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Herrera y Reissig, Julio (1875–1910)

Herrera y Reissig, Julio (1875–1910)

Julio Herrera y Reissig (b. 9 January 1875; d. 18 March 1910), poet and essayist who belonged to the Uruguayan Generation of 1900. Herrera was born in Montevideo into a prominent family; he was the nephew of Julio Herrera y Obes, president of Uruguay (1890–1894). Because he suffered from a heart condition, his education was sporadic in private schools and from relatives. He resigned for health reasons from his job as clerk in the Customs Office and later from his position as assistant inspector-general of the National Board of Elementary Schools. Herrera flirted briefly with politics, but grew disenchanted. For the most part financially dependent on his family, after 1897 he devoted his life to literature and in 1899–1900 published the literary journal La Revista. A follower of modernism, Herrera stressed ideals of beauty and harmony and opposed the prevailing materialism of his age. Herrera was an important part of a brilliant decade in Uruguayan literature—the first decade of the twentieth century. After his worst heart attack in 1900, he wrote "La vida," first published in 1906, and "Las pascuas del tiempo," written in 1900 but not published until 1913. There followed Los peregrinos de piedra (1909), Ópalos: Poemas en prosa (1919), Los parques abandonados (1919), and Las lunas de oro (1924). Herrera's poetry was imbued with aestheticism, imagination, inventiveness, and irony. He also wrote essays and newspaper articles. His prose writings include Epílogo wagneriano a la "política de fusión" (1902) and Prosas: Críticas, cuentos, comentarios (1918). Important editions of his collected works are Poesías completas (1942), Obras poéticas (1966), with a prologue by Alberto Zum Felde, and Poesía completa y prosa selecta (1978), with an introduction by Idea Vilariño.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Gwen Kirkpatrick, The Dissonant Legacy of Modernismo: Lugones, Herrera y Reissig, and the Voices of Modern Spanish American Poetry (1989).

Antonio Seluja, Julio Herrera y Reissig: vida y obra (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Alvarez, Mario. Ensueño y delirio: Vida y obra de Julio Herrera y Reissig. Montevideo: Academia Nacional de Letras, 1995.

Benítez Pezzolano, Hebert. Interpretación y eclipse: Ensayos sobre literatura uruguaya (Lautrémont, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Felisberto Hernández, Juan Carlos Onetti y Marosa dei Giorgio). Montevideo: Linardi y Risso, 2000.

Espina, Eduardo. El disfraz de la modernidad. Toluca: Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, 1992.

Malabia, Santiago. El enigma desvelado: Sentido y descodificación de La torre de las esfinges de Julio Herrera y Reissig. Montevideo: Ediciones del C.E.H.U., 2003.

                             Georgette Magassy Dorn

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