Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version

December 1997


Published in Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture, ed. Michael S. Werner. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997. Pages 608-09. A division of Springer-Verlag. Used by permission.


Some have called González Martínez the last great modernist poet; others prefer to consider him the first of the postmodernists. In the end, both opinions are partially correct. He never completely abandoned certain key features of modernism. Similarly, by avoiding its superficial aspects and focusing instead on the hidden property of things, González Martínez paved the way for a type of poetic sensibility that for the first time in Latin American literature paid attention to local concerns. González Martínez’s poetic production was abundant, even though he led a very active life. He was a medical doctor, professor, and diplomat to Chile (1920–22), Argentina (1922–24), and Spain and Portugal (1924–31); and he occupied several ministerial positions in the Mexican government. At the same time, he founded various literary magazines (Argos, Arte) and translated the poetry of John Milton, Paul Verlaine, and Charles-Pierre Baudelaire, among others.