What is Noucentisme?
Noucentisme, also known in the literary field as the Generation of 14, was an aesthetic movement in the artistic field, particularly in literature, which spread during the early twentieth century from Spain. Many of the authors who are part of this movement also come from the Generation of ’27 and Generation of ’98.
On the other hand, it is important to mention that the Generation of 14 also meant the emergence of a new intellectual in which another series of intentions converged, as well as influencing the activity of the artist, this time focused on a new form that would allow him to develop, especially in the area of literature.
How did the Generation of 14 or Noucentisme come about?
Now, regarding the emergence of this literary trend, it is important to place ourselves in the historical and social context, since it is precisely where the name comes from, 1914. In this same year the First World War begins, a general revolution arises in the European continent that unleashes a series of protests in different areas of social life, in addition to other processes such as the Bourbon Restoration in Spain.
In this sense, in the field of literature, other trends and movements such as Realism, Romanticism, the Generation of ’98 and Modernism were also developed. It is precisely because, given these forms, the novecentistas decided to initiate a different literature, away from the forms marked in them.
It is considered that the main precursor of the Generation of ’14 was Eugenio D’Ors, with Catalonia as the seat of development, hence other nearby authors began to take an interest in the approach that Noucentisme was beginning to manifest. In fact, it was precisely Eugio D’Ors who used the term -novecentismo- for the first time, to refer to a series of literary tendencies that were beginning to emerge from the previous century. However, Guillermo Díaz Plaja defines the term as that which is no longer modernism and avant-garde.
Development in the literature of the Generation of ’14
It is important to consider that for the authors of the Generation of 14, especially for the poets, the goal of their works is not the political transformation of their country, but rather the mutation of the individual, for which they consider the need for an aesthetic formation. This explains why the Generation of ’14 was marked by the concern to retake literary themes, art in all its dimensions and the attempts to find new ways of making literature, especially in the field of narrative in the novel and poetry.
Now, the Generation of 14 had a special impact on four literary genres: the novel, theater, essay and lyric. Let’s see what each one consisted of during the development of the movement:
In this field of narrative, the concern for the incorporation of new expressive and formal aspects is evident, leaving aside the importance of the plot. Thus, on the one hand, the previous narrative models persisted, among which were the erotic novel, realism and costumbrismo; and on the other hand, there was also a renewal of the genre with new forms such as dehumanization, humor, lyricism and intellectualism.
One of the main processes undergone by the theater during the development of this movement had to do with the construction of new forms of theater. Among them we find the emergence of the salon comedy, which moved between realistic and naturalistic theater, as well as intellectual theater, popular theater and poetic theater.
In this genre, the authors of this type of texts concentrate on the intellectual aspect in their writings. This intention is marked by the objective of remaking the history of the country. In this genre, authors such as Ortega y Gasset and Eugeni D’Ors stand out with the School of Madrid and the School of Barcelona, respectively, among others.
In this genre we can see how the authors of Noucentisme reject sentimentality and romanticism in their works, inclined to the search for perfection obtained from the processes of intelligence. In this sense, one of the main authors will be Juan Ramón Jiménez, who becomes the pioneer of this new form of literature.
Main Features of Noucentisme in Literature
It is time to review the most important distinctive features of this movement in literature, as well as the main bases on which it developed since its emergence. Among these, we find the following:
Predominance of reason
One of the most important aspects of the literary development of this movement had to do mainly with the concern for the predominance of reason. Authors were constantly searching for this presence in their works, as well as for the appearance of systematization. Intellectual formation is one of the factors promoting this intention, guided by the need to transmit ideas very frequently.
Importance of activism
One of the objectives of the authors of this movement was the transformation of the country, which is why they are inclined to carry out varied actions and avoid limiting the proposals to the written sheet. In this sense, in order to achieve true activism, the novecentistas considered it essential for the upper classes to be part of the transforming proposal they put forward, which is why several of the members of the movement were directly linked to political activity in Spain.
In their proposal to transform the ways of writing literature, especially in novels and poetry, the authors of the Generation of 14 proposed a renewal of language in literature based on a significant expansion of vocabulary.
Appearance of Classicism
One of the aspects that is important to consider when evaluating this movement in its literary manifestation, is that they have an important approach to classical models. The authors of the Generation of 14 consider that returning to these models allows for a greater clarity of the intentions of expression in the works of Noucentisme.
Another key feature that allows the identification of the movement and its artistic stance has to do with the interest in modernizing Spain from an intellectual point of view. This was due to the use of the European model that inspired the intellectuals of the Generation of 14.
Rejection of sentimentalism
As a way of distancing itself from previous movements and finding its own new paths, the Generation of 14 was characterized by its rejection of sentimentalism. Other movements, such as the modernists, were strongly linked to this aspect, which the noucentistas now set aside to replace it with an analysis of life based on the rational, as well as all the dimensions of art.
Juan Zaragüeta Bengoechea, José Ortega y Gasset, Manuel Azaña, Rafael Cansinos Assens, Eugenio d’Ors, José Bergamín, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Ramón Pérez de Ayala, Gabriel Miró, Azorín, Guillermo Díaz Plaja, Josep Carner, Pompeu Fabra, Ramón de Basterra, Mauricio Bacarisse, Juan José Domenchina, Fernando Villalón, José Moreno Villa, Ramón Pérez de Ayala, Gabriel Miró, Benjamín Jarnés, Félix Urabayen, Wenceslao Fernández Flórez, Joaquín Arderíus, Alberto Insúa, Concha Espina, Ricardo León, Alejandro Pérez Lugín, Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent, Joaquín Belda, Eugenio Noel, Manuel Ciges Aparicio, María de Maeztu, Clara Campoamor, Victoria Kent, María Goyri and Zenobia Camprubí, among others.
Remember that if you want to know more about the world of literature, as well as other literary movements, genres, types of literature and more, in our section dedicated to this artistic expression you can find a lot of information to continue learning and deepening in this field.