Lugones, Leopoldo (1874–1938)

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Lugones, Leopoldo (1874–1938)

Leopoldo Lugones (b. 13 June 1874; d. 18 February 1938), Argentine poet and social historian.

Lugones occupies a central position in the history of Hispanic-American modernism for his perfection of form and rich, original imagery in works such as Los crepúsculos del jardín (Garden Twilights, 1905). Lugones used his prodigious intellect and formidable learning to make his ideas known in literature, education, politics, government, and public affairs. He began his career as a journalist at the age of sixteen, writing articles for a newspaper in his native Córdoba. He came to Buenos Aires in 1896 and there published his first book of poems, Las montañas de oro (The Golden Mountains, 1897). In 1897, he cofounded La Montaña as a forum for his socialist—and at times anarchist—ideas. In 1899, he became director of the General Archives of the postal services and in 1904 general inspector of the secondary schools.

Lugones strongly opposed the ultraliberal revolutionary activities of 1904 and in 1907 launched a virulent attack on President Figueroa Alcorta from the columns of El Diario. When the Argentine Congress passed an electoral reform bill in 1912, Lugones protested strenuously. His views, which were frequently self-contradictory, suffered radical changes throughout his life. After World War I, he extolled the Versailles Treaty and was critical of German military leadership. Yet he also attacked democracy and was convinced that the use of force was necessary to secure social order and progress. Lugones supported the Argentine university reform laws enacted in 1918, but he opposed universal suffrage and populist solutions to national problems. With the reelection of Hipólito Irigoyen as president in 1928, Lugones's militarism became more extreme, and he participated actively in the September 1930 revolution that overthrew that regime. In his later years he began using a religious approach in his writing. He took his own life on 18 February 1938.

Best known as a poet and prose writer, Lugones is also the author of numerous books revealing his ardent nationalism, his profound insights into Argentine history, and his identification with the people and traditions of Argentina's provincial regions. Such works as El imperio jesuítico (1904), Historia de Sarmiento (1911), and El estado equitativo (1932) have had a strong impact on the way Argentines view themselves and have contributed to Lugones's stature as one of the foremost intellectual figures of his time.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Alfredo Canedo, Aspectos del pensamiento político de Leopoldo Lugones (1974).

Juan Carlos Ghiano, Poesía Argentina del siglo XX (1957), pp. 29-40.

Julio Irazusta, Genio y figura de Leopoldo Lugones (1968).

Daniel C. Scroggins, "Leopoldo Lugones' Defense of the Monroe Doctrine in the Revue Sudaméricaine," in Rivista Interamericana de Bibliografía 28, no. 2 (1978): 169-175.

Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu, Latin American Writers, vol. 2 (1989), pp. 493-502.

Additional Bibliography

Bischoff, Efraín U. Leopoldo Lugones: Un cordobés rebelde. Córdoba, Argentina: Editorial Brujas, 2005.

Luna, Félix. Leopoldo Lugones. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 2001.

                                   Myron I. Lichtblau