Leaves of Whitman: Felipe, Borges and the Hybrid Translator
journal contributionposted on 23.05.2017, 13:01 by David Shames
Walt Whitman looms large in the sphere of Hispanic letters. Scholars such as Fernando Alegría have traced the reception of his work in the Spanish-speaking world, generally beginning with the appearance of Whitman as a subject of late 19th century texts written by José Martí and Rubén Darío, prominent poets of the Latin American modernista movement. With the possible exception of Martí, up until the 1912 publication of Poemas, a Spanish translation of Whitman’s works by the Uruguayan modernista Álvaro Armando Vasseur, most Latin American readers had come to know Whitman through translations of his work into languages other than Spanish. The 1912 Vasseur translation, more than just piquing interest in Whitman, is credited with generating within the modernista movement a shift in focus away from symbolism and towards a poetry with a more marked political consciousness.