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Literary movement, originated in France, which proposed a new way of exploring reality. It is a movement in response to romanticism and the excess of subjectivism. It is linked to the ideological movement of positivism.

Place of origin: France.

Period: second half of the 19th century.


  • Precise reproduction of reality.
  • Use of thorough descriptions.
  • Rejects the feeling.
  • Description of the environment, customs, problems and way of life.
  • Language is colloquial because it reproduces the common, every day way of speaking.

Naturalism: This movement was born in France as well, towards the end of the 19th century. It first appeared in novel and then in theatre. It is considered an extension of realism.

Place of origin: France.

Period: End of 19th century.


  • Attempt to reflect reality but in a totally objective way.
  • Description of laws of nature the way it is done in the science field.
  • Scientific progress, such as discoveries or vaccines, is pictured in the narrative.

Modernism: This is a movement that rejects romanticism and rules and forms that control poetry or narrative as well. Its importance lies in having being the first movement originated in America and not being an imitation of any other movement. On the contrary, this movement influenced Europe; however, it received the influence of French Parnasianism with Rimbaud and French Symbolism with Baudelaire.

Place of origin: Nicaragua and, later, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Period: End of 19th century and beginning of 20th century.


  • Hopes of renovation: they were not satisfied with what came from Europe, especially from Spain.
  • Influenced by French Parnasianism and Symbolism; from the first movement it takes the exotic and from the second the musicality.
  • Language is not elegant.
  • Subjects are product of the American landscape and environment.
  • Abundance of symbols and images.

Avant-garde movement: The name avant-garde relates to the 1914-1918 conflict. It is a term used in the military: it names the troops that take the vanguard and marches in front of the others; the same in literature, the term designates a movement that tries to be ahead of the rest. There are, however, many different movements with the suffix “ism” such as Dadaism, Futurism, Expressionism, and Surrealism that in general point towards an aesthetical renovation not only in literature but art in general. They seek originality through symbolism and an individual expression with deep subjectivism.

Imbalance and anguish are the main characteristics of the 20th century man; they are reflected in literature and artistic expression during that time. Absolute freedom to express those feelings is desired. Avant-gardism took advantage of Freud’s psychoanalysis discoveries in which a strong contraposition of the subconscious and the conscious worlds exists.

The most relevant avant-garde movement was Surrealism because it emerged as a fighting movement. Its founder was French poet André Bretón who announced through a manifesto published in 1914 the principles of the movement. It is true that the avant-garde movement was born in Europe but it was also spread through America with common features but with some differences at the same time, originated from its historic reality and its social needs. This is how in America the movement appears within the industrial and financial development of the United States and, logically, with influence over the rest of the American countries.

During the first part of the 20th century, the Latin-American countries reached an outstanding economic development caused by agricultural and mining exports as well as from direct foreign investment, especially from the United States.  They became an important source of raw materials for industry in other markets. However, these countries resented the negative impact of the 1929 crisis.

This entire political, economic and social environment would reflect in literature and artistic expression, with variants in European avant-garde; ultimately they were similar.

Place of origin: Europe and then America (the Caribbean). In Germany it was called Expressionism; in France, Cubism; in Italy, Futurism.

Period: between the first and second World Wars, 20th century.


  • Images full of feelings.
  • Reflects group revolutionary conscience.
  • Subject and sensibility differ from previous movements.
  • Depending on the movement to which they belong, images can be grotesque, far from reality or a reflection of the hidden “I”.
  • Intense quest for the freedom spirit, especially the expression.
  • Rejection of rhetorical formulas.
  • Advocacy for originality.

Contemporary era: It comprises the period between post-war until present day. In poetry it has an aftertaste of French Symbolism even though it shows the human inability to communicate, the anguish, the constant search of “I”, among others. It breaks all the rigid structures as well and moves for absolute freedom in which the most important thing is what the poet wants without being constrained by fixed parameters or patterns.

Among its representatives we have: Pidandello, Kipling, Antonio Machado and Vladimir Mayakovski.

As for contemporary narrative, it breaks linearity and anecdote and moves toward temporal planes, towards flash-back. On the other hand, it is more comprehensive regarding subjects; per instance, psychoanalysis or philosophy are present in a novel.

Contemporary novel is, more than anything, a reflection of life that mixes fantastic, marvelous or essentially fictional elements with the real world. The language that is used is a reflection of the world that aspires to represent as well; it goes hand in hand with slang, idioms, and localisms; it phonetically captures speech.