"From Dragonfly to Butterfly": Nation, Identity and Culture in Postrevolutionary Mexico (1920-1940) as Reflected in Nellie Campobello's Dance and Narrative
de la Calle, Sophie
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This dissertation explores the question of identity in dancer and writer Nellie Campobello (1900-?) in post-revolutionary Mexico. I examine the evolution of her dance, her narrative and her poetry in the light of important cultural and political changes. Because a principal element in this discussion is the formation of a strong national identity, I have decided to study its effects on both her dance and her literary works. Part 1 considers the role of the Nation-State in articulating the postwar-self together with the role of prominent intellectuals such as Jose Vasconcelos; his impact upon a new cultural and Mexican aesthetic in which myth ___ j and symbols such as the National Stadium played a decisive role in imagining the nation. Part 2 explores the dance in the context of the polemical and radical 30s when Nellie Campobello emerged as a representative of the new aesthetics in which the "masculine" as opposed to the "feminine" redefined the national identity. The II stadium dance" and the 11 soldadera" were seen as best expressions for revolution and socialism in the Cardenas era. The focus of part 3 is the cultural and aesthetic shift from the radical and the "masculine" to the conciliatory and the "feminine". With the help of influential fatherly figures such as Martin Luis Guzman, a past member of the Ateneo de la Juventud, Nellie Campobello adapted herself to his classical tradition. From this point on this study focuses on literary texts to discuss her contributions to questions of identity. In part 4 I examine the formation of identity in the context of the rebelious and iconoclastic thirties reflected in Campobello's early poetry. I then study Cartucho and its rejections of myth and its recuperation of the forgotten men and women of the Revolution. Part 5 returns to the ambivalent relationship between Campobello and Guzman, sponsor of Campobello's new image. Her strategic alliance with a prestigious figure of "criollo" culture in the late thirties would help reshape the "coarse" Cartucho into the "refined" and spiritual image of Las manos de mama. Consequently, part 6 examines the effects and the consequences of her metamorphosis from the rebelious and authentic to the ambivalent and more "domestic" image of the feminine redefined by national myths.