heightened awareness of the need for radical change to displace an ageing Positivism. In particular, his work is known for countering creole ideas of nation and fashioning a new national-popular peruanidad, “Peruvianness”. Moore examines the language he used to do this and to fashion a new conceptual framework through his writing that would enable him to develop an alternative narrative of nation informed by his radical political and cultural positions.