Ateneo de la Juventud (Athenaeum of Youth)

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Ateneo de la Juventud (Athenaeum of Youth)

Ateneo de la Juventud (Athenaeum of Youth), a Mexican literary and intellectual society, 1907–1914. Although founded as the Sociedad de Conferencias (Society for Lectures) in 1907 and known as the Ateneo de México (the Athenaeum of Mexico) after 1912, the group was christened the Ateneo de la Juventud in 1909 and it is by this name that it is generally known. Under the leadership of Antonio Caso and Pedro Henríquez Ureña, the society came to include such influential thinkers and writers as Alfonso Reyes, José Vasconcelos, and Martín Luis Guzmán. The Ateneo developed around the short-lived literary journal Savia Moderna (Modern Vigor, 1906), whose contributors attempted to depart from modernista writing and the influence of French literature. Eventually the society became a forum for questioning the official philosophy of positivism employed by the government of Porfirio Díaz for state administration and social regulation. By organizing annual cycles of lectures, the Ateneo proposed a political, social, and intellectual renovation of Mexican society through the public discussion and broad dissemination of knowledge. In 1912, after the start of the Mexican Revolution (1910), members of the group participated in founding the Popular University and assisted the minister of education, Justo Sierra, in establishing the School of Higher Studies in the National University of Mexico. Although the society disbanded in 1914, its influence was immense during Mexico's post-Revolutionary state-building decades of the 1920s and 1930s.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Juan Hernández Luna, ed., Conferencias del Ateneo de la Juventud (1962).

José Rojas Garcidueñas, El Ateneo de la Juventud y la Revolución (1979).

James Willis Robb, "Alfonso Reyes," in Latin American Writers, vol. 2, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu (1989), pp. 693-703.

Gabriella De Beer, "José Vasconcelos," in Latin American Writers, vol. 2 (1989), pp. 575-584, and "El Ateneo y los ateneístas: Un examen retrospectivo," in Revista iberoamericana 55, no. 148-149 (1989): 737-749.

Additional Bibliography

Curiel, Fernando. La revuelta: Interpretación del Ateneo de la Juventud, 1906–1929. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Estudios Literarios, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, 1999.

                                        Danny J. Anderson