Modernismo arose in Spanish American literature as a confrontation with and a response to modernizing forces that were transforming Spanish American society in the later nineteenth century. In this book, Cathy L . Jrade undertakes a full exploration of the modernista project and shows how it provided a foundation for trends and movements that have continued to shape literary production in Spanish America throughout the twentieth century. Jrade opens with a systematic consideration of the development of modernismo and then proceeds with detailed analyses of works--poetry, narrative, and essays--that typified and altered the movement's course. In this way, she situates the writing of key authors, such as Ruben Dario, Jose Marti, and Leopoldo Lugones, within the overall modernista project and traces modernismo's influence on subsequent generations of writers. Jrade's analysis reclaims the power of the visionary stance taken by these creative intellectuals. She firmly abolishes any lingering tendency to associate modernismo with affectation and effete elegance, revealing instead how the modernistas' new literary language expressed their profound political and epistemological concerns.